Welcome to the BYTE, where we serve up the latest home and tech news from the last week for you to sink your teeth into.

This week we’ll take a BYTE out of a neighborly report, a new consumer-run social channel, rivals coming together for good reason, a redesign of the cube, and a bird flying from the nest. Enjoy!


Neighbors Are Ok…

Trulia put out the results of their study on how we all feel about our neighbors. Overall, most people like their neighbors and millennials have the most complaints.

What Do My Neighbors Notice?

The report showed most people describe their neighborly relations as friendly. Millennials tend to be either best friends with their neighbors or complete strangers. They also have the most pet peeves when it comes to their neighbors. Noise was the biggest complaint. However with the holidays coming up it is nice to see that only 6% were peeved by decorations left out well past the holidays.

So that's how my neighbors really feel http://ow.ly/XmUj304NXAZ Click To Tweet

Be My Hero

That’s What YouTube Is Asking Everyone

YouTube announced YouTube Heroes this week. Basically YouTube wants everyday users to help moderate the videos on the site. The more you look at the site and report the more points you get. There are levels you achieve after various point amounts and they reward you with exclusive benefits, first looks, and so on. The downside? Many fear this might instate a bit of anarchy with everyone running around trying to report videos, and that YouTube may not have the man power to do this job themselves.

YouTube wants everyone to be their hero http://ow.ly/cqrq304NXMw Click To Tweet

Take Notes

Making Smart Smarter

Amazon, Google, IBM, Facebook, and Microsoft are coming together to make AI together. These powerhouse companies are teaming up to set the standard for AI, make it smarter, safer, and work together instead of competing and making something dangerous. I think we all remember The Terminator.

Tech giants unite for a smarter AI http://ow.ly/UZ57304NXTp Click To Tweet

Don’t Be A Square

Anytime MIT and Google come together something cool is bound to happen. This time they are redesigning the cubicle. It is basically a sphere to give you privacy while you work and help you focus. With all the new open office floor plans some people need less distraction. This pod of sorts pulls down from above and gives you an instant personal space or for some even full meeting rooms.

Looks like the cubicle may be a thing of the past http://ow.ly/HQs3304NY1i Click To Tweet

Going, Going….

Twitter is pretty much for sale and 4 different companies are looking to buy. Google, Microsoft, Disney, and Salesforce. Twitter has had a bit of a lack luster revenue growth, but that isn’t stopping them from selling their company for a measly $30 billion. No matter who buys Twitter, there is a shift ahead for the company and how it changes will be very interesting to watch.

Twitter looks to sell to highest bidder http://ow.ly/L88F304NY4H Click To Tweet

Totally Unrelated

Friends Forever

Lisa Kudrow and Courtney Cox recently played celebrity name game and you can guess what the bonus round category was. Friends.

Lisa Kudrow and Courtney Cox know their Friends trivia http://ow.ly/4xnf304NY9R Click To Tweet

Responsive web design “responds” to the needs of the user by identifying the device type and screen size. The result is readability and navigability optimized specifically for a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop and a consistency of experience across devices. Home buyers can surf responsive sites from home or on the road.

How is Responsive Design Different?

Unlike a pre-2013 “fixed” website structured in pixels, responsive sites are designed with fluid grids. Instead of creating specific-size elements, a web designer specifies the sizes of elements relative to other elements. In terms of structure, it’s about proportionality.

Responsive design supports a variety of technological developments that have arisen with multi-platform internet access. It’s versatile enough to accommodate navigation through a mouse, a keyboard, or a touch-screen. It’s flexible enough to load graphics quickly, regardless of download speed, and to support different font sizes, line heights, and photo sizes (as needed for each user). And it’s powerful enough to use in place of mobile apps, so you don’t need to invest in an app for every type of device.

User Statistics

User statistics make a compelling case for making responsive website design priority #1 for all home builders who haven’t yet made the necessary transition. Consider the facts:

  • In 2015, mobile users began to outnumber desktop users, and the numbers continue to diverge (Morgan Stanley Research)
  • For 2017, the number of mobile phone users is projected to reach 4.77 billion (Statista)
  • Mobile devices now drive 56 percent of web traffic (Similarweb)
  • Users spend 2.8 hours a day with digital media on mobile devices (eMarketer)

Clearly, accommodating mobile users is being responsive to the demands of the market. But how does responsive design meet the needs of individual consumers and your business?

Responsive Design is Google-Recommended

Google’s algorithms constantly change, but Google’s intent remains the same—to direct consumers to websites offering the best possible user experience. Because more than 60 percent of searches come from mobile devices, a good user experience must include no horizontal scrolling, easily readable text, and all of the additional features of responsive design, in addition to relevant content. So an investment in responsive design is also an investment in search engine optimization (SEO).

