Tag Archives: New Home Sales

Across the country, analysts and forecasters are suggesting that 2016 will be a year of growth for the housing industry. What does this mean for your business?

Look behind the numbers with this infographic from MetroStudy. What factors are driving the growth? Which metropolitan markets will lead the way? Take a look:

2016 Housing Industry Predictions

 

Image via MetroStudy (link to original).

Posted in Media Coverage, News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

The 2015 Public Builder Report Cards

In 2014, public builders continued to see their balance sheets improve and sales grow.

While the market may have closed for new public home builders over the past year, 2013′s burst of activity introduced five new companies to the latest BIG BUILDER report card.

In 2014, it was good to be big. While many smaller private builders were struggling to secure both capital and land—the basic elements of growth in the business—the big were getting bigger. Whether they were looking for land or an entry point into new markets, the publics were aggressive.

But public growth wasn’t measured in number of acquisitions. According to stats compiled by American New Homes Group president Jamie Pirrello and his team of Robert Yemola, Kylie Berrena, David DeFreest, and Christine Zoerner—members of the Accounting, Business, and Economics Department at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa.—the publics grew in a lot of other metrics in 2014.

For the full list of grades and comments, continue reading via builderonline.com

40% of the top homebuilders on the Builder 200 list trust Constellation as their software partner. We’ll show you why.

Hanley Wood: 2015 Public Builder Report Cards

Posted in Blog, Online Resources | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

Google Mobile Search Algorithm 2015

Earlier this year, Google announced that they would be rolling out a change to their mobile ranking algorithm on April 21st. This was significant because with previous updates, Google has generally made the change before the announcement. Google has stated that this change will be more impactful than previous algorithm changes, and as it involves possible development changes for many websites, they wanted to give time to prepare.

What is this Mobile Friendly Update?

You’re a builder. You have a website, but it’s not mobile. When someone searches for “new homes in Baltimore,” your website comes up first in a Google search on a desktop. Congratulations, you’ve done a great job with your SEO!

The same prospect searches the same phrase, only this time on their mobile device. Your website doesn’t show up on the first page. Instead, your competitors – who have mobile websites – show up.

What happened?

In order to provide the best user experience, Google works to deliver the most relevant results for any search. If I search for “new homes in Baltimore” from my phone, click on the first result, and am directed to a non-mobile website, my experience suffers. It makes more sense that Google show mobile websites in their results when I perform a search on my mobile device.

To get users acclimated, Google began displaying a “mobile-friendly” tag next to websites in mobile search results, to let users know which websites might be better optimized for their device. Come April 21, Google’s algorithm change will prioritize websites that are mobile over those that aren’t.

Myth: If My Website is Not Mobile, It Won’t Appear At All in Mobile Search Results

Google isn’t suggesting that non-mobile websites will completely disappear from the rankings in mobile searches, but they will most certainly be penalized for not being mobile. If your non-mobile site is on the top page today (mobile search), the drop after April 21 could be substantial.

This update will not affect your desktop rankings, so if you don’t have a mobile website, you shouldn’t see a drop in rankings for non-mobile searches.

How Can I Check If My Website is Mobile-Friendly?

Go here. Type in your website. The Mobile-Friendly Tool will analyze your site and report back to you. This is a Pass/Fail situation. No B’s or C’s, just A’s and F’s. Either you’re mobile, or you’re not.

What Else is Changing?

If you’ve paid attention to search engine results over the past few years, you’ve certainly seen some changes. The number of results listed on a page has undoubtedly shrunk, ads take up more real estate, and in their attempt to answer your search, Google often provides neat answer boxes that bump organic results down even further. Make no mistake – while Google says it’s looking out for the user experience, their primary goal is to make money. You could have a mobile site and your mobile SEO could be dialed in, and with these changes your mobile traffic could still drop.

A question we’re often asked is about mobile apps versus mobile websites. That’s a lengthy discussion in and of itself, but it does seem that part of Google’s mobile update is to include mobile apps in its rankings. The impact of mobile app rankings will likely vary across industries, but it’s something else that may take up mobile search engine result space.

What Should I Be Doing to Be Successful in Mobile Search?

First, have a plan. April 21st is just a few days away, and in all likelihood if you don’t have a mobile site already, it would be a mad dash to get it done in time. When implementing a major change like this, it’s important to consider your long-term strategy. Is this a good time for a complete re-design? Could you benefit from additional functionality? Is my content management system outdated?

