Nowadays, anything can be purchased online and delivered straight to your door, including new homes—minus the delivery part. It’s the most recent innovation resulting from an increase in demand for virtual homebuying tools. Builders Taylor Morrison and PulteGroup recently rolled out pilot programs that allows buyers to choose, design, finance, and put their new home right into their shopping carts. Taylor Morrison CEO Sheryl Palmer says other industries have welcomed e-commerce, and now it’s the home building industry’s time. Although not every buyer will choose to go this route, it’s a solid option to offer to those who want to, Palmer told CNBC.
Twenty-eight-year-old Emily Moore was one of the first to use the Taylor Morrison online portal. She is a first-time homebuyer, but she said she felt very comfortable purchasing the Houston home without ever entering a showroom.
“A few years ago, people laughed at buying your car online, and I just bought a house online!” exclaimed Moore, who added that part of the reason she did it was the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing.
“That, and it was really convenient,” she added.
Palmer admitted even she was surprised by the swift demand for the new program.
“We’ve only done the to-be-built reservation system for the last six weeks, and in total we’ve seen over 1,500 shopping cart entries, and probably something close to a 60% conversion [to sales]. That’s 10 times what you would normally see.”
Atlanta-based PulteGroup also just launched a similar 100% virtual homebuying program for its customers.
“It allows them to choose among different floor plans. Then they would choose exterior elevation and colors, and then they make choices with their design options, cabinet color, those types of things,” said Brandon Jones, area president at Pulte. “Once those choices are complete, it shows the total price of the home, which the customer can review, and then a home purchase agreement is generated.”