What Do National Home Builders Do That the Re-Sale Market Doesn’t to Sell Homes?

National home builders throughout the United States all market their new homes in a similar manner. They place ads in the local newspapers announcing their homes for sale and how to get to their sales office. Once a prospective home buyer meets with the sales office they go through a presentation. These presentations vary from builder to builder but all prospective home buyers are ultimately provided with a brochure before they leave. These brochures typically include an artist’ rendition of the different home styles and their floor plans. The home builders provide these brochures to the buying public because it is a recognized and proven method of selling their homes.

In the early stages of construction (even prior to the models being erected) many homebuyers are able to make decisions as to which home they prefer to buy. In some cases, some buy homes based solely on this artist rendition and a detailed floor plan. Many home buyers get together at the end of the day sit and compare floor plans, sometimes imagining their furniture in each room. The most recent development is these same builders are now including floor plans on their websites as well. It is a basic yet effective marketing method to sell homes.

Incredibly in the re-sale market this marketing tool is completely abandoned? Check every home listing, Realtor website, home flyers, etc… and you will learn every detail about the home with the exception of a floor plan. At present absolutely none of these marketing pieces include a floor plan? Why you ask? We posed this question to a number of real estate professionals only to learn the following. Of those real estate professionals we asked, we learned of all the reasons under the sun as to why they chose not to utilize this proven marketing tool? All were glad to share their personal opinions or theories as to why it would not work for them, yet none of them had actually tried using it to sell a home! Go figure?

A paradigm shift in marketing homes will need to take place in today’s re-sale market. As homes take longer to sell in our current market environment it behooves home sellers to utilize every effective marketing tool necessary to differentiate their home from competing homes. The simple act of including a floor plan could accomplish just that. Unfortunately to date most home sellers will not be exposed to this marketing tool on the re-sale market. The handful of real estate sales professionals who are currently utilizing floor plans in their marketing, are benefiting as a result. It is another example of the 80/20 rule which is alive and well, where 20% of the agents are selling 80% of the homes.

A few small internet companies have emerged to meet this untapped need. Some provide an interactive floor plan utilizing photos within the floor plan itself, others provide photos that have a high quality 30 to 60 second commercial production within the reach of most real estate professionals and FSBO’s (For Sale by Owner) in terms of cost and ease of use.

I recently spoke with a homeowner who was so thrilled with her virtual tour with floor plan, she told me that “she had everyone in her office come to her computer terminal to see her home throughout the day”. A color flyer cannot create the same “Buzz” or emotional impact as these tours.

We are increasingly becoming a more litigious society. The number of forms and disclosures involved in the sale of a home continues to increase every year. Floor plans drawn by licensed professionals are known to reduce the liability real estate agents are exposed to. Simply scanning a floor plan from the builder brochure without their permission is unprofessional, and could possibly land those responsible in court for copyright infringement.

Unfortunately for home sellers many real estate professionals believe that by simply not stating or using sometimes unreliable public records for their listings they are off the hook from a potential lawsuit. Wrong!! Many real estate professionals mistakenly assume that tract homes are all the same, if this were true why are real estate appraisers required to measure your home when you are obtaining a loan to refinance or purchase?

In summary, If given the choice most home buyer’s would like to see a floor plan prior to visiting the home much like those clients that buy new model homes from national builders. In today’s market environment it is critical for home sellers to differentiate their homes from others they are competing against. At the present time, it is unlikely that the general public will be exposed to this form of marketing in the re-sale market unless they utilize the services of the 20% of the real estate professionals who currently do.

How To Find A Custom Home Builder Without Losing Your Mind

Building a custom home is the largest purchase most people will make in their lifetime, and choosing the best custom home builder is essential to the project’s success. The role of a custom home builder is as much to advocate for the homeowner as it is to collaborate with the design team. Since homebuilding is a process that takes several months, it’s important that you the buyer feel there is trust and clear communication on the part of the builder. If you have a location and have set your budget for the project, you are ready to shop builders; read the following tips on how to find a custom home builder without losing your mind.

Consider your resources

If you have already hired a designer, they are the best asset at your disposal for beginning your search. Your design professional likely has first hand experience working with builders and will know their construction qualities, communication styles, and business reputations. You could also check with your lender or realtor, if they are familiar with the custom home market in your locale. You can contact the National Association of Home Builders for a list of qualified local builders. Internet searches can identify builders in your area, and some sites may be equipped with ratings & feedback from prior customers. And, certainly, you could ask friends and acquaintances who have completed custom home projects for referrals.

Shop the candidates

Shopping for a well-qualified home builder is easy when you know what to look for to accommodate your project. The right builder for you will need to have the available time, an interest in your project, and experience in working with homeowners. You want a custom home builder whose primarily focused on building custom homes rather than speculative homes, so that their services are tailored to your needs. When considering builders, ask about their current projects and their track record with projects of similar scale and detail to yours. They should also be able to provide you client references. You want to get the sense that the builder you are considering has done this sort of thing before.

