Help your clients visualize living in a prospective home by visiting model homes — and by visiting the homesite. The most welcomed phone call, email or text a real estate agent can receive is one from a prospect who says something like this: “We want to see that house you showed us again — the one with the backyard birdfeeder” or whatever specific feature stood out.
What triggered this response to the home? At some point during the visit, there was a feature that helped the prospect visualize living in that house and at that location. They caught the vision.
Call it a vision-driven passion to move forward, because the buyers are in a “we don’t want to lose this one” mode and are ready to make an offer if a resale or go to contract if it’s a new home they’re looking at.
On the other hand, if you get the “Let’s go see more houses tomorrow” response, you are in for another day or more of showings. Here’s the principle: If prospects don’t see themselves enjoying their lifestyle in the homes you show them, they won’t want to see the home a second time.
Helping Clients Catch the Vision
When it comes to new construction, it’s impossible to get that vision if the prospective buyer doesn’t see a homesite (commonly referred to as a lot) in which they can imagine themselves living. Without a vision-driven passion, there generally won’t be a sale.
With new construction, many times it’s not the home that turns a buyer off; it’s the homesite. With resales, it may be both the home and how it is sited; in new home presales, the closing is based as much on the homesite as it is the home. After all, there are only so many desirable lots — but the actual home can be built on any of those lots. That’s why it’s critically important to make sure that your prospects see both the furnished models and the homesites when visiting a new-home community.
Emotions can run high when it’s a one-of-a-kind site and the prospects realize that they could lose the opportunity to buy it if they don’t act immediately.
For example, I was working with a couple where the wife liked the new home, but resisted moving from the home she and her family had lived in for 24 years. Her resistance disappeared instantly as she stood on a homesite across from a dog park and saw that her dogs would have a place to run and could envision sitting on the front porch and watching others walking their dogs.
After strong resistance for weeks, she turned to her husband and told him to write a check immediately because she didn’t want to lose that lot. Today they are living in their new home across from the dog park.
Walking the site helps the prospect see themselves having cookouts in the backyard or enjoying the views. With a floor plan in hand, prospects can get a feeling and visualize outdoor living and views. You never know what may be the tipping point that causes your prospects to take action and buy, but many a new home sale has been made on a desirable site.
Asking the Right Questions
There is another reason that you and your prospects must be given a full presentation at the site table or at the site map while on the model tour. It’s usually here that your qualification expertise is either verified or challenged.
The on-site agent’s presentation and answers to questions can be of tremendous help to you. As we’ve seen many times, this information can prevent agents from showing the wrong resales after they leave the sales office.
Hopefully, the on-site agent has asked you for qualifying information so that your prospects don’t have to repeat it. Invariably, the on-site agents, trained as they are to ask probing qualifying questions, will ask a question you should have asked but overlooked. This would not be such a big deal if your prospect’s answer did not have such a negative impact on your scheduled resale showing for the following day.
I have seen co-brokers adjust their showing schedules because they heard their prospects talking about what they want and need in a home while they are in the new homes sales office. Information that the co-broker had not drawn out when qualifying the prospect includes information about how the prospect would like their home sited.
If the prospect answers that he or she wants a backyard sunset and the agent doesn’t have a showing or doesn’t know how the resales are sited, the agent is in for a long day showing homes that may not meet the buyer’s criteria.
If there’s one thing (and there are several) that new-home sales consultants are trained to do, it’s to ask questions that get to the heart of the prospect’s need or pushes the prospect’s hot button. They don’t just show homes — they show homes in terms of the client’s needs.
“It’s highly important to take a client to [his or her] new lot,” says Gene Neves, a new home consultant at CastleRock Communities in Houston, Texas. “Let them start taking ownership now. I recently had clients purchase a new home (that) showed up the next Sunday, spread out a tarp and had a picnic on their empty lot. I think this example answers the question of how important this can be.”
This is especially true if the agent showed both new and resale homes because the couple enjoying the picnic may have waited if they hadn’t seen the new home.
Remember: Ask the on-site agent to show your prospects a potential homesite as well as the new home model — you will make more sales if you do.
Broker and Lifetime Achiever David Fletcher teaches general real estate agents how to become new-home professionals, based on how he listed and sold more than $3 billion in new construction over his 30-year career.
Along the way, he has been a featured speaker for the National Association of Realtors and chaired the Sales and Marketing Council for the Florida Home Builders Association.
He writes for “agents on the ground” from his experience with working with home builders and new home co-brokers and is considered a thought leader in the industry.