Interested in selling more homes this year? Then, make it a goal to increase your knowledge and experience in the new homes arena in your marketplace. As chairperson for the New Homes Council for the Hampton Roads Association of REALTORS®, our goal is to help educate our members about the advantages of making new homes a viable option for their clients in 2017. At the upcoming HRRA Conference & Home Expo on April 6th, we've adopted a rock n’ roll theme- “Rock Your Sales in 2017”, which promises to be the best networking and education event of the year! The New Homes Council for HRRA and Alpha College of Real Estate invite you to attend this year’s conference, which will take place along with the REALTOR®/Lawyer meeting.
We’re excited to have some of the region’s top homebuilders on hand at this year’s Expo to interact with our agents and exchange some of the latest trends and advantages of selling a new home. Our goal is to provide a forum for agents to learn more about the advantages why showing new homes may increase their sales production. Often times, buyers may assume that building a new home is too expensive or they may have misconceptions about the new home process. We hope to improve the relationships with our new home REALTORS® with the general brokerage community and share how you can help you increase your business in 2017!
At East West Realty, we’ve developed five new home communities in Hampton Roads the past three decades. I’ve been fortunate to represent some of the best builders in Hampton Roads the last 29 years. Many of the ones I work with today, helped me when I transitioned from a resale agent to a new homes agent in 1988 when I was the site agent for Gatling Pointe, a waterfront community in Smithfield. As a resale agent in the mid '80's with Goodman Segar Hogan, I quickly learned the trials and tribulations of the general brokerage business and I have great respect for what agents go through on a daily basis. While selling custom homes for 10 builders at Gatling Pointe, I understood early on how critically important it is to bend over backwards to gain trust and confidence in working with fellow agents when they would bring their customers (back in the day, they were not our clients yet) to our site, and give us the opportunity to help them find the right new home and builder for their buyer. We used to work together on transactions and everyone was out to help the customer achieve their goal- Find the right home at the right price in the right neighborhood.
One of my goals this year is to help our association members realize that working with a new home REALTOR® salesperson CAN INCREASE their sales production in 2017, and we’re here to help them accomplish their goal- which is to help them exceed their clients’ expectations and sometimes, yes, the best option may be a new home for their family!
Have you ever worked with that buyer that has a long list of preferences and nothing seems to fit exactly what they’re looking for? I often tell agents in sales meetings, “Please bring us your most “challenging” buyers”, it may allow us to help you make that incremental sale”. Because much of the home shopping takes place online, it’s harder today for new home agents to follow the old "Critical Path" to selling a new home. We don’t have the opportunity to get to know the person, couple, or family....establish a common bond and trust & confidence in us and our community. If agents have a good relationship with the new home site agent, they can share some of this information ahead of time.
While demonstrating our new homes at Founders Pointe and The Riverfront at Harbour View, it’s important for us to point out the features and benefits to the customer. Understanding the buyer’s true motivations will help in locating the best match or fit within the community, or it may become apparent that they may be better served at another site.
By effectively asking the big picture questions and listening to their responses, agents may be surprised to hear that many times, the homebuyer ends up purchasing a different floor plan/layout or in a price range that is vastly different than what they initially told their buyer’s agent. Sometimes it's not always about price, and number of bedrooms when selling a home.
They often times give you their specifications, but end up buying their motivations. What are they trying to achieve in this new home? What do they want to accomplish? What do they like or dislike about their current home?
How do our new homes match up with their wants, needs, and desires? Doesn't it make sense to compare your new home options with this builder before you have to "settle" on something or move forward on a house somewhere else that is your second choice? Isn’t it worth a few months of inconvenience to get the home they truly want? (Especially if they’re planning on living there for many years).
Establishing good customer relations and maintaining positive REALTOR® relationships is part of what causes more opportunities for our next home sale. We value our co-broker relationships and we work hard to show them our respect and appreciation. While establishing your goals for the coming year, here are 3 things you may want to include in your weekly Action Plan:
1. Preview two new home developments each week. There’s a lot of new communities popping up and buyer agents have a responsibility to know what’s happening in the marketplace. Don’t rely on a website or an “email update” to truly know what’s out there. Sometimes, they just have to get out there and see it in person. The eye test really does work.
2. Try and establish a positive relationship with several new homes REALTORS® and attempt to gain an understanding ahead of time of what to expect before you bring your client to their site. The transaction goes a lot smoother when you have trust in how your interaction will go. It doesn’t have to be and it shouldn’t be an adversarial experience.
3. Make an effort to learn the advantages to buying a new home today. Reach out and ask the new homes agent to what’s different about their builder and their new homes that may add to your overall product knowledge. Allow the new home agent you trust to assist in this effort. You can also make plans to attend one of our Blueprint Reading classes or one of our upcoming new home seminars.
The ideal situation is for both the new homes agent and the buyer agent to work together to provide more accurate information to the buyer so they can make the best, informed decision for their family.
There are some misconceptions out there still about the new home industry, and we’re going to help educate the public on some of the important advantages that consumers should be aware of.
1. Lower operating costs of a new home has certainly “closed the gap” on the true cost of owning versus a resale home, since the building codes were changed in recent years. Besides the new home warranty advantages, new homeowners will also now enjoy HVAC units with a minimum 13 SEER rating, better insulated homes, more efficient windows and Energy Star appliances, etc.
2. New Home Trends- new floor plans often reflect how people want to live in their homes today - home designers have concentrated on creating better designed kitchens, which open to larger informal spaces- often with a huge floating island. Also popular are drop zones, pocket offices, and flex rooms that can used for multiple purposes. There's less emphasis on formal rooms, and more emphasis on quality kitchen appointments, backyard gathering spaces, and covered back porches.
3. Multi-generational suites are also becoming a bigger focus. Since more family members are moving back in the home, the guest suite has become larger, often times with their own retreat space/lounging area, their own covered porch, and larger bathroom. Arrangements can be made for a sharing of the cost of the home as families see it as an opportunity to live in a more luxurious environment together.
Many homebuyers overlook the "real cost" of buying an older home is often much more than the initial price you pay at closing. Better design and better technology mean a more livable and appealing home for today's buyers. Get out there and explore the many quality options, it may help you sell more new homes in 2017.
Discover the best in lifestyle communities at Founders Pointe, Liberty Ridge, and The Riverfront at Harbour View. East West is also celebrating its 25th anniversary of the Gatling Pointe Yacht Club, a riverfront club/restaurant and pool complex with a 68 slip marina adjacent to the town of Smithfield,Virginia. Visit an East West Realty Sales Center today.