A couple of days ago, we took a trip to CountryWide Homes’ Decor Studio. We met with Mary Marrello, director of sales and marketing at CountryWide Homes, and she talked with us about three different kinds of homebuyers, how they design their homes, and what kind of dough they’re spending. If you’re an investor, first-time buyer or high-end buyer (that covers basically everyone), then you’ll find this interesting!
Let’s start with the investors: “At CountryWide, the majority of our projects are very high-end, so we don’t typically have a lot of people buying for investment, but we do have communities that have townhomes and smaller detached projects. Rarely do investors ever spend money…An investor typically doesn’t spend more than $5,000 or $6,000 on upgrades. They like to go in, buy something that is the right price, in the right community, at the right time, and that’s it.” This isn’t a huge surprise. There’s no point in spending thousands of dollars on fully customizing a home to suit your taste if you don’t plan on living in it long term, or at all.
Finally, the big spenders:“High-end buyers, the move-up buyer, people who are established in life, are raising children, children who may not be at university age, or they may have elderly parents moving in with them—they have specific needs. This process is much larger. Their structural appointment may take a lot longer than the others, because we may be incorporating things like elevators into the home…their structural appointment may involve our in-house architect to come in and help redesign the unit…Typically, we’re finding that the buyers of our homes that are $800,000+ are spending anywhere from $100,000 to $300,000 in upgrades. They know they’re going to be here for a while, and want to show that they’ve arrived at a special place in their life.”
Wow, we didn’t expect numbers that high! We then asked Mary what the cost would be like if someone went all out. Her answer made us hold our wallets close, and then we cried a little:
“There’s no limit. I have one buyer who just recently bought a home that’s just over $1 million, and spent $280,000 on his structural appointment only, and it looks like he’s going to probably spend $500,000 on the finishes. So, he spent almost as much as what it cost to purchase the home to customize it to suit his needs.”
WHERE DOES ALL THE MONEY GO?!
“First and foremost, people spend money in the kitchen. They go absolutely all out. They want to go to the warehouses and pick their own slabs out, they custom design every detail in the kitchen to suit them. They turn master ensuites into spa retreats, with the sauna and the whole bit, you name it…The possibilities are endless.”
Well, it was certainly depressing driving back to our little downtown condo units after our trip to the CountryWide Decor Studio, but for anyone buying at a CountryWide Homes community, you have a lot to look forward to!
Many thanks go out to Mary Marrello for setting time aside to chat with us about designing a new home.