By Barbara Wray, SVP Strategic Growth for Wick Marketing
Groundbreaking new research from Wick Marketing shows that while 77% of homebuyers prioritize trust, only 21% of prospects say they highly trust new home builders. That 56% gap reveals a unique window of opportunity for new home builders to differentiate themselves and, ultimately, to gain a timely competitive advantage with today’s buyers.
Wick’s attitudinal study was fielded from March 27 to April 22, 2023 and included those who purchased new homes from November 2022 to March 2023 and prospects planning to buy within two years. It identified three distinct groups of buyers who share a set of attitudes, which were not defined by age or other demographic data. While 22% of buyers felt confident in their homebuying process and were satisfied with their decision, 38% felt burdened and disappointed and 40% were stressed and felt regretful of their home purchase decision.
What About 55+ Buyers?
Resoundingly, homebuyers are asking builders to provide a significantly better experience and a higher-trust environment. Based on the research, here are five specific actions you can take to meaningfully differentiate your brand in the eyes of today’s prospective homebuyers, 55+ and otherwise.
1. Be generous with financing and buying information
A significant percentage of recent homebuyers felt unsupported and were left wanting for more information, especially around financing. Easy-to-work-with builders and developers who proactively provide better support stand to earn stronger connections with today’s buyers — and are better positioned to sell more homes.
Consider: Create content that educates buyers on the buying process, financing and what to expect.
2. Shop like a homebuyer
How does your buyers’ entire experience with your brand compare to your competition? Some 82% of prospects say pricing information is the first information they need. Is it transparent and easy to find? Evaluate every touchpoint online and onsite. Considering how much of the marketing budget goes to getting people onsite, is the experience what you want it to be every time?
Consider: Shop your competition. Shop yourself harder. Create your punch list for improvements.
3. Be their best resource
Only 22% of recent buyers felt confident in their homebuying process and were satisfied with their decision. The other 78% felt stressed, unsupported and even regretful. Get creative in ways to provide useful information that goes beyond what they’re getting from Realtors or your competition. Buyers are asking for better support. Builders who provide it now, stand to gain.
Consider: Leverage industry relationships to provide content around all aspects of home purchase and ownership.
4. Reconcile with realtors
Given that 51% of prospects say they have a high level of trust in real estate agents, there are gains to be made in understanding why buyers use them. Maybe start by taking a deeper look at your brand through the eyes of a Realtor. You decide — how well does it serve them, and so how well does it serve you in terms of sales they may bring to you?
Consider: Solicit feedback from a few key real estate agents and craft a meaningful strategy.
5. Close the trust gap
Nobody wins in a low-trust environment. Not the brand or sales teams. Not customer service, social media, PR or legal teams. And not the customer. Trust is created — or eroded — at every touchpoint in the customer’s experience of your brand. And this is where you can move the needle. One conversation, one online impression and one brand experience at a time can help today’s buyer move closer to getting what they need to confidently purchase their new home.
Consider: Update your customer experience strategy at every touchpoint. Add or improve checklists, resources and tools that help buyers to know more and feel confident and supported in their home buying journey.
About Wick Marketing
Wick Marketing is a strategic marketing firm in Austin, Texas that has specialized in effective marketing and branding for master-planned community developers, including 55+ Active Adult, new home builders and multifamily developers since 1995. Wick commissioned the “Beyond Buyer Profiles & Demographics: Who Is Buying Homes Now and Why” study to gain fresh insights to today’s new home buyers to inform its own client work, and to share with the greater residential real estate community.