The Importance of Planning
It’s a question that everyone agrees is important. However, a surprising number of people, and companies, don’t do a very good job of planning, if they plan at all. We run across it all the time in Real Estate Development. And, with some projects, there are many millions of dollars at stake. It’s shocking, but not surprising.
Some people think that they can make it work from their gut instinct. Others feel that if they build it, they will come. And, still others just follow the leader. If they can do it, we can do it! Right? Wrong. The only way to be the most successful as possible without planning is by sheer luck. However, if planning is done and it is done correctly, you will have the most potential for success and gain the most return on your investment.
Planning has many aspects. But, the major three things to know when planning are to:
- Understand Your Customer
- Know What Your Customer Wants
- Plan for Success
Understanding Your Customer
Market Research, is ideally the first action undertaken by a developer for a property being considered for development. The purpose is to define target consumers, competition, and products, pricing and sales absorption.
The process of Market Research consists of the following four sequential steps.
- The first step is definition of the consumer market in geographical terms (i.e., local census tracts, municipality, county, metropolitan area, state, multi-state region, nation, multiple nations) and definition of consumers by demographic (age, income, wealth, household size, employment) and Psychographic characteristics (behavior, personality, attitudes).
- Second is geographic definition of the competitive market, using the above geographical units (could be the same as the consumer market, but usually smaller).
- Third is geographic definition of the competition market, using the above geographical units. The majority of real estate developments in the United States serve local markets, with the notable exceptions of resort and active adult retirement developments.
- The Fourth step is Summarization of the above four steps and analysis of findings in terms of recommendations for the subject property. Historically, such research required travel to these markets for individual data gathering, whereas the evolution of the Internet now permits data-gathering by computer.
WHAT is the buyer looking for?
However, Parker Associates research includes market verification by personal visitation to examine geographical features and competitive product offerings. Note that the term “product” is defined to include site amenities and nearby off-site amenities in addition to the priced (ownership and rental lease) buildings.
Know What Your Customer Wants
The definition of product positioning is the design of products including buildings, communities and developments, as well as their communications media presentation, to appeal to the needs and preferences of the defined target consumers. It requires creative visual arts skills as well as knowledge of target consumer Psychographics to prescribe optimum appearance and translation into target consumer appeal.
Historically, developers have copied competition positioning that either appeals to them personally or appears to generate higher competitive sales. Although such precedents may produce positive results, they also reduce the potential of becoming a trend-setter based upon accurate consumer knowledge.
Parker Associates has a time tested method of product positioning. Parker Associates bases product positioning on specific consumer preferences from current surveys and focus groups published by industry periodicals and reports, or direct consumer interaction designed and carried out by Parker Associates experts and contractors. It is too important for guesswork or client opinions.
Plan for Success
Parker Associates specializes in Strategic Planning to ensure that specific real estate projects are designed and marketed according to current knowledge of local, regional and national consumer needs and preferences. Creativity in the translation of target consumer appeal provides essential parameters to master site planning, building architecture, interior design and marketing programs for each development of any scale.
The Strategic Plan for every new development may be the recommendations contained in a Marketing Feasibility Study or Market Analysis for single-purpose projects. Or, for large or complex developments, it can be produced as a separate document circulated to the physical design team and marketing team prior to completion of the physical master plan. Regardless of packaging, the Strategic Plan ensures that key parameters important to target consumers guide the physical plan and marketing presentation of successful real estate developments.
Parker Associates provides complete planning services across a wide spectrum of real estate:
- New Land Development Acquisitions
- Acquisition of Existing Projects
- Repositioning or Expansion of Mature Communities for HOAs & POAs
- Planned Unit Developments
- Apartments & Multi-Family
- New Project Development
- Existing Project Development
- Repositioning or Expansion of Existing Projects or Ventures
- Residential, Commercial, Resort & Entertainment
Our team includes knowledgeable experts skilled in planning to help clients understand all aspects and potentials for their projects:
Learn more about how Parker Associates can assist in the planning of your project with an initial review. Contact us for a sample feasibility study to better understand our unique approach that has helped hundreds of clients achieve success.
Parker Associates and PTC Computer Solutions have worked on a plentitude of projects through the years where many benefited from our experience gained while working in 33 states and 17 foreign countries and for more than 500 developers and builders since 1982. Want to learn how we can assist your next development? Visit our website at http://www.parkerassociates.comand/or call David WB Parker at 904-607-8763.
J. Chris Parker is a principal of Parker Associates of Jacksonville, Florida, marketing consultants to the real estate industry as well as the lead associate on the new Barclay’s branch, Barclay’s Real Estate. Though based out of Jacksonville, Florida, Chris & David and the team at Parker Associates have worked in 17 Countries and 33 States through the years as well as 65 out of 67 counties in Florida. Chris can be reached at 904-607-8761 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.