The COVID-19 pandemic hastened a number of trends in the real estate industry, from 3D home tours to virtual closings.
Chief among them was the digitization of the sales center, a once physical space that prospective buyers were sometimes required to visit in-person to secure pricing, floorplans and other information. To mitigate the spread of the virus, many homebuilders moved their purchasing processes online, creating a streamlined and convenient shopping experience for new home buyers.
Taylor Morrison, the fifth largest homebuilder in the US, is taking this virtual experience a step further by allowing buyers to complete the bulk of their new home purchase online. Users of the newly-launched reservation system are able to select their preferred floorplan, homesite and exterior elevation style from the comfort of their couch.
From there, the user is asked to fill out their contact information and disclose whether they are working with a real estate agent. The reservation can be completed with one click, and the remaining steps are to fill out an application for financing and make an appointment to sign the purchase agreement.
“Today’s consumers crave ease and simplicity, whether they’re purchasing a car, groceries, or a new home online—this new tool takes the friction out of homebuying,” said Taylor Morrison Chairman and CEO Sheryl Palmer in a press release.
Taylor Morrison claims to be the first homebuilder to give buyers the “capability to customize and purchase a new construction home digitally.” Since launching the new online tool, more than 130 inventory and to-be-built homes have been reserved.
In an interview with CNBC, Palmer said that upwards of 1,500 users had added a new home to their shopping cart and the company has observed “close to a 60 percent conversion [to sales].” A performance, she notes, that is “10 times what you would normally see.”
The reservation system is currently available in nearly 25 communities across 11 divisions, but there are plans to expand the offering nationwide. The press release also mentioned that since the pandemic began, Taylor Morrison has sold over 600 homes “entirely virtually, with no physical contact with the buyer.”
Previous homebuying tools the homebuilder unveiled in 2020 include 3D virtual tours, self-guided tours, and an online shopping cart that allows users to reserve completed or under-construction showcase homes.
“Our eye is keenly focused on empowering consumers to take control of their homebuying experience with thoughtful digital touchpoints at every turn,” added Taylor Morrison Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Stephanie McCarty.