Virtual Tours vs Model Homes!

virtual tour model homeSelling Homes with Nothing to See: Virtual Tours vs Model Homes!

Do home builders still need model homes in today’s digital environment? Some people say they don’t! Virtual tours are more popular than ever for selling homes, and it’s clear that this trend is here to stay! With the incredible cost and time-saving benefits of this technology, will model homes remain relevant?

For the first Hump Day Sales & Marketing Power Hour of 2022, we discussed Selling Homes with Nothing to See – virtual tours vs model homes! Model homes took on virtual tours to duke it out on whether home builders should stick to tried-and-true approaches or modernize their selling methods.

During this timely conversation, hosts Kimberly Mackey and Carol Morgan along with industry guests Kevin Weitzel from Outhouse LLC (and frequent flyer on SMPH), David Payne from Invent Dev and Danny Collins from Media Lab offered insight on what is happening in the 3-dimensional world in homebuilding. The group discussed tips for reaching target audiences, engaging with them in a meaningful way and accelerating sales.

Although 3D renderings have been in use for decades, some builders still fail to innovate their online home presentations with an updated look. Hand-drawn watercolor renderings are still often favored by some builders, but this style now costs more and has a slower turnaround time than photo realistic 3D renderings.

With rising interest rates and home pricing that has increased by 22 to 27 percent, it’s more important than ever for home builders to modernize their homebuying process. Investing in virtual tools that elevate the customer experience is a critical way for home builders to indicate to buyers that their homes are worth a higher cost.

Builders are looking for more qualified leads, but attracting those buyers requires greater dedication to keeping up with the latest technology and homebuilding trends. Qualified buyers want to purchase a home from a builder that is up-to-date and utilizes cutting-edge features to seamlessly move them long the sales funnel. Not only is it important to offer virtual tools, but it’s critical to be consistent. Many builders instead offer a range of both high-quality renderings and outdated 2D home representations, which creates friction for buyers looking to fully explore all their home options.

Today, homebuyers are conducting more research during their home search through both online channels and in-person visits to sales centers. These proactive homebuyers are expecting to find more engaging content. Home builders must be prepared to innovate their sales funnel with features like detailed elevations or 360° views of virtual homes on the available homesites to deliver an easy, inviting buying experience. It’s crucial that buyers have virtual visualizations tools readily available to keep them engaged on home builder websites.

Rather than making buyers come to them, home builders are finding ways to conveniently bring the experience of touring their homes and communities to their customers with digital features. While physical model homes offer many benefits, they are accompanied by high costs and extensive time investment. In contrast, a virtual model home offers a digital twin of a planned model home with great attention to the design details, finishes and furnishings of the space. Along with showcasing homes, virtual tools also enable builders to highlight community amenities to provide insight into the community lifestyle. The more buyers are able to visualize the benefits of living in a development, the greater value they perceive from purchasing from a particular builder.

After creating this visual media, placing it on the business website and hoping buyers interact with it isn’t enough. Builders should make the most of this content by cross-distributing it across social channels, as well as their website, to capture more attention from interested homebuyers. Find ways to incorporate it into digital content plans to offer cohesiveness across all brand platforms and enhance overall branding efforts.

To get started incorporating virtual selling tools into their homebuying experience, builders can reach out to digital content creator companies like Invent Dev, Outhouse LLC and MediaLab for website assessments and visual content recommendations.

Although some builders may be worried about the cost of this technology, visualizers, interactive floor plans, 3D renderings and interactive site plans are highly affordable and valuable investments. For those with lower budgets who are putting a significant amount of funds into building model homes, the truth is that cutting just one model can fully fund virtual endeavors. The cost of implementing innovative sales tools is often equivalent to the cost of maintaining one model home for a full year.

Watch the webinar above to take a deeper look at the virtual tool capabilities and features that are revolutionizing the homebuying experience!

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Sales & Marketing Power Hour is a webinar series for new home sales and marketing professionals. Hosted by the dynamic duo Kimberly Mackey of New Homes Solutions Consulting and Carol Morgan of Denim Marketing, Sales & Marketing Power Hour was accoladed by The Nationals as a Silver Award winner for Best Professional Development Series.

Focused on providing solutions, tips and ideas to both sales and marketing teams in the new home industry, Sales & Marketing Power Hour offers best practices and practical advice on what is working in today’s real estate market. This program is appropriate for company visionaries, sales and marketing leadership, on-site sales professionals, and anyone who wants to remain relevant as our industry grows its technological footprint.

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