House Plans in 3D – A Market Strategy For Home Builders and Residential Developers

Posted on September 17, 2017 in Uncategorized

With the economy still forecast to be gloomy and an uncertain road ahead, many residential developments and their builders have put the brakes on new construction projects. For builders and developers in the speculative home building market the strategies for earning a living from what they do best and remaining solvent while doing so are limited and challenging.

Many have resorted to building smaller homes using value engineered construction plans, emphasizing quality not quantity. Much more effort has gone into making a home energy-efficient and utilizing the latest green technologies available today. Also, more affordable homes are being built using less expensive, more standardized materials.

Builders have sharpened their pencils to shrink profit margins, incorporated more productive methods to reduce operating costs and upgraded to the latest technologies to streamline project efficiency. Some have even regrouped, combining resources and developing partnerships with others in their field.

But cost saving tactics can only go so far, especially with bank financing for builders and developers remaining problematic. Creative, private financing has been the alternative for some, however, that is not without its own drawbacks. High interest rates and larger upfront contributing costs required of builders and developers can significantly eat into profit margins.

Many home building companies realizing that future success will depend not only on fresh business practices and sleeker operational models that continually produce less expensive, noticeably better homes are now innovating; stressing more creative approaches to buyer’s needs. The option of marketing their speculative homes via 3D virtual house plans is fast becoming the preferred innovative sales tool.

Today’s buyers want things their way. And they expect a say in what they get. For example, many are more interested in practical and reasonably attractive function than simply fancy form. Small efficient floor plans with flexible space are more relevant than grandiose entrances with huge staircases. Instead of guessing what to build and hoping they will come, listen to prospective homeowners, and give them a chance to personalize each project.

That is why many open-minded builders, thinking outside the box, have been pre-selling semi-customized versions of model homes, through computer modeling of 3D house plans. By providing several base floor plans with full computer generated 3D color views of both the interior and exterior of the proposed new home plan, builders and developers are able to market their projects with the least amount of upfront costs and preparations.

This relatively inexpensive, cost-effective market strategy is a win-win situation worth considering. Builders don’t have to spend a dime in advance on home construction materials or labor costs without knowing the end results. Their sales team and physical presence can be significantly reduced – think virtual office. Actual site visits to model homes would not be encumbered by bad weather or scheduling hassles. Virtual tours would be available on the company website featuring all 3D imagery of the home plans and accompanied by detailed lot information, pricing options and customizations or upgrades.

For a buyer, who can now “shop” from the convenience of his or her home, an initial “walk-through” doesn’t waste either party’s time. With virtual 3D modeling of floor plans future homeowners can see what the proposed residence will look like and get a good impression of spatial relationships within the layout. They can view color options and material choices with respect to exterior siding, trim details and interior finishes.

Buyers still crave customized spaces that look and feel more like unique personal expressions. Starting from the pre-designed computer generated floor plans; buyers would be able to interact with pre-packaged upgrades, color and material choices and other customizable options. All material and finish details such as lighting, fixtures, hardware, appliances, flooring, paint color and exterior siding can then easily be selected and pre-priced. Contracts could be finalized with the least amount of effort.

The marketing strategy of pre-selling new home construction with 3D house plans is an effective method not only for large developments but is especially beneficial for small builders with very little capital and no sales team. A number of our small builder clients with one or two building lots in their inventory have chosen to pre-sell with 3D house plans rather than start risky construction projects on speculation. The money invested in architectural design work pales in comparison to the financing of building construction. And the peace of mind gained from knowing that the project is paid for works wonders on reducing job stress.

Marketing speculative home construction through pre-designed customizable house plans and computer generated 3D modeling is fast becoming the new norm. We have seen this trend both locally and nationwide where future homeowners have a say in the design and construction of their new home and builders have found a new niche for maintaining a profitable business.

Home Builder Marketing Tips

Posted on September 15, 2017 in Uncategorized

Searching for the right home can be a lengthy and stressful process. Buyers, builders and sales agents are often forced to deal with each other for weeks, sometimes months. It can be difficult for contractors and agents to set boundaries and maintain a beneficial working relationship, but it is imperative for the success of their business. Creating happy clients is the equivalent of free advertising; word of mouth is powerful publicity. Buyers who are fully satisfied at the end of the home search process are capable of generating a great deal of future business for builders and sales agents.

There are several approaches to referrals. They can happen naturally, as happy clients start spreading the word. In order for this to occur, builders must take an honest approach. Being straightforward with a potential buyer is the best way for a builder or sales agent to earn respect and trust. If there are problems with the home – or future trouble is anticipated, as in the case of new construction – the buyer has the right to this information. By attempting to conceal shortcomings, builders and agents run the risk of scaring off potential clients and referrals. Communication is key; the happier the client, the better the recommendation.

