For the past few years, potential homeowners have been facing a challenging scenario – soaring mortgage rates that threaten to make their dream of owning a home harder and harder to reach. The low supply of existing inventory due to families not moving from their low-interest-rate homes is making the situation even worse. The financial waves of the housing market have left many potential buyers contemplating their options. Is it still feasible to dive into the deep waters of mortgage loans when the rates are riding too high? Or should they seek the calmer shores and consider a different route altogether?
In this blog, we’ll explore why the alternative path that more and more prospective homeowners are setting their sights on, purchasing a new build home, might be a better option. We’ll also talk about some of the most alluring incentives that home builders can leverage to take advantage of this market. Finally, we’ll talk about the need for home builders to have an effective website with engaging digital tools to set themselves apart from their competitors.
New builds come with some advantages to existing properties. Among these advantages might be the ability to customize the home, energy efficiency, warranty coverage for the initial year of ownership, and lower immediate maintenance costs. Builders that can market these advantages as cost saving advantages might just win prospective buyers from the resale market. What home buyer doesn’t want to save on every aspect possible of homeownership?
So, what home builder incentives are the most attractive to new home buyers? As mortgage loan interest rates soar, there are two stand out incentives. First, closing cost assistance can reduce the financial burden of a new home buyer at the time of closing. This makes homeownership much more attainable to buyers at these heightened rates. The second is interest rate buydowns! Some builders are offering to buy down the buyers’ mortgage rate to get the prospective buyer to a more manageable monthly mortgage payment. From this writer’s logic, this frees the buyer to only need finances for one of the two things themselves. They either need enough money for a down payment or an interest rate buy down if they want a nice low payment for the term of their dream home.
Builders have a myriad of other incentives aside from these two. They can offer base price discounts on specific homes. This usually happens with the first few homes in a new development. They can offer free or discounted upgrades, customizations, or appliance packages. They can also offer to pay HOA fees for the first year. These are just a few of the incentives available that can make new construction more financially attractive than purchasing an existing home.
You’re with me this far. You’re a builder. You offer some of these incentives, but you want to know how to set yourself apart from other builders when marketing to potential homebuyers. Interactive tools may be key in the real estate market. These tools offer a more engaging and informative experience to potential buyers, making it easier for them to visualize themselves in a potential new home. It can also make sure they clearly understand what the properties have to offer.
Don’t believe us? Here’s some statistical proof provided by the Content Marketing Institute:
- 88% of marketers say interactive content differentiates them from competitors giving them a significant advantage in a crowded market.
- 93% of marketers agree that interactive content is effective in educating buyers as compared to 70% for static content.
- Interactive content attracts 2x the engagement of similar static content.
Those numbers are hard to refute, and they are just some highlights. If you want more information, head over to the Content Marketing Institute’s website to read more of their studies.
Some of the best interactive tools come in a few different categories: visualization, personalization, and lead generation, to name a few. When it comes to visualization, the most useful tools for new home buyers tend to be interactive floor plans, virtual tours, and real-time online booking and scheduling. Interactive floor plans (IFPS) allow buyers to customize layouts and explore different design options. Buyers can visualize a space and personalize it to their needs. This can be a powerful selling point for new construction homes where there are often many customization options.
Virtual tours or 3D tours allow a homeowner to experience a home, whether it is real or 3D rendered, from the comfort of their own home. Builders can showcase the home in detail. This is incredibly important in times when physical access may be limited or just plain inconvenient.
Further, websites can integrate features that allow buyers to schedule appointments, book showings, or attend virtual open houses. This is a convenience for both the buyer and the home builder!
Once the potential buyer is interested in a builder, the best interactive tools need to be personalized; this can be achieved with real-time updates on available homes, pricing, and promotions. After all, everything else on the builder’s site hooked this potential home buyer; the builder will want to keep them interested! A great addition after purchase might be online sales tools. Many websites allow buyers to complete the purchase process online, including signing contracts and making payments.
Finally, lead generation might be the final piece of the interactive tool puzzle. Home builders can use website analytics to gain insights into user behavior. A data-driven approach can help them refine their marketing strategies and help them understand what features are most appealing to buyers. They might use this information to improve their sales tactics. Moreover, valuable data about user engagement and preferences can be provided to builders from their interactive tools. When potential buyers engage with these tools, builders can collect information and follow up with targeted marketing and sales efforts specific to individual buyers.
Modern websites can capture leads and integrate with customer relationship management (CRM) systems. Sales teams can use this information to effectively nurture leads and follow-up. The best way to turn a potential buyer into a homeowner is with timely and personalized information. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and social media integration might be the bow on the package. A well-optimized website can rank higher in search and make it easier for potential buyers to find and explore a builder’s properties. SEO strategies can drive organic traffic to the builder’s site. With the addition of well-thought-out social media integrations, builders can leverage social networks for marketing and referrals.
To sum it up, modern website assets empower homebuilders to provide a superior online experience, engage potential buyers effectively, and leverage data to optimize their sales strategies. By staying up-to-date with the latest web technologies and user experience trends, homebuilders can gain a competitive edge in this competitive home sales market. There is definitely room for new home sales to outpace resale with the proper online strategies!
If all of this sounds a little mind blowing to you, a great place to learn about all of these digital tools, and the corresponding analytics would be from the experts at The Home Builders Digital Marketing Summit, and some of the amazing companies sponsoring and hosting the event.
Tabitha Warren was an Income Tax Accountant for 15+ years. In the first months of the pandemic, she took a chance and re-careered to freelance in Marketing. She currently, and very happily, works with video and photo editing, social media marketing, and now blog writing.