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Test-sleeping for homebuyers

Property & Construction

Taking try-before-you-buy to new heights is New Zealand Ruatuna, which lets potential customers stay overnight in one of the company’s straw built homes. Customers can book a night’s accommodation to get a real feel for the type of house and whether they truly like the design. It’s a far cry from traditional sterile display homes or choosing houses off a plan. Potential buyers can overnight with their entire family: kids, cats, dogs included! The concept enables consumers to make a more informed purchase decision based on what they know they like in a home, rather than what they think they might like. There’s no doubt that there is a lot of emotional stress involved when purchasing something as major as a house and the try-before-you-buy idea seeks to lessen consumers’ pre-purchase tension. Of course, these are no ordinary homes, since they’re made of straw. Which is why Ruatuna makes even more sense. It was built by Sustainable Structures (designer company) and Straw Built Homes (construction firm), who dreamt up the concept after being asked over and over again what it was like to live in a straw house. So they designed and built one specifically to let people experience straw houses up close. The concept is proving very popular, says director Evan Crawford. Great example of innovative tryvertising. Where else can potential buyers ‘try out’ a home before deciding to buy one? They can test-drive a car – why not a test-live a home? It will be interesting to see if this catches on with traditional home developers and extends to other big-purchase industries, especially those introducing new (or revived) technologies. If you have a good example, please let us know by leaving a comment! Email:



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