Technology links homebuyers with developers, builders

01/10/2018 - 15:43

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SPECIAL REPORT: New technology now available in WA uses an algorithm to match appropriate builders to specific blocks of land.

Technology links homebuyers with developers, builders
Chelsey Quartermain says the technology lets house-and-land buyers assess their options. Photo: Seshanka Samarajiwa

SPECIAL REPORT: New technology now available in WA uses an algorithm to match appropriate builders to specific blocks of land.

Technology company Houseandland.com.au has launched its software-as-a-service product in Western Australia, helping consumers match home builders to their preferred land option.

The technology uses an algorithm designed to match an appropriate builder and house design based on the buyer’s selected block of land.

(click to read a PDF version of this three-article special report)

The Melbourne-based company’s general manager, Chelsey Quartermain, said the initial concept and technology was conceived by a land developer in South Australia who wanted to give consumers a better idea of their options, and to reduce the dependence that land developers currently had on referrals from home builders.

“The Houseandland technology was developed when it was recognised there was a relatively unsophisticated homebuyer coming to view the land and didn’t necessarily know what their options were,” Ms Quartermain said.

“The developer thought that if the buyer could pick the lot they wanted and be able to match it with house designs that suit the block from whatever builder, then he would be able to sell the block more quickly.

“It’s a digital algorithm that allows a buyer to find a block of land, from an estate or a knock-down rebuild opportunity, and matches house designs that match that particular block.”

Ms Quartermain joined Houseandland as general manager in November 2017 and said that, with the technology already accepted and in use in South Australia, Victoria, NSW and Queensland, WA was a natural expansion target.

The specific characteristics of the WA market also made the technology particularly suitable.

“Builders in WA have a lot of control over the marketplace, so (land) developers are dependent on approximately 60 to 70 per cent referrals from builders for their sales, which is pretty unique to the Perth market in comparison to the rest of Australia,” Ms Quartermain told Business News.

“Generally speaking, a person on the street in WA is able to name some building companies, but that doesn’t happen on the east coast.

“There is a lot more marketing by the builders here in WA.”

Ms Quartermain said the product acted as a lead generator for developers and builders, and promoted collaboration within the industry.

“It’s delivering a more qualified buyer and it is connecting the developer and the builder,” she said.

“When a buyer enquires on a house-and-land package that has been generated, it lets both the builder and developer know and they can pick up the phone and speak to each other.

“Builders and developers want greater collaboration and they are wanting greater efficiencies in a tough market, so they want solutions that are able to expedite any kind or process for buyers.”

Houseandland charges $490 a month, for which builders get 90 listings per month and developers get to list unlimited blocks within an estate for a month.

Property agents, with no lock-in contract, are charged $90 per listing per month.

The product has already found traction with two of WA’s biggest land developers – Satterley Property Group and Stockland.

Stockland and Satterley are listed numbers one and number three respectively on the BNiQ Search Engine ranking of WA land developers.

Satterley general manager marketing and community development, Matej Nvota, said the Houseandland plug-in operated seamlessly within the Satterley website, to let potential buyers link their preferred location and block, to an appropriate builder.

“From a marketing point of view we are trying to improve the customer experience and make it as easy as possible to purchase from us,” he said.

“Previously, customers would purchase a block of land then look at available builders and start building.

“In the past five years the process has changed and people start at the beginning by looking for a total solution.

“Latest research shows 44 per cent of purchasers start their building journey by researching house-and-land packages.”

By searching for a house-and-land package through the Houseandland plug-in, potential buyers are also given an early indication of the total estimated cost of the package, allowing them to modify the search to suit their budget.

Ms Quartermain said she was confident the core technology would gain wide acceptance within the industry ahead of other associated products being launched by the technology company.

Houseandland was developing products to match consumers with finance packages, home investment options and suitable architects for refurbishments, extensions and rebuilds.

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