When it comes to selling homes, Realtors have two options: to sell new or to sell resale.
Some Realtors may feel that it’s easier to sell resale because the home is already built and buyers can see what they’re buying quickly. But leaving new construction homes off your showing schedule is not only bad for clients (show them all of their options for the best fit), it’s bad for agents. Here’s why real estate professionals shouldn’t avoid selling new homes:
“Personally, I do not avoid new homes — I actually seek them out in most cases,” says Allan Prigal, an associate broker real estate consultant for RE/MAX Realty Group in the Washington, D.C., area. “My job is to find the house that best fits my clients’ needs; sometimes that is resale and sometimes that is new. I would not be serving my clients’ best interest (nor mine) if I excluded one or the other.”
Greg Smith, a broker-owner at RE/MAX Alliance in Boulder, Colo., also agrees that it’s vital to focus attention toward customer needs.
“As a broker, it is important to identify the needs of the buyer, and, for many buyers, the advantages of a new home are the best solution,” Smith says, adding that new homes offer warranties for the items in the home, new appliances and home systems that can help minimize upkeep and repairs. Smith does say that in some cases, resale might be a better match for people seeking a certain location, established neighborhoods and landscaping.
Ann Rudd, a broker for Century 21 Real Estate Consultants in Charlotte, N.C., says there are many benefits to selling newly built homes.
“One significant benefit is the new home warranty builders offer,” Rudd says. “Every builder has a different warranty, but some builders have excellent warranties that they can pass on to the next buyer.”
For example, a builder may offer a transferrable 30-year structural warranty, which would be huge selling factor to a buyer that has had structural issues in a previous home, Rudd says.
“Also, the purchase process is easier,” Rudd adds. “Buyers sit in an office with the builder’s sales person and they write the contract. There isn’t hard negotiating going on — the buyer can purchase the exact home with the exact features they want.”
Another benefit is that the buyer is getting a completely new product. “I don’t have to worry about a seller not being truthful and latent defects cropping up later,” says Rudd. “I feel comfortable knowing my buyer is getting the best product for their money.”
Though there are many good reasons to sell new homes, some agents may still be cautious about selling new and working with builders. To help ensure a smooth working relationship with builders, Prigal says you can simply plan a visit with the builders in your area to discuss their policies in dealing with agents and come to a conclusion ahead of time on which ones to work with. For more on creating relationships with builders, check out our article, “How to Maintain Long-term Relationships with Builders.”
Another reason agents may avoid selling new could be that a builder does not have any spec homes ready for quick delivery. “Many times a buyer will not want to wait for the house to be built,” Prigal says. “Unfortunately, some agents don’t want to wait six months for a house to be built to get paid.”
Be sure to ask the builders if there will be any move-in ready homes available in the time your client prefers. In some cases, you may find that there will be homes that can be completed in as little as 60 days.
By creating good relationships with builders, you can stay ahead of the competition. Rudd, for example, says her interactions with builders have been extremely positive and she’s been able to forge strong bonds with builders.
“I have forged good relationships with some builders and their representatives,” she says. “It helps to stay on top of the inventory and what each builder has available. Also, some builders offer perks to agents that bring multiple buyers to them.”
Prigal adds that the vast majority of builders are great to work with because they are happy to have a client brought to them. “Builders normally are not emotionally involved,” he says. “If a deal makes good financial sense, then normally they will do it.”
“This is an emotional business and being able to take some of the emotionality out of the transaction is always good,” Rudd adds. “There is very little negotiating in new construction in our market, so the buyer’s decisions are about features and upgrades, not negotiating price.
“When purchasing a resale, I am always thinking about the other side. Will this offer offend the seller? Are we doing anything to upset the seller? I don’t have to worry about that in new construction transactions,” she says.
Finally, helping a buyer purchase a new home fosters good energy for the economy, according to Smith.
“As more and more buyers enter into the housing market, and the constraints of inventory are felt across the country, builders tend to be a very important part of the real estate business and overall economy as a whole,” he says. “It is important for builders and real estate brokers to continue to work together in a synergistic manner (to) help today’s buyer receive a positive homebuying experience.”