Icon is using 3D printing to revolutionize home building
Icon, a Texas-based technology company, is working to use 3D printing to create homes in the Austin area. Icon says that by the end of 2019, it will be able to print concrete homes within just a few days. The printer used by Icon has the ability to produce bungalow-style homes that are up to 2,000 square feet. An Austin development group, Cielo Property Group, has purchased Icon’s printer and is planning to use it to produce affordable housing. Additionally, Icon is partnering with a nonprofit organization to produce 50 homes in Latin America, projected to be completed by year’s end. Icon’s 3D-printed homes are created by pouring concrete one layer at a time, which creates small folds in the walls.
The printer, called Vulcan II, is operated by a tablet and only requires a few people to run and supervise it. This method reduces labor costs as well as waste that are produced by a traditional home construction site. Icon estimates that by the time components such as land, finishing and inner-workings of the home are factored in, the cost is reduced around 30% compared to traditional home building.\n\nIcon announced in late 2018 that it had raised $9 million in seed funding to reinvent the construction of affordable homes. This will be the company’s first attempt to make a profit from the creation of 3D-printed homes.
What is 3D printing?
3D printing is the process of making three dimensional solid products using a 3D printer from a digital file. 3D printed objects are created through an additive process where layers of material are successively laid until the object is completed. In the completed object, each of these layers resembles a very thin slice. 3D printing enables the production of complex shapes while using less material than traditional manufacturing methods. To learn more about this project, click here. To watch the home 3D printing process take place, watch the video below:
At Intent, we put our best foot forward each day to give our customers the resources they need to provide their home buyers and business partners with the best knowledge and service, as well as build new business. Each week, we’d like to introduce you to a member of our team.
Name: Jared Turner
Start Date: March 2018
Brief overview of what you do: Editing, writing, customer support, web updates, other projects as needs arise
What brought you to Intent: In short, it felt like the right move to the right place at the right time. I wanted to find a place where I could be challenged and stretched beyond sports journalism (my primary focus until I came here) yet be able to use my background to improve the overall product, especially as it relates to our digital media reach and presentation.
What do you like most about working at Intent? Everyone is super-helpful and friendly, and the overall culture is very casual and informal. I’m a very casual and buttoned-down kind of guy, so the environment here suits me to a tee.
Hometown: Gretna, Va. (population 1,500 with one stoplight)
Hobbies: Attending Virginia Tech games (basketball and football) and Carolina Panthers games with my son and daughter; I’m also a greeter at church and enjoy going to concerts, staying informed (and rolling my eyes) about political matters, exercising, and working as a freelance writer for multiple NASCAR publications
Book you’ve read over and over again: The Bible
Top 3 movies: “War Room,” “Remember The Titans,” “Save The Last Dance”
A bit about your family: I’ve been married to Jennifer — a gorgeous, curly-haired girl from the opposite coast — since May 21, 2005. We have three fun, vivacious children: a daughter and two sons.
Favorite food: Pizza, spinach artichoke dip, fried mozzarella sticks, seafood, anything I can eat with Asian shrimp sauce
Thing you’re scared of: My favorite sports teams losing
Worst habit: Staying up too late, consuming McDonald’s sweet tea and chocolate chip cookies
Dream vacation: Two weeks on a remote, sunny island somewhere with just my bride and no cell phone reception
Favorite cocktail: Sorry, don’t wear dresses (or drink alcohol)!
Exceptional customer service is a cornerstone of most successful brands. When using social media to promote your brand, it is important to utilize it as a two-way channel of communication. Take the time to reply to comments, good and bad, in an effort to retain existing customers and win new business.\n\nReplying to comments should be an integral piece of your social media strategy. By interacting with “friends” and followers, you can make a connection with your target market as well as provide great customer service through social comments.
When replying to comments, make sure to sound personable and approachable. Use comments as an opportunity to create a rapport and portray your personal brand as friendly and helpful. It likely goes without saying, but when interacting with customers, always use their names. This will make you sound more personable and approachable to current and future clients. Without losing your personal touch, make sure your comment replies are consistent with the voice of your brand.
It is also important to reply quickly, which will help make you appear interested while making your customers feel valued. Some negative comments are almost inevitable on social media platforms, and the best way to combat these is to engage with the customer in hopes of deescalating the situation. Apologize to the customer and let them know you are happy to reach out directly and offer a solution to the problem.
At Intent, our goal each day is to provide our customers with the tools needed to give their customers and business partners excellent knowledge and service, as well as build new business. Each week, we’d like to introduce you to a member of our team.
A graduate of UNC Charlotte where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, John McKiever is our Data Architect at Intent. Learn a little more about him today!
