Cloud-based technologies offer unique opportunities for efficiency in the construction industry—from reducing the need for paper documents to increasing team members’ ability to collaborate in realtime. In today’s connected society, many builders are also turning to cloud-based solutions to more closely interact with their clients.
According to Elizabeth Dodson, cofounder, HomeZada, www.homezada.com, El Dorado Hills, Calif., while builders may know everything about the homes they build, it can be difficult to get this important data into the hands of a homebuyer. As a result, the information passed on to new homeowners is often incomplete and inconvenient to access.
The real problem, says Dodson, is there’s no proactive way to turn the data into something useful. Cloud-based solutions such as HomeZada can bridge this gap, helping buyers manage their home’s data online, even using it as a decisionmaking tool. Specifically, the data stored in a homeowner’s HomeZada Web profile can provide a baseline the system will use to remind homeowners what needs to be done to maintain their home.
“(With HomeZada) the information is now proactive with the homeowner by automatically sending out emails and alerts on routine maintenance tasks,” Dodson says. “The homeowner can also use HomeZada to manage a home inventory for insurance purposes as well as manage interior design and landscaping projects.”
The company’s latest tool, HomeZada Professional, allows builders to create a digital profile for each home. This profile includes relevant information such as building materials and equipment used, appliances and finishes, and suggested maintenance routines, as well as digital photos of the project and electronic copies of manuals, warranties, and closing documents. The solution provides builders with a template for each model of home they build, which can be copied for each owner.
HomeZada Professional allows both the builder and homeowner to store electronic copies of this digital profile in the cloud, ensuring the home’s data is easily accessible to each party. For homeowners, increased data visibility can be useful when looking for information about their home’s materials or finishes. Maintenance reminders can help owners maintain the value of their home for the long term.
Dodson says there are several ways the technology adds value for homebuilders. By replacing paper with electronic documents, the solution contributes to a company’s green initiatives. It also provides long-term storage of past-project data, while increasing efficiencies on current projects. A cloud-based data-management system not only reduces a builder’s need to reproduce home information at closing, it could even lower the number of customer-service calls from new owners during the first year of a home’s warranty.
“Providing a complete digital home profile to the buyer creates better visibility and sets expectations with both parties,” Dodson says, adding homebuilders can even leverage their use of a cloud-based document-management system as a marketing tool.
For consumers accustomed to managing everything from their bank accounts to their home-automation systems online, this type of solution is a natural extension of consumers’ desire to stay connected. By helping builders manage documents in the cloud while providing a way for buyers to use home data to be proactive about maintenance, technology can extend and enrich the relationship between builders and buyers.