Land estates and the built-form: Build a community and they will come

Just imagine it.

A buyer walks into your sales office. What do they want? Land? Obviously. A home? That’s a given. Incentives? It wouldn’t hurt.

What they’re really buying into though is a dream. The rational side of their brain tends to cross wires with the emotional side when it comes to making such a big purchase. And the way to influence that line of thinking is by establishing a community around your project.


The community effect

Building a community around your land estate or built-form project means designing it in a way that not only provides for but encourages interaction between residents. A community signals to buyers that your development is an inviting place that others want to come to, where they, and their family, can make roots and grow.

When you can make a block of land or apartment seem like more than what it is, you are playing to both sides of the brain. And that’s when the buyer’s decision becomes more emotionally involved.    


The location

Obviously, you can only acquire land where it’s available. That might mean your location is not at the top of every buyer’s list, but it’s the narrative you create around the location that matters most.

The way to create that narrative is to link as many appealing amenities and activities within your location to your development as you reasonably can. This includes things like:

  • Schools
  • Public parks and reserves
  • Shopping
  • Transport

Rather than just point out how close these things are though, you should tie them together into a nice story about how they form part of the community spirit. Don’t just tell them the local baker is 5 minutes away, tell them a story about how the local baker has been serving the community for over 20 years.

This is exactly one of the approaches Barking Bird used for the Eternity Life and Collins & Bates developments in West Footscray and Chadstone. We depicted the stories of different retailers within the community to form a narrative around the development itself, which added an emotional layer to the project.    

If you can associate your development with stories like these, you will begin to build a more significant story of your own.


The design

In the case of land estates, there is something to be said of foregoing additional land lots in favour of more open community spaces, especially  if you are intending to target young families. More community space could mean a bigger playground for example. The easier you can make a parent’s life, the better.

This is the approach Grace Tarneit and Florian Bonshaw have used in the urban design of their estates. Each of them have a large central park where kids and families can interact and play together. They each also have their own natural wetlands areas, which reduces the number of land lots and makes for a smaller, more initimate community.

Each of these estates have had tremendous success in attracting more engaged customers.  


Sell the dream, not the lot  

For a first home buyer or upgrader with a young family in particular, their new lot is more than just an investment. It’s an emotionally charged purchase built off of dreams and ideals.

Play to their emotional side as much as you do their rational side and build a community around you development. More land lots and apartments may bring you more revenue, but a community could bring you quicker sales.