TORONTO-BASED AAREAS INTERACTIVE HAS developed a new Web-based tool that allows consumers to search and select builders' homes on the Internet and reserve units and condos with a credit card. “The Web Store helps builders to better market and organize their sales process,” says Angela D'Amico, marketing coordinator for Aareas. The Web Store lets builders do targeted marketing, she says, since builders will know who is searching the site and who is serious about buying a home.

Typically, a buyer searches a builder's Web site to find basic information about upcoming projects and then visits the sales center to learn more. But builders who register with the Web Store will be able to load information such as floor plans, renderings, and options and upgrades available for a particular unit. Buyers can then view all this information online. “Instead of going into the sales center blind, the buyer goes in with a list of the chosen options,” D'Amico says.

Once buyers have reserved a home, they have 48 hours to meet with a representative at the builder's sales center to sign a contract. At that point, the company says, buyers may change options.

Accessed through the builder's site, the system is free to home buyers, but each builder must buy the software and pay a fee for the database management. For more information on the service, visit