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Would you buy a new home — ‘site’ unseen?

A lot has been made of the disruptive effect of technologies — look at what is happening in retail and media industries. In comparison, the real estate and new home industries has a reputation for lagging behind, and is sometimes slow to embrace new ways of thinking.


The Toronto Sun, Martin Slofstra

Published on December 9, 2017


That’s changing. Most builders now use social networks to announce new openings and sales preview events, whether it’s e-mail campaigns, Facebook and Twitter, or YouTube if a video is involved.

A real eye-opener for me was a demonstration of software that makes it possible to close the entire home buying process using a smart phone app. This includes registering with the builder, booking an appointment, picking out a new home model and lot, and confirming the transaction.

In effect, it becomes possible to bypass or avoid lining up at a sales office, or visiting it in person. Everything involved in the purchase of a new home can now be done online.

The software that makes this happen is called Home- BuyerPOS (point-of-sale) and its developer Salefish Software see huge potential. It is the result of a 12-year software project led by Rob Nicolucci, a prominent lowrise home design architect and Rick Haws, president of Salefish Software, who presented the software to media earlier this week.

Already in use in the sale of one out of six low-rise homes in the GTA, the software is designed also to eliminate confusion in a sales office when multiple buyers compete for a limited number of lots or models, the software updates all site information instantly, eliminating the need for placing the “red dots on a map” now used if a sale goes through.

It’s important to stress that at this point, a sales agent must be involved — buyers cannot buy homes directly, — although in theory that could happen one day too. But you can see where things are going. In one case, the new owners of 19 homes at a fast-selling new home site in Innisfil used Salefish to close the deal, and all 19 deals went through.

The real question though is whether most new home buyers are ready for this — buying a home is not like buying a pair of socks on Amazon.

But, as we were told at the briefing, today’s savvy buyers do all their research in advance, secure all the financing and come ready to buy a new home knowing what neighbourhood they want, the lot they prefer, and at what price and what square footage. Buying a new home from plans without ever setting foot on a new home site or visiting a sales office is not the leap of faith it may seem to be.

Whether the new software will help to eliminate the need for a builder’s sales office remains to be seen, but one thing is certain, the way people go about buying a new home is in for a radical change.

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