In the homebuilding industry, we knew the decline would come soon after the mandatory shutdowns were ordered in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Some builders had blinders to the eventuality of the downturn while others pulled back in anticipation of it. But we’ve now discovered proof that virtual new home sales success CAN happen!
DeYoung Properties in Clovis, CA, sold 68% of its available homes in a 24-hour period using only online methods. On Saturday, March 25, when so many people were still adjusting to sheltering in place, DeYoung Properties launched phase two of its RidgeView Community. They had announced the launch in advance—primarily through social media—and had interested buyers anxiously awaiting the opportunity to buy a new home here.
Still, while such events usually welcome prospective homebuyers to a model where they could see, touch, and tour, DeYoung Properties offered only virtual tours of the model homes and aerial drone videos of the neighborhood. From there, interested buyers looked at photos and videos of the interiors.
When it was over, the company had contracts for 68% of the homes in this second phase of RidgeView Community. Previous launches had garnered anywhere from 33% to 75% sales of the available properties. Those results were based on having the ability to offer physical tours and in-person presentations. Never had they attempted to undertake a launch that was entirely online.
Looking back, Ryan DeYoung, president of DeYoung Properties, said they were well-positioned to shift to the virtual mode. “I chalk it up to our ability to adapt and quickly take the resources we have curated already and set that up in a way that is easily experienced by customers in a virtual setting.”
For the past few weeks, the COVID-19 pandemic has paralyzed both consumers and businesses. The way we shop and purchase has gone from comfortably convenient to a mad dash for things as seemingly mundane as toilet paper, bread, and chicken. While we used to expect quick delivery, we became thankful that groceries could arrive in less than 5 days. When snagging 4-ply toilet paper is a reason to celebrate success on Facebook, we’ve got to take a step back and regain perspective.
We have to grasp the concept that we will never return to the new home sales process that existed before COVID-19 pulled the rug out from under us. The post-pandemic landscape will likely become a hybrid of the virtual sales world and the one that preceded it just a month or so ago.
“What we saw this last Saturday is people continuing to make plans for their life, just in a virtual setting,” DeYoung explained.
We WILL move on from this health crisis, but we will not move entirely away from it.