"Check out our FORECLOSURE homes!"... Is there anyone out there marketing "luxurious quality homes" any more?

Real Estate Agent with East West Communities, Hampton Roads, Virginia 0226005035

For the third time this week, I saw where one of the local real estate firms was featuring FORECLOSURES on the main page of their website, even had a special tab for their foreclosure and short sale listings. That's fine, I understand that we have quite of few of them on the market, I'm definitely not criticizing them for advertising one. I guess it's the fact that using Short Sale/Foreclosure as a leading marketing headline is a popular way to catch buyer's attention. The homes are not thrown in to the same category as regular seller listed homes, marketing-wise anymore it seems. (You have Short Sales & Foreclosure Homes here, and the homes you want for market value? over here...) I remember the day when companies used to market "Luxury Homes" or "New Homes- Lifestyle Communities" or "Waterfront Homes" on their main home page. Well, not any more. I see more agents listing "Short Sale specialist" on their business card, than I do "waterfront specialist".

I am here to tell you that there are still people out there who want a new custom home, and they're not just looking at Foreclosures and Short Sales. This past Saturday, we had a customer come into our Sales Center Model to compare new homes to a short sale that they had just offered on in the area. They found they can actually get a better price than the short sale listing with the builder on a better lot, and the floor plan they really want.

A couple of weeks ago, we had a customer walk into our Sales Center, and he said he was just in the area to look at a short sale in the area. He stopped in because he wanted to see what new homes were available and what they had to offer. (His agent didn't suggest he look at new homes) After discussing his wants and needs, we looked at three homes and the next day he returned to write a contract on one of our new homes that was priced $150,000 more than the short sale listing (same size home, but different features). I'm sharing this true story because we see this happen quite often, much to the surprise of many in the business. I've listed below a few reasons why buyers should consider the right home and the right community and not just focus totally on what they perceive to be the right price.

I realize that many buyer brokers are looking for the "best deal" for their clients because their buyers initially tell them, "I want the best price for a house, I don't want to pay too much in today's economy". Fair enough. I understand that there are short sale opportunities out there and many potential buyers see them as the best deal on the surface. But is it really the best home for their family? What is the right decision? Is it the right price but the wrong decision for your family? The lowest price home may not be the right home.

Too many times, we qualify buyers by asking them just the price range, the number of bedrooms & baths, square footage, etc. I've witnessed many instances where buyers, who recently bought a resale, came into our Information Centers and say, "I had no idea that your community offered so much...our real estate agent didn't bring us here...we would've loved to have had a clubhouse and pool for our kids to grow up around"...or "the quality in your homes is much better than the resale we just bought four months ago". What's the big picture?

How often do you know what they're really feeling? Do we listen well enough to discover what matters most to the buyer? Many times, buyers say one thing, but aren't ready to open up and share their true feelings and motivations. It's wise to include a new home community in your initial tour. You can rely on the site agent to help qualify their needs and wants. At our new home communities in the Hampton Roads area, we try to figure out the right match (home plan/homesite) for potential buyers first. If you're showing homes for sale in our price range, at least expose your buyer to all options before they lock in on what may not be the right home for them.

Sometimes buyers come into our offices totally focused on getting the right price (a deal), but ignoring what's best for their family. As a new homes agent, we need to get the buyer focused on what they want to accomplish...what's right for their family?

  • Agents must listen to what is most important to the buyer. Know the right involvement questions to ask.
  • A good new homes community representative can actually help bring out a buyer's true motivation. It's important not to try and "take over" a situation where the buyer agent is there. Always make the buyer agent feel important, include them, and never come across as too pushy.
  • Site agents need to respect the relationship between the buyer broker and client.
  • Buyer broker agents should not be afraid to allow new home listing agents to demonstrate some of the community's amenities, advantages, and unique selling propositions.
  • Price adjustments have been made in our new home communities. Many buyers and agents are discovering that new home construction pricing is at a very competitive level. Today's new homes include more quality features and energy efficient products than many resale homes.

