Dallas-Fort Worth Building Savvy –August 2021

Kindness and Tolerance are Tested in Unprecedented Times

Through the years, we’ve seen the pendulum swing from opulent to minimalist home styles, from “bigger is better” to “smaller more efficient use of space is best.”  If you look at why things shift, it is usually due to what else is going on in the world.  Truly, homes reflect their occupants’ need for celebration and reward at certain times, and for peace, serenity and protection during others.

On that note, kitchens truly are the heart of a home, perhaps more so now than before as we enter the current timeframe that is we’re seeing beginning to be referred to as “post-pandemic.”   The discussion on appliances continues with our Savvy Special Report on laundry equipment, exclusively on the blog at dfwbuildingsavvy.com.   About those appliances we write about—months of lead time is the norm for ordering them, and like so many other items on the spec sheet, we’re seeing appliance prices significantly rise.

No one in the homebuilding industry is immune to the tension we’re feeling in this unusual time.  While home buying demand is usually a good thing for our industry, the multiple offers, low inventory, material delays and rising prices add more stress to the already stressful process of building or remodeling a home.  Add together all the uncertainty and tension unique to this time in history and pile those onto the normal emotions that a major investment or a move causes in normal times, and it’s not surprising that builders are reporting bad customer behavior—something that also appears to be a widespread side effect of pent-up anxiety and isolation.

Psychologists contend that extreme examples of bad behavior are explained by the fact that we are all more traumatized than we realize by the virus and all the changes that our world has experienced as we have sought to fight it.  There have been numerous news stories about unruly airline passengers acting out, fighting with each other and members of the flight crew.  Much of it seemingly stems from refusing to obey federal regulations such as mask-wearing—just one of the societal issues with political overtones that fans the flame over differences of opinion that people stand ready to tell us all about.

As the pandemic subsides, to say that people are still on edge is an understatement.  There are times when firing an “impossible to please” customer may be the right decision.  At the same time, it is important that we never forget the value of a customer and the need to preserve the art of customer service before it becomes a lost art entirely.  In this season, we’ve reposted a Sales Savvy article from Paul Evan’s on dfwbuildingsavvy.com.  Visit to read up on customer negotiation tips.  While negotiation requires that both sides of the party be reasonable, which isn’t always the case, the winner will be the one that stays calm and professional.  A successful outcome comes from understanding the negotiation process—and that is one thing that has not changed since the time when this article was first published in Building Savvy years ago!

Keep in mind that with crisis comes innovation and alternative solutions.  Stronger, faster to build, more affordable and more resilient, 3D printed houses are no longer just concept homes.  While they remain a great solution for building houses for disaster relief and for impoverished communities, 3D-built homes that look and feel like the single-family homes they sit side by side with are now being built for sale in cities across the world, including Austin.

Thank you for allowing us to be your eyes and ears for news and trends in our essential industry.

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