PATH - A Public Private Partnership for Advancing Housing Technology

PATH Case Study

Pulte's Switch to Panelization


Continued from Page 3


The biggest hurdle in consumer acceptance is understanding how much potential homeowners value the benefits. Simply stated, what price premium would a customer be willing to pay?

"We rely on the operations side of our division to do the marketing and sales for the local market," Chippero says. "There are brochures, videos, and samples that we put in our sales office, so when a potential buyer comes in, our people are equipped to explain how this system works and how it benefits the homeowner."

"Our homeowners are very pleased with getting a house that performs very well. In fact, when we first started building houses in Virginia with this system, we approached homeowners on a one-on-one basis to explain what they'd be getting. Their first reaction was 'What's the catch? You're offering this home with all these benefits, why aren't you charging me more?' This was a question that we were asked very frequently, and of course our answer was, we're just getting started, and we don't think we're in a position just yet to offer this at a premium, so that's why we offer this as a normal house. So many homeowners left feeling that they were getting a good value, which they were."

Technology Highlights

This project included the following PATH-profiled technologies:

"It's all about education," Runnels says. "Most homeowners don't perceive the value of a high-quality, high-durability, energy-efficient home. We have only just begun to look at marketing this package as a premium house--and it truly is a premium product. For a given price, how do we get the customer to choose a much better, higher-performing house that uses premium materials and technology over a conventional house with upgraded cabinets and countertops? We haven't figured it all out yet, but we're working on it."

PATH will follow this story closely and report on Pulte's progress in the future.

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Content updated on 10/18/2006

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