    New homes built today in our region are also built to stricter building codes than they were three or four years ago. Higher insulation values, higher SEER ratings on HVAC equipment, and tougher structural requirements on construction. They may want a home built to a higher standard and one that's more energy efficient. Plus the floor plans are changing to the way people want to live today. New homes may be a more attractive option than it has in the past, and they should not be ignored when a buyer is comparing the best home for them.

  • Right Home + Right Neighborhood + Fair Price = Happy Homeowner

One of the things that never changes in the real estate industry is the importance of building relationships with REALTORS® and builders in your area. New homes agents and resale agents should work together to help a customer see all of their options in the marketplace. It's okay if the buyer doesn't like the product you're selling... sometimes, it's not meant for them, it's not the place for them. They won't know it until they see the features and benefits firsthand. Let's work together to help our buyers find the Right Home for their family at a fair price. There is more training and seminars nowadays for how to handle a short sale transaction, and fewer on how to "listen to our customers and help them find the home of their dreams"...maybe agents should start adding "Find the RIGHT price AND the RIGHT home", CLICK HERE".

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Ron Tarvin
Luxury and New Construction in Katy & Cypress TX - Katy, TX
Broker, Katy, Houston, Cypress 77450,77494,77095

Advertising SHORT SALES or FORECLOSURES is buzzword driven...people think it's a good deal and yet, many times, these homes are NOT a good idea.

I often ask buyers that I work with that very question: Are you looking for a deal or are you looking for a home?  A house may be a deal without being the right HOME and should be passed on...

Jun 06, 2011 04:05 PM #1
Andrew Mooers
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Luxury is a word that always scared folks that hated debt, were not cut out to impress or that needed something palatial. Maine is the 46th lowest state for FSSR (foreclosure, short sale, repossession affected real estate sales)

Jun 06, 2011 04:17 PM #2
Mark Edwards
East West Communities, Hampton Roads, Virginia - Suffolk, VA
East West Realty

Ron, good point. I noticed realty firms in our area now have it as a main focus of their marketing. I understand the reasons. It really doesn't help the normal home that's for sale especially if you're trying to arrive at "market value", or what should be market value.

It's just something we're having to battle with. Ironically, people are coming to our neighborhoods to SEE short sale listings and stopping in- they are pleasantly surprised to find a good value and builders adding more amenities in their homes.

Andrew, you may be right. We call them "quality custom homes", typically and showcase homes or Featured Homes on our marketing materials. Thanks for the comments.


Jun 06, 2011 07:34 PM #3

Buyers really do need to look at the whole picture.  Is that short sale really such a good deal, if the house doesn't meet your needs.  Buyers need to look at location, floorplan, community, amenities, resale potential and especially overall condition before making any purchase that involves this type of commitment.  The smart buyers realize they are in the drivers seat now and can get it all in a new home without settling for a short sale or foreclosure.

Jun 06, 2011 09:09 PM #4
Mark Edwards
East West Communities, Hampton Roads, Virginia - Suffolk, VA
East West Realty

Donita, excellent points. You're right, price adjustments have been made and builders are including much more today...thanks for the comment.


Jun 06, 2011 09:31 PM #5
Jean-Paul Peron
The Outer Banks Real Estate Copmpany - Corolla, NC
Carova Beach - Living & Working in 4-Wheel Drive

Mark - I made two facebook pages one for Outer Bansk Forclosures and one for Outer Banks Luxury Homes.


Much to my surpris at the end of week one the Forclosure page had 6 fans and the Luxury homes page had 96!

Even after a month of actualy trying to get some more interst in the forclosure page, I have only been able to get the fans up to 9.


Here the public hass spoken and they are not that interest in foreclosures anymore. Here Foreclosures make up less than 4% of our inventory & Short Sales make up less than 9%.

Jun 07, 2011 07:26 AM #6
Mark Edwards
East West Communities, Hampton Roads, Virginia - Suffolk, VA
East West Realty

Jean-Paul, Interesting, thanks for posting. It's good to hear...I will be glad to see marketing for homes for sale in our region get back to a normal level! Appreciate the info.


Jun 07, 2011 07:36 AM #7
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Mark Edwards

East West Realty

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