Why take my advice? My background: I am a new home co-broker and have worked with builders for more than 30 years.
What I write about is based on my $3 billion in new homes and new condominium listings and sales for more than 70 communities.
In those communities, I recruited, trained and supervised on-site sales teams and/or served as the marketing consultant.
Almost everything I write about is based on three principles that must be understood and addressed if you are going to sell homes — be they resale or new — successfully.
- The prospects must be able to see themselves enjoying their lifestyle in the home.
- They must be comfortable with the price.
- They have a compelling reason to buy now, or they may decide to wait.
New homes usually apply all three principles. Resales usually don’t. That’s why you need to leverage new home showings to sell more resales.
Am I saying that every one of your prospects should buy a new home? Of course not. They should buy what they want to buy. Your job is to help them do exactly that, is it not? After all, you are in the resale and listing business first and foremost. I get that.
Here’s your problem. You are a commissioned sales person. You need a product, you need a price that’s comfortable to your buyers and you need closing tools. The No. 1 reason, maybe the only reason, you should make new homes part of your regular showing strategy is that you will sell more resales, get more listings and close a few new homes if you do.
A new home should be on the top of your showing schedule so that your prospects see, touch and feel what they can buy for a fixed price. That will give them a benchmark from which to compare the resales that you will show them the rest of the day.
Show new homes — even if buyers told you they don’t want to live in the area of a new home. Showing new homes has nothing to do with where they want to live. It has everything to do with helping you close one of the homes you show them. So let’s stay on that path for now.
After all, buyers make adjustments as they shop. We know this — visiting a model center makes an important first impression. What’s not to like about a furnished model?
Then, they see the price — the fixed price. You can use the base price, without the options, as a comparison to your resales. It keeps things simple. Once buyers have seen the model and understand the price, they have a vision and a clear understanding of what they can buy in that price range. This is the reason to put new-home showings at the top of your showing schedule.
MLS comps can’t deliver at this level. Resales encourage offers. There’s no way to know the fixed price of a resale until the offer is accepted. Deferred maintenance adds to that uncertainty.
This is the reality and this is why your prospect is more likely to be comfortable making an offer on your resales. They know what they can get and at what price, so the resale might be a better buy than the new home. That is exactly what you want them to feel. Or, they may decide that the new home is a better deal. Either way, while you don’t have a contract on either one yet, you are moving in the right direction.
Had you not shown the new home, do you think your buyer would be as comfortable with buying a resale? Probably not. Remember, you are not selling new homes. You are showing them.
Once your prospect sees a home he or she is willing to consider buying for a comfortable price, it doesn’t mean they are going to make an offer or write a contract. You have only applied two of the three principles. The third principle, “urgency,” is a closing tool that must be used as a closing tool, not a feature. That’s why you should never walk into a sales office and ask, “What are your incentives?” Onsite agents know when to mention these incentives. Let them do it when this discussion is the most meaningful.
The main urgency for a resale is the fear that someone else may buy it. This happens when the prospect falls in love with the house and feels that it can be bought at the right price. Without a reason to buy now, your prospects will decide to wait. This is the objection you must eliminate or at least minimize or you will forever be losing sales you thought you were going to get.
Listen for these five closing tools (urgencies) at the new homes sales center:
- We only have two left at this price. (price urgency)
- If you buy before the end of the month and use our mortgage company, the developer will make a contribution to closing costs. This is a cash incentive to use the builder’s mortgage company.
- The developer authorized an allowance for the first five buyers. The program started two weeks ago and we’ve sold four homes under this program. (time urgency)
- Starting this Saturday, the lot premium is being increased. (price urgency)
- Our prices have increased x percent in the last six months. We know there is another price increase coming, but we never know when.” (price urgency)
Does this help sell new homes? Of course, it does. Does the fear of losing the house impact your resale prospects? Absolutely. That is a self-generated urgency, not a sales tool.
Start showing new homes in your area that are listed in the MLS as well as spec homes, quick move-in homes and buildable new home plans that consumers can readily find on NewHomeSource. You have all the data and you know what the commission policy is.
Stop by the sales office and tell the on-site agent what you are doing — “I am adding a new home stop as a part of my showing strategy and need your help.” — and they will be more than glad to help you.
Your new best resales tool is a new home model. Show it first. You will sell more resales and new homes 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.