It often takes something major to take us out of our normal ways of doing things and challenge the status quo. It’s a huge understatement to say: this is one of those times. Every part of our lives has been affected and businesses have had to quickly adapt to change the way they interact with their consumers in this new normal.
Many home builders have already taken great steps to update their websites, keeping their prospective buyers informed and giving buyers ways to interact with their homes from the comfort of their own homes and without having to ever see another human being, from virtual appointments to even selling homes online. We urge everyone to follow suit.
Keep Your Buyers Updated
First and foremost, your prospective buyers need to know what’s going on with your company. Most importantly: are model homes open and how can they schedule an appointment?
An easy, quick solution is a pop-up or banner linking to a landing page where you’re keeping your buyers updated. Do you have updated policies, like enhanced cleaning of model homes, saying “no” to handshakes, etc. Are your model homes still open for 1:1 tours by appointment? Are you only doing virtual appointments?
The banner on DeNova Homes is a great example. The banner consistently shows on every page of the site, linking to a simple landing with with their COVID-19 related policies and updates.
Make sure this messaging is on your site and is consistent throughout. Be wary of confusing buyers by showing one message on the homepage, but displaying open model hours somewhere else on the site. Get your message across consistently, with updated calls-to-action driving someone to make their private or virtual appointment.
Virtual & Interactive Content is a Must
Prospective home buyers still want to explore and experience your homes, from the comfort of theirs. And now when this may be the only way buyers can interact with your homes, you want to make it easier than ever. While Virtual Tours and Interactive Floor Plans should always be shown throughout the site on home-specific pages, collecting all of this content in one place on a Virtual Tours or Interactive Floor Plans page is a great place to get buyers to take a deep-dive.
Your buyers will appreciate it, and Google will, too. We’ve seen some improved search rankings and even seen it added to search snippets on Google when virtual tours are all on one page accessible in the navigation.
Allow Buyers to Schedule Virtual Appointments
Make sure you’re meeting buyers where they’re comfortable, which for most is in their own home without any direct contact with another person. Allow buyers to walk through a model home via FaceTime or have a video chat to review financing and contracts.
We’ve heard from some clients who have made virtual-only sales just as Coronavirus restrictions were put in place. Buyers who had never stepped foot in their homes felt comfortable taking the plunge to sign a contact. And it’s all because of the way these builders quickly adapted to selling in a virtual-only world. Major kudos to them.
Add CTAs to your website for Virtual Appointments and allow a buyer to choose an available appointment time and a platform that they’re most comfortable with. We love the way CBH Homes has implemented this.
Allow Real-Time Video Calls
Scheduling a Virtual Appointment in advance is great, but what about those times that a buyer is so excited about your new homes that they want to see them and ask questions about them now. Our newest feature allows Homefiniti hosted builder websites to easily add and quickly manage virtual calling buttons for their online and onsite sales teams. We’ve provided support for FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, Skype, and WhatApp, and have other providers on the short list.
You can decide the times that your sales people are available and who you want to field these calls, whether that is one OSC for the entire company, different sales people per market, or even down to the specific community. See more details here.
Private Model Home Tours
I’m not talking about 1:1 appointments with a New Home Specialist, but totally private Model Home Tours where your buyers can feel comfortable and safe not having personal contact with anyone else.
Services like NterNow give prospects on-demand access to your spec homes, allowing them to tour homes privately, on their own terms and without ever having to see a sales person face-to-face. Social distancing win.
Buy a Home Online
We’ve been talking about it for years. You can customize and buy a car online. Why should homebuying be any different?
This one takes a bit more work than the rest, and of course a buyer can’t outright buy a home online with the click of a button (pesky mortgage approvals…), but some of the more savvy builders have already started implementing this and we expect more to follow.
When a user finds the home of their dreams on your website, allow them to put some sort of deposit down to hold the home for a day or two, while they make an appointment with a New Home Specialist to sort out all of the financing and paperwork.
Another big win by CBH, as they allow buyers to put a $100 hold on a home.
Need some tips on getting your own website updated or have other ideas? We’d love to hear from you!