A website that creates a digital tour of homes and offices using a computer generated map, a new study shows.
The study, published online today in the Journal of the American Planning Association, used data from a national study of home improvement websites to show how consumers can benefit from the site’s information.
The analysis also shows that, when consumers are able to use their own maps and images, they actually make the experience more enjoyable.
“The site’s tour is a bit of a mystery, so we wanted to take a look at how consumers actually use it and what the research says about that,” said lead author Robert Lassen, a research associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Institute of Education.
“We’ve found that people actually do use it for a lot of things, and when they do, they really like it.”
The study used data collected from a survey of 1,872 households in the U.S. The researchers compared the sites visitor counts with the visitor counts of a representative sample of those same households.
They then calculated the percentage of visits to the home improvement website that were made by people who did not own a home.
“This study showed that we can actually use these sites to provide the same information that we would give to a real estate agent,” said the study’s lead author, Chris Cattan, a doctoral student in the MIT Department of Education’s Department of Information Science.
“You don’t need a computer to do it, so it’s very easy to create your own tour and you don’t have to go to a professional, and that’s great for the consumer because they’re not in the business of selling stuff.”
The research showed that visitors who did have a home were more likely to be more engaged in the tour than visitors who didn’t.
The survey also showed that the home improvements website made the experience better for the average home owner.
“There is a reason why we’re seeing so many home improvement sites, because people are actually looking for these solutions,” said Lasser.
“They’re looking for information, and they’re also interested in how the home is doing.
People want to know, ‘How’s my house doing?’ and that information is very useful.”
Home improvement websites are already popular in the United States, and the study shows that they can help consumers with a variety of problems.
The website also helps consumers with financial planning and budgeting.
“If you want to save money, and you want a better quality of life, this is a great place to go,” said Cattun.
The research also found that consumers are less likely to buy homes with the home renovations they see in home improvement tours.
The majority of consumers who used the website chose to buy houses that they already owned, and only one-third of those consumers were willing to purchase a home that was a replacement for their existing home.
The remaining 25 percent of consumers were interested in buying a home for less than the purchase price.
The authors believe that home improvement products and services can help solve problems in the home that are related to health, safety, and aesthetics.
“It is possible to make a lot out of this data, and we’re still in the early stages,” said Dr. Lasson.
“But it seems that a lot can be achieved from a lot less effort and from a greater variety of data sources.”
The researchers are now working on an additional research project that will test whether the home renovation website has the potential to be as effective as a home sales site.
The project is currently underway.
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