From Virtual to Reality — How Technology is Changing the Way We Buy a Brand New Home

Nothing says “bricks and mortar” more than buying a brand new home. But how do you give prospective buyers the best experience possible, when they can’t actually see what they’re buying?

Most homebuyers say their biggest stress when buying a brand new home is the number of decisions they have to make, and how fast they need to make them. Here are three key ways builders can make home buying easier for potential customers.

Give them space

Not everyone wants to see a sales agent right away. Model homes, sales brochures, and scale models are great way to highlight what your development has to offer, but you can also take advantage of technology to help prospective buyers see their options, while giving them space to absorb the information.

Savvy sales centres have embraced this idea in the form of new large format touch screens that give potential customers a virtual tour of a model home. As intuitive as a smart phone, potential buyers can take a virtual tour of the models on offer, which gives them all the introductory details they need without engaging in a sales conversation.

Even newer on the scene, beacon technology can deliver real-time information to a potential buyer’s smart phone as they tour a model home, pointing out features as they move through the home. People will appreciate being able to see what’s available without feeling any pressure to get serious before they’re ready.

Encourage them to do their homework

Provide tools to help prospective buyers assess their needs and narrow down what they’re really looking for. Many prospective buyers fall in love with the model home, but to be happy in the long run, buyers need to think carefully about what they need versus what they want.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation recommends that, in addition to assessing financial considerations, new home buyers should look at their needs over the next five to ten years. That has implications for everything from the number of bedrooms and bathrooms they need, to special features like office and recreation space.

With those considerations in mind, prospective buyers can think about how their family will move through the home. Large format touch screens can make a big difference here too, by allowing prospective buyers to compare different models and floor plans to assess what works best for them, before sitting down with a sales agent.

Make it real for them

For the average new build, buyers ultimately have hundreds of choices to make, but most sales centres have only have a single model for home seekers to tour.

Large format touch screens are evolving from a high tech marketing tool into an indispensible part of the buying process. They give prospective buyers a chance to actually see what various options look like in a way that even the glossiest brochures just can’t do.

Some systems are even integrated with Google maps, to show where the development is in relation to neighbourhood amenities like schools, community centres, shops, and services — part of the whole package that customers are buying into when they purchase a new home.

Build a Two-Way Street

What’s good for the buyer can also be good for the builder. New advances in large format touch screen technology and the associated software are changing the new-home-buying experience in ways that benefit both buyers and new builders. Next time, we’ll talk about how technology improves the return on investment for builders too.

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