A totally digital experience — we’ve been inching toward this for a while. This pandemic hasn’t changed the game, it’s simply sped up the timeline!
Homebuyers are more eager than ever to shop online for their new house, especially as millennials and Gen Z buyers enter the market. From lot and home plan availability to finish details and upgrade selections, today’s digital buyer wants (and expects) to find ample content when conducting their home search.
If you’re wondering what the single best thing to do is right now, we have the answer. You must prioritize high-quality online content in the form of updated inventory and floor plans, photos, home features and finishes, video tours, 3D walkthroughs, sitemaps, and more. With everyone staying inside, you can’t rely on your showroom or model home to sell for you. It’s essential that you give them as close to an in-person feel as possible.
Is your website’s home inventory up to date? This sounds like an obvious one but is often left to the wayside. Frequently updating which homes are “move-in-ready”, “under construction”, or even “under contract” is a must. Imagine a homebuyer visits your site, expresses interest in a home listed as “quick-move-in”, only to find out that it was sold 6 months ago. Frustrating, right? With that said, it’s OK to mark homes as sold because it shows that demand is high. Just make sure to rearrange your inventory to show move-in ready and under construction homes first!
Are your home plan, inventory, custom builds, and community photos a good representation of your product? Investing in professional new home photography is a win-win. Use it for your existing inventory and to promote future builds. Follow these simple do’s and don’ts when it comes to showcasing photos on your website.
- Invest in hi-res professional real estate photography.
- Showcase photos of model homes, inventory, community grounds, amenities, lifestyle, nearby attractions, and more.
- Stage homes with furniture and accessories and be sure to follow these real estate photography guidelines.
- Replace home rendering placeholders with real inventory photos.
- Snap photos on the job site and upload them to your website gallery to give home buyers a building process update.
- Skimp on high-quality photos. This is a great investment. You can definitely take additional photos yourself, but it is best to have these in your portfolio.
- Post interior photos of a messy home cluttered with dust and debris.
- Upload blurry or poor quality photos. Quality is key!
- Over stage your home. Less is more. Keep decor simple and clean
Did you know 1 out of 3 homebuyers are less likely to inquire about a listing that does not have a home plan listed?
Floor plans give homebuyers a great visual of the property space and are especially helpful when measurements are included. Buyers want to understand the configuration of rooms and flow of the home plan. If your homes do not currently feature a corresponding floor plan, we strongly recommend having one sketched.
Home Features & Finishes
Homebuyers are dying to know what makes your home stand out from the sea of others. From the exterior siding material to interior kitchen and bathroom finishes, let homeowners know what they can expect at the given price point and square footage range. What features will they love in their new kitchen? Perhaps they’ll love trendy features like built-in stainless steel appliances, a farm-style sink, large island, granite countertops, and a cozy breakfast nook.
Feel free to also list out any attributes that highlight your value and distinguish yourself as a home builder! Do you specialize in low-maintenance exteriors? Smart home technology? Energy-efficient features and design? Listing these features will differentiate your home from the one across the street.
Interactive 3D Tours
3D virtual tour technology brings listings to life and adds tremendous value. Interactive tours provided through Matterport technology or another provider allows potential buyers to fully immerse themselves into home listings. Consider your 3D tour an always-open house that is perfectly staged 100% of the time.
Interactive tours can go beyond inventory homes. Shoot a 3D tour of your community clubhouse and pool, design center or showroom, and whatever else buyers may want to see!
Video Walkthrough Tours
Walkthrough videos are another great resource! Builders or agents can do a simple walkthrough of the home, highlighting key finishes, pointing out unique offerings, answering common questions, and more. This is a way to personalize the process for home buyers.
Building in a community with desirable amenities? Consider shooting video of your community grounds just as you would have photos taken.
Consider creating a YouTube or Vimeo channel to host all your video content for homebuyers to refer to.
Aside from content that lives on your website, another great resource is to build video content on your social channels. Go live on Facebook or Instagram as you walk through your model home or give a personal tour of your community amenities. This is a great chance for interested buyers to engage with the live video and ask questions for the builder or agent on duty!
If you are building in a new home community, listing a sitemap on your website is a must. Whether you’re building on a 20 lot plot of land or in a master-planned community, having a site map drawn should be on your list of to-dos.
A well-designed sitemap may highlight homesite availability, premium lots, amenities, landmarks, and more. Like your inventory status, you can and should actively update your sitemap. Marking lots as sold or under contract will create a sense of urgency among buyers and shows that the community is well lived in. Does your community have lots with larger yards? More privacy? Quick water or park access? Denoting premium lots on your site map is a great way to demonstrate lot value to potential homebuyers. Who knows, they may have never considered how advantageous it would be to have an end lot with extra privacy.
Gather your digital media like you’d gather your troops! Your website is the front line, and your content is your cavalry. As potential homebuyers conduct their online home search from the comfort and safety of their couch, make sure your website is armed with the digital resources they want most.
For more ways to combat these uncertain times, check out these 17 Tips to Sell New Homes During a Pandemic. Need help creating and updating your digital new home content? Schedule a free consultation with our home builder marketing experts.