Adapting to the Resale User Experience
With the new home construction industry booming, builders are likely trying to keep up with demand, much less trying to bring in more leads. The focus for many builders is prioritizing margins, protecting the bottom line and getting your customers settled in their new homes. But, despite the hot market, it is important to prepare your organization for when things settle down.
We all know the old saying that it’s better to be proactive rather than try and play catch up when it becomes necessary. Okay, maybe that's not exactly the saying, but you get the idea. While the home building industry is going strong, another presence in the market is proving the importance of the user experience in maintaining demand and consistent market growth, and that’s the resale market.
The reality is that there are several reasons why a home buyer might prefer a resale house, even one that needs extensive work. But by nature, shouldn’t finding a dream home in new construction be easier? With customization options, new appliances, lower property maintenance, and modern finishings, the draw to a new home should be greater than a resale. So, there must be something else that makes a buyer lean towards resale when they first begin their home buying journey.
We’ve noticed that one thing the resale market is doing extraordinarily well is developing a search user experience that home buyers are comfortable navigating. Whether it’s Zillow or Trulia, these platforms have a consistent user experience that empowers home buyers to seamlessly search the catalog of resale homes. That’s why when many of us picture the home buying journey, we think of these resale platforms and the associated user experience.
While we may not want to admit it, there are a few tips we can take from the resale market when it comes to the user experience of the home catalog. To compete effectively in any market, it’s important to take a step back, recognize what competitors are doing well, learn from it, and then determine how you can elevate your own offering. So, let’s explore a few features in the resale online user experience that you as a builder should consider adopting.
UNDERSTANDING THE RESALE EXPERIENCE
In the real estate industry, the resale market has set the standard for the online home shopping experience. These platforms have been widely adopted by both real estate professionals and the general population at large. So, the question becomes, why? What makes these platforms so successful?
Zillow and Trulia are not just offering a static home catalog for buyers. They have created a personalized experience with AI technology that empowers home buyers with property information at their fingertips. They help home buyers find the right homes for them and provide information such as school zones, mortgage payments, similar homes on the market, etc. Therefore, not only are home buyers able to better understand the market, but they are also receiving an experience that is constantly learning about their preferences, needs, and motivations.
The user experience these platforms offer makes it difficult for the standard WordPress catalog or templated solution to match at a high level. And the matter of the fact is these platforms have large product teams who spend their 40-hour workweek constantly improving the user experience. This makes it next to impossible for a builder like yourself to compete with this home shopping experience internally, even if you have a strong technical team. But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t solutions available on the market (hint, hint, OpenHouse.ai may be one of them).
WHY INVEST IN THE USER EXPERIENCE?
Whether you believe that Zillow and Trulia are good platforms or not, they have captured a large majority of home buyers by the experience they offer. Therefore, builders should be adapting to the search user experience that buyers understand and enjoy. You may not want your catalog to have the same look or feel. But, it should provide a relatively similar experience so when a home buyer enters your site there isn’t a learning curve for how to navigate your product offering. You want the user experience on your website to be universally understood to reduce the friction along the buying journey.
Many home builders have invested in technology such as mortgage calculators, 3D tours, and map integrations as a first step to improve the overall shopping experience on their website. But, to effectively compete with these big players, there needs to be an investment in personalization technology. And no, we aren’t talking about personalizing components of the home. We mean, a personalized shopping experience on the catalog with a user experience home buyers are familiar with.
The main goal here is not to have your website look identical to Zillow or Trulia. What’s important is that it follows a similar user flow so buyers can easily find the right home for them on your website.
HOW BUILDERS CAN ADAPT
As we so subtly hinted, there are solutions on the market that help home builders adopt a similar user experience to that of resale. At OpenHouse.ai, we have heavily invested in understanding the home buying journey online. Our goal is to reduce friction along this buying journey to help home buyers find the right home for them within the new home construction industry. Similar to the resale market, our solution creates a user experience that is familiar and easy for home buyers to navigate.
Our solution is powered by advanced AI technology, which is constantly evolving and learning about your home buyers. Through the data created by our AI engine, we can offer a personalized shopping experience on your website so no two sessions are the same. A home buyer's journey is unique to them, and so should the experience be on your website.
Our Builder Intelligence platform is a bolt-on solution to your existing website. So don’t worry, we aren’t replacing the look and feel of your home page or resources that your team has invested heavily in. Instead, we are placing our AI-powered catalog on top of your existing website. Through this process, your website will remain true to the look and feel of your brand, while creating a catalog user experience your buyers will love. With home buyers at the core of everything we do, we are constantly improving our product to ensure that you stay ahead of the competition.
In today’s world, the home buying journey begins online, and therefore, your online catalog is your first impression. Investing in the user experience of your website catalog empowers not only home buyers to find what they are looking for, but also allows your business to compete across the entire real estate landscape. While it’s your product that will ultimately make the sale, the user experience is important for ensuring that they find that home they love in your catalog. By creating an online journey that is universally understood by home buyers, we can reduce the friction as buyers jump between resale and new home construction websites. At the end of the day, the home buyer should be the center of everything you do. Investing in the experience they have on your website is one step closer to creating more home buying success stories.
To learn more about how OpenHouse.ai can take your user experience to the next level, we encourage you to spend 15 minutes with our team to see our Builder Intelligence platform in action. To book a demo, click here.
-The OpenHouse.ai Team