Home Builders: Do They Get Buyers?Written By: PJ Wade
ldquo;There is no mystery to what consumers want,rdquo; said Tim Costello, President and CEO of BDX, Inc., a provider of digital marketing and sales solutions for the home building industry. ldquo;The mystery is why our [home building] industry has been so slow in adopting this.ldquo;
bull;nbsp;Do you want to buy a brand-new homemdash;one that nobody has ever lived in before you?nbsp;
bull;nbsp;Are you excited about experiencing the step-by-step thrill of the build and the delight in selecting each tiny thing personally to put your stamp on the home?nbsp;
Buying a brand-new home can be an exhilarating experience, but donrsquo;t be surprised or put-off if your contact with home buildersmdash;at least initially and digitallymdash;does not meet your expectations and draw you into this world of wonder.
Costello went on to contrast the quality and quantity of online content that savvy buyers now take for granted when shopping online, with an admittedly-extreme but not uncommon version of home builder online offerings. To demonstrate differences in what home buyers expect from home builders versus what they find, Costello compared the depth of interactivity and >
The difference was visually dramatic and unnervingly disorienting. The point was made, at least for this attendee. The Mixerrsquo;s multi-dimensional, engaging online profile met and probably exceeded todayrsquo;s buyer-content expectations. The barebones home-builder offering was neither dazzlingly inviting, nor did it stimulate curiosity to learn more.
Arenrsquo;t new houses worthy of having their unique excellence celebrated to buyers at least to the degree that appliancesrsquo; receive marketing attention?
Costello, who stressed that there are ldquo;2.5 million permutations that we actually build to create something that is uniquely [the buyerrsquo;s],rdquo; also shared BDX home-building-industry research which revealed ldquo;19 friction points.rdquo; Any one of these frictions may cause buyers frustration that can result in themmdash;thatrsquo;s you toomdash;being turned-off a builder or turning to resale homes. Common deflectors are:
bull;nbsp;Not knowing who to trust when print and digital information do not create clarity
bull;nbsp;Finding the new-home buying process harder than expected, and
bull;nbsp;Not being able to visualize their desired kitchen when faced with a contrasting color and >
When buyers hit at least one friction point, then:
bull;nbsp;Ten percent of buyers switch home buildersnbsp;
bull;nbsp;Buyers are twice as likely to engage a real estate professional and then 35 of those buyers will ldquo;never see a new home againrdquo;
bull;nbsp;Buyers are four times more likely to buy resale Which helps explain why 90 of home purchases are resale homes.
If you let go of long-held dreams of a new-build home because builder online postings arenrsquo;t interactive phone-friendly resources, model homes donrsquo;t say it all, or you have to push to be heard, you may be doing yourself and your family a disservice by giving into frustration:nbsp;
bull;nbsp;You expect to find all you need online and to have 24/7 access to ask questions and discuss details.nbsp;
The Fix: Ask who does know whatrsquo;s going on. Go up the management chain if necessary. Persist until you discover a >
bull;nbsp;You expect home-building companies and builders to be authentic.
The Fix: The problem is many home builders are being authentic, just not in the online way yoursquo;re used to. Decide what this means to you and what would resolve the quandary.
bull;nbsp;Home builders are in the business of building homes, not in the business of building parallel online experiences of what a home will be like to design, have built, and to live in.
The Fix: Ask how can you acquire the degree of detail you require to proceed. Who ldquo;getsrdquo; what you want to know or see?
bull;nbsp;You live in a ldquo;digital-firstrdquo; world, phone at the ready.
The Fix: Not all homebuilders understand the significance of this fact. What do you want from home builders so you can trust them and make confident decisions throughout the buying process?
Two Sides to Home Buying
The two home-selling industriesmdash;resale and new homesmdash;are two very different real estate industries, with two very different histories, and two very different buyer journeys:
bull;nbsp;How Does It Work? The resale industry appears to listen to buyers. Resale real estate professionals strive to meet and exceed communication expectations, online and off. Have resalersquo;s digital efforts spoiled buyers for less interactive, less phone-friendly new-home purchasing?
bull;nbsp;Who Is Selling What? Resale professionals do not sell productmdash;itrsquo;s homeowners who are selling their home. Home builders sell their own new-home product, no one elsersquo;smdash;they are sellers.
bull;nbsp;Digital Transformation: Resale professionals succeed by mastering communication, online and off. They are trained to convey the delights of home ownership to buyers who have never owned that particular listed house. The resale goal is to remove friction points and make the buying journey a positive, engaging experience.nbsp;
Some experienced home builders, who have constructed homes for years or decades, may not have taken their company through digital transformation or internalized the speed at which online shopping has changed and will continue to transform real estate buying. Builders who concentrate on construction may miss opportunities to communicate in the manner buyers prefer to receive and deliver informationmdash;online and through their phones.nbsp;
bull;nbsp;Managing Expectations: You have expectations of and experience with what your phone can connect you to. If home builders are on a ldquo;build it and they will comerdquo; track, perhaps they may not feel obligated to invest significant effort into digitally communicating what they offer and what they can do for a buyer.
The obstacle for buyers is communication, not new home quality, nor diversity of design. New homes can be customized to deliver what you want and need. When new-build ownership or working with a particular builder matters, you may have to use different approaches to gather the new-build information you require and to accurately >
bull;nbsp;Yes, home builders need to understand how todayrsquo;s shoppers shop online or buyers will not buy.
bull;nbsp;Yes, home builders will benefit from meeting online-shopping expectations or theyrsquo;ll lose business.nbsp;
But here my focus is younbsp;
What does your dream home mean to you?nbsp;
Do you really want to compromise your ldquo;forever homerdquo; because communicating with you, digitally and otherwise, is a challenge for some home builders?
Shouldnrsquo;t this selling-communication gap spell opportunity for savvy home buyers?
If you want a new build, but change your mind and search out resales that are a close match for your dream, donrsquo;t you want to be sure you are responding to what is genuinely better for you and your family, not simply reacting impatiently to having to adapt your shopping >
Absolutely move on if your new-home research reveals that the house which can be newly built for you will not meet or exceed expectations, stay within your budget, and fit your timeline.
Either waymdash;new build or resalemdash;what you learn in the process will turn you into a buyer to be reckoned with.
For an insider view of the home building industry:nbsp;
bull;nbsp;Herersquo;s the link to the 54 minute webcast referred to in PJrsquo;s article: ldquo;Technology in Homebuildingrdquo;nbsp; The segment featuring Tim Costello of BDX begins at 29:42 -25:11.
bull;nbsp;BDX University mdash;ldquo;a resource for builders to explore the latest tips, trends and eventsrdquo;nbsp;
bull;nbsp;BUILDER Online mdash;ldquo;provides home builders with home building news, home plans, home design ideas, and building product information, helping them manage their home building operations efficiently and profitably.rdquo;
For professionals: ldquo;Get Out of Your Own Wayrdquo;hellip;visit PJrsquo;s blog: Whatrsquo;s Your Point?nbsp;
For buyers: Visit PJrsquo;s ldquo;Decisions amp; Communitiesrdquo; Realty Times blog for more tips, suggestions, insightshellip;.For example:
bull;nbsp;4 "Big Regrets" to Avoid When Buying a Home
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