The Light: Tell Me a Story | John Burns Real Estate Consulting

The Light: Tell Me a Story

Once upon a time, a pandemic known as COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the world. Real estate developers—the people who create the wonderful communities we live in and who employ hundreds of thousands of great people—successfully raised the money they needed to keep their businesses going by learning to  “tell a story” about why their development would be successful in a post-COVID-19 world.

To tell the best story, answer these three questions:

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1. Who is the hero?

The consumer always saves the day. To prove that your development will appeal to the consumers, you must first understand who they are and how they have changed. Lasting consumer shifts from COVID-19 can be found by examining trends that were already emerging but that are now accelerating. On a recent research client webinar, Mikaela Sharp recently shared some evolving movements based on our surveys and research:

  • Health and cleanliness will take priority over sustainability.
  • Ownership will replace experiences as millennials continue forming families. Work from home will create the opportunity to purchase a home in a more affordable area.
  • Functionality will gain even more importance over form, with higher prioritization of practical spaces, like storage and drop zones. Open layouts will give way to separate areas with more privacy and less noise.

2. Do I have the right setting?

We highlighted boomtowns in a previous edition of The Light, but submarkets matter even more. Factors like transportation access, school districts, local competition, access to health care, and local job proximity drive housing demand. Tell the story of future resident life in that location.

3. Is the plot unique and exciting?

Fully understanding your target consumer will help you design highly desirable homes and amenities that do not exist in the resale market. New construction will have an advantage in this arena.

  • New single-family and townhome rental neighborhoods, age-restricted 55+ apartment complexes, and entry-level homes with small yards tend to face little competition from the resale market.
  • Community gardens and interesting outdoor activities tend to be the amenities that set developments apart.
  • Smart technology like touchless lights and appliances, enhanced air quality in the home, and secure package delivery create a competitive advantage over existing communities.

We really enjoy helping our clients tell their story. We track consumer, home design, and community design trends all over the country and are watching carefully for success stories in the post-COVID-19 world. Please contact Lesley Deutch or Ken Perlman for further information.



Lesley Deutch If you have any questions, please contact Lesley Deutch, Managing Principal, at (561) 998-5814 or by email.
Ken Perlman If you have any questions, please contact Ken Perlman, Managing Principal, at (858) 281-7214 or by email.
Mikaela Arroyo If you have any questions, please contact Mikaela Sharp, Manager, Trends and Innovation, at (949) 870-1203 or by email.