Meeting unique requests such as adherence to Feng Shui principles can bolster sales prospects. Image: Canva.
  • Buyers are increasingly willing to pay more for properties that are customised to their needs
  • Developers who are willing to customise their projects to meet the needs of buyers will sell more units faster and at a higher price
  • The most common requests from buyers include increasing the number of en suite bathrooms and car spaces

In her second article for The Property Tribune, Fiona Yang, Executive Partner at Plus Agency, explores the increasingly bespoke requirements developers must meet in order to attract buyers and a higher return in an ever more demanding market.

Sales are languishing at many new development projects around greater Sydney, but not every project.

It is understandable that some projects are having trouble selling. The latest data from CoreLogic shows prices are marginally up, but the market has nonetheless lost momentum. Sales volumes in the first quarter were 21% lower than a year ago.

How, then, does one explain that sales have not slowed down everywhere? Why are sales in some projects continuing at a rapid pace?

Why Some Projects Sell Faster

One project bucking the slow sales trend is Aqualuna Milsons Point, where only four apartments remain in the 63-residence building.

Another example includes Seymours Residences Roseville, where buyers have been snapping up an average of two apartments per week.

Chapman Gardens Castle Hill is a third exemplar, regularly setting new price records for the area.

I will tell you what I think is behind the disparity in sales at different projects around Sydney:

Location, price, and lifestyle all play a role, of course. But, what really drives sales is a willingness, a determination, almost a fanaticism, on the part of the sales team and developer to customise each new residence for its buyers.

To rapidly sell new homes today, you must tailor them to the buyer’s tastes.

Customisation is partly necessary because buyers are no longer as uniform as in the past. Today, 30% of Australia’s population was born overseas. And because these immigrants come from different home countries, they have widely different tastes.

Consider that England, China, and India are the top three source countries for immigrants to Australia. Buyers from these countries have varying ideas about the finishes, kitchen design, and floorplans.

This fact was recently brought home to me by architect Edward Li. As Associate Director of Dreamscapes Architects, Li designs everything from single-family homes to high-rise towers.

He told me that buyers with different cultural backgrounds also have their own tastes and opinions about what their new homes should look like. He has worked with Chinese buyers who sought the advice of their family Feng Shui masters on the direction the doors should open and where to position the kitchen sink.

fiona shuran yang plus agency
Fiona Yang writes about how meeting unique and bespoke requirements can bolster sales. Image: Supplied.

Top 6 customisation requsts

At Plus Agency, the most common requests from buyers can be categorized into six main areas:

  1. Increasing the number of en suite bathrooms: Buyers today, especially those with multi-generational families or children of different genders, place a high emphasis on having each bedroom equipped with its own bathroom. This demand arises from the varying preferences and requirements regarding toiletries, schedules, and even the arrangement of commonly used items within the bathrooms across different generations. Additionally, most parents aspire to provide their children with the best possible privacy within their means, making the inclusion of multiple en suite bathrooms a necessity that also can prevent unnecessary family conflicts.
  2. Sufficient car space: Buyers frequently request ample parking spaces to accommodate their vehicles. This can include designated car spaces or garages, ensuring convenient and secure parking arrangements for homeowners and their guests.
  3. Garage or additional storage space: The need for extra storage solutions is a common concern for buyers. They often seek properties that offer garages or supplementary storage areas to store personal belongings, seasonal items, or recreational equipment.
  4. High-quality appliances, fixtures, and finishes: Buyers value properties equipped with top-notch appliances, fixtures, and finishes. They seek modern and durable features that enhance functionality and aesthetics, contributing to a comfortable and luxurious living experience.
  5. Sustainable property features: Buyers are increasingly placing a high priority on environmental consciousness, which aligns with their desire to minimise their carbon footprints and contribute to a more sustainable environment. They demonstrate keen interest in properties that integrate eco-friendly elements, including electric vehicle charging stations, smart home technology, and solar panels. Sustainable projects are well-positioned to attract a wider range of potential customers.
  6. Separate living and dining spaces: Many buyers desire properties with distinct living and dining areas. This separation allows for greater flexibility when hosting and entertaining by maintaining a clear distinction between the home’s different functional zones.

If we put ourselves into the shoes of buyers, I believe we can empathise with all the aforementioned buyer demands.

However, not every developer is willing to invest significant extra efforts to redesign homes or respond to buyers’ needs. It is not simply a matter of redrawing floor plans and moving a few pipes. Developers must seek authority approval to change their layouts in such a substantial way.

It is a lot of work, yes. But which developer’s projects will sell more quickly at a higher price — the one who goes to that effort or the one who doesn’t?

Burying Prosperity in the Floor

Let me share with you an interesting example.

At the Wolseley Eight townhouse project, one buyer requested copper plates be built into all the floors in the home, where they will be out of sight but underfoot.

These buyers consider the copper plates good Feng Shui because having them in the floor means they will always be walking on good fortune. Copper is conductive and shines like gold, so it can represent wealth and prosperity.

Did the developer say that would be too much work? On the contrary, they embraced the opportunity to win over a buyer.

This buyer had other requests, too, and we made them all. We made the sale, and today, we have stacks of copper plates in the Plus Agency office. Whenever the builder needs more packs, we take them to the site.

Buyers want purchasing boutique off-the-plan projects to be more like designing your own single-family house, where you can choose the layout and finishes. On the plus side, unlike when developing a single-family house, you don’t have to find the land, obtain development approval or manage your builders. The developer does all that for you.

Buyers like to personalise their residences, and buying off the plan can give them that opportunity. If the sales team and developer try to accommodate these requests, they will get more sales across the line.

In today’s market, everybody needs a strong reason to buy. You will be less successful if you try to sell just plain vanilla units.

Read more about flexibility and versatility in this article.

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