June 1 2020

Design Your New Floor Without Leaving Your Home with AHF Products

by Erin

Visualizer on mobile device

AHF Products is the leading manufacturer of high-quality, hardwood flooring. They have recently launched a floor Visualizer that assists its customers with bringing their flooring visions to life. Customers can now use this digital tool to view the latest flooring styles before purchasing their new home.

 

Consumers can take the guesswork out of designing their next new home from the palm of their hand. The Visualizer tool is an online platform that is easy to use on any device such as a tablet, laptop computer, or mobile phone. Options for color, style, and several different room options are available as well as the option to upload images of the actual space for better visualization of the final product. 

 

The Visualizer tool works with a simple four-step process:

 

Choose a room: In this stage of the process, consumers will upload a photo of the space in their home they are looking to design or select one of the options available on the website.

 

Select Flooring: Consumers will take a look at the vast selection of flooring options available and choose the one that fits best with their design preferences. 

 

Visualize it: At this point, consumers can now view their newly designed space online with the option to zoom in and out or rotate the floor for a better view of the possible end result. 

 

Save, Share, or Find a Store: Once all of the previous steps are completed, all there is left to do is to save the image, share with others to get their opinions, or find a retailer nearby to make the vision come to life. 

 

The Visualizer tool by AHF Products is the perfect tool to help consumers speed along their design process with as little stress as possible. This tool even informs them of where they can purchase the options that they selected. The goal here is to first help the customer and to also increase sales and profitability all around for AHF Products and other retailers.   

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April 25 2020

Fixer Uppers Are a Thing of the Past for Millennial Homebuyers

by Erin

outdoor kitchen living space

As there has seen an increase in Millenial home buyers over the past few years, there has also been a shift in the types of homes that catch their young eyes.  This age bracket is looking for new homes that are ready to move in. They are passing up homes on the market that are distressed or run down to be able to walk into a move-in ready home. With today’s daily hustle and bustle, there is not very much time to dedicate to remodeling an entire home. Because of this new trend, homeowners that are looking to sell in this everchanging market are spending more on high-end remodeling before placing their homes on the market in order for them to sell.

 

Many Millennials are interested in homes that require very little maintenance and stress. The kitchen space is one of the most visited rooms in the home and detail is everything. Spacious, updated kitchens are a must-have. The aesthetic of granite counters with lots of space for preparing meals and stainless steel appliances as well as a kitchen island has been very appealing. Kitchens are not just about cooking anymore but they must flow with the rest of the home and offer a great space to entertain family and friends. 

 

Homebuyers of today are also looking for smart homes. Anything less than that is a thing of the past. Smart home features have impacted the real estate industry in a major way over the past decade and more new home builders and sellers have made it a priority to include in-home technology for their buyer’s convenience. Millennial buyers are more willing to pay a little more to gain the convenience of connecting to their home from their smartphone with features like a programmable thermostat, home security, and a Ring doorbell as well as streaming their favorite Netflix series.

 

A large number of Millennial buyers are self-employed or work from home. There has been an influx of self-made entrepreneurs and creatives in this age group that requires a space in their new home to let their creativity flow. A dedicated workspace has been an attractive trend on the list. Sellers have been intentional about showcasing a spare bedroom, loft, or nook in the home that would work well as a home office to make the home more appealing. 

 

One of the biggest trends that are evident is the need for large open spaces in the home. Today’s home buyers are looking for lots of natural lighting and fewer walls that would leave them feeling closed in or confined in their living space. Older homes from the past tend to be dark and drab with rooms that are closed off. Companies like Nana Wall help sellers to resolve this issue by installing folding glass walls in homes to offer more indoor-outdoor spaces that can open up to kitchens and bathrooms and provide more natural lighting and an open feel in the home.

 

Every day, home buying trends are changing and evolving in the real estate market and both buyers and sellers have to stay on their toes. Understanding the needs of upcoming home buyers is very essential to the sale of both new and preloved homes. 

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December 6 2019

How to Save Money for a Down Payment on Your New Home

by racheal

Piggy Bank

One of the biggest accomplishments to make is finally signing on the dotted line for the purchase of your very first home, but how exactly do you get to that point? Although it may be everyone’s dream to purchase property in some shape or form, it may not be everyone’s reality. Purchasing a home can cost more money than you can gather in between your couch. You may need to use a few more tactics in order to reach your financial goals. Here are a few helpful ways to help you to curb impulse buys and be intentional about saving up for one of the biggest purchases you’ll probably ever make in your life without having to starve yourself.

 

Figure out how much house you can actually afford

 

Before beginning the process of saving funds for your future new home, it’s best to plan out not only how much you are willing to spend on a home, but more importantly how much you can actually afford. Have a seat and tally up your monthly earned income as well as your monthly expenses to see how much room you have to groove. This way, you’ll have the ability to figure out just how much you can save and how often in order to reach your down payment goal while still living very comfortably. Ramen noodles are a great option for a college student, but not so much for a family looking for a starter home.

 

Look into down payment assistance

 

There are options out there that can save you even more money on the purchase of your new home. If you are a first time home buyer, you are more than likely to qualify for assistance with your down payment. There is also assistance for those with low to middle income and veterans as well. This might mean a little more paperwork and a lot more research, but it also means less money out of your pocket for that dream home of yours.

 

Check your credit

 

Your credit score, as well as your credit history, are pretty important factors when it comes to making a home purchase. The better your credit score, the more likely you are to get approved for a loan and the more options you will have. Keep your credit score in check while doing these things and you’ll be on your way to owning your home soon.

