Category Archives: Multifamily Housing

4 Great Reasons to be Thankful this Year

We are on the rebound!

The homebuilding and housing industry has seen pretty dark days. But for the past few years, things have definitely been looking up. Here are a few reasons we at the Contrado Group are feeling pretty thankful this Turkey Day.

1) ¬†Arizona has not one, not two, but THREE spots on the forecasting for 2014′s Top 10 Housing Metros

Thank you Prescott, Phoenix, and Tuscon!

2)  New Homes sales are up 20%

Recovery has definitely been shaky, but 2013 has shown a significant increase in new home sales. According to the Commerce Department, 20% more homes have been sold nationwide this year than in 2012. This is a good sign for us, and we are thankful for it.

3)  55+ single-family markets are on the rise too

Although there is continued improvement in sales in all segments of the market, the 55+ single-family markets have shown a significant increase. With improved market conditions, potential new home buyers have been able to sell their current homes so that they can buy new homes that fit their specific needs.

4)  Technology is making everything better for everyone

Whether we like it or not, the speed of technology today is changing how homes are designed, built, and sold. The technology that new homes offer is also a major selling point to today’s consumer, only making it easier for home builders to sell more of what customers really do want.

(Click to watch video of the Housing Leadership Summit on Technology Changing How Homes Are Built)

“Big Data” Shifts Business Trends

The New Information Age

We are just beginning to wrap our heads around the vast amounts of information available to us in this new information age. With computer processor speed doubling every 18 months along with increasing storage capacity, we can afford the means to assess data in its entirety. This phenomena is known as “Big Data” which refers to our new found ability to crunch a vast quantity of information, analyze it instantly, and draw some astonishing conclusions.

Collecting information is just the beginning of creating the ability of artificial intelligence as we saw way back in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 Space Odyssey

HAL 9000 (a computer) decides what’s best…………….

Gone Are The Days Of Traditional Statistical Analysis

In the old days, statisticians would have a hypothesis and test it with a random sample of a population. The greater the size sample of the population being measured, the more accuracy of the sample being a representation of the entire populace. This would reinforce the notion of “causality”, that being, we as humans have a yearning desire to try to understand the world around us. What causes things to happen? For example, say we have a theory that someone buys a home because they eat eggs in the morning. ¬†As you can imagine, there’s a fair amount of people who get up in the morning, fix themselves some eggs for breakfast and go off into their day. And, of people who purchase homes, it can be said that there may be a high degree that they also had eggs for breakfast. Thus, eating eggs causes home sales? So, is it realistic to prove this¬†preposterous¬†hypothesis¬†with a statistical analysis? However, if one was to gather a random sample of new homeowners, there would be proof that would suggest that egg consumption yields new home buying behavior. This type analysis is known as causality as opposed to correlation and takes the form of trying to understand a phenomena, coming up with a hypothesis, and proving it through statistic analysis.

Causality vs. Correlation Analysis

Statistical Analysis vs Causality

Some things are best left to try not to understand












Within a correlation model of understanding, we are able to assess just pure raw data and observe correlations without trying to understand the cause of an event. What this enables businesses to do, is to view highly correlated events and capitalize from their relatedness. In other words, if a given situation yields outcomes with a high degree of correlation, then why bother trying to understand why?

In the book, Big Data РA Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think the author explains how retailers are just beginning to understand their abilities to assess data for what its worth and understand the correlations of relationships. An illustration of this is how Walmart now sells Pop Tarts during times that precede a natural disaster. They observed that during times where people are preparing for hurricanes and/or a natural disaster, that not only did typical disaster items such as batteries, flash lights, and water sales spike but so did Pop Tarts sales. They then began to merchandise disaster related items and Pop Tarts in stores in order to make it easier for their customers to shop. Now who would have hypothesized that Pop Tarts would be a necessary item for preparing for a Tornado or Hurricane? In hind sight, it maybe easy to explain because of the product ease of use for their customers. However, if one removes the urge to try to understand what causes certain correlated events and just accepts the raw data and that these correlations exist, then a new era of marketing has begun using this strategy.

