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February 01, 2014

Hope at large – KISS on your list

Chalet’s simplified process is key to success

Marty Hope

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In the 1960s, the KISS principle was presented to the world.

The acronym for “keep it simple, stupid” candidly says that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than complex. Therefore, simplicity, not complexity, should be the key goal in design.

Attributed to U.S. aircraft engineer Kelly Johnson, the KISS principle has found its way into various design fields and is the backbone of many business ventures.

Here in Calgary, one of the newest reincarnations of the decades-old principle has been rolled out by Sabal Homes’ sales and marketing manager Brenda Kelly as a way to further enhance the appeal of the company’s 99-unit Chalet townhouse condominium project currently selling in Copperfield by Hopewell Residential Communities.

So, keeping everything simple, here is how the process works. Opening up an iPad, potential buyers begin to select a main floor layout from a list of three — and add a fireplace if they want, then choose from a variety of second floor plans (two beds, three beds, two and a flex room), then click another button to bring it all together.

That’s all there is to it — a custom-designed interior with just a click here and a click there. But wait, that’s not the end of the KISS process.

A separate page lists all relevant information such as the plan that has been selected, the square footage of the home, the base price, the cost of floor plan upgrades and fireplace (if chosen), and then presents the price. As well, the GST cost and final purchase price (less any additional upgrades such as design selections) are given. Hey, the process even displays the amount needed for a five per cent down payment and the estimated monthly condo fees.

And then with one final cool click, the completed floor plan and information will be emailed to the would be buyer-designer for their records and to show off to friends and family.

“They can play with the computerized floor plans till they’re happy,” says Kelly. “It helps to simplify the whole decision-making process and makes it a more pleasurable, fun experience.”

From the beginning of the thought process to unveiling the program took five months or so and last fall was rolled out into the show homes. Since then, more than a couple of dozen reservations and sales have been recorded.

“From what we’ve seen, people love it, especially the younger, first-time buyers who are in the techie crowd. It’s very cool,” Kelly says.

The success of the touch-screen design program has Kelly considering entering it into the upcoming Canadian Home Builders’ Association’s annual SAM Awards competition in the category for best new idea.

For the time being, the design program is only available for the Chalet series of townhouses but due to the success of it, expansion is likely.

“It’s only going to get bigger,” says Kelly, adding that it will become part of the sales and marketing process when Sabal opens its Chalet show home in Edmonton this spring.

The show homes and sales centre are open from 2 to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and noon to 5 p.m. weekends and holidays. The sales centre is located at 514 Copperpond Boulevard S.E.

For more information on the Chalet series, visit http://www.sabalchalet.com.

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