Confronted with uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic, builders are among the many businesses that must rethink their approach. Surviving the short-term means navigating supplier delays, low consumer confidence, and the complicated logistics of building, selling, and closing homes amid social distancing.
As builders weather the storm, there are critical actions they can take now to turn these challenges into opportunities once life and business are restored to a new normal.
#1: Embrace Online Search to Reach More Home Buyers
Social distancing has pushed digital reliance to unprecedented levels – but the trend was already in motion. Even before distancing, home buyers spent significant time searching online for homes and communicating digitally with builders. Research by CustomerInsight shows that 94% of prospective buyers use technology to search and select their new builder – and 89% of those prospects expect to continue using technology throughout the construction process. Now is the time for builders to improve online listings and ensure their team is equipped to generate and manage digital leads.
#2: Support the Digital Homebuying Experience
Home buyer expectations have drastically evolved over the last decade. Today’s buyers want more digital communication, with 44% of smartphone users expecting proactive notifications and 72% expecting immediate information throughout the entire home-purchasing process.
More than ever, builders must leverage digital tools to replicate experiences that have historically been managed in person – such as design studio appointments, construction updates, closing processes, warranty requests, and more. Convenient digital interaction is crucial to providing better buyer experiences during COVID-19 distancing and beyond.
#3: Keep Projects Moving with Digital Tools & Builder Systems
A solid foundation of data helps builders operate during difficult times as well as plan for growth. Leveraging up-to-date and accurate information helps builders allocate resources, adapt processes, and track every dollar earned and spent. Remote access to digital tools has also become mission-critical to keep projects moving. Digital communication helps construction teams work with trades, assign jobs, process agreements, and issue payments – without going into an office or meeting in person.
Preparing for a New Normal
In times of social distancing, a ‘preference’ for digital interaction has become a deal-breaker for many home buyers. Yet even when crisis-mode ends, builders will likely find that this expectation for a seamless experience remains. The tools and systems builders put into place now will help them overcome short-term challenges, as well as build off strong strategies for the future.