Name: John McKiever
Start Date: February 2017
Brief overview of what you do: Develop and enhance product functionality, and assist with overall user experience, lead gen marketing and research
What brought you to Intent: Fate
What do you like most about working at Intent: Every day is a new hilarious adventure.
Hometown: Charlotte, NC
Hobbies: Running, synthesizers, video games, comic books
Book you’ve read over and over again: Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Top 3 movies: “The Shining,” “Amadeus,” “Akira\”
A bit about your family: I have the classic nuclear family — a wife and 2 kids who are the greatest thing that ever happened to me.
Favorite food: All of it
Thing you’re scared of: Tomorrow
Worst habit: Snacks. Please hide them.
Dream vacation: An all-inclusive resort stay on a paradise island
Favorite cocktail: Coffee
Forty-three percent of respondents to a recent National Mortgage News survey found their 2018 mortgage lender through an online search. In the same survey from 2017, only 21% of respondents found their mortgage lender through an online search. If this trend continues, over half of this year’s prospective homebuyers will find their mortgage lender online.\n\nFor mortgage planners, an online presence with correct and up-to-date information is crucial to success. According to National Mortgage News, technology company Yext found that within its online presence, 64% of loan officers listed incorrect addresses while 46% had errors in their businesses’ names. Meanwhile, almost 58% of the loan officers surveyed had no online presence at all. Ensuring that profiles are created on social media platforms and that information is up to date and reviews are solicited can greatly increase loan officers’ visibility in online searches. A website with strong SEO is very important as well.
According to Harvard Business Review, it costs loan officers nearly five times as much to acquire a new customer as it does to retain a current customer. Increasing customer retention rates by 5% can increase profits by 25-95%. Keeping these points in mind, it should be easy to see that while building new business is important, nurturing current customer relationships to retain customers is equally if not more paramount.
Buyers who stay with your business over time allow you the opportunity to provide ongoing value to them. This means being able to nurture a brand advocate, and it also translates to more referrals and positive word-of-mouth marketing. These longtime customers can also introduce you to new prospective leads and business partners who have the potential to eventually become longtime customers and associates, thus repeating the cycle.
Mortgage Marketing Proven Plan of Action
Intent Home buying Marketing Intelligence creates a system to allow mortgage planners to build business and form relationships, as well as nurture existing relationships simultaneously. Intent provides a way for mortgage planners to stay in constant contact with their customers and business partners before, during and after the loan process. When the time comes for a past customer to purchase a new home or refinance their current home, Intent supplies the mortgage planner with the mortgage marketing tools needed to ensure they are top of mind for the customer.
Hubzu is an online residential marketing platform connecting prospective home buyers with properties in all 50 U.S. states and Washington, DC. Much like eBay and other online auction platforms provide bidding capabilities with cars and other items, Hubzu enables buyers to go online to place bids on homes. In addition, real estate agents can register and submit bids on behalf of their clients. The properties listed are primarily foreclosed or bank-owned homes, but they can also include condominiums and single-family dwellings available from short-sale situations and independent sellers (non-bank owned).
Hubzu breaks down the home buying process in four steps:
- Search a property by city, state, zip code or Property ID. Once you find a property you like, sign up to start the bidding and tracking process.
- Before seeing the property in person, you will have an opportunity to review the property page and see everything from property features to rental reports. However, if the property is occupied or being renovated, the seller may not offer walk-through.
- When you are ready to start bidding, click the “Place Bid” button to go right into the auction. Make sure to periodically check your dashboard, which will keep you in the know if anything changes during the auction cycle.
- If your bid is selected by the seller, you will receive a purchase contract and request for more documents. After the documents are returned with your digital signature, a closing date will be set.
Before you start bidding, make sure you are up to speed with the conditions applied to the specific property you are eyeing. It’s always wise to visit and inspect a property prior to bidding, because auctions usually have no inspection contingency period. Also, set aside some cash for the earnest money deposit in addition to setting a budget for any possible home repairs.
Note that a “Bid Deposit” — basically a hold on your credit card — will be required to follow through with your bid. The hold will then remain in place for the duration of the auction cycle. Remember there is no guarantee the sale will occur, and the seller has the legal right to approve or reject bids, including the highest bid. Auto Bid is an interesting feature that may help you gain the upper hand when bidding on a property. Bidders can stipulate a minimum amount that an auction bid must be raised each time the current highest bid is surpassed. You may also set up a ceiling amount that you don’t want to surpass when bidding.
To learn more about Hubzu, click here.
Here at Intent, our team is a family that works together each day to ensure that our customers are able to provide their home buyers and business partners with the best possible lending experience. Each week, we’d like to introduce you to a member of our team.
A graduate of North Carolina State University’s College of Design, Kristen Brower (affectionately known around the office as “Sparkles”) is our Graphic Designer at Intent. Learn a little more about her today!
