Until Covid arrived, in-person events were a mainstay of Unity’s marketing. During the warm months we’d host open houses that would allow visitors to experience our homes firsthand, and chat with the homeowner about what it’s like to work with Unity and live in the home. We’d also host gatherings that would combine education about Unity’s design-build process with tours of our production facilities and show home.
Covid changed all that.
We’ve been working hard to provide similar information and experiences through webinars, videos, and new content on our website. These efforts have allowed us to give many more people a taste of what it’s like to work with Unity and live in one of our homes, but they can’t entirely take the place of in-person experiences. We get that. And therefore we’re not surprised to be fielding requests such as “May I speak with a Unity homeowner to get their impressions of working with you?” and “Is there any way that I can visit a completed Unity home so that I can experience it directly myself?”
Our answer to these questions is usually “Yes, but…”
Because we want to honor the time and privacy of Unity homeowners, we’re not able to consent immediately to all the requests that we receive. We’re happy to connect prospective clients with homeowners, but only after the prospective clients are far enough along on the “client journey” to be reasonably sure that Unity will be a good fit for their project. Typically this means that the prospective clients own land, they’ve identified a design starting point, they’re prepared for a budget based on Unity’s preliminary cost estimates, and they’re planning to sign a Preconstruction Services Agreement (PSA) soon. In this case, talking with a Unity homeowner may be the last bit of inspiration that the prospective client needs to commit to the PSA process.
For prospective clients who are not yet so far along in their journey, we offer ways for them to hear from homeowners. The Featured Projects section of Unity’s website contains stories, photos and quotes from many Unity homeowners. And several videos in our slowly-growing collection feature clients speaking about their experience working with Unity. This video tour of a Värm in Vermont has an interview with the owners, as does this video about an award-winning Värm in New Hampshire.
While conversations with Unity homeowners are relatively simple to set up when appropriate, actually visiting a completed Unity home in person is more challenging, especially these days.
Again, because we’re protective of our clients, the timing has to be right, and it’s important for us to understand the reasoning behind a request to visit a completed home.
Our first response to such requests will likely be “Have you watched all the available video tours of our homes?” One great aspect of the videos is that they show homes under construction, as well as completed homes. In addition to the aforementioned video tours, we also have one of our Zum-style show home in Walpole, and we’ll continue to add new videos in the coming months.
For some prospective clients who just have to see a home first-hand, and simple drive-by is sufficient – yes, these homes really do exist! – we may be able to suggest a Unity home nearby that’s suitable for a drive-by (although many in remote areas don’t lend themselves to drive-bys).
Another possibility is to visit our show home in Walpole, although our hope is that the video tour we’ve created conveys much the same information that would be afforded by a visit. Due to the ongoing pandemic, we’ve significantly restricted visits to our show home, but we are allowing occasional in-person tours – masked, and at a distance, of course – in certain “essential” cases.
Projects under construction provide another potential opportunity for prospects to see and feel for themselves what it’s like to be in a Unity home – even though the home is not yet complete. Arranging a visit to a work-in-progress is generally more feasible than to a finished home, especially when Unity is acting as the general contractor. On the other hand, why make the trip when you can enjoy tours of several Unity projects under construction on our YouTube channel, from the comfort of your own home? Here’s a video of a Värm being assembled in Hanover, NH, and here’s a tour of the completed shell. We’ll be uploading videos featuring other platforms soon.
We hope that you will be inspired by the possibilities for hearing from our homeowners without actually speaking to them, and experiencing our homes without actually being in them. And if you have suggestions for other ways in which we could be conveying the Unity experience virtually, please let us know!