Several new home sales and marketing experts who hold the MIRM (Master In Residential Marketing) designation weigh in on what you need to know to be ready for 2018.
Use Modern Tools, But it’s Still About Relationships
Pros must make the purchasing experience seem unique and personal with a high level of service despite an environment of online interaction and less face-to-face contact with our clients, says John Barker, MIRM, of Windermere Real Estate/East Inc. in Kirkland, Washington.
“Evolving technology makes the builder and salesperson often nameless and faceless in the eyes of the consumer, making it all the more challenging to establish relationships, which is still a key element in achieving greater sales volume,” he explains.
“While automation may be convenient for both the builder and the client, it can lead to a home being a commodity that can be sought from any number of providers if you are not also focused on inspiring and establishing a relationship with your customers.”
Home Tour Via Augmented Reality is Coming
Today’s technology-savvy buyers are always looking for cutting-edge ways to make informed decisions about homes — from home, says David Corbell, MIRM, of Corbell Inc. in San Francisco. Like the internet changed the way we market homes, augmented reality is poised to be the next great sales tool.
Imagine showing buyers what a specific plan, elevation and exterior color their home would look like, while standing on their bare home site. They can walk around and see the house in front of them from the backyard. And when they’re finished, email them a personalized brochure. This is just a small example of what you’ll be able to do with nothing more than a smartphone or tablet. Augmented reality is coming — so be ready, Corbell urges.
Customers Seek Custom Options, Flexible Floor Plans
From a marketing and design perspective, consumers won’t accept or embrace the status quo in 2018, says Mary DeWalt, MIRM, CMP, of Mary DeWalt Design Group in Austin, Texas. After spending hours on Houzz, Pinterest and HGTV, new home buyers have high expectations. They want more choices and the ability to customize.
“Volume builders and marketing specialists should look for creative opportunities that will fulfill some of their buyers’ dreams while still ‘keeping it simple,’” DeWalt says. “The lines between the largest share of new home buyers, millennials and active adults are becoming blurred as their lifestyles are very similar. Both are particularly discerning and don’t want to settle for less. Both want more square footage in the rooms that are most important to them and flexible plans are a must for these buyers.”
Work with Mortgage Lenders to Avoid Payment Surprises
Sales consultants for new construction should be working hand in hand with their mortgage lenders to ensure the buyers can close on their loans if the interest rates rise during the construction period, says Alma Jacobs, MIRM, of Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group in Charlotte, N.C.
“The building company should make sure they have an option for the sales consultant to use this as a sales tool,” she explains. “A prospect may walk away from new construction if they have a fear of not getting the home or having the payment increase above their monthly budgeted payment. This just might be a silent objection.”
Jacobs also suggests creating a marketing campaign around “guaranteed” rates for an extended period of time (six months or more if you purchase one of our new homes).
Make Connections, Share Content and Place Targeted Ads on Social Media
“The main focus for home builders in 2018 is an authentic voice and lead generation in social media,” says Lauren Karsh, MIRM, CMP, of Colorado Modern Communication in Parker, Colo.
“Social will begin to serve as a publishing outlet, not just a sharing platform. Why would our homebuying demographic leave their favorite social apps when they can get all the content they want in one place? Also, highly targeted ads have proven effective and simple for lead generation.”