Today’s savvy homebuyers often come up with the idea to buy or build a new home on their own.
But some still need a Realtor to present the opportunity, address their concerns and point them toward newly built homes that fulfill their needs and wants.
Sometimes all it takes is a suggestion at the right moment, such as when the buyer has been disappointed by a few resale homes, says Marie Westerman, a Realtor at Blanchard & Calhoun Real Estate Co. in Evans, Ga., and sales representative for Wilson Parker Homes.
“At that point in time, I’m quite sure the Realtor will say something along the lines of ‘I think I can find you everything you want in a new home, short of the fact that it wasn’t built 15 or 20 years ago. Let’s take a look,’ ” Westerman says.
Introducing the idea doesn’t have to be complicated, says Patti Nadu, a Realtor at Town & Country Realty in Lancaster, Pa., and sales representative for her family-owned homebuilding company, Millwood Homes.
“Say I have clients who want to look at resale,” Nadu says. “We start the search, I take them to the resale, but they aren’t finding what they want. My next scenario is: ‘Have you ever thought of building?’ And they say, ‘No, we never thought of building!’ ”
A visit to a new-home community can then entice even the most reluctant to at least consider this option.
“Buyers say, ‘I don’t think that’s really what I want,’” Westerman continues, “but then they take a look, see the product, understand the warranty and all they’re getting and then they can change their mind. Some won’t, but quite a few will.”
Meeting the Buyer’s Needs
Certain buyers are especially apt to be open to the idea, says Realtor Greg Damis, a certified new-home specialist with Berkshire Hathaway, Fox and Roach in Philadelphia, Pa.
Three examples Damis offers are busy professionals, housing sensitives and buyers with special, unique or uncommon needs.
Busy professionals like new construction because they want a home that’s “brand new, shiny and up to date” and they “don’t have time to even think about painting, refinishing floors or doing the smallest of jobs,” Damis says.
Housing sensitives are concerned about allergies or feel uncomfortable moving into a home where someone else has lived.
“They have issues with carpeting or dust or the way something is kept. You’ll find out (resale) is not for them,” he says.
Special needs encompass all sorts of issues. For example, Damis recalls a buyer who needed a home that could accommodate his handicapped son and the son’s caregiver, as well as the rest of the family.
“The typical footprint makes that difficult, so we came up with the idea of looking around and finding a place where he could build from scratch,” Damis says. “He already had to alter the building no matter what he bought. He was prepared for that.”
Another good candidate for new construction is buyers who want a home that’s highly energy efficient.
“Newer homes are absolutely more efficient than something that’s 20 or 30 years old,” Damis says.
In all of these examples, the buyers’ motivation is the same: new construction better matches their needs and wants.
“With new construction you’re more likely to meet more needs of whoever the buyer is,” Damis says. “Once their needs are met and they’re comfortable with the builder, it’s a very easy transition to get them to move forward.”
Let the Builder Help You
Some buyers shy away from the idea of new construction because they can’t visualize a home before it’s built.
That’s where builders’ model homes come in.
These completed residences let buyers explore different floor plans and see the upgrades, fixtures and finishes they might want in their own home. Model homes are staged, furnished and opened to the public for just this purpose, Nadu explains.
“I tell buyers to come to the model home and compare it to the resale homes,” she says.
Buyers and Realtors can also tour homes that are under construction. A tour can also be a good way to introduce buyers to today’s new homes.
Westerman recalls one buyer who came into a new-home community with his Realtor and the misperception that new homes weren’t as well built as older homes.
“He was able to see houses being built at all different stages from framing to drywall to completed and hear about our warranty,” Westerman says. “Two days later he came back and bought a house.”
Builders also offer brochures, luncheons, on-site classes and other resources Realtors can use to learn about new construction and find out how to introduce the option to buyers.
Materials that can be sent by email are especially helpful to present new construction to buyers who don’t already live in the area.
“I can email an info booklet,” Westerman says. “That tells a little bit about the community, what our amenities will be, which included features are in the houses, what our available inventory is or, if they want to build, a list of floor plans with the square footage and other things like that.”
Put it all together and buyers can easily be enticed to consider the benefits of a newly built home.
Marcie Geffner is an award-winning freelance reporter, book editor and blogger whose work has been published by a long list of financial, mortgage and banking websites, trade magazines and newspapers.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in English with high honors from UCLA and a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) from Pepperdine University and has completed advanced novel-writing courses at the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program. She is a second-generation native and lifelong resident of Los Angeles.