If you can type, you're smart enough to update your Web site. By BUILDER Magazine Staff
With more buyers using the Web to focus their search for a home, having an updated Web site is crucial. One new product that targets this need is CommunityBuilder, a Web site construction and management program from the Denver-based BD Group. It's designed to help builders quickly generate interactive Web sites for their communities and can be maintained by someone with no technical skills.
One of BD's first customers is Infinity Home Collection, a Denver builder/developer with six communities. Infinity's Oliver Miles says that once BD set up the site's first community, adding others took about two hours apiece. His only complaint is that he can't modify the entry page. But he considers that a minor beef.
Miles likes the fact that his sales managers can quickly update prices and options. To drive home that point, he was kind enough to let Builder poke around the site's back end. Infinity includes options menus for each model on its site: Clicking on an option brings up a thumbnail picture of it. Adding an option was simply a matter of typing in an option then uploading it along with a photo. (Of course, you need the photo on your computer.) It took only a minute.
The system also includes sales and CRM functions. These help sales managers track online sales leads, assign reps to customers, and follow customers through the buying process.
According to BD's Alan Johnson, the software costs $12,000 for an unlimited number of communities or $5,000 for a single community. If you want BD to host it, you will have to pay another $1,200 per year. He says the company is considering a partnership with a larger company, in which case it will add more features and change its pricing model.