How To Sell Your Home When Competing Against The Builder

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 SAL.2002007747

Let's say you bought your home in the early phases of a subdivision's history.  You got in early, picked a great lot and built the home just the way you wanted! 

You didn't expect to move soon, but LIFE HAPPENS!

  • You had a major job change and you've got to relocate
  • A major life event happened (illness of an immediate family member, your plans for happily ever after with your spouse didn't work out)
  • You realized you made a mistake.  That floor plan just doesn't work, or the home is too big (or small), that commute you thought would be tolerable was fine until the first snowfall, etc.

Regardless of the WHY, it's time to sell your home and you've got to go head to head with the builders in your community.


new construction patio homes in Cincinnati

And here's the thing, selling your home while competing against the builder won't be the easiest task for you or us as your agents UNLESS we do things just right.

You have one significant factor working for you:


That's pretty much the biggest thing working in your behalf with buyers, because all other things being equal, buyers will select newer over older pretty much every time. 

Buyers want to delay paying for a new roof, furnace, water heater and all the rest, so homes closer to those major expenses are tougher to sell versus a brand new home.  Buyers like that new home smell, knowing that there's no cat or dog dander and "accidents" hidden in the carpet, that no smoker has every lived in the home, etc.  You'd feel the same if it was you, right?

So to take advantage of your READY NOW status, we need to make sure of a few things:

  • Your home is in tip top condition.  Make it sparkle.  Take a hard look at your home and correct what needs corrected (we can help with identifying those issues).
  • Price AGGRESSIVELY. Remember, if a buyer can build new for the same price as your home, they'll build new unless their time line prevents them.
  • Hire agents that know how to make your home shine with their marketing.  SUPERB pictures, accurate and thorough information, enticing write-ups, it's all part of creating the WANT for buyers.


Ready to talk details?  Please reach out to us at 513-520-5305 or 

We look forward to hearing from you! 

Serving Warren County area home buyers and sellers,

Liz and Bill aka BLiz


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Serving Warren County Ohio & Adjacent Areas

The Liz Spear Team of RE/MAX Elite
Elizabeth Spear, ABR, CRS, Ohio License SAL.2002007747

William (Bill) Spear, CRS, Ohio License SAL.2004011109  Kentucky 77938
Ask for us by name if you visit the office!

EHO Two locations: Lebanon & Mason, OH
Bill Direct:  513-520-5305
Liz Direct: 513-265-3004     
Fax: 866-302-8418


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Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Debbie Reynolds 11/21/2016 03:00 AM
  2. Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers 11/20/2016 08:14 PM
Home Selling
Ohio Warren County
Ohio Active Rainers
Cincinnati Real Estate
Advice for Sellers
new construction
selling your home

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Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi Bill - With 3-5 year buildouts on most new developments, that's great advice for a situation that is as common as it is challenging.

Nov 21, 2016 02:11 AM #16
Nick & Trudy Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtors, Philly Main Line

Well written and honest, so many sellers in newer communties do not realize the competition of selling against the builder/s.


Nov 21, 2016 04:10 AM #17
Janis Borgueta
Key Properties of the Hudson Valley - Newburgh, NY
LIC RE Salesperson

I see this all the time. Too many sellers don't get the message about price and then it lingers, and eventually as the home gets older it sells for even less. A quick sale has to be well thought out and price and condition is the key!

Nov 21, 2016 06:45 AM #18
Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner, Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC
Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC - Rockledge, FL
... a small office, delivering big service!

I have done this but I priced aggressively and even brought money to the table. But time is even more money once you have moved!

Nov 21, 2016 07:29 AM #19
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Dick, When we're working with buyers considering new construction, one of the "must have" conversations is regarding whether there is ANY possibility they'll want/need to move prior to the anticipated finish date for the community.

Nick & Trudy, We consider it vital information for buyers to consider.  If their timeline to move might be short, building new might not be the smart move in an area like ours where home value appreciation is minimal year to year.

Janis, To win, there's got to be an aggressive price, or some feature that buyers can't get with the builder.  We've gone head to head with them this summer for our clients and lost one offer after they decided to go new after all.  For the other buyers, we offered the right value to purchase the home (a unique upstairs loft/bedroom area made it perfect!).

Gary, Even more critical to get it right if you've already moved out. Taxes, utilities, insurance, HOA fees and more, all to support a home you're no longer living in.


Nov 21, 2016 08:35 AM #20
Mike Jones
SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) - Tucson, AZ
Mike Jones NMLS 223495

The timeline is everything; I'm a former homebuilder (350 houses at the Jersey shore in the 1980s) and when I knew that my timeline was not going to work for a potential buyer, I referred them to two REALTORs I trusted.  In some cases, the agent sold them a house at the beginning of the summer season, only to list it again the following year when I contracted to build the new homeowners a custom home.  TRUST is everything.

