Saturday, January 8, 2011

Sea of sameness - "jaded is the new stoned"

I drove out to Palm Desert today to see my parents who are in town on vacation from Vancouver (escaping a wet winter). Meant I missed my STAR 123 chapter motorcycle ride, sadly. So I drive along the 215, which then turns into the 60, in the heart of Riverside County, trying to stay awake. You know that whiplash feeling? Head drops, snaps back, drops again? So I cranked the music, and the A/C and kept drinking cold water.

This area is home to multiple new home communities and builder subdivisions, and with the IBS show coming up this week in Florida, and predictions from many of my favorite market researchers that this year will be the uptick we all hoped the middle of 2010 would bring, I paid more attention to the billboards and directional signage than on previous drives along this stretch. Or, maybe it was another technique to stay awake - keep reading.

Wow. And not in a good way. Cover the logo, or the company name (out of respect, names are withheld to protect the innocent) and most every sign out there said something like, "Own from the low $200s" ... or "Own in the desert from the low $200s" ... or "Brokers welcome, new homes from the low $200s". Sure doesn't make me want to take the next exit and see what all the fuss is about. Or give me any reason to think there would be anything particularly compelling or meaningful if I did.

As I thought about this, and the observations made by many other than I that new home sales has become not much more than selling a commodity, I thought about one of many killer lines in Youngme Moon's book, Different that I finished last weekend - "Jaded is the new stoned". Maybe so. But if this is the kind of compelling call to action our customers face when trying to make a decision to buy, they might just all wish they all were.

I'm going to give us all a pass. It's been a tough few years in real estate and perhaps it will take a while for the creativity to rise from the ashes like we hope the economy does. One things for sure, there's lots of white space there for those with the passion and energy to grab it. KC and team?

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