 

• Pay your bills on time

• Use less of your available credit

• Do not open any new credit accounts

• Maintain a mix of credit amounts

 

Open up a separate savings account

 

One huge mistake potential home buyers make is keeping their funds for their down payment in the same savings account meant for other funds, like vacations, or vehicle emergencies. Open a new account specifically for the purchase of your home so that expenses do not get mixed up. 

 

Another good idea is to open an account with another financial institution so that you are not tempted to touch the money you’ve worked so hard to save. The act of borrowing from the account will be much harder to do when the funds are housed in a completely different bank.

 

Set up an automatic transfer to your savings account

 

Make the hard work of saving funds a little easier with automatic transfers through your bank. You can schedule however much you’d like and however often you need in order to meet your goal and can almost forget about it. 

 

Take advantage of your raises

 

For those of you that receive raises from your employer, it would be very beneficial to take the extra money that you receive and place it into your down payment savings account. Many people use the extra funds to buy more rather than to save for more. 

 

Remove credit card numbers from your favorite online shopping websites

 

Spending money unnecessarily can be a difficult habit to break and make it much harder to save. One great suggestion is to remove your saved credit card numbers from your favorite online shopping websites. This will make it less convenient to spend and more convenient to save.

 

Spending money online is much easier these days. You can easily spend hundreds of dollars from the comfort of your home with just a few clicks. Just thinking about having to get out of bed to grab your credit card may help deter you from making those unnecessary purchases as often, which will save you a ton in the long run.

 

Wait a little longer before making a purchase.

 

Another tip that will be helpful when saving is to wait before you make a purchase. Maybe give yourself a few days or even a full week after getting receiving your paycheck to spend money other than bills. Ask yourself the question: Do I really need this? An even better question to ask is this: Did I need this yesterday? That question can be mind-blowing when you realize there was no actual need for the item at all. You can also take the amount of money that you would have spent and place it into your savings account, whether it’s a fast-food meal or a new pair of shoes. 

 

Minimize vacation spending for a year

 

Save hundreds and even thousands of dollars by skipping out on the elaborate vacations for an entire year. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have a little fun with your family. There are plenty of low-cost ways to have a mini-vacay right in your backyard. Choose more affordable options like driving instead of flying to your destinations. Select a location that is a little bit closer to home and make it a family road trip. Sign up for promotional deals to receive discounts for your experience at hotels, amusement parks, and more.

 

Pick up a side job or ask for overtime

 

To help you reach your goal a little faster, ask to work a few extra hours of overtime. If that is simply not an option for you, you can also make use of food delivery apps like Uber Eats and Postmates, or pick up and deliver groceries using Instacart. You can also use Uber or Lyft to offer rides or offer rides for the extra cash. If you have a skill that you’re great at, use it to make a few dollars. You can sell handmade jewelry, baked goods, or even offer resume editing services to go toward your savings goal and pay down your debt.

 

With a little bit of elbow grease and a lot of patience, you’ll be on your way to homeownership in no time! 

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October 4 2019

Move-In Ready: Great Customer Service Becomes Self-Service

by Erin

Self Service Sales Center Kiosk

Self-Service Technology moves home shoppers quickly and efficiently toward critical information and increased engagement.

 

By Zoe Miller

 

Customer service should be all about the customer, but only that person truly knows his or her needs and goals, mood and interests, preferred pace and overall schedule. The buyer’s journey in residential real estate (the largest consumer industry) is the most consequential, so it stands to reason this is when customers would demand the most convenience and control.

 

Enter self-service technology (SST), a solution that helps customers or prospects serve themselves. If you’ve used an ATM or self-checkout at a grocery store, you’ve used this kind of technology. Self-service technology has become a key element of the home buying process as buyers grow more comfortable with it. Whether online or in a sales center, SST empowers the customer by delivering the right information in the right way at the right time. 

 

Convenience, Control & Connection

 

Convenience is always a top priority for new home shoppers who find themselves with countless questions in need of timely answers. Just as smart home technology has been the latest trend for convenience, self-service technology helps prospective home buyers by providing fast and concise information. Questions that may have once required a phone call or even a face-to-face meeting can now be answered through a self-service solution, available 24/7. 

 

More than anything else, homebuyers seek a value-unique experience—a level of service that will inspire not just sales, but enthusiastic referrals. Online resources should be replete with impactful visuals and an easy-to-understand user experience. Interactive kiosks and even the use of virtual reality technology belong front and center in a sales center so home shoppers can easily find them. Reduced friction and maximum convenience and engagement are highly valued by home shoppers.

 

Customized Over Customary 

 

It’s important for home builders to understand that communication doesn’t have to equal conversation or even human interaction. Interaction typically follows waiting in line or on the phone or for an appointment time—and that’s rarely convenient. An easy-to-navigate and engaging self-service experience will go a long way toward buyer satisfaction. 

 

Home shoppers also value personalization and customization—information that's tailored to their specific situation. When SST automation is used to create a customized experience with targeted follow-ups regarding time frames or product tips, people don’t forget. 

 

What’s worse than a problem? The frustration over not knowing how to resolve it. Home shoppers and home builders alike benefit when SST can solve problems and answer questions. An interactive two-way setup with results, feedback, and proposed resolution boosts the customer experience. Specific home shopping questions that can be addressed with SST range from pricing, availability and construction schedules to elevations, floor plans, and other details.

Zoe Miller Headshot

It all adds up to value-unique—a level of customer service that's actionable and personable.

 

 

— Zoe Miller is a principal at Computer Presentation Systems in the Sacramento, California area. The 25+-year veteran of the home building industry sets the company’s development strategies and oversees its daily operations.

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