Covenant Housing Program Expansion

Sponsor: Housing Nantucket
Sponsor Liaison: Anne Kuszpa
Student Team: Aimee Bell, Elizabeth Del Monaco, Cassie Graca
Abstract: The goal of this project was to help Housing Nantucket expand their Covenant Housing Program by targeting potential sellers through the analysis and development of marketing materials.  To realize this goal, we first determined the potential supply of Covenant Homes and analyzed past covenant transactions.  Additionally, marketing materials, such as postcards, fact sheets, and a brochure were created to raise awareness of the Covenant Housing Program on Nantucket.  The project resulted in consumer profiles of past sellers and a mailing list of potential sellers that can be utilized, with the marketing material, by Housing Nantucket.

HN Final Project Report

HN Final Presentation

HN Final Postcard Drafts

HN Real Estate Agent Fact Sheet

HN Liquidate Assets Fact Sheet

HN General Fact Sheet

HN Final Brochure

Executive Summary

Nantucket, a small island off the coast of Massachusetts, is a flourishing summertime destination where the population increases from 11,000 to 50,000 at the height of the tourist season (Florida, 2018). As the island has grown increasingly popular, an issue associated with famous urban centers like New York City affects Nantucket: the lack of safe, affordable housing. The average home price in 2018 was a staggering $2.2 million, leaving low- and middle-income residents challenged to find affordable places to live (Rochat, 2018).

Housing Nantucket is a local non-profit with a focus on securing affordable housing for year-round residents (Housing Nantucket, nd). Of their three programs, affordable rentals, house recycling, and Covenant Housing, our efforts supported their Covenant Housing Program. This program targets residents earning up to 150% of the average annual income of Nantucket county, which was $149,250 in 2018 (Housing Nantucket, n.d.).

The Covenant Housing program takes advantage of a provision in the Town Code which allows the division of one lot into two for affordable housing even where not allowed under normal zoning regulations (Code of the Town of Nantucket, Massachusetts).

While 83 Covenant Homes have been created as of December 2018, demand for Covenant Homes outstrips supply. Housing Nantucket believes there is an unexplored supply of Covenant Homes on the island that can help them achieve the goal of 100 total Covenant Homes by the end of 2020. Our project focused on connecting with that supply.

The goal of this project was to help Housing Nantucket expand their Covenant Housing Program by targeting potential sellers through the analysis and development of marketing materials. This was accomplished by fulfilling five objectives:

  1. Evaluate the Covenant Housing program’s past effectiveness in online marketing.
  2. Develop consumer profiles of past sellers.
  3. Determine potential supply of Covenant Homes.
  4. Develop a set of marketing materials informed by potential supply and tailored to the market segments illustrated by profiles of past sellers.
  5. Create a plan to distribute the current set of marketing materials and identify marketing methods that can be implemented in the future.

Each of these objectives is described briefly below. Complete details are available in the final project report.

Evaluate past effectiveness in online marketing.

Once we arrived on Nantucket, our first objective was to analyze their current marketing strategies to understand what they had tried and found effective. We completed a SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) of their online marketing to determine the next steps to take while developing a new marketing strategy. We found that Housing Nantucket’s greatest strengths were their strong brand, and their greatest weakness was their inactivity on social media.

Develop consumer profiles of past sellers.

After completing the SWOT analysis, we analyzed the past Covenant transactions and develop past seller profiles. The transactions provided most of the information that was relevant to the profiles, but we needed a deeper of understanding of the process. We reached out to past sellers as well as local real estate agents for interviews.  The information we gathered from these stakeholders was combined into interview takeaways, which later helped us create marketing materials. Something important we discovered was the reasons sellers sold into the Covenant Program. We found that the top reasons sellers sold into the Covenant Program were:

  • The seller had a financial need that could be fulfilled by selling into the Covenant Program.
  • The seller had unused land or dwellings they did not want to maintain.
  • The seller wanted to help a family member, employee, or friend obtain affordable housing.
  • The seller needed to divide their assets.

Determine potential supply of Covenant Homes.

An important objective of this project was to provide Housing Nantucket with an estimate of properties eligible to participate in the Covenant Housing program. We had access to Excel spreadsheets containing town tax assessor information about every parcel of land on Nantucket. From that, different filters were applied to determine which properties qualified to participate in the Covenant Program. We combined this information with a spreadsheet that we were given from our sponsor, including all past Covenant Homes sold by Housing Nantucket. Using these spreadsheets, we were able to identify 400 properties eligible to participate in the Covenant Program.

Develop marketing materials.

Using the information gathered in our consumer profiles, we created marketing materials tailored to specific market segments.

Covenant Postcards

We created multiple drafts of postcards targeting potential Covenant sellers. They included information on the Covenant Program, why sellers should sell, and where to find more information. An example of one of our designs is seen below.

Covenant Fact Sheets

Covenant fact sheets include information from Housing Nantucket’s website, frequently asked questions, Covenant Program facts, and useful resources on the fact sheets. They were tailored to three main groups: real estate agents, all property owners, and property owners who needed to liquidate their assets. An overview of one of our fact sheets can be seen below.


Covenant Brochure

The Covenant Brochure was developed as a universal guide for all property owners interested in learning more about the Covenant Program. It includes Covenant facts, useful resources, frequently asked questions, and a buyer success story.

Create a plan to distribute the current set of marketing materials.

We created a mailing list in the form of an excel spreadsheet so that it can be sorted and adjusted to a users’ needs. The Nantucket address, mailing address, and zone of each property can be found in the spreadsheet. With this information, Housing Nantucket will now be able to contact or send mail to properties specific to their program.


After conducting the interviews and finishing the SWOT analysis, our background research combined with the new findings helped us develop a set of recommendations for Housing Nantucket.  These recommendations were created to aid Housing Nantucket in their marketing strategies.

  • Marketing Materials
    • Distribute Covenant Program Postcards 2-3 times a year: before off-season, immediately before tourist season, and in the middle of off-season.
    • Distribute Covenant Fact Sheets among Nantucket real estate agents.
    • Update materials with relevant information as the program changes.
    • Create fact sheets for lawyers and lenders.
    • Expand the mailing list.
    • Offer classes or information sessions to interested potential sellers.
  • Management of Data
    • Organize past and future transaction data.
  • Housing Nantucket Website
    • Include success stories of past Covenant Sellers.
    • Upload Covenant Fact Sheet and Brochure to the website.
    • Improve readability of website.
  • Social Media Expansion
    • Post on all social media platforms 4 times a week.
    • Be consistent in the content of social media posts.
    • Organize social media posts into related categories.