Nov 21, 2016 09:48 AM #21
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

BLiz- This is so true.  I was asked by an agent to consult on her client's home that was in view of the beautifully designed model home.  She had just moved in and barely lived in it when for personal reasons she needed to sell it.  "Would staging help?"   I suggested that her client make it as clean as possible and price it aggressively.  She concurred and I am so glad she listened to her agent. 

Sellers in this situation need to make sure they have the most knowledgeable agent they can. 

Nov 21, 2016 10:08 AM #22
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Liz and Bill Spear - this is indeed very challenging for the sellers who compete with the builders. (And there are some communities where the seller can't sell the home until construction is completed.

Nov 21, 2016 03:09 PM #23
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
"Franklin MA Homes"

Good morning, Liz and Bill Spear I was the listing agent of dozens of subdivisions where this situation happened all the time.... recent purchases that went back on the market had a difficult time, unless we had no spec homes up ....only then would the buy jump on a home ready for a quick close.... other than that, it's a numbers game.... the homeowner will leave money on the table when competing with the builder....  I was more of a help to resale homes because of my marketing ,....I brought in more people than any listing agent in the subdivision.....

Nov 21, 2016 07:35 PM #25
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Mike, No doubt TRUST is a huge component of our industry, and if you've got partners you can trust you can get a lot more done.  Here, to turn around and sell within a year almost certainly means taking a loss on the property.

Kathy, The resale in that situation definitely has to shine, because I've yet to see a builder's model home that doesn't have bells and whistles beyond anything else in the neigbhorhood!

Praful, That's pretty harsh to not allow the original buyers to sell until the builders are done.  I have seen locally communities where the HOA forbids yard signs for resales until the builder is finished.

John, Seems like it would take an attorney to fight that rule. Hopefully they allow rentals in that situation because you can't always wait for the builder to be done with the community.

Barb, No doubt anything you're marketing is going to get a LOT of eyeballs on it.  We've had times where multiple listings in a community build attention for all of them thanks to the cumulative marketing efforts of the agents. Bigger communities locally the builder may have several spec homes in various stages of progress, and typically of multiple floor plans.  Comes in handy to show prospective buyers their options.


Nov 21, 2016 08:29 PM #26
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Great post, Liz and Bill Spear!  We also tout that "the sellers have worked out the kinks so you don't have to!"  

Nov 21, 2016 10:55 PM #27
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Debe, That's a good angle!

Nov 22, 2016 01:31 AM #28
William Queen
William D. Queen, Real Estate Broker, Richmond, Virginia - West End, VA

The issues of competing with the builder are well illustrated in these blog posts. Also remember all of the large and small improvements the seller has made since the original purchase. The seller may have added fencing, established  healthy and robust landscaping, increased the size and/or efficiency of the hot water heater, improved the quality of the lighting fixtures, installed walls and shelving in the garage, painted the garage floor, added a tool shed, or the hundreds of other improvements and tasks of moving into a new construction home. In other words point out to the prospective buyer what has been done for them already that they will not need to spend or toil with after their move in.  

Nov 22, 2016 03:20 PM #29
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

William, No doubt it's critical to prove why the "used" home is better than the new home.  Hopefully there's a critical mass of changes coupled with the price to tilt the needed buyer(s) in favor of the resale home.

Nov 23, 2016 06:57 AM #30
Harry F. D'Elia
Real Estate and Beyond, LLC - Phoenix, AZ
Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR

I very much enjoyed your post today. We are looking forward to more insightful ones.

Nov 24, 2016 05:20 AM #31
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Harry, We're here every day :)

Nov 24, 2016 06:53 AM #32
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Specializing in Brookside, Waldo, Prairie Village

For sure the house has to look just as good as the new build jobs. ..  however, usually the landscaping is much better and the neighbors are more established in the 'older' home, plus it's settled more.

Nov 25, 2016 09:02 AM #33
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Mary, True, if you get an established part of the community you know exactly what to expect in regards to neighbors.

Nov 25, 2016 10:07 AM #34
Amy Kramer
Reilly Realtors - Austin, TX
Realtor serving Austin and surrounding communities

Lots of great points made in the article and in these comments.  It will come in handy for a listing I have in the new year.  Thanks!

Dec 01, 2016 09:33 AM #35
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Amy, Good luck with next year's listing!

Dec 01, 2016 11:36 AM #36
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