However, there are many ways to view the world, and one must be cautious as they develop ways to assess given circumstances of events. “Big Data” as some may have us to believe is not the cure all, but can be used in significant ways to observe the patterns of our society. This can be another great tool in ones tool box to be able to predict market trends, product sales, and any other activities if the right data is obtainable and accurate.(Read More – Big Data News Roundup: Correlation vs. Causation)

Start The Dialogue With Future Customers

Engaging At A Prospective Level – Creating Dialogue

Dialogue marketing is a term that has emerged in recent years to describe companies’ efforts to engage willing consumers in an ongoing dialogue to create lasting relationships. For example, based on data, marketers target groups of consumers who exhibit a propensity to buy and invite them to connect with the company in a variety of ways. The engagement process provides value to both the consumer and the company. Marketers use these opportunities as automated data collection points. The companies use the data to further customize their marketing messages and personalize the experience for their consumers and market segments. In exchange for sharing opinions, buying patterns, product preferences, etc., consumers receive perks such as discounts, tips, and free trials as well as appropriate and valuable messaging from the company.

History of Dialogue Marketing

Dialogue marketing can track its roots to permission marketing and relationship marketing, and is similar to engagement marketing and double-loop marketing. A direct reaction to traditional push marketing, the goal of dialogue marketing is to develop ongoing and long-lasting relationships with the right consumers.

Dialogue marketing is based on the premise that engaging consumers in relevant and personal conversations is more important than ever. As technology arms consumers with new ways to ignore messaging, disconnect from branding and disengage from the marketplace altogether; marketers believe that connecting on a personal level with consumers who do or will buy because the company resonates with them helps companies differentiate themselves and stand out as leaders in the marketplace.

Gone Are The Days Of Push Marketing

Online Engagement

When one can provide content online that is of value to a prospective client, they tend to be more inclined to be willing to exchange more information about themselves and their interests. Now more than ever, we have to differentiate ourselves from the sea of information that is online. For example, in order to capture any interest at all, a website must be able to convey the message of a company’s product or services with in six seconds of viewing. On top of that, there needs to be interactive triggers that will engage the viewer. This can as simple as more detailed product information as a link, or as complex as using an interactive floor planning tool.

Interactive Space Planner

Click On Image To Go To Space Planner

We have witnessed but a vast many changes in the way we go to market, from the push marketing styles of the 1950′s to one of engagement through the use of many forms of today’s media. The key to reaching today’s consumer is to first have a product that is right for the targeted demographics. However, this is only the first step of a well thought out market strategy. Part of any successful marketing plan is to be able to have an engaging process that begins the critical first steps of building the initial relationship. This means a marketing plan that has key ingredients which will provide value-based online content to begin the all important beginning steps of the customer relationship – the dialogue.

Strategic Partner Alliances with The Contrado Group

Sales Simplicity a Sales CRM Company for Homebuilders & Big Red Rooster Architectural Services


We have been working with the Sales Simplicity team for the last few months to fully integrate our Interactive Floor Plan (IFP) tool‚Äôs eLead functionality. Essentially, we have developed our Interactive Floor Plans to have seamless integration of leads into Sales Simplicity‚Äôs CRM with XML feeds. So, as soon as a prospect ‚Äúsaves‚ÄĚ a floor plan from the IFP, the information is sent to the eLeads portion of the Sales Simplicity‚Äôs program.

Interactive Floor Plan

(click on picture to view)

¬†At which point, the sales agent is notified via e-mail that they have a lead to follow up with along with ‚Äúsaved‚ÄĚ floor plan from the prospect for viewing. This will also allow for a marketing program workflow to commence too. At which point, the sales agent can begin the dialog with the prospect and make the sales!

¬†Agent Making Sales with IFP”s and Sales Simplicity

‚ÄúWe have truly enjoyed our partnering in the market with The Contrado Group. Our customers have seen the need to capture key information while the prospect is viewing homes online. Now we have a way to capture this information such as floor plans, elevations, and options for our clients. I foresee our alliance to be value-add for all of our customers‚ÄĚ say, Barry Forbes President of Sales Simplicity.


Big Red Rooster, a global brand experience firm, announced that Don Hasulak has joined the company as Managing Director, heading the firm’s newly formed Phoenix office which is also a part of The Contrado Group‚Äôs facilities. Hasulak will be responsible for overseeing the expansion of the Big Red Rooster offer into the Architectural and Construction Services segment focusing on Planning and Design, Documentation, and Implementation.

“The addition of Architectural Services to the Big Red Rooster portfolio is a natural evolution,” states Aaron Spiess, President, Big Red Rooster. “Bringing this service in-house ensures our clients a world-class, seamless experience from design through to implementation.”

“As an architect, and as a business leader, I understand the interplay between form and function, and have a keen ability to reveal hidden costs within a project,” notes Hasulak. “The exciting piece of this for me is having the opportunity to work more directly with clients, bringing my real-world retail experience to every project.”

