The Online Open House: A Virtual Advantage

By
Home Builder with Ideal Homes

Homebuyers are increasingly turning to the Internet to do their new home search. The National Association of Realtors’ 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers reports that 42 percent of buyers look online as their first step. They’re searching third-party sites for available properties that meet their criteria and then narrowing their search. What next? Well, if the buyer is looking for a new construction home, they click over to the builder’s site. When they arrive, they view the details about the builder, the communities, and the homes. This presents a virtual advantage for homebuilders to utilize the online open house as a means to entice the buyer to keep moving in that builder’s direction along the path to purchase.

With today’s technology, builders can provide homebuyers with a more in-depth look at what they’re offering. Go beyond the static photos. Create a virtual tour with a Matterport camera, where a prospective buyer can click around and see every corner of the home you’re presenting. They can zoom in on a detail and pull back to get a full view. This virtual view allows a site’s visitor to gain a perspective that neither one-dimensional photos nor a floor plan can effectively communicate. Not even a 360º panoramic view offers the same realistic perspective. 

One set-up. Unlimited hours of viewing.

An online open house has no visiting hours. It gives homebuyers 24/7 access to your model or new construction home. Stage it once and you have an open house that will last until the home is sold. You don’t need to staff it. Buyers can simply click through to your online sales consultant when they like what they see. For example, a homebuyer looking at Ideal Homesvirtual open house of the Cambridge floor plan, can zoom in on details like the custom tile backsplash in the kitchen and even the view of the backyard from the master bedroom. Imagine giving your online visitor the chance to look closely at the pattern in the granite countertop or the detail in the brickwork and built-ins surrounding a fireplace? A photo isn’t nearly as compelling.

You can use a drone to capture video of the community where you’re building, so that the buyer can see the neighborhood as well as the home. Showcase the community amenities, the wooded surroundings, the features of the lot, and the accessibility to main roads. Ideal Homes produced drone videos of our communities, including Valencia and Red Canyon Ranch, which highlighted key features and gave viewers a sense of the quality lifestyle there. With these views, your buyer becomes more engaged with your homes, which launches their connection with your company.

Ideal Homes began using this technology to incorporate the online open house on our website. The results have been dramatic. Those properties that offered this tour received significantly more inquiries than those that simply presented a floor plan and photos.

“When you consider how tech-savvy today’s buyer is, it makes sense to tune into their desires and expectations,” says Vernon McKown, Ideal Homes’ Co-owner and President of Sales. “We want to give something that excites them and distinguishes our company. The virtual open house has done that for Ideal Homes.”

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