REMAX Gateway Agents Training for Anticipated New Home Sales

This year the real estate market trend will shift to incorporate more new home construction sales as we are seeing fewer resale properties on the market. Inventory levels of resale existing homes were down as much as 30% throughout 2012 in NOVA. So we brought in the new home sales expert Suzanne Neff to educate our agents on how to be more successful in selling new homes and how to add more value as an agent in the new home sales process.
We also heard from Leslie Strittmatter with New Homes Guide . They provide a list of all new homes in an easy to use directory. If you don’t see a builder you know, just let Leslie know as this is a free service to the builder.
Suzanne offered us some very practical and insightful information that I would like to share with you:home under construction

  • Be wary of registration policies – every builder is different, time of registration & period, must be present upon registration.
  • Remember: 1st agent in – is their agent
  • Preview the new home – just like a resale
  • Ask to see entire agreement in advance of writing contract and review with the client prior to writing the contract.
  • Prior to writing contract talk with sales person about the negotiating position of the builder. It is important to know all the facts.
  • Ask about communication process of sales person – how often, with whom, etc.

Did you know … There are differences in builder’s contracts – builders add paragraphs when something happens in the past, deposits (flat fee, %, at contract writing, at selection time), no appraisal contingencies allowed, sometimes deposit on contingent contracts it is not refundable, days to make color selection – loan application, loan approval, etc., notice to close 2 days to 2 weeks.
Did you know … Some builders have in house mortgage/title with credit back for closing/options/etc. (have client get GFE to compare to your lender to see if builder will match) – do a chart to show what the breakeven time-frame would be for them to “not” use the builder contract. Often times, it is more difficult for the outside lender to work with the title company and vice versa. Builder likes control.
Did you know … Keep client in property 2 weeks past closing because it is your responsibility to keep a roof over their head – not the builders. Permit process may delay closing, weather may delay closing. Never schedule back to back moves.
Did you know … Get a copy of the contract at contract writing or you may not get one for over 30 days.
Did you know … Many contracts say- products/offerings are subject to change without notice and builder has the ability to switch out products of similar quality – make your buyers aware of this clause so there are no surprises. Shortages may occur as factories are not ready for increase in sales. Prices – hello, the market is hot and manufacturers may raise their prices and builder may switch manufacturers.
Did you know … You need to ask how many inspections are there and which ones can we, as agents, attend and which ones can the buyer attend.
Did you know ... Most builders will want the home inspector there before or after scheduled walk through. Some will want you to use their approve inspectors.
Did you know… Most builders want to build a product they are proud of and will stand behind their product. Most every builder will have a form that “waives their right to warranties” because they, the builder, will offer a better warranty than what is required by Virginia and often times, the vendors they use give longer warranties than what the state requires.

Have you ever considered “why do people like being new home sales agent?” This is good to think about just so you know the basic type of personality you may be potentially working with throughout the sales process:

They like to sell; they also strongly desire and rely on support of administration staff; they typically like to know where they are going everyday; a salary and/or draw is often part of their compensation; they typically participate in health care benefits that the builder potentially offers; sales commission structures differ between builders but obviously, the more they sell, the more they earn; two days off with 40+ hours a week – days off vary during the week (so be sure to call and find out their schedule because not all assistants know the neighborhood, offerings, etc.); and new home sale persons must be ready to sell at any time because you/your client may be the only person they see all week – this is another reason why it is so important to call ahead, so you can get the data and let them sell their product when you bring your client in.

Suzanne strongly suggests taking the time to call before taking your client in to the sales office. This introductory conversation shows your level of professionalism to the new home sales person, and even more importantly, the information you provide to your client shows them that you are doing exactly what you promised: helping them find a home and representing them in their purchase of their new home.

Here are some great questions to ask the sales person:

  • What is the Registration policy?
  • How much will Agent be paid?
  • What is the commission percentage based on?
  • What are their hours?
  • When is the sales person available?
  • What is available?
  • What is price range?
  • What is average sales price?
  • What is building time frame/delivery time?
  • Are there any buyer incentives being offered by the builder?
  • Do you know of any price increases in the near future?
  • Convey something about your clients and background of their move.

Kevin Harris is an award-winning residential architect, international speaker, champion of culture-based design, an LSU and Harvard GSD graduate, father of 3, Eagle Scout, blue water sailor and Fellow of the AIA. For more information on Kevin or the firm go to

Remember this is an emotional time, so be sure to be there for your clients.

As market continues to move in the builder’s favor, negotiations on pricing and incentives for mortgages using mortgage and title partners will be less, credits for upgrades go away, and in some cases, deposits will become non-refundable. Be sure to be a professional Realtor and know more so you can earn the trust and respect of your clients and the new home sales professionals. Get it? Got it? Good!
Now, go sell something!

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