Meeting and managing the needs of buyers is imperative. A buyer who has a great experience with a builder or agent will forward every detail to family members, friends, co-workers and acquaintances. However, the same rule applies for a bad experience. Regardless of the events that take place or how challenging a buyer becomes, contractors and sales agents need to remain fixated on the power of referral. It does not take long for one outstanding company to become admired in a particular neighborhood and surrounding areas following one successful transaction.

Many builders and agents find it beneficial to implement a referral program. This provides buyers with incentive to spread positive information about the business or company. The motivation can include anything from a future discount to a cash bonus. Clients are very likely to refer their contractor or sales agent to others if it will result in an additional bonus. It is also a great way to keep buyers happy straight through to the end of the project and remind them that their opinions are valued.

With technology at the realm, there is no limit to the influence of online referrals. Several websites exist that encourage clients to leave feedback about a particular company, which can result in either positive or negative exposure. In any case, responses spread like wildfire. Thanks to the Internet, buyers are now able to recommend their builder or agent to complete strangers, creating not only a valuable reference to the world of home buying and building, but also a huge resource for referrals.

Every successful builder and agent flourishes for the same reason; they have worked hard to make a name for themselves and their efforts are appreciated and acknowledged by those involved in their projects. By creating a pleasurable experience for buyers, contractors and sales agents can reap the rewards for months and years to come. A happy buyer equals great response, and great response leads to great referrals.

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What Do National Home Builders Do That the Re-Sale Market Doesn’t to Sell Homes?

Posted on September 13, 2017 in Uncategorized

National home builders throughout the United States all market their new homes in a similar manner. They place ads in the local newspapers announcing their homes for sale and how to get to their sales office. Once a prospective home buyer meets with the sales office they go through a presentation. These presentations vary from builder to builder but all prospective home buyers are ultimately provided with a brochure before they leave. These brochures typically include an artist’ rendition of the different home styles and their floor plans. The home builders provide these brochures to the buying public because it is a recognized and proven method of selling their homes.

In the early stages of construction (even prior to the models being erected) many homebuyers are able to make decisions as to which home they prefer to buy. In some cases, some buy homes based solely on this artist rendition and a detailed floor plan. Many home buyers get together at the end of the day sit and compare floor plans, sometimes imagining their furniture in each room. The most recent development is these same builders are now including floor plans on their websites as well. It is a basic yet effective marketing method to sell homes.

Incredibly in the re-sale market this marketing tool is completely abandoned? Check every home listing, Realtor website, home flyers, etc… and you will learn every detail about the home with the exception of a floor plan. At present absolutely none of these marketing pieces include a floor plan? Why you ask? We posed this question to a number of real estate professionals only to learn the following. Of those real estate professionals we asked, we learned of all the reasons under the sun as to why they chose not to utilize this proven marketing tool? All were glad to share their personal opinions or theories as to why it would not work for them, yet none of them had actually tried using it to sell a home! Go figure?

A paradigm shift in marketing homes will need to take place in today’s re-sale market. As homes take longer to sell in our current market environment it behooves home sellers to utilize every effective marketing tool necessary to differentiate their home from competing homes. The simple act of including a floor plan could accomplish just that. Unfortunately to date most home sellers will not be exposed to this marketing tool on the re-sale market. The handful of real estate sales professionals who are currently utilizing floor plans in their marketing, are benefiting as a result. It is another example of the 80/20 rule which is alive and well, where 20% of the agents are selling 80% of the homes.

A few small internet companies have emerged to meet this untapped need. Some provide an interactive floor plan utilizing photos within the floor plan itself, others provide photos that have a high quality 30 to 60 second commercial production within the reach of most real estate professionals and FSBO’s (For Sale by Owner) in terms of cost and ease of use.

I recently spoke with a homeowner who was so thrilled with her virtual tour with floor plan, she told me that “she had everyone in her office come to her computer terminal to see her home throughout the day”. A color flyer cannot create the same “Buzz” or emotional impact as these tours.

We are increasingly becoming a more litigious society. The number of forms and disclosures involved in the sale of a home continues to increase every year. Floor plans drawn by licensed professionals are known to reduce the liability real estate agents are exposed to. Simply scanning a floor plan from the builder brochure without their permission is unprofessional, and could possibly land those responsible in court for copyright infringement.

Unfortunately for home sellers many real estate professionals believe that by simply not stating or using sometimes unreliable public records for their listings they are off the hook from a potential lawsuit. Wrong!! Many real estate professionals mistakenly assume that tract homes are all the same, if this were true why are real estate appraisers required to measure your home when you are obtaining a loan to refinance or purchase?

In summary, If given the choice most home buyer’s would like to see a floor plan prior to visiting the home much like those clients that buy new model homes from national builders. In today’s market environment it is critical for home sellers to differentiate their homes from others they are competing against. At the present time, it is unlikely that the general public will be exposed to this form of marketing in the re-sale market unless they utilize the services of the 20% of the real estate professionals who currently do.

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