Work the schedule

When you talk to prospective builders, ask what kind of schedule you would be looking at for your project. Know that building a custom home usually takes a minimum of 6 months and that the schedule will be weather-dependent. Additionally, steps must be taken before the home can even be framed, such as installing the plumbing and electric up to city code. A builder promising a time frame for completion that is only a few weeks or months should be considered a red flag, no matter how tempting it may seem. In the case of custom home building, it’s better the project be completed properly then quickly.

Communication is key

Again, you need to be comfortable with how a builder communicates with you. You should not feel pressured or talked down to at any junction. You are trusting an expert to build your home, and that expert ought to be able to take the time to explain their process in layman’s terms. You should have access to the construction site. You should feel your questions are welcome, and that they being answered in a timely and respectful manner. If you get the sense that the builder is more or less communicative than you would like, take note, and consider moving on. You do not want to enter into a building contract with a builder whose communication is irksome.

Remember, you’re trying to find a collaborative building partner who will be your advocate. Take your time, be specific in what you want, and ask questions.

Choosing The Right Home Builder – Interview Questions

Building a home will be the most expensive and complex project you are likely ever to be involved in. The only way to make sure that you have chosen wisely is to be prepared and conduct enough research to be knowledgeable on the housing market in your area and the builders that you will be contacting. In order to choose the right home builder make sure to take in the following advice as not all home builders are the same.

Basic market research

Now that you have decided to build a home, contracting a home builder should include a proper vetting procedure. Part of this procedure should include understanding the local housing and building markets. One of the best places start is to contact your home builders association in your area or a national building association. These associations can provide qualified, certified professional home builders to start your search. Follow this up by looking at current real estate advertising to assess active builders and pricing guidelines for similar houses that you intend build. Lastly reach out to friends, family and known real estate agents for referrals. By the end of this process you should have a basic understanding of the current housing market and the top builders in your area. Starting with 10 to 15 builders will give you enough prospects to narrow down your choices.

The interview

In order to assess builders in your area to meet your specific needs they should be willing to sit down with you and answer your questions. This provides you with a basic assessment if the builders can your needs.
Ask the following questions:

– How many years have you been in business? How many homes have you built?

– Are you licensed and insured?

– How do you compare to other builds and what are the best features of your homes?

– What type of warranty do you offer?

– Do you have model homes or references that I can contact?

– Do your homes meet the six star energy rating qualifications?

– Can you custom build homes or change current designs to meet my specifications?

– What are the standard features of your homes and what are available upgrades?

– Who will oversee the construction of my home and who is the direct contact for me?

– What is the process for making changes before or during construction?

– How and when will the final price for the home be determined?

– How often will I have access to the home during construction?

– How long will the build process take?

– Are you a specialty home builder or a mass producer?

An experienced builder will be able to answer all of the questions easily and quickly. If the builder vacillates on any of these questions they may not be the right choice. One of the most important aspects of home building is receiving value for quality not building the absolute cheapest structure possible.

By following these tips and asking the right questions the largest project will get off on the right foot with the right builder. By having an in-depth interview it will give you the peace of mind to move forward and even if issues or concerns arise they will be expertly handled.

Buying a New Home – Use a Buyers Agent to Negotiate the Best Deal With Custom Home Builders

If you’re in the market for a new home, you probably do like a lot of people do: Drive around from builder to builder, talking to many different sales representatives in each of the sales offices. I know. I’ve been there, done that, bought the t-shirt, and it’s no fun. But did you know that strategy may be costing you money?

You actually are missing some golden opportunities in the negotiation process if you take the “go it alone” approach and hit the pavement yourself. Sure, you get to fill up your gas tank a few times and get frustrated hearing all the different sales pitches from each builder, but you can live with that. It’s the money you want to save, right?

The problem is that buying directly from the builder with no agent representing you means you don’t have an advocate on your side who knows the market and can potentially bring you better prices and terms. If you use the sales agent assigned to you when you show up in the on-site sales office, they are not acting as your agent but as the builder’s agent. They’re job is to represent the builder, not you.

Use a buyer’s agent to purchase a new home

On the other hand, there is a tremendous benefit to using a buyer’s agent to help you buy a new home. Not just any buyer’s agent, of course; it’s important to use an agent who specializes in new homes and knows the local builders. Your agent’s knowledge of the many builders in your area is what will give you the edge over the buyer walking into the model home or sales office off the street.

The reason it’s so beneficial to have a buyer’s representative on your side is that the home builders are in competition for your business. If you don’t know the deals available down the street or across town, you won’t know to bring that up in your negotiation. Besides, who really likes negotiating, anyway? An agent who specializes in new homes and knows those builders will be aware of the buyers’ incentives they offer and can help negotiate one for you.

In addition, when you have a buyer’s agent, they have a legal fiduciary duty to advocate on your behalf. A buyer’s contract with an agent specializing in new home sales ensures that you’ll get better advocacy at the negotiating table and the potential for a sweetheart deal that only an agent who brings the builders volume business could get.