Blog Post 1/6 of “The Importance of the New Homebuyer Journey” Series
In this post, learn why people start their search to buy new homes and the most crucial and cost-effective marketing initiative you should focus on as a builder when launching a new home or condo community.
As a home builder, it’s important to understand the main factors that influence a prospective customer to buy a new home or condo. This not only can help you make decisions during the planning process of your community, but it will also make your marketing messaging more influential and your sales team more relatable to customers during the sales process.
Aside from those looking to invest in real estate (which we will discuss in future blog posts), the new home buyer journey starts when the decision to buy a new home is considered. This decision is usually influenced by many factors some of which are lifestyle, location, neighbourhood, environment and maintenance. Often times, the decision to purchase a new home is finalized when a problem with an existing living situation arises and/or a need for a newly built home is recognized.
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People love new homes like they love that new car smell. The main reasons that people love newly built homes is that the floor plans appeal to current lifestyle preferences that many older homes cannot easily offer without costly renovations. Also, a newer well-planned subdivision or condo community features unrivaled amenities. Neighborhood parkettes, social and entertainment spaces, and improved sports and exercise facilities are generally integrated into new master planned communities. Getting creative and pushing the limits on these fronts has a significant influence for customers during the buying decision process.
New homes also come with less concern over maintenance issues such as the next roof replacement, siding repair and an array of other issues. The National Association of Realtors reported that the reason that 34% of people took to buying a new home in 2016 was due to the amounts of maintenance and upkeep required in resale homes. This shows us that many people value low maintenance homes as a significant factor in their purchasing decision.
Health and environmental concerns are another reason why people decide to invest in new construction. With many older buildings, there are growing concerns over air quality, asbestos, and mould. In a study conducted by the National Centre for Healthy Housing, it was found that approximately 40% of homes have one or more health and safety concerns. What makes newly built homes advantageous over resale homes is that new homes are built to today’s building code which has improved over the years and many builders participate in above-and-beyond building programs such as ENERGY STAR® and LEED® making new home construction even more appealing to those conscientious about the condition of their living environment.
Once people realize the value of buying a new home, the search begins. In 2016, 44% of homebuyers took to the internet as their first step towards gathering information on their next real estate purchase. These homebuyers who used the internet to find their homes looked at an average of 10 homes over the course of 10 weeks. Whereas 90% of buyers used the internet at some point and time during their home hunt. This is important to note as it signifies how critical of a role a builders digital presence plays in the home buying process.
Where will you be when prospective new home buyers need you?
Ok, let’s pause here for a moment and ask ourselves what all this really means. Basically, we know a lot of people are searching online to find homes, we all search for things online these days, you don’t need a comprehensive study to realize it. So why is it important and how does it correlate with the initial information gathering stage for home buyers. As a builder or a marketer, you have to ask yourself one fundamental question:
“Can people looking online for new homes or condos in the location that I am building, find my community?”
That’s it. It’s a simple question that can be answered by doing a search on Google, Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, and various other digital channels. It’s really the most crucial and fundamental marketing initiative you can focus on when starting to plan your community campaign.
So if you’re in the planning, branding or marketing stage of your community, I’d recommend putting effort early on into making sure you are highly visible when the need for a new home arises in the location your community is located, and prospective new home buyers start their search. This will benefit your community significantly in the long run and might save you thousands of ad spend on “long-shot” (less-targeted) marketing initiatives.
The initial search process is a crucial part of the homebuyer journey, and it can begin months before prospects actually step into a sales office. Making sure they can find you is the first step in a successful new home builder marketing campaign.
We’ll get deeper into some simple yet important search engine and content initiatives in our upcoming blog post titled “SEO & Content Planning for a New Home Community”. Also stay tuned for the next article in this 6-post series on the new homebuyer journey, where we review the importance of competitive analysis and how you can stand out in a crowded marketplace as a new home builder.