Recently, we at Avid explored the difference of customer scores and ratings between the time they move in and one year of being in their homes. The data showed that across the board, scores fell from the time of move in to one year later, but that’s largely to be expected.
There’s a certain honeymoon phase that goes along with moving into your new home and the excitement is bound to wear off at some point. Well, with the large upheaval in our daily lives over the last 18 months, how have things changed?
The first thing we noticed with our standard set of builder questions was that for the 18 months leading up to the pandemic vs the 18 months since, move in scores actually improved! And the year end scores stayed essentially the same, so one thing in our lives remained relatively unchanged. But these scores may actually indicate something negative is happening…
The delta between Move In and Year End is actually growing. We at Avid have already tried to explore this difference and it was generally related to buyers feeling a sense of being forgotten; like they weren’t given the service they had come to expect during the buying process. So, when the world seemed to turn upside down, Builders seemed to respond well and make the buying experience even better… while not really changing anything after move in.
The largest correlation (and not coincidentally, the largest fall off pre-pandemic to now) was around the warranty service offered in the first year of residence. This is something that many of our customers have cited as being more difficult; coordination of entering a home, masking up, difficulties finding a workforce, and many other reasons have resulted in a difficult process to get post occupation work done. But, the good news is that we have a tip to help you close that gap.
Communication. Buyers responded well when they were told timelines and kept updated about progress, even if the timelines were pushed out a long way. When it was deemed necessary for work to take place, a simple estimated timeline, update on when the appointment was coming, and clear communication of the work done after the fact made buyers much happier in the long run and made it so builders got better overall reviews at most any part of the process.
So, make sure your buyers aren’t feeling left in the dust. This is potentially a lonely and difficult time for everyone, so communication can be the thing that changes someone’s day (or week or month or year).