Do You Convert’s Kevin Oakley shared three truths about online home sales, but there are four more to consider from the perspective of an architect. Deryl Patterson of architecture firm Housing Design Matters says to consider understanding scale, comprehending floor plans, experiencing colors, textures, and finishes, and site variations, such as sun orientation, noise, site lines, and topography. When purchasing a car online, it can be easier to approximate the size, but it’s much more difficult to understand the size of a home from photos. Even architects with years of experience with 2D images and plans still get surprised when entering a home in-person.
Reading and comprehending floor plans is a learned skill, and we shouldn’t expect the average homebuyer to immediately grasp what they are looking at on the first go-around. I remember one custom home client who would look at me in bewilderment after I had presented his awesome floor plan. He simply smiled and, “I have no idea what you just showed me.” I’ve had a similar statement by a builder client who says he only visualizes in the Z axis – meaning vertical. These two clients were honest about their lack of vision. They knew what they didn’t know. How many homebuyers only think they know how to read and comprehend a floor plan and how many don’t know what they don’t know.
At the start of the pandemic, I conducted many “How to Sell from Floor Plans” classes for our builder clients who were suddenly shut down from in-person sales. I was stunned by the questions these seasoned new home sales agent asked. “How can you tell the difference between a window and a door in plan?” “What is the zig-zag line on the stairs?” “Why is that door only opened 45 degrees?” If these were questions I was getting from industry professionals who deal in floor plans daily, imagine a would be buyer who only thinks they know. Seems like a reason to be weary to me.