Monday, 01 June 2020

Realtors May Hold Key to Home Builder’s Virtual Tours Success

Written by Posted On Friday, 15 May 2020 05:00

If  you ever visited a  new home model, you have experienced the WOW factor. The WOW factors that model merchandisers are paid big fees to create. 

Unfortunately, that option is no longer available to those who prefer virtual tours at their convenience or virtual guided tours by appointment. Virtual tours cannot generate a WOW factor, leaving the model comparisons to square foot and price comparisons and the shoppers imagination. 

Orlando Realtor Pat Taylor, a past chair of the Greater Orlando Builders Association’s Sales and Marketing Council said a personal visit is always preferable to a virtual tour.

 “Home builders’ virtual tours need to focus on the flow and sense of arrival that the home features in person and come as close as they can to what a live tour would look and feel like. 

“It is difficult for most shoppers to visualize the space between a kitchen and the second bedroom, for example, unless they have an engineering background.

“That is why I am such a fan of 3D technology,” Taylor said. Some builders are using 3D technology and there is no doubt other technology coming that improves whatever is in use now. 

Taylor said about 50% of her sales over the last ten years have been  new homes, so she is well qualified to speak to the wants and needs of new homes shoppers. 

For years, new home builders invited new home shoppers to visit their models any time of the seven days a week they were open. No appointment necessary.  Appointments are now required. And virtual tours are suggested before a personal visit. 

This is the builder’s attempt to generate prospects who are shopping without a Realtor. Frankly, I hope they see a meaningful improvement in their absorption rates due to increased direct sales. 

This is not to say that these builders don’t want or need Realtor support. They do and they aggressively reach out to Realtors, including putting a Realtor or Broker tab on their websites.

Resale Realtors have used virtual reality for years, including Skype, mobile devices and video. 

Orlando Realtor Gina Francis, named one of Central Florida top Realtors, says she has been using virtual reality for years mostly with investors. She takes investors on a guided tour of the resale and includes a video of home issues that she knows will be of concern to the investor. 

The goal is to show the investor what is needed to maximize the lease amount and minimize the deferred maintenance possibilities,” Francis said.  

Home builders must understand that there is a new normal type home shopper they must reach, and help them understand the value proposition as they learn to appreciate new homes without the WOW factor.  

This understanding must be manifested in their website messaging, the quality of their virtual showings, and their online guided tours. 

Three takeaways for home builders: 

1. Understand that the new showing normal does not produce the emotion and WOW factor. Err on the side of a more costly technology if you can see a marked improvement in how your models’  WOW factors come across. 
2. Experienced  Realtors know how home shoppers respond to virtual tours. Ask your favorite resale agents to take the tour and give you feedback on how they think their prospects will react. For example, “where bicycles are stored might be important, but overlooked,” Francis said.
3. On a personal note, based on a survey of ten national websites, make sure the action you want the home shopper to take is explicit. Comparison shop your competitions’ websites, and you will see why this is important. 

And one word to Realtors – New homes represent what you need the most, saleable inventory. 

For my money, the new normal for Realtors is their need to start showing new homes. As abnormal as that might sound.  

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David Fletcher, NHCB

Lifetime Achiever David Fletcher is Founder and CEO of New Home Co-Broker Academy LLC, home of the New Home Co-Broker (NHCB) designation. More than 4,000 real estate agents have completed the  Academy's course, How To Build A New Homes Niche, a three-hour online course based on research, case studies and David's  long career recruiting, training and supervising onsite teams, who sold more than $3 billion new homes and condominiums.

Along the way, he wrote Condominium Sales and Listings and has been the featured speaker for the National Association of Realtors and a present at the International Builders Show. He served as chair of the Sales and Marketing Council for the Florida Home Builders Association. 

He started in real estate as the project manager for Bay Island, of the first major condominium communities in Florida. During this time, he obtained his Florida real estate broker's license, served as chair of the Sales and Marketing Council for the Florida Homebuilders Association, earned his MIRM designation, and served as president of the Florida Condominium Developers Association. It was here that he leaned to work with local Realtors, 

After a successful three-year run, he brokered 27 lender workouts, 11 rental conversions, a TPC golf course, and more than 1000 condominium units in six different communities. 

He recruited, trained and supervised onsite sales teams for more than 70 communities, always insisting on co-broker cooperation in his listing agreements. 

He has been a contributor to Realty Times for 16 years and contributed to Inman News for 3 years. 

His education philosophy is based on these simple assumptions:

  • Builders need qualified buyers. Realtors need saleable inventory. 
    Today's home shoppers expect their Realtor to help them navigate the buying process whether it be for a resale or new construction. 

To lean how you or your office can benefit with our popular online new homes course, visit our website.

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