Long gone are the days when builders didn’t deem it necessary to have a strong presence on the Web. Today an interactive Website that engages clients is rather commonplace among the homebuilder community. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the Web cannot still be a differentiating factor for today’s homebuilder.

Just ask S&A Homes, www.sahomebuilder.com, State College, Pa. The custom builder just launched a new interactive Website that blends both the personal and digital experience for the buyer. Chris Schoonmaker, president, S&A Homes’ Housing Division, emphasizes the point that this new Website will blend the best of what S&A has to offer and encapsulate all necessary information in an interactive way for buyers.

S&A has incorporated a range of dynamic features into the Website to enhance the buying experience. This includes dynamic floorplans where buyers can interact with plans, as well as a furniture designer. In addition, Behind the Scenes Tours will allow buyers to get an inside look at the actual construction process of their home, while online chat functions present a human touch to the home design and construction experience at all hours.

Recognizing the importance social media plays in the buying experience for consumers, S&A has introduced S&A Social Sharing within the Website. Through this feature, consumers are able to share a specific community or plan with their friends via tweet, email, or Facebook like.

As stated by Jonathan Bailey, CEO, Bailey Gardiner, www.baileygardiner.com, San Diego, Calif., to Constructech, builders can use the social networking movement to their advantage, helping to improve brand recognition, increase sales, and heighten communication. Bailey’s agency works with builders to improve branding on the Web.

He believes this aspect becomes important for helping the buyer establish that rapport and relationship with the sales professional or the homebuilder brand. The lasting effect of social media can be too invaluable these days for builders to ignore.

While a Website alone certainly won’t make you stand out from the competition these days, builders can still find aspects that make their Web experience unique to buyers. Overall, an effective strategy is to identify what you hope to accomplish with buyers and see what new tools might be available (like social media) to make it happen.