In the past year, builders have been pushed out of their comfort zones, realizing how much of their process was determined by a physical presence. Now, priority number one is all about what you can do virtually. We know it hasn’t been an easy transition but many builders are now realizing that not only is a virtual presence essential to help their shoppers purchase a new home, but it may even replace their model homes entirely.
Because one thing remains true – building a model home is both expensive and limiting. You can only represent a single layout and design option when the reality is that each model has a half dozen layouts plus hundreds of design combinations. By building a virtual experience, your ability to feature both are limitless.
To help builders embrace and expand their digital presence, we interviewed Mazi Fatehi, Director of Media & Graphics for BHI to better understand the top three media trends that builders should leverage in 2021.
- Virtual Walkthrough Tours
Before 2020, virtual walkthrough tours were a nice-to-have on your website. A means to attract home shoppers and raise awareness. But over the past year, many builders have realized there are so many advantages for both home shoppers and their business and while virtual walkthroughs are a hot item today we expect this to be a trend that will stick around for good.
A Virtual Walkthrough Tour gives a home shopper total control. They can navigate room to room exploring features at their own pace. Whether they live five, fifty, or five hundred miles from a community, they can virtually walk through a model whenever and wherever they want.
For builders, you are no longer bound by the constraints of a model home or community being completed. Home shoppers can be touring your homes before the roads are even paved. And you can showcase multiple floor plans and hundreds of features.
BDX has multiple Virtual Walkthrough tour options ranging from one that can get you up and going in less than three weeks – our Express model - to one that can be completely customized to showcase the entire home. At a minimum each covers the five core rooms of a house – the kitchen, living room, dining room, owner’s bedroom and owner’s bathroom. You then control the number of design and furniture options you want to present to home shoppers based on which Virtual Walkthrough tour you choose. You can present a few or get as customized and limitless as you’d like!
“For 2021, we have improved our player for virtual tours with additional user-friendly features that make navigation easy for anyone,” said Mazi. “This includes a mini-map, panoramic, and 360 views, allowing you to view the home in multiple ways.”
- Visualizer for Home Design
A shopper has purchased their new home from you. Now the fun starts – designing and choosing the finishing’s…or so they think. Between multiple visits to the design center followed by multiple visits to the model to take pictures and “visualize” the options, the process of designing a new home can quickly turn from elation to exhaustion.
Visualizers give home buyers the confidence to purchase and design their homes online. BDX has streamlined the process one step further by integrating our Visualizer tool with Envision, the industry’s premier online design center. By combining the two, home buyers will be able to simultaneously chose their design option in Envision and then use our Visualizer tool to see it in their new home floor plan. Builders can choose from one of two Visualizer tools:
- Design Studio Pro – Design Studio Pro is a visualizer tool based on a still rendering of a room, viewed from a fixed angle. Buyers will be able to play and choose different design options through Envision and then see them come to life in their new home. Design Studio Pro then captures the design choices and sends them to the builder. Not only does it provide a better experience for the homebuyer, the data shows they’ll purchase more options using these tools.
- Design Studio Pro 360 – Instead of a fixed angle, Design Studio Pro 360 provides multiple panoramic renderings of the room. The viewer can look in all directions, giving them more flexibility in examining their choices and confidence to know they’ll be happy with their selections. Envision provides the extra layer of functionality that makes this a must-have virtual experience.
“Visualizer not only let’s builders provide a seamless design experience but it also helps them make better business decisions,” said Mazi. “On the backend, builders receive robust data on how buyers are using the tool and what options are selling better than others.”
- The Ultimate Digital Experience – Online VR
Virtual Reality is not only the most sophisticated way to sell your homes, it’s also the most efficient. It gives home shoppers a true sense of place by being able to walk around any room of any plan and judge it from multiple angles. Most importantly, it costs a fraction of what a new model home does – less than 5-7% of the cost to build. And it extends the life of your plans by being able to use the same online VR solution across multiple communities.
With Virtual Reality, we model the entire home and deliver a comprehensive solution that sells your homes at every stage of the buying cycle including:
- Virtual Walkthrough Tour
- Kitchen Visualizer tour
- Up to 20 high-quality interior renderings of the plan
- Sales Center Solution, which is an offline tour that can be offered in your design studio or model home and allows shoppers to fully immerse themselves in your homes. VR Headset compatible.
You can also add interactive floor plans and exterior renderings to your VR experience. Include these and you do not need anything else to market your homes today. Give it a try. One of our clients decided to test online VR in one of their communities. In less than three weeks, they sold out their entire inventory! As a result, they’ve decided to move to an entirely virtual experience in 2021 and eliminate building physical models altogether.
Home shoppers are ready to buy virtually. Now it’s time for builders to catch up to the demand. Contact the BDX Media team or your BDX consultant to find out how you can expand your digital presence in 2021.
About the AuthorMore Content by Builders Digital Experience