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Electronic closings: A virtual reality

National Mortgage Professional
Aug 13, 2008

Coldwell Banker "Housetrology" Quiz uncovers intangible homebuying influencesMortgagePress.comColdwell Banker, Housetrology, homebuyers, quiz, Facebook Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC has shared the initial results of its innovative and engaging Housetrology quiz online in which the company asked people, "What's Your House Sign?" After receiving more than 1,200 responses this summer, Coldwell Banker delved deeper into the emotional instincts affecting home buying decisions by leveraging a third-party research company to conduct a more formal consumer attitude survey on home buying. In addition, Coldwell Banker tapped the expertise of Dr. Ruth Peters, a family psychologist and special correspondent on NBC's "Today" show, to interpret the results of the company's online quiz and consumer research. Dr. Peters offers an additional perspective on how home buyers can balance emotional and practical issues while hunting for the homes of their dreams. Encouraging consumers to think beyond such standard home buying variables as square footage or school districts, "Housetrology" examines how emotional instincts can factor into the type of house a person might want to live in. Answers to such questions as, "Which TV show's house would best suit you?" or "What would you see out of your dream home window?" include images and descriptions. At the conclusion of the quiz, consumers learn their ideal home style. More than two-thirds of Facebook respondents fell into either the "Urbanist" (35 percent) or "Contemporarian" (34 percent) categories. The Coldwell Banker "Housetrology" quiz is now also available on the Web site giving everyone who participates a fun and unique way to uncover their inner "house signs" and better understand the various factors influencing their home style preferences (See complete results from the "Housetrology" Facebook quiz below). "As a clinical psychologist with over 30 years of experience, and through my partnership with Coldwell Banker, I've seen how emotions can influence major life decisions such as finding a home," said Dr. Peters. "And while validating our emotions and trusting instincts are important, it's essential to look past emotional triggers like perfect white picket fences, and consider practical factors as well to make the most informed decision for your family." "Before visiting an open house or reaching out to speak with a sales associate, consumers research and collaborate online in what we call the 'dreaming phase' of the home buying process," says Michael Fischer, senior vice president, marketing, Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. "By delivering this fun and informative 'Housetrology' quiz on Facebook and on our Web site, were helping future homeowners dream and identify the kinds of homes they like most, and through innovative, interactive channels." Conducted by International Communications Research (ICR), a leading third-party research company, the findings from the Coldwell Banker Survey include the following highlights: Quality, feel and first impression of home matter More than three out of every four respondents (78 percent) felt that the quality of a home is more important than square footage. The majority of respondents (60 percent) also said that the "feel" of a home is as important as its price. Twelve percent of respondents knew their house was "the one" even before stepping inside. After visiting just once, that figure rose to 51 percent. "While some buyers begin the process with a list of 'must-haves,' this data demonstrates how intangible impressions like 'quality' and 'feel' factor heavily into the home decision-making process," said Dr. Peters. "In fact, some people even experience 'love at first sight' when it comes to their homes, which means one cannot overstate the importance of a strong first impression. And price isn't all that matters--as opposed to investing and then hoping for an overnight return, consumers recognize that a home must have the right 'feel' for their everyday lifestyles." Buyers prefer security, nurturing and cozy spaces over more abstract ideals Fifty-one percent of respondents said that, "A home should be a space that feels safe and secure," while an additional 16 percent felt it should be "full of warm, cozy spaces where I can curl up." Taken together, these responses heavily outweighed those who felt a home should be a "refuge to get away from it all" (13 percent), "open to nature with great views (12 percent)," or "a space that feels airy and light (6 percent)." Fifty-eight percent of respondents agreed with the statement, "My home is a place to shelter and nurture my family." The next most popular response was, "My home is a place to escape from the pressures of daily life," which 19 percent of respondents agreed with. "Lovely views and lots of light are nice to have," said Dr. Peters, "but these results underscore that first and foremost, a house becomes a home when it feels comfortable and safe for the family that resides there. Now more than ever, consumers are probably more inclined to choose security over special add-ons like lofty views or an airy atmosphere." Coldwell Banker Housetrology Quiz results from Facebook users In June 2008, Coldwell Banker became the first full-service real estate brand to take advantage of the power of social networking by launching the "Housetrology" quiz as a Facebook application. The site currently has 80 million active users, with the fastest growing site demographic being 25 years and older. So far, the quiz has been taken over 1,200 times on Facebook alone, with respondents falling into the following categories: " Urbanist--35 percent. Urbanists say "no thanks" to minivans, puppies and 2.5 children, and prefer culture, chic décor and lofty views. " Contemporarian--34 percent. Contemporaians crave open, light-filled spaces, high ceilings and majestic nature views, and love to bring the outside in by using natural materials. " Ranchero--16 percent. " Colonialista--11 percent. Colonialistas spend their time and effort securing timeless decorative pieces as opposed to passing trends, and their dream homes rest on stately columns and solid brick structures. " Eclectic--3 percent. Eclectics are masters of incorporating the best of all worlds, and know how to blend it all with style and panache. " Victorian--1 percent. Victorians favors all things ornate, including, color, pattern and whimsical, old-fashioned details. Those interested in taking the Housetrology quiz can access it by clicking here or on the Coldwell Banker page on Facebook. For more information, visit
Aug 13, 2008
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