Buying a home online?

Story by Patricia Merrick

Summer 2022

Shane Homes is offering a new option for its customers to purchase a home online through the company’s popular Build & Price program.

“People can actually put offers on homes and buy them online without coming into a showhome,” says Melanie Gowans, general manager of sales and marketing for Shane Homes. “We’ll be the first builder in North America to do it so it’s a really big deal.”

The Build & Price program was introduced in the summer of 2021 and allows customers to go onto Shane Homes’ website to build the home they want and get a price so they can find out what they can afford without even talking to anyone.

“Our No. 1 question, especially through live chat, was, ‘What is the price?’” Gowans says. “I think that people were really tired of seeing signage saying, ‘from the low $400,000s,’ so we wanted to get more specific with pricing and be more transparent. It has been very well received; now we’re just taking the next steps.”

The program allows customers to choose a community and then pick from the most popular models available, which can also be customized. With the new Buy Now option, once they finish their build and get a price, they can make an offer for Shane Homes to accept, reject or counter. Once the offer is accepted, the customer can scan their identification, provide a deposit and upload their mortgage instructions right online. Customers still have the option to review everything in person as well.

“It doesn’t replace the customer service experience that they would receive from the area manager. It’s just that we’re removing those administrative steps to get the lot and to get the deal done and then from there the process would be exactly the same,” Gowans says. “We’re just adding this as an option.”

Shane Homes is currently building in Midtown and Cobblestone Creek. Gowans says some of the most popular options customers are choosing are kitchen upgrades, additional main floor bedrooms with full bathrooms, and side entries so they can develop the basement for an in-law.

“There’s multi-generational families purchasing a lot right now so that’s really helpful for them,” she says.

Customers are also choosing to add more office space, a larger garage, a deck and upgrades to master bathrooms. Gowans says the Build & Price program has allowed Shane Homes to see what customers are choosing for their builds and consider adding it as an option for other models.

The builder takes pride in its quality homes and customer service and wants to make the process of purchasing a home as easy as possible for customers, she adds.

“What really sets us apart is actually the customer experience,” Gowans says. “We’re actually being super transparent and doing what other companies are not doing by putting everything out there and giving customers all the information that they want up front. We’re not making them jump through hoops to get it and I think that’s a true indication that we’re very committed to the customer experience.