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Virtual home dealership opens pop-up location at New Braunfels H-E-B

mySA logo mySA 8/19/2019 Bryan Kirk
a man sitting on a table: Alberto Piña, co-owner of Braustin Mobile Homes, meets with Clayton Homes Donnie Wood inside the pop up location located inside New Braunfels HEB store.  © Provided by Hearst Newspapers

Alberto Piña, co-owner of Braustin Mobile Homes, meets with Clayton Homes Donnie Wood inside the pop up location located inside New Braunfels HEB store. 

A San Antonio-based mobile home dealership that uses virtual reality to market and sell its homes, announced another first with the opening of a virtual dealership inside the New Braunfel's H-E-B on State Highway 46.

Braustin Homes, which in 2017 launched the first virtual home dealership in San Antonio, opened its virtual pop-up location in July.

"This is our first one," said Alberto Piña, co-owner of Braustin Homes. "This was really our beta test. This is a brand new concept, not just for mobile homes but real estate in general."

READ ALSO: San Antonio company selling mobile homes through 'virtual dealership'

It's hardly uncommon for small banks or insurance companies to set up shop inside a grocery store space, but having a virtual mobile home sales business doing the same thing is unheard of, especially in a town like New Braunfels.

a man standing in a room: Clayton Homes Donnie Wood checks out the virtual reality tool Braustin Mobile Homes has pioneered at the HEB pop up location © Provided by Hearst Newspapers

Clayton Homes Donnie Wood checks out the virtual reality tool Braustin Mobile Homes has pioneered at the HEB pop up location

"This is the first of its kind, so doing something like that is it's either cool or crazy," Piña said.

Piña said the goal is to use the New Braunfels pop-up as a litmus test and as a tool for possibly expanding to other areas in Texas and the U.S.

The original idea was to create a market place that made affordable homes more accessible to working families that could conduct the entire home buying process online or over the phone.

"We don't meet 70 percent of our customers face-to-face," Piña said. "It's entirely online or over the phone."

Since Braustin Mobile Home's launch in 2017, the company has helped more than 200 local families buy their own home. Many of the company's customers are in south San Antonio and in Hill Country communities like New Braunfels, Marion and Seguin.

a man standing in a kitchen: Alberto Piña, co-owner of Braustin Mobile Homes, meets with Clayton Homes Donnie Wood inside the pop up location located inside New Braunfels HEB store.  © Provided by Hearst Newspapers

Alberto Piña, co-owner of Braustin Mobile Homes, meets with Clayton Homes Donnie Wood inside the pop up location located inside New Braunfels HEB store. 

The mobile homes typically sell for about $10,000 less than some traditional homes and can range from a two-bedroom, one bath home for about $20,000 to a five-bedroom, three-bath home that sells for $90,000, Piña said.

a large room: Braustin Mobile Homes pop up inside the pop up location located inside New Braunfels HEB store.  © Provided by Hearst Newspapers

Braustin Mobile Homes pop up inside the pop up location located inside New Braunfels HEB store. 

"It's just more convenient," he said. "There are just a lot of areas around this New Braunfels H-E-B where we are already putting homes."

The business has other mobile home industry leaders taking notice.

The pop-up got the attention of Clayton Homes, which works closely with Braustin Mobile Homes. Clayton Homes sent a representative to check out the New Braunfels pop-up to study the virtual reality concept.

They were impressed enough to invite Piña to speak at the company's national conference in September.

"Half the people in this business think we're crazy, and the other half thinks we're on to something," he said.

To learn more, click here.

bryan.kirk@express-news.net

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