Better Sites Capture More Leads

Which experience generates more leads? A compromised, bland experience or one that is individualized and dynamic, that gets users engaged and interested in exploring. Of course, it’s the latter—the one that proves your company values exceeding customer expectations. Responsive design supports all of the elements the best home builders use to generate leads and convert them to sales: video, high quality images, virtual tours, and connectivity with social media.

ROI Increases as Content Management Needs Decrease

If you’re managing a main site and a mobile version, your staff is spending twice the necessary time on content management. Hours of time that could be spent on other business critical projects are continually wasted. With a responsive site, your business has one site to manage and an efficient process for uploading content to one enterprise content management system.

The BDX Solution

Content converts browsers to buyers on builders’ sites, so the solution cannot be to maintain different sites for desktops, tablets, and smartphones. This was a stopgap solution used by some builders to address the surge in mobile access. It was implemented at the expense of wasted man hours and poor user experiences.

The solution is one interface that adapts to all devices, platforms, screen ratios, and browsers, to reach more home buyers. BDX develops responsive sites for builders, optimized to cleanly display the information buyers want to see. Thumb-friendly navigation buttons enable easy browsing on touch screens, click-through functionality eliminates the need to type, and images are scaled to the size of the viewing device. Optimized content delivers informed and enthusiastic visitors to your communities, who are primed to buy.

Think of a BDX responsive website as one that anticipates your prospects every need as well as your best-trained salespeople. The result is a seamless handoff from your site to sales.

Welcome to the BYTE, where we serve up the latest home and tech news from the last week for you to sink your teeth into.

This week we’ll BYTE into the real numbers behind smart homes, an app to help fight your lagging jets, a popular social site over-estimating their numbers, a shift in how we all move around, and a newer social app trying to see its future. Dig in!


Finding A Better Connection

That’s what a lot more people are doing now-a-days. Houzz put out its smart home report for 2016 and Business Insider did an analysis on the future of The Internet of Things Market. All in all there have been more smart products used and the trend shows no signs of slowing down.

Well What Did They Say

The Houzz report found that home renovations are leading the charge with 45% of all remodels. Thermostats and security systems top the best sellers list for smart devices, and a lot of people need help installing them. Business Insider’s report estimates the market from now until 2020. Basically the market is about to blow up, with an estimated 24 billion installed devices, $6 trillion invested, and high adoption from consumers, governments, and most of all in businesses. Kaboom.

The latest numbers from Houzz and Business Insider on Smart Homes http://ow.ly/ZoaV304zDYe http://ow.ly/y1O2304zE4N Click To Tweet

App-arently An Included Feature

When Your Room Comes With An App…

Check out the Stay Well app that comes with certain Delos real estate properties. The app includes local recommendations for the area and points out cool features in your hotel room. But the best part is the jet lag tool. The tool tells you exactly when to drink coffee, expose yourself to sunlight and go out and get some sun with “Vitamin D Walks.” If this actually works then it won’t be long before apps like these take off.

I like my travel sans jet lag http://ow.ly/s0Vn304zElf Click To Tweet

Take Notes

Wait Who’s Watching?

Not as many people as we thought. Facebook announced it may have exaggerated its view counts just a bit for videos on the social network. The number that was inflated for all marketers was the average viewing time. Basically if your video was viewed for more than three seconds it was counted as a full view, which everyone now agrees definitely does not count… well, at least as long as your video is longer than three whole seconds.

The rundown on Facebooks exaggerated video numbers http://ow.ly/yxBy304zEvv Click To Tweet

Turn This Car Around

Personal car ownership is dwindling as shared car ownership is rising. Deloitte University Press put out a future of mobility infographic explaining how the rise of ride shares, autonomous vehicles, car shares and a driverless revolution are all showing a dramatic change in the way most people get around.

There has been a shift in how we use our cars http://ow.ly/bAnW304zECU Click To Tweet

Make It Snappy

Over the weekend Snapchat changed its name and released “Spectacles”. Snap Inc., the app formerly known as Snapchat, is growing and offering more products. The “Spectacles” are sunglasses with cameras on them that can send videos straight to the app. Think Google Glass, but trendier. As Snap Inc. continues to grow and offer more products it will be interesting to see how it stands up in the competitive social realm.

