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Preparing for your design center visit

by Meghann Finn Sepulveda on Nov 6, 2015

Signing the purchase agreement is one of the most exciting steps in the new-home-buying process, but shortly after finalizing plans with the builder, a trip to the design center is when buyers can truly personalize their home.

With thousands of options to choose from — ranging from countertops and flooring to hardware and appliances — builders provide interactive tools as well as product samples to see, touch and feel. Plus, their design centers are staffed with experienced interior designers to help guide buyers when making these important decisions.

Interactive online tools

Today’s buyers are fortunate to have access to creative websites and other mobile applications to organize, save and share personal style choices and decorating ideas. Some builders, like Pulte Homes and Fulton Homes, offer interactive online tools so buyers can view photos and product descriptions, along with floorplans, before visiting the design center. 

“The Pulte Design Studio tool is great for buyers who want to look at the many choices available and create wish lists,” said Taylor Mize, general sales manager for Pulte Group’s Arizona Division. “This helps buyers prepare for their appointment.”

Meanwhile, Fulton Homes’ Design Online™ tool provides buyers with a personal account to view the details of the home, make selections and review pricing in advance.

“Approximately 80 percent of our buyers create a wish list before coming to the Fulton Design Center,” said Dennis Webb, vice president of operations for Fulton Homes. “Our interior designers can access the buyer’s portal and review selections prior to the appointment which makes the visit faster and smoother and helps ease any feelings of apprehension.”

Visiting the design studio

A few short weeks after signing the purchase agreement, a design center appointment will be scheduled. 

“Some people come into the design studio knowing exactly what they like and are able to make their decisions within a single appointment, while others may need multiple appointments because they need more time to review options,” said Julia Gaskill, Maracay Homes’ design studio manager. “We understand this is a large purchase and we want people to love their home and feel comfortable with their decisions.”

The length of the appointment varies but buyers can expect to spend several hours at the design center. 

“After a few hours, buyers need to step away and clear their heads,” Gaskill said. “It gives them time to process the information so when they return they are re-energized and able to view their home from a fresh perspective.”

Design centers include samples and/or examples of most available options which proves to be extremely helpful when making selections. Many design centers also offer fully equipped kitchens with countertops, backsplashes, cabinetry, light fixtures and appliance packages
on display.

“Most of the time people really like being able to physically touch and see the products that might be going into their home,” Gaskill said. “We always make sure to have the best representation and all of the product information readily available in order to provide customers with the best possible experience.”

At the 13,000-square-foot Fulton Design Center in Tempe, more than 6,000 options could make a buyer feel overwhelmed, but the team of on-site professionals is available to help make the process easy and enjoyable.

“There is no pressure,” Webb, vice president of operations for Fulton Homes, said. “We’re not going to let a buyer make a bad decision.” 

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