Technology has impacted just about every aspect of the home-buying process. Take, for example, Austin, Texas-based HomLuv.com, the first visual search-and-discovery platform for new home buyers, which launched this month. Developed to make finding the perfect new home easier, HomLuv flips the search process around, showing buyers beautiful interior images, floor plans, and videos to help them discover their “unique design voice” and to articulate what they really want in a new home. (For a video of the HomLuv process, click here.)
Irvine, California-based TRI Pointe Group is one of the many home builders participating in the HomLuv system. SoCal Real Estate spoke with Linda Mamet, VP of corporate marketing for TRI Pointe Group, about how technology has altered the home-buying process and what to expect in the future.
SoCal Real Estate: How has technology altered the home-buying process?
Mamet: I think the question really is, what isn’t technology altering in the home-buying process? Consumers are now completely accustomed to researching online, whether it’s a computer, tablet or mobile device, for many different types of purchases — especially significant, large purchases like a new home. Not only do consumers want to be in control of the home buying process, but they also want in-depth information conveniently available to them at their fingertips. This includes everything from images and videos early in the buying process, like that provided on the new HomLuv site, to communication with the home-building team they’re working with during the purchase-and-closing process. At TRI Pointe Group, we’re constantly finding new ways and new partners to better meet consumer needs using technology across our family of regional home builders.
What new technological developments in the home-buying process do you see coming down the pike, and how do you see them continuing to change the process?
In the home-buying process, virtual reality is being used more and more. It allows home shoppers to tour a new home or community that hasn’t been built yet virtually. Augmented reality allows actual and virtual scenes to be blended together so home buyers can better visualize what will be built, especially when it comes to their personalization choices. The use of VR and AR technology helps home buyers feel more confident in their choices and move forward with a purchase. This technology can also help builders in the design and development process, potentially improving design and lowering costs. Technology has certainly provided more meaningful ways to interact with our buyers, and we know this will continue to evolve. We are excited about HomLuv because we know just how much visuals dominate the online marketplace. It’s the perfect platform to present buyers with key points such as interior images, floor plans, videos, location, price, and more so they can find their unique design voice and really visualize what they want in a new home.
What previous parts of the home-buying process are disappearing or obsolete with the advent of technology?
There is less need for hard-copy materials because they don’t allow interaction, personalization, and up-to-the-minute information to be easily shared. In the future, there may be less investment needed in model homes to show a variety of different styles, finishes, and options because home buyers will be able to experience these alternatives more easily via virtual and augmented reality.
What else should our readers know about this topic?
An innovative platform like HomLuv is exactly what homebuyers today are looking for. After viewing a variety of options, buyers indicate which images they like or dislike, and HomLuv then creates a unique profile for them. HomLuv’s artificial intelligence and crowdsourcing tools match buyers with home builders who can build their perfect home, in their desired location and price range. As a builder, we love that consumers can browse our inspiring new homes, room by room.