Snapchat becomes Snap Inc and Spectacles hit soon http://ow.ly/FhRm304zEO0 Click To Tweet

Totally Unrelated

Pottermore And More And More

If you ever got into the Harry Potter series or know someone who did, this new Patronus Quiz might be a fun way to start the week. Even if you didn’t get into the Harry Potter world the quiz is still quite beautiful and fun to play around with. NOTE: You do have to create an account.

The new Harry Potter Patronus Quiz http://ow.ly/3Oii304zF0t Click To Tweet

Builders Quick to Capitalize on Trend with Online Technologies

Surveys commissioned by Redfin in 2016 and 2015 show that one in five home buyers made bids before seeing a home in person. Even more surprising, nearly 40 percent of people who purchased homes for more than $750,000 bid blindly in 2016. How are builders and sellers accomplishing this feat? 

Technology is taking the place of in-person visits to model homes and existing homes. Transplant buyers moving to ultra-competitive markets like Philadelphia, Richmond, and Colorado Springs are now able to bid with confidence against area residents, by exploring homes in vivid detail online.

Realtor and Certified Relocation Specialist in Dallas, Jeannette Rohan says the timing for these new technologies couldn’t be better. “Several major corporations are transplanting thousands of workers to our area, which has created a hot seller’s market for builders and existing home owners. Offer deadlines and multiple bids have made it impossible for out-of-state buyers to see the existing or spec homes they like before they go under contract. The builders who are able to simulate a visit to the community and the model homes are winning these buyers over.”

As I quietly added the phrase “sight unseen” to the end of her sentence, Rohan corrected me. “It’s only sight unseen in the traditional sense. These people aren’t really taking a risk at all. They’re getting intimately familiar with the homes online. They’re making informed decisions about the areas, the communities, the models, and even the elevations and finishes. They’re buying these homes with as much certainty as buyers from the area who do visit the communities and tour the models, and when they move in, they’re just as happy.”

Here are the online technologies and resources enabling out-of-state buyers to get in the game:

Online Virtual Tours

Until you have experienced today’s best-of-breed online virtual tours, you’re likely to continue believing that nothing can replicate the immersive experience of a model home tour. But with virtual tours, buyers can “walk through” model homes, engage with the spaces and appreciate the design flow and layout, as well as materials and textures. The virtual experience actually exceeds the experience of visiting model homes in two very important ways: 1) Builders can cost-effectively make every model available for buyers in every community to tour online; and 2) Buyers can choose elevations, building materials, fixtures, and design options and visually compare them to make more informed choices.

Video and Animation

Video is vivid, entertaining, informative, and actionable. It’s versatile too; builders can use it on their sites, in online listings, on a YouTube channel, and in the sales and design centers. Video is preferred over text on social media, and it’s viral. Transplant buyers talk to one another and share information, which makes it especially valuable for builders trying to capture this market. Video offers a one-time low-cost investment with so many applications.

Professional Photography

Builders are competing against existing homes, yet many fail to provide as many pictures as their existing home competition. For transplants, the more visual information you provide, the better your chances of making the final consideration set. Decisions happen quickly. Quick decisions are often emotional decisions, and emotional decisions are influenced by the senses. So make use of high quality, high quantity dramatic professional photography in your listings and on your sites. Use photography and custom graphics liberally throughout all of your marketing materials. Use it to showcase models, as well as your custom work, interior features, and design options.

3D Renderings and Floor Plans

3D renderings enable buyers to appreciate height, depth, flow, and the relationship of spaces to one another. When you don’t have the advantage of a model home to demonstrate dimension, get a similar impact by using hyper-realistic 3-D renderings with custom color enhancements, including landscaping and lighting for dramatic effect.

Downloadable PDF Brochures

Buyers print and share PDFs, and transplant buyers are especially likely to use them because they come in groups. Use these pieces to balance visuals with text that drives home your brand’s marketing messages and key details about your communities and homes.

Rohan says transplants to competitive markets rely heavily on these resources. “As someone who works closely with corporations and the employees they relocate, I can tell you that all of these materials simplify the process for my clients. Buyers feel good about contracting with builders who do their best to inform them and minimize the risk of such an important decision.”


April 26-28, 2017       

Austin, Texas
More Info & Registration   

Back by popular demand, BDX is excited to announce the return of the DCX Digital Transformation  Summit. The 2017 Summit will be intimate (only 200-300 industry leaders) and focused very much on learning around retail science, new digital trends, and the customer experience/marketing. We purposely bring in speakers from outside of our industry to ensure we are bringing in fresh ideas/approaches! Want to know what to expect? Check out highlights from the 2016 event.

Don’t miss out on the excitement. This event will sell out!

Click here for more information and to register.