Name: Kristen “Sparkles” Brower
Start Date: Started interning in June 2016, started full time in July 2018
Position: Graphic Designer
Brief overview of what you do: I am the creator of all visuals, graphics and branding for Intent. Sometimes I’m tasked with the hardest challenge of them all: interpreting Kelly’s thoughts and constructing them into visual form.
What brought you to Motivator/Intent: During my sophomore summer, I was looking for a graphic design internship to introduce myself to the working world. It didn’t take long to realize Motivator/Intent is not a typical workplace, and that my job would last much longer than just that summer.
What do you like most about working at Motivator/Intent: I enjoy the ability to be creative with my projects and to work alongside great people!
Hometown: Charlotte, NC
Hobbies: When I’m not busy trying all the delicious new food and beer around Charlotte, I can be found hanging with my cat, working out or figuring out a jigsaw puzzle.
Book you’ve read over and over again: I’ve never been a big reader. I had to read “Night” in English class in eighth grade and then again in 10th grade.
Top 3 movies: Legally Blonde, Mamma Mia!, Finding Nemo
A bit about your family: I am the youngest (therefore favorite) of three. My family lives nearby, so we get to spend a good amount of time together. My favorite part of our time together is playing with my nephew, a quick and curious toddler.
Favorite food: Pancakes
Thing you’re scared of: Animals that act too much like humans — the Easter bunny, mascots, some animated characters.
Worst habit: Bad posture
Dream vacation: There is still so much I want to see! The top of my list right now is either Greece or any tropical island.
Favorite cocktail: I can never say no to a margarita.
It is no secret that a satisfied customer is much more likely to recommend a mortgage planner to their family and friends. For this reason, it is important for loan officers to take every measure possible to ensure that customers feel like their home buying experience is excellent. A big key to this? Attending closings, which is one of the most important things a loan officer can do to give their customers and business partners the impression that they are committed to a wonderful lending experience.
While loan officers are not required to be at closings, Mortgage SAT’s National Benchmark by the STRATMOR Group shows that when mortgage planners are not present, borrowers are less satisfied. According to this study, the Net Promoter Score — which is the likelihood that a borrower would recommend a loan officer in the future — drops by 11 points on a 100-point scale if the loan officer is not at the closing. Additionally, if there are unexpected rates and fees and the loan officer is not available to explain the difference, the score drops by 35 points. On the flip side, 94 percent of borrowers said they were fully satisfied with their loan officer and the closing experience when the loan officer was at the closing.
In addition to making a good impression on the borrower, a loan officer who attends closings is likely to have his or her extra effort noticed by real estate agents and other parties involved. Not only does a loan officer’s presence at closings show their interest in the well-being of their customer, but the LO can help clear up any last-minute confusion or problems, which will cause the closing to go more smoothly. In return, the loan officer’s business partners will be much more likely to refer their future customers.
If a loan officer is unable to attend a closing, it is beneficial for them to be reachable by phone during the closing so they can respond to any questions that may arise. Another option is for the LO to review the closing disclosure with the buyer before the closing date and time. Whatever the method, the goal is always to make the customer feel as valued as possible.
When using data collected to target mortgage leads, it is important to understand the type of data with which you are dealing. This will ensure that your mortgage marketing is being communicated correctly. Following are the three major types of data, which involve varying sources and interactions:
First-party data – In its broadest terms, first-party data is data that has been collected by a person or company itself, usually through a direct interaction. This information can include points such as name, address, email and phone number. First-party data is generally considered to be the most accurate and reliable data type, and it is often free due to the collection method.
Second-party data – This is essentially first-party data that has been shared from one entity to another. Usually gathered from consumer interactions by the entity that later does the sharing, this type of data can make understanding audiences much easier.
Third-party data – Acquired by purchase without a direct consumer relationship, third-party data is often gathered using surveillance of web browsing and cookies and may not be verified by the consumer. Third-party data can be effective for targeting or expanding reach.
In some situations, a discrepancy will exist between first-party and third-party data. In a case where leads are generated using an opt-in and the consumer knowingly agrees to receive information from a company, that data is sometimes said to be first-party. However, due to the way this information is collected, it is technically still third-party data.
When using data to market, it is important to think about the source. The way you reach out with first-party data is going to differ from how you reach out with third-party data. When you communicate with first-party data, you have had a real interaction with a person and can speak with them as if you’ve actually met. Because third-party data is bought, you have to speak to these people with the understanding that while they may be interested in a home loan, they have not met you and do not know about your business.
All types of data have a place in mortgage marketing. The key to using them correctly is identifying your goal and understanding how the data you are acquiring is going to support your mortgage marketing strategies.