Location may be the single biggest factor when buying real estate, but with so many options you have the luxury of being able to choose who will build your new home. Look for dedication to customer service, look for good communication — look for a “social builder.”
What exactly does it mean when a builder is utilizing social communication as part of their business model? It could mean a lot, actually. Traditionally, a builder’s online presence was static. Websites communicate information to you, but didn’t allow for publicly displayed feedback, questions or complaints. A potential home buyer would take the basic information such as location, price and standard finishes and make a purchasing decision primarily based on those factors.
Social media changed all of that. Networks such as Facebook and Twitter allow for immediate two-way communication. Purchasers can now engage the builder for the whole world to see. Sounds great, right? But remember the saying, “A happy customer tells a friend, an unhappy customer tells everybody?”
A builder who operates on social networks is opening themselves up to all the positives and the potential negatives that come along with it. A social builder gains instant credibility by taking that risk, as it provides transparency and demonstrates commitment to their product.
So you have decided where you want to live, found the builders you can choose from and they all have Facebook pages; now what? Start with reviewing the type of things they post. Is it all self promotion, or are they communicating useful information to both potential and current homebuyers? Is it one way communication, or are they encouraging feedback and input? Seek out complaints, and don’t be alarmed if your potential builder has a few.
Buying a home can be a very emotional experience, and sometimes that emotion gets the better of people. Look for how the builder responded to the complaint, and if it was resolved in the eyes of homeowner. It won’t take you long to establish who is more committed to their customers.
Of course, not every quality builder will be utilizing social media. Many businesses are still sceptical that there is enough value to justify the cost. But by that same logic, those that are willing to spend the resources clearly differentiate themselves by being accountable to their clients. All else being equal, I like my chances with a social builder.