March 23, 2022
5 Master-Planned Community Virtual Tools That Enhance Buyer Experience
Now is the perfect time for home builders and developers to revisit their master-planned community marketing strategy and enhance their marketing and sales tools. The COVID-19 pandemic should have been a wake-up call for many as buyers have begun to expect greater convenience and flexibility throughout the homebuying process.
Embracing virtual technology has become a crucial investment in the real estate industry as many buyers now seek out seamless homebuying experiences with modern, immersive tools readily available.
Buying a home is among the most emotional purchases a person can make, so it’s no surprise that homebuyers want to discover builders and developers who prioritize their preferences and deliver innovative solutions. Builders and developers with outdated, confusing, or unengaging homebuying marketing tools and processes are less likely to be considered over competitors that are quickly adapting and meeting buyer expectations.
Let’s explore why builders and developers need virtual marketing tools and the importance of working to improve the modern homebuying experience!
Why Should Master-Planned Communities Use Virtual Marketing Tools?
Compared to other industries, the real estate industry can be slow to adapt to new technologies and innovation. But it’s important to recognize that builders and developers who fail to embrace virtual tools and contemporary digital marketing practices are sure to be overlooked. Today, homebuyers have a wide variety of businesses offering opportunities to conveniently explore homes and communities from wherever they are.
The pandemic has brought a great deal of changes, especially to the process of searching for and buying homes. Many master-planned communities have seen increased online website traffic, as well as more frequent occurrences of touchless and sight-unseen home sales. Adapting to digital marketing features and minimizing physical contact during the homebuying process has led to fantastic success for builders and developers. Virtual marketing tools elevate the homebuyer experience, save time, increase efficiency and significantly boost sales, among many other benefits.
Utilizing virtual selling tools results in more opportunities for homebuyers to research, independently move further down the sales funnel and become qualified leads. Once these buyers are able to physically visit the community, they’re often at further stages of the homebuying process and are more likely to purchase.
Improving the Homebuying Experience
Finding ways to enhance the homebuying experience for your customers has always been important, but never more so than today. Ensuring easy access to exploration tools for your homes and master-planned communities is more than a good idea, it’s essential if you want to be viewed as a viable option by many buyers. Think of it as an opportunity to rethink the traditional homebuying experience – what pain points can be resolved to streamline the process and grant buyers more autonomy when discovering new homes? It’s essential to be as adaptable and innovative as possible to succeed in today’s homebuying market.
Homebuyers have several options when it comes to purchasing a new home, and they can easily dismiss those whose marketing features don’t meet their needs and preferences. Today’s buyers want convenient solutions and flexible access to information and updated digital visualization tools. Don’t have virtual tours or 3D renderings? Well, they can easily find another builder or developer who does that they can choose to buy from instead.
Take a look below at some of the most popular virtual tools in use by home builders and developers to elevate a master-planned community marketing strategy!
Give homebuyers an in-depth look at the available homes within your master-planned community with 3D virtual reality tours. Virtual tours provide a realistic computer-generated simulation that engages buyers and empowers them to independently explore homes. This powerful tool conveys a home's design and offers buyers an immersive experience within the space. By taking a virtual tour, homebuyers can take a 3D walkthrough simply by using their device, or they can use a VR headset at your sales office to see the home’s interior.
This cutting-edge feature modernizes the way buyers can discover and view new homes within the master-planned community through a realistic, immersive representation. Virtual tours allow buyers to easily explore available homes and community streetscapes from the comfort of home by using their mobile device or computer.
Similar to videos, guided tours offer a pre-recorded, directed experience of the home with fully virtual or 360-degree videos that capture panoramic views of spaces. This promotional format allows home builders and developers an easy way to share new properties or model home interiors at a predetermined pace and direction.
Within interactive tours, users can independently decide where to look around throughout the virtual space. Buyers can move around by clicking on different spots to shift their view and enter different areas. This virtual format allows buyers to take a closer, more immersive tour of the home based on their preferences.
Before homes are constructed and the development is complete, how can you showcase the master-planned community to prospective buyers? Architectural visualization tools can be used to virtually visualize what potential homes will look like on an empty home site before construction has been completed. Homebuyers can also view different exterior color selections placed on the virtual representation of their new home to conveniently browse their design options. This feature also delivers a look at the community streetscape and amenity architecture so buyers can feel more immersed in the community and gain an idea of the master-planned community’s layout and lifestyle.
Creating and distributing digital brochures to promote your master-planned community is a fantastic way to modernize a traditional community marketing tactic. Digital brochures save time and funds on production, and they also offer opportunities to produce a greater reach and boosted brand awareness. This digital format provides a unique opportunity to create an immersive experience that incorporates video content, virtual reality and interactive site plans, as well as effective calls to action that generate more lead conversions. Keeping marketing materials updated is also incredibly easy with digital brochures as this asset can be quickly updated and re-distributed whenever necessary to keep leads informed.
Augmented Reality Features
Having a model home to showcase to prospective buyers is great, but home builders and developers can take it a step further with augmented reality (AR) features. Expand the space with endless design possibilities by using AR to enable buyers to visualize different interior designs and finishes, as well as various exterior features and elevations, to concretely shape both the inside and outside of their new home. Similar to facial filters used on social media, buyers can see a live view of the home through their phone and allow AR to overlay digital elements within the home, such as different countertop styles or bath tiles. This useful virtual tool allows homebuyers to envision their personal design preferences and aesthetic conveniently and realistically within the home.
Within an empty model home, AR can be utilized for virtual staging to show furniture and décor before the home has been furnished to offer a sense of the space’s potential. A report from the National Association of Realtors revealed that 82% of buyers’ agents said staging a home makes it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home. Staging new homes is a critical way to help nudge buyers toward seeing a property as a place their family can call home. Although staging can be costly and time-consuming, virtual staging is cost-effective, requires less time and offers greater flexibility to showcase homes with ranging styles.
During the homebuying process, prospective buyers are sure to have lots of questions, but there may not always be a salesperson available to talk with them. To solve this issue, chatbots are a fantastic solution to answer questions when no one else is available. These helpful assistants are programmed to deliver seamless conversations and prompt users to ask questions. Chatbots can respond at any time needed to provide quick, accurate answers to frequently asked questions among other capabilities. Even if the chatbot is unable to provide answers to all their questions, this service acts as the start of a conversation that can be continued over phone or email when members of the sales team are available.
Upgrade Your Master-Planned Community Marketing Strategy with Virtual Tools
Don’t wait to embrace cutting-edge virtual tools to empower your buyers and modernize the homebuying experience. Many builders and developers are adapting and innovating their marketing tactics to effectively engage today’s homebuyers – it’s essential that your business do the same to keep up with shifting buyer preferences!
At Milesbrand, we aim to help our clients deliver a fantastic experience for their prospective homebuyers. Reach out to our team to learn more about how virtual marketing tools can elevate your master-planned community selling strategy.