A Q&A with New Home Co-Broker Academy Founder David Fletcher
David Fletcher spent his real estate career rep resenting condominium developers and custom home builders.
He oversaw on-site sales teams that compiled a sales record exceeding $3 billion for more than 70 subdivisions, rental conversions and condominium communities.
Fletcher has since written extensively, including as a contributor to New Home Source Professional, on why brokers and their agents should be mining the new homes market for inventory and commissions. In 2015 he founded the New Home Co-Broker Academy with its signature course, How to Build a New Homes Niche.
New Home Source Professional (NHSPro) talked with Fletcher about his passion for new homes and helping Realtors realize the opportunities to be found in that market.
NHSPro: Why should new-home communities be considered an equal showing option alongside resale homes?
DF: The 2013 Realtor attitude study by Builder Homesite Inc. (full disclosure, BHI is the parent company of New Home Source Professional) showed that one of the main reasons agents don’t like to show new homes is that the builder does not negotiate price.
What agents don’t realize is that this is exactly why the agent should show the new home — not to sell it, although they might, but to establish a price baseline by which the resale prospect can better evaluate resales as well as new homes.
What faster, better way to build trust in the agent and the market than for the home shopper to touch, feel and see what they can get for their money? It works.
NHSPro: Why do you think agents may not be giving new construction that equal consideration?
DF: They are not encouraged or trained to market to new-home buyers. One reason is that their brokers would not know how to help them if they got a prospect. We solved this issue with our course.
NHSPro: You say that the new-homes “sell” is the easiest in real estate. Why is that?
DF: Here is how simple it really is: The agent does two things: 1) brings the prospect to the sales center and then 2) introduces the prospect to the on-site agent. The on-site agent takes it from there. They answer every question, follow up, write the contract, manage the transaction and thank the Realtor profusely for the opportunity.
NHSPro: What steps should agents take to build their own new-homes network?
DF: “Let’s go see some new homes” is not the way to build the network. We suggest that agents target new-home buyers because they often have existing homes to list, many pay cash and, according the National Association of Home Builders, nine out of 10 will use a Realtor to assist with finding their new home.
It’s a three-step process that must be done in sequence:
- Target new-home buyers.
- Find the right new-homes inventory.
- Team up with on-site sales consultants.
NHSPro: How did you get started working with homebuilders and developers?
DF: The builder/developer client of one of the largest waterfront condominium communities in Florida purchased my St. Petersburg public relations firm and I became its project manager. This forced me from day one to become directly involved with sales related issues with both the on-site sales team and local real estate agents.
NHSPro: What about the new-homes market intrigued you enough to make it a career focus?
DF: New homes, per se, were not that interesting to me at first. Condominiums were the elephant herd in the room, with their big budgets and high-powered broker marketing programs.
As the listing broker for an entire community, I was able to do what I learned to do best: recruit, train and supervise on-site sales staffs — always requiring a co-broker program as part of my agreement and becoming deeply involved in marketing.
NHSPro: How did you get into training other brokers and agents on the opportunities in the new-homes market?
DF: In a word, passion. Several years ago I became obsessed with the need to write a new-home-driven course, from the real estate agent’s perspective. As we say around my house from time to time, “There appears to be some confusion here.”
With my experience, case studies, and now valid research available, I had what I believed to be the resources necessary to develop a course that would challenge the builder/Realtor culture but needed to be offered.