In a recent ‘new homes' seminar, fifty-three REALTORS® were asked how many had heard of a new home internet advisor or concierge. Four hands, (8%), went up. Internet advisor services have been around for ten years or longer and are providing invaluable inventory-on-demand services for the few Realtors that know that they exist.
"Knowing that I have a team of internet advisors helping me find new homes inventory on demand changed the way I do business," Orlando Realtor Mary Carpousis said,
"A year ago I had never sold a new home, and since overcoming the fear of finding the right inventory, I have sold five new homes, including three prebuilds."
When asked in a survey what these Realtors would do if they had a home shopper who preregistered and/or pre-visited the builder's sales office without the Realtor, only one out of two would do the right thing. Call the onsite sales consultant and confirm that if they brought the prospect back for a second visit and the prospect purchased a home, the agent would be paid.
Twenty-one percent said they would tell the prospect that he would not receive a commission unless the prospect insisted the agent be paid. Twenty-six percent did not respond, which in the author's opinion, they were not sure what to do.
A second survey asked the agents to write what they felt was the most important thing learned about working with onsite consultants. These are some new things they learned:
"How much help they could be."
"They take a lot of the stress out of the buying process"
"They know how to show the homes and I need to stay quiet."
Give them time to showcase their property."
"They help us protect our commission."
One agent said he learned that for 16 years he had been doing it wrong!
Based on this unscientific study, here are the top ten fears that keep Realtors away from showing new homes.
- Not knowing how to find new homes inventory on demand
- Not knowing how to set up the introduction to the new home consultant
- Not knowing how to add value to their service, if they cannot negotiate price
- Not knowing where to add a new home in their showing schedule
- Not being paid if they don't take the prospect to the sales office on the first visit
- Not knowing what to expect from the onsite agent
- Not being treated professionally by the onsite consultant
- Not understanding how to qualify resale buyers for new homes
- Not understanding how their commission is protected by the builder
- Not trust the onsite agent to treat the agent professionally
These are not training issues, really. They have to do with education. But where is it?
Somewhere along the line a builder convinced Realtors they needed to learn construction, which is about as far away from the money as the agent can get.
Realtors need to stop expecting homebuilders to do their training for them. Why? Because understandably, the training comes from the builder's perspective, when in fact it needs to be done from the Realtor's perspective. And only a Realtor can address the fears listed above.
So why aren't Realtors encouraging their agents to farm for new home buyers and show more new construction at the outset of their careers?
An opinion: Because they fear that their agents will not list and sell resales, which is in too many cases the most unsaleable inventory on today's market.
Is it possible a new home showing might light a fire under a new agent struggling to make her first sale?
Like this Realtor for example: She spent weeks with a relocating couple offering low bids to the lender trying to ‘steal something' ,she said in an unsolicited email. She and her prospects were about to give up.
But she remembered something she had learned about helping her prospects ‘understand the money.’ She suggested that her prospects visit the new home sales office of a builder selling homes around the same price point as their bids “just to see what they could actually get for their money.”
Her prospects visited one builder’s model, purchased an inventory home in two days, and closed in 30 days, which left this this Realtor wondering “why nobody told me about this showing strategy.”
She did not know construction or the first thing about working with onsite sales consultants. She did not need to. She needed to help her prospect understand what they could get for their money.
What made this so special? It was this newly licensed agent’s first sale.
But the fact remains, Realtors resist showing new homes, and are not encouraged or trained to do so by their brokers.
As one can see from the survey, it is not the benefit of new homes vs resales that needs addressing.
What needs addressing is the devastating effect fear of the unknown has on the agents’ ability to produce – not lose- sales they could be making.
What say you?