Doing something just to do it doesn’t always yield the best results. How are your prospects finding your website today? Mobile search? Paid ads? Social networks? Don’t know? That might be a great place to start.

 

TEST MY WEBSITEFREE WEBSITE EVALUATION

 

For further insight into the topic, Cindy Krum has an excellent post on Moz’s site.

Ryan McGrath is a Marketing Consultant at G.1440, the digital marketing arm of Constellation. He can be reached at rmcgrath@g1440.com or 410-843-3880. G.1440 is a certified Google Partner.

 

Posted in Blog, SEO, Websites | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off

The problems and frustrations in most builder/realtor relationships can be traced back to a few basic reasons. Here are the top four and how to resolve them.

Reason # 1 – Unrealistic expectations
Each party brings with them their own set of expectations. These expectations will remain hidden until they are revealed during the relationship, then it can be a big problem to overcome. One side is going to accuse the other of being unreasonable, or having unrealistic expectations.

Solution:
Create a written list of what you expect your realtor to do for you. What seems obvious to you may not be obvious to your realtor. Share this list with all the realtors you are considering.

Once you have decided on a realtor have them go through the process of defining their expectations of you. I promise you that this will be a new exercise for them.

With both parties having fully disclosed their expectations of the other it’s just a matter of agreeing to those expectations. When frustrations come up in the relationship, which they always will, all either party has to do is to remind the other what they had agreed to in the beginning.

Reason # 2 – Lack of Training
A new home realtor should have a good working knowledge of how a house is constructed. They should know how to handle the most common buyer objections. They should know about financing and the loan process. They should know the area where they are selling, the schools, shopping, restaurants, entertainment, and employment. They should be very familiar with the neighborhood restrictive covenants and have a copy in their briefcase to answer any questions that may come up during the showing. They should have a grasp of current economic conditions and be able to answer objections that may be based on the economy. Most importantly they should know the builder they are representing and they should know his or her product.

Solution:
During the interview process ask some probing questions. Find out if they know the things you believe they should know. If not, create a simple training program. All you need are a few good books and the willingness to follow-up and make sure that they have learned the things they agreed to. Train them on how you do business and how you build a house. Take them on a two to three hour orientation of one of your completed homes and go over every detail of the house, including attic and crawl space. Later on send in some undercover testers to ask questions and see if they can answer correctly. They are representing your product. Make sure they know what they are talking about and have been trained how to sell it.

Reason # 3 – Lack of Communication
I have gone weeks without hearing from my realtor. When I finally call them they tell me that they had nothing new to report so they didn’t see any reason to bother me. If there is nothing new to report then we have a problem that we need to be discussing and figuring out a solution for.
By the same token, I have had things going on in my business that affected my realtor, but I neglected to inform them. It simply slipped my mind.

Solution:
Schedule a weekly meeting and make that meeting a priority. Each party should come to the meeting with their own pre-written agenda. This ensures that all important topics are covered and communication does not break down in either direction.

Reason # 4 – The Realtor is Not Involved in the Decisions
If you’ve worked with realtors then you’ve heard the many reasons given for a house not selling. Too much color, not enough color, wrong kind of carpet, master bed room too small, bad lot, poor kitchen lay out, on and on. It’s never the marketing.

Solution:
Get the realtor involved in all the decisions. Let them help pick the floor plans, the colors, the carpet, the counters, the lights, etc. You may be thinking that your decorator can do a better job of that than your realtor but if you have an experienced, successful realtor who has been around for a while they probably have a better handle on what customers are looking for than your decorator does. At the very least, have your realtor approve the selections.
Not only does this remove most all of the excuses but what you will find (if you have a good realtor) is that their opinions were actually right on the money. Most likely you will find your sales volume increasing and days on the market decreasing.

About the Featured Author:
Tim Davis is the founder of The Builder’s Coach, a national coaching and consulting firm designed to assist small to mid sized builders with back-office management and marketing solutions. Tim is a published author, a speaker at the national level of the NAHB, has been a successful home builder for the past twenty years, and is also a licensed realtor. Visit The Builder’s Coach for more information and some free, but valuable downloads.

Posted in Best Practices, Blog, BuildSoft, Constellation BLUEPRINT, New Home Sales | Tagged , , | Comments Off