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Home Delivery Delays Will Sting You Twice

Bob Mirman

By Fernanda Luick

The term “perfect” is heard often throughout the home buying process: the buyers want to find a perfect home and the sellers want to deliver it. But the English definition of “perfect” means something more along the lines of “flawless” or “without error,” and that certainly isn’t going to happen when building a home—nothing’s perfect, no matter how experienced the builder. However, looking to the Hebrew definition of the word “perfect” provides a much more compelling and attainable offering: it means “complete.”

While a new home certainly isn’t without flaws, it can most definitely be complete. However, a home isn’t “complete” until three key events occur: the home is ready on the promised date, the new home is clean on the inside and outside, and the items needing correction have been finished by the move-in date.

Looking at over the tens of thousands of home buyers’ surveys collected by Eliant in 2017, we see a very impactful causal relationship: when homebuyers are unhappy with the home delivery experience, they are also much more likely to be seriously dissatisfied with the entire purchase experience. And unhappy homebuyers are neither likely to buy from you again nor recommend you to their friends.

Have we gotten your attention yet? Delays in home delivery will impact your current reputation and future referral-based sales. Homebuyers are less likely to recommend you to their friends and family if their home delivery was delayed and/or the new home was delivered in an incomplete manner.

The way your team shares information about move-in delays is a critical point to consider. Delivering a timely message that ensures transparent and accurate communication about upcoming delays should be a top priority of your construction and sales teams. Even more important, however, is the manner in which this information is delivered. Scheduling information offered in response to a homebuyer’s request is certainly the minimum we can do, but proactive updates on delays and changes in move-in schedules is a best-practice fully adopted by our highest rated home builders.

Most builders are facing similar challenges with home delivery delays. So, what sets our top-scoring builders apart? Here is how they respond to these challenges:

They create a buyer profile with communication preferences stated by each new homebuyer (phone, text, email).
They communicate regularly with their buyers and are transparent about production delays. They quickly share bad news, which may seem counter-intuitive, but this builds trust and respect.
They use homebuyer feedback from survey comments to understand specific challenges at the community level. They then isolate problems and address them with representatives and trades.
They minimize homebuyers’ anxiety and uncertainty by communicating scheduling status as often as possible (every two weeks at a minimum).
Towards the end of 2017, floods, fires, and hurricanes have delayed and damaged new construction. And yet, our top-scoring builders were still able to obtain high levels of satisfaction in home delivery while still facing the similar challenges of weather, shipping delays, etc. If they can do it, so can YOU.

The negative impact of delays in home delivery can be partially overcome by proactively keeping the buyer updated on the delivery schedule. Failure to do so will damage your reputation today and your sales from homeowner referrals tomorrow.

Remember: you may not be able to deliver a flawless product due to the very nature of homebuilding, but you can certainly deliver a complete home, and that’s its own kind of perfection.