Working with a client that is interested in building a home is different that working with a client looking to purchase an existing home. While many of the differences in the two processes are obvious, many are much more subtle and less apparent to those less familiar with the building process. At One South, we believe an interview process between the NEW HOME BUYER and NEW HOME BUYER’S AGENT to make sure that the applicable experience and skill set exists to create the optimal result.
Some questions you should ask agent before you select the correct representative are below:
Ask your agent to differentiate how they offer value to a NEW HOME client versus an EXISTING HOME client.
An agent experienced in representing buyers of new homes understands that the interaction between the builder’s listing agent (and other builder representatives) is far greater than with an exiting home sale. For a NEW HOME AGENT to be effective, they have to understand that they will add value differently than they are accustomed to. If an agent cannot describe to you where they will add value in the process, continue your search for the correct agent
Ask your agent about builder reputations.
While there are too many builders in the HBAR (Home Builders Association of Richmond) to know them all by name and reputation, the top 10-15 in our marketplace have remained fairly constant and a good NEW HOMES agent should be able to express the difference between most of them.
Ryan, Eagle, Colonial Homecrafters, Dumont, Orleans, StyleCraft and Lifestyle Builders (to name a few) all operate in different geographic areas, price points, quality levels, service levels and corporate philosophies. Working with Eagle is vastly different from working with Mike Dumont or Jon Rasich and a good NEW HOMES agent will be able to set the correct expectation entering the process. If your agent cannot offer you a builder bio deeper than what can be gleaned from their website, then you may need to continue to search for a better representative.
Ask your agent about how MARKET ANALYSIS differs in NEW HOMES versus existing homes.
There are several metrics that a seasoned NEW HOME agent should use to gauge the overall state of the market and these can be used to aid in the new home vs. existing home decision as well as to negotiate a better deal from the builder.
The metrics that should be employed have less to do with the traditional CMA based value mode (Competitive Market Analysis) and more to do with available inventory, absorption and establishing the geographic new home premium (each area tends to value new homes differently in relation to the existing home market.)
If your agent cannot express to you how they would arrive at market value for the completed product, then you may need to continue your search.
Ask your agent how NEGOTIATING TACTICS differ from existing home sales.
Keep in mind that builders are some of the most astute negotiators in the marketplace. They sell dozens (to hundreds) of houses per year, negotiate on the purchase of land and lots from developers, they negotiate with subs and material providers daily and with the banking industry on credit lines and other financial instruments.
A good builder is by default a VERY ASTUTE negotiator…do not forget this.
Knowing how and where to negotiate with the builder is paramount and having a new home agent that understands what buttons to push makes a big difference. If your agent cannot express a difference in how to best negotiate the sale of a new home, then you may want to continue your search.
The points above are just a few of the ways that we treat the new home sale differently than the sale of the existing home…there are many more.