Can visualization technology decipher the decision dilemma?

The concept of online homebuying has received a fair share of attention lately. And for good reason.

New technologies, social distancing, supply chain issues, low inventory, high demand, and generational shifts in buying preferences are just a few of the business and societal factors driving the acceptance of online purchases of higher-ticket items, including new homes.

Still, homebuilders and buyers need to overcome a few obstacles before a “buy now” capability becomes a permanent fixture in the digital homebuying experience. One challenge revolves around the paradox of choice and how much choice is too much or too little – for both the buyer and the builder.

An August 2021 Pro Builder article compared Tesla’s online car-buying experience to digital homebuying, noting that the high-end electric car company has honed its available choices to approximately five options per vehicle. While it might seem that some luxury automobiles approach the price of a small house, is a car-buying experience realistically comparable to the estimated 1,000-plus choices buyers could make when building an average 2,500 square-foot home?

Yes and no. The paradox of choice theory suggests that multiple choices for similar items confuse what buyers really want and reduce sales. Contrasting theories propose that offering choices of similar options – in our case, options like backsplashes, flooring, paint colors, siding, etc. – actually clarify the differences and help improve buyers’ confidence in their final selection.

The takeaway from the Tesla example is less about the actual number of choices offered and more about the user experience that enables those choices. To that end, virtual home design and visualization software like Paradigm Omni is simplifying and improving the selection process for homebuyers, by offering the tools to make confident buying decisions.

At the same time, Paradigm Omni allows builders to manage their inventory of professionally inspired choices and offer a streamlined experience in which buyers can make material selections for the whole home, compare pricing, and even choose structural options. This visualization software is also flexible enough to quickly adjust available options to accommodate customer preferences, supply chain issues, and fluctuating profit margins.

As online homebuying gets closer to reality, the paradox of choice can be solved by creating a streamlined digital experience that balances the buyer’s desire for choice and the builder’s need to gain efficiency in option management, all while increasing revenue.