Previously, Hasulak served as Managing Director at FITCH, providing leadership for clients such as airport concessionaire OTG, Disney Regional Entertainment, and T-Mobile. Don began his career as owner and operator of the largest casework manufacturer in the Southwest. A registered architect, Don holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Architecture from Cornell.

About Big Red Rooster

Founded in 2002 by Martin Beck and Aaron Spiess, Big Red Rooster ( is known globally as a brand experience firm, focusing on the retailing, manufacturing, food service, healthcare, and service sectors. Activating shopper insights to transform brand experiences, Big Red Rooster’s client roster includes world-class brands such as Home Depot, American Express, Jack Daniels, Wrigley, SC Johnson & Son, Office Depot, and Nike. Big Red Rooster is the founding member of RoosterGroup Partners, a consortium of firms that create impact at the decision point where shoppers, retailers, and manufacturers meet.



Reaching A Wider, More Tech Savvy Audience

HTML5, CSS3, SVG, jQuery

Funny how people are anticipating HTML5 as the next big thing, yet in reality, it is the next big thing.

Gone are the lotteries and land rush home sales and apartment to condo conversions, the landscape is almost unrecognizable in only a few short years. With the entire production homebuilding & multifamily housing industries turned on their ear in the last few years, I think its safe to say we’ve all been doing our fair share of changing and the crew here at TCG (The Contrado Group) are ¬†no exception.¬†We have been using flash for our interactive floor plans for years and much like the rest of the industry, times are changing right in front of our eyes. Here at TCG, we’re taking advantage of new technology we’re hoping to reach a wider, more tech savvy audience.

In the coming months we will be talking about incorporating the latest technologies and taking things to the next level. The general public are becoming increasingly mobile and tech savvy. mobile devices with multiple platforms and form-factors are mainstream and showing no signs of slowing. Here at The Contrado Group we’re looking to the future of HTML5, CSS3, SVG, & jQuery just to name a few of the technologies we’re bringing to our interactive floor plan (IFP) product offerings. Taking advantage of HTML5, the DOM (Document Object Model) and its ability to interact with SVG graphics we’re taking interactive floor plans to the next level offering cutting edge interactive products to a broad spectrum of devices and platforms. While HTML5 has not reached its final spec as of yet, as a company we’re ready to get in there and start working. Be sure to check back in future posts for progress and possibly a sneak peek of the new Interactive floor plan development.

What’s More Important – Material or Social Upgrades?


Imagine¬†you live in an apartment (and maybe you do)¬†and your lease is about up.¬† The apartment Manager tells you, “If you renew your lease, I can provide the following things for you, but you have to choose either¬†list A or B – You can’t have both”.¬† Which would you choose?:

List A – Material

  • Upgraded kitchen countertop.
  • Above-counter lighting.
  • Professionally steam clean¬†your carpet.

List B – Social

  • Regularly themed resident appreciation parties and events.
  • Promotional give-aways, drawings¬†or contests.
  • Community retail discount programs.

Now¬†ask the same¬†question from the perspective of the apartment Manager or Owner.¬† Let’s assume the expense to the community will be the same regardless of which list is picked.¬† Did your answer change or stay the same?

Lastly, ask yourself the same question from the Manager’s point of view, guessing what the majority of your tenants might pick.¬† Would they lean for the material upgrades or go for the social perks?¬† Your mind is likely spinning because of all the new variables to consider now.¬†¬†How¬†might the social-economic demographics affect your answer (age, income, location, etc.)?

And now the most important question of all, (assuming you can’t have it ALL) do you currently feel¬†your property¬†focuses on¬†the¬†most appropriate¬†types of upgrades and amenities to best match your tenants?¬† What would you change?

Differentiate Your Property From Others

Could you split these two up?

One property I spoke with increased their maximum pet weight limit from 25 to 50 lbs and gained 3 new tenants in the first week that normally would have been turned away.  Another property added an online furniture planning tool to their floor plans and increased the average time spent online by over 300% (

Interactive Floor Plans - Will my bed fit?

We all want our property to stand out differently than others (in a good way!), right?¬† We all believe, at one level or another,¬†”If I can implement a marketing tool or strategy unlike¬†any other property, I will gain more traffic and more tenants.”¬† We think this because for the most part it can be very true.¬† Or if you can¬†revise a common policy more lenient than another, maybe that will fill your¬†vacancies faster like it did by allowing a larger pet.¬†

Please share with us other clever strategies or even the simplest ideas you have come across that have driven additional traffic to your property or website.  And what have you seen other properties implement that seem to be working?

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