Quality Enabled E-Home Sales

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In this era of e-commerce, quality builders are poised to make their mark.

August 01, 2000

 

Edward Caldeira, Director of Quality Resources, NAHB Research Center

 

In this era of e-commerce, quality builders are poised to make their mark. They are uniquely qualified to develop the high levels of e-home buyer confidence necessary to sell homes over the Internet. Quality is the great confidence builder that makes it all work.

Breakthroughs in the way information is conveyed over the Internet allow prospective buyers to get the information they need without visiting a traditional sales office. Online customization and self-guided virtual tours through photo-quality homes have the potential to displace model homes. Coupled with 3-D views of available lot inventories, it is easy to imagine buyers signing a contract at the first face-to-face meeting. Streamlining the home purchase to a single meeting can have enormous cost savings and it opens up new market opportunities for out-of-town buyers.

Presenting a pleasing product, however, is only half the story. To help e-home buyers feel comfortable doing business over the Internet, the Web pages should also present a compelling account of the builder’s ability to reliably deliver quality homes.

A good place to start is a display of the company’s customer-focused mission and value statements. Bolster them with the company’s quality policies that address areas of buyer concern, such as closing only 100% complete homes, extended warranty terms and quick-response service standards.

Highlighting actual data is an extremely effective method to build trust while managing expectations. Gain instant credibility for following through on the quality policies by highlighting performance data that shows industry leading results, for example:

• 95 percent of homebuyers would recommend us to a friend or family member.

• An average of 2.2 correction items are discovered at final inspection. All but .25 per home were corrected before closing.

• 90 percent of warranty service calls were completed in less than two days.

• Over 97 percent of homes closed on or before the scheduled completion date.

Recognition from independent organizations can enhance these confidence-builders by providing an unbiased assessment of company performance. Achievements through awards such as NHQ or the EnergyValue Housing Award demonstrate superior performance, as do high customer satisfaction ranking among other builders by independent survey companies such as NRS or J.D. Powers.

Quality-related certifications such as the EPA Energy Star or NAHB Research Center certified insulation contractors can lend credibility to your construction practices. Testimonials from satisfied customers also help.

Quality builders have a huge advantage in the emerging e-home selling marketplace. Start thinking about what you need to do to tell a compelling quality story that will create e-home buyer confidence at levels that enable the single-visit home sale. It all starts with quality.

For web page examples inside and outside the building industry, request the free ''''Links to Quality Enabled Websites'''' by emailing the NAHB Research Center’s ToolBase Hotline at toolbase@nahbrc.org.

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