New Home Virtual Tours May Prove Easiest and Safest Showing Options

Written by Posted On Monday, 20 April 2020 12:06

It's one thing for resale homes not to sell because they are not saleable.

It is quite another for them not to sell because home shoppers may get sick.

Welcome to the most substantial headwind facing resale Realtors in history: social separation caused by the coronavirus and virtual new home tours, now available to a  record number of families shopping homes online.

The purpose of this piece is to encourage the resale side of the Realtor community to wake up and smell the coffee prospects sip while touring new homes on their mobile devices.

What Realtors need is a saleable, showable inventory.  Builders need qualified buyers, which Realtors control.

Homebuilders have the money, motive, and mortgage rates to change the way home shoppers purchase homes. 

An entire country is at home spending hours online searching for all kinds of things, including homes, whether they want one, can qualify for one, or can sell their current home.

In a recent webinar for builders sponsored by Builder Digital Experience (BDX), Vice President Jay McKenzie was showing examples of what home builders are doing to offer virtual market tours of their homes. It was a captivating experience for a real estate agent to watch a national builder marketing giant like BDX show virtual tour samples to home builders. 

He was making a point that while social media is an important marketing tool, it was social 'separation" – the home shoppers concern for their health and safety – that would be an essential part of messaging. 

The subtle implication of this statement is those home shoppers should consider a new home because it is safer to buy—game-changer.

Today's home sellers don't want strangers in their homes for open houses or the usual home tour. On the other hand, new homes builders are inviting prospects for resales to shop their fresh, clean models by mobile device or desktop/laptop from the safety of their home while explaining all the precautions they are taking at the models,

When the shoppers log in for a virtual tour, they meet some of the best trained, most professional sales consultants on the planet who are more than happy to take them on a virtual tour of the model or models and answer every question they can ask.

With everything in their favor but qualified buyers, especially in the days ahead, homebuilders face a new challenge to not only reach out with their new technology but to reach out to Realtors who are learning how to introduce their prospects to onsite sales consultants for virtual tours. 

Virtual tours are not new to the real estate profession. Realtors have been selling and closing resales online for a while now.  Realtors who include new home virtual tours in their service will win the day or should with the home builders who actively seek to build Realtor networks, as many do. 

Homebuilders need not forget to remember what they thought would happen when the internet surfaced back around 2000. They saw the internet as a tool that would drive sales directly to them, and it did not occur. Instead, Realtors started meeting home shoppers who were finding both new homes and resales on their own. 

At about the same time, builders started offering 'internet advisor' and 'internet concierge' services with the intent of capturing direct prospects. Internet advisor services worked to a certain extent, but Realtors with qualified buyers started contacting the advisors and making sales.

Studies by the National Association of Realtors and others reported in 2018 that 90% of all homebuyers for new homes and resales use a Realtor for their purchase. So Realtors started utilizing the builder's internet advisors to register their prospects. Internet advisors recommend which of the builder's communities and models the Realtor should show the home shopper.


In August 2012, BDX, with its national and current feed of new homes in 43 states, partnered with to provide new homes inventory and floorplans to its website, which draws millions of home shoppers every year. This forced home builders to provide complete data in a format Realtors could trust as being accurate and complete, and Realtors suddenly were getting requests to show new construction. 


Will home builders start selling more homes without Realtors? Maybe. It is up to the Realtor community. They can continue competing among themselves for smaller market share, or they can start marketing to new home shoppers and offering a more extensive range of saleable inventory virtually.


Realtors can depend on the home building industry to continue to move forward with its technology and onsite virtual buying process. Builders are already experimenting with 3D models that may someday replace the need for building expensive model centers. 


Realtors know how to use virtual reality for home showings. Many builders provide the opportunity for Realtors to do so. Home shoppers expect their Realtor to serve their needs, whether they are shopping for new homes ore resales, and will welcome new home tours both online and in-person...




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David Fletcher, NHCB

David Fletcher is a co-founder and CEO of New Home Co-broker Academy LLC., an online e-commerce business. Visit David's website to take his famous 3-hour online course, How To Build  A New Homes Niche, to become a certified New Home Co-broker (NHCB). More than 5,000 graduates. Content is based on his long career and onsite sales success working with both builders and Realtors to list and sell more than $3 billion in new construction. If you are a broker who wants to offer your agents a way to add new homes to their resale inventory and home shoppers, this is your solution. 

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