Covid-19 has stunned the home builder industry, but each individual developer has responded in their own unique way.
Some builders have paused home construction while others are moving forward with projects in order to capitalize on the coming economic rebound. Meanwhile, most builders have closed sales offices in at least one market.
The pandemic and its effects on the economy will not last forever.
Here’s our take on how the new home sales landscape will change after this second lockdown – and what sales and marketing leaders can do to prepare.
Pandemic Phase 1: Mandatory Social Distancing.
New home construction may be ongoing, but many sales offices are closed to cut costs or to adhere to province or local government restrictions.
However, consumers are still driving around. They have little to do and want an excuse to leave home in the safety of their cars. Now is not the time to stop marketing entirely.
Those of us who’ve been through a rough patch or two know this: Even when buyers are passive or timid about investing in a new home, they’re still browsing and collecting their list of potential communities.
Your pandemic to do list:
- Bring your online presence to the next level with real-time chat on your website/social media page and live home tours through Facetime or Zoom.
- Install kiosks outside shuttered sales offices and model homes with information about the community to ensure that drive by shoppers can access floor plans, pricing, community amenities, etc.
- Establish that you are providing immersive details about your models, communities and home design within your customer channels.
Pandemic Phase 2: Canada Reopens.
Eventually, the country will begin to reopen for business. We tried it once and failed, and we are guaranteed to try again. The date will vary by market, based on the local public health and political circumstances. Some municipalities could reopen as early as February 2021.
Even when your market reopens, some home buyers will take precaution due to financial insecurity and the health risk of interacting with a sales person.
Home builders that can calm consumers’ nerves and convince them to come out and look at some properties will sell homes. Home builders that can’t, won’t.
Your pandemic to do list:
- Go over your daily cleaning practices and train your sales managers on the new etiquette of doing business in the wake of Covid-19.
- organize your directional and onsite signage systems to convince shoppers that your community is the community worth coming out in person to see.
- Bridge the gap between digital and environmental marketing. These marketing vehicles work together to engage and inform new home buyers during their search.
Pandemic Phase 3: The New Normal.
Our health concerns will fade, but the economic damage may linger for a while. Families have missed out on months or more of earnings. Investors have had small fortunes wiped out in the volatile stock market.
Homes will still sell. They just won’t sell themselves. Sales and marketing teams will have to work as hard if not harder as they did in the Great Recession to close deals.
And, as anyone who survived that can tell you, it’ll take more than digital tours on your website to sell homes to the people in a soft market.
Your post pandemic to do list:
- Amplify online marketing by integrating with tried and true tactics like weekend directional sign systems. After all, 80% of your weekend foot traffic is tied to signage.
- Reassess your existing partnership ecosystem. Seek out partners offering scale, strategic thought, and proven implementation excellence.
- know the difference between “home search” and “home sale”. Builders in several markets have developed the means to help them sell homes and identify buyers, but many are still struggling to secure buyers during their search for their dream home.