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".