The who, what, when, where, why and how of new construction

by Tim and Julie Harris

What is it?

  1. Traditional new-construction, single-family home neighborhoods
  2. New town homes, doubles, zero-lot-line homes, patio homes, garden homes
  3. Condos; low-, medium- and high-rises
  4. Urban and suburban infill/teardowns/rehab
  5. Land acquisition, lot sales, development

Why do you care?

  1. This is a great source to find inventory for your buyers that are not in the MLS! Note: Many resale buyers get frustrated thinking about the cost of repairs on an older home. This is a solution that overcomes that objection.
  2. New construction is a major part of most markets. Not knowing new construction is a handicap to your career. Don’t claim it’s not there if you haven’t actually researched this.
  3. One relationship (with the builder, developer or sales manager) can lead to many multiple transactions. We’ll explain how in a moment.
  4. End the frustration of being in competitive-offer situations with your buyers trying to buy resale. New construction offers them freedom of choice, time to move and no rehab costs.
  5. Buyers can often get more home for the same payment if you find them a builder with in-house financing, rate buy-down options or other assistance.
  6. This is actually EASIER prospecting than many other spokes, because builders usually have commissions built into their pricing!

What opportunities are available?:

  1. Sit in the new-construction model home during the hours the builder doesn’t have coverage. Sell their product when you can, and keep the leads who don’t build with that builder or don’t build at all. Think listing leads, new-construction buyer leads, etc.
  2. Create a relationship with new-build reps and/or the sales managers at different projects where they refer the resale listings to you. If they’re licensed, you may pay them a referral fee. If not, show your gratitude with gift cards.
  3. List the spec homes the builder has under construction or homes where contracts recently fell apart. There are always opportunities that arise, especially in the larger subdivisions.
  4. List every listing the builder has, representing them on the whole project. This may include both lots to sell to other builders and/or the actual homes being built.
  5. Sell as much as you can yourself, to your own buyers, controlling more of the project and keeping the builder as happy as possible for future developments.
  6. Bring the builder/developer land, sell them the land, list the new homes, sell those homes … lather, rinse, repeat!
  7. Develop land yourself or with investors. This may include house-by-house teardowns, rehabs or larger projects.

How do I get started on this?

     1. Find new construction in your area. Create a file, a spreadsheet, a PDF — some way to have your own ‘New Construction MLS’ — for quick reference. The local builder associations can help you know who’s building what, where and for what price. Example: http://www.texasbuilders.org/membership/member-directory.html. NewHomeSource.com is also a great resource.

     2. Determine which builders have new-construction representatives “on-site,” in either model homes or trailers.

     3. Prioritize the builders who have reps on-site for the sake of building your resale referral network.

     4. Visit each development. Get to know the product FIRST, before you go asking for anything in return. Ask the following questions:

  • Do they have spec homes?
  • How do they handle home sale contingencies?
  • Do they have in-house or special financing arrangements?
  • Where else are they building?
  • Do they ever list with agents on a house-by-house basis or entire projects?
  • Who is their typical buyer?

Asking these questions shows your interest and enthusiasm and getting the answers helps you to know how to monetize the relationship.

     5. Create a “pop-by” plan to build relationships and get the inside scoop on available homes. (Be the one they call when someone backs out of a new home that’s just been completed!) 

     6. Take appropriate buyers from your pipeline to the right projects, and sell what you can! Remember: Builders offering financing equals higher price point and same payment for your buyers.

     7. Take appropriate new-build reps to coffee to discuss referral arrangements for resale properties or other opportunities you’ve discovered so far. Make sure you know their product first!

     8. Set appointments with sales managers, the actual builder or the developer to discuss listing spec homes or projects. Use your Pre Listing Package, with a modified Listing Plan of Action for their project.

     9. Lather, rinse, repeat! There are new projects getting started all around you. Make sure you are educated, communicating and participating.

     10. Consider joining your area’s Architectural Review Committee, Urban Planning Committee or other organizations to be on the inside track!

     11. Join Premier Coaching so our expert, Harris Certified Coaches can help you develop this source of business to the highest level. They can shorten your learning curve, hold you accountable and move you forward faster than trying to figure all of this out on your own!

Tim and Julie Harris host the internationally syndicated, No. 1 daily podcast for REALTORS, “Real Estate Coaching Radio.” Their podcast has had over 20 million downloads from 61 countries and continues to grow every episode.

In their first year selling real estate, Tim and Julie broke all records, selling more than 100 homes, and continued to do so for nearly 10 years. They’ve been professional real estate coaches for more than two decades in all types of market conditions and have a team of Harris Certified Coaches.

Two tech tools to create your own 3D floor plans

There are people who can visualize a space, and then there are others who cannot. Selling a property that hasn’t been built yet is even more challenging. Buyers usually have to rely solely on floor plans, and for those who aren’t visionaries, this can be a challenge.

But this situation isn’t just limited to new construction; it’s for every property we sell. Most people find the property online before deciding whether to see it. Providing a 3D floor plan where buyers can virtually immerse themselves into the space is key to securing that in-person viewing.

Why you should be using 3D floor plans:

We all know that having a floor plan is essential if you want to increase the number of prospects for your listing. 

A two-dimensional floor plan is a flat, perspective- and depth-free blueprint, AutoCAD drawing or diagram. A 3D plan, on the other hand, depicts the building’s layout with height, depth and perspective. This immersive technology, along with some virtual staging, enables customers to visualize themselves living in that space by including distinct furniture pieces to provide a sense of comfort and warmth to the interiors.

In addition, using 3D floor plans can also:

  • Aid in making your listings stand out.
  • Aid in making YOU stand out to win more listings.
  • Offer a true-to-life visual representation.
  • Adapt the space to your preferences.
  • Eliminate the need for interpretation.
  • Save you the time of wasted showings.
  • Enhance the chances of online sales.

If you want to take advantage of all of these benefits, start using 3D floor plans in your marketing. 

There are many online companies that can do it for you, but that can get pricey. Or you can do it yourself using online tools like RoomSketcher or Houzz Pro.

Let me walk you through these two amazing 3D floor plan platforms and how useful they can be for your real estate marketing.

1. RoomSketcher and how it works

RoomSketcher is a powerful and user-friendly online floor planner and interior design application that enables users to create virtual designs for their homes. It has a built-in floor design tool that makes it easy to create. It offers many ready-to-use furniture menus, plus access to various design ideas, thanks to templates accessible in its library. Drag-and-drop functionality has been built into the interface across the entire design. 

Through RoomSketcher, users can visually walk through interactive 3D floor plans and quickly access a breathtaking 360-degree image of the designed space. It is ideal for developing floor plans in 3D for your listings, and especially for new-construction projects.

Pros

  • It creates high-resolution 3D floor plans in PNG, JPG and PDF formats.
  • It has over 20 potential floor plan settings available to simplify the process.
  • It gives you an authentic “feel” of the layout.
  • It allows you to import a blueprint/2D floor plan to trace over.
  • It is reliable and effective.

Cons

  • There are a lot of features, so getting started can be a bit overwhelming. Start with the free version and go from there.
  • The free version is limited, and the Pro version is pricey but offers many features.
  • RoomSketcher is not available on phones. It is available only on Macs, PCs, iPads and Android tablets.

Note: You can test out RoomSketcher’s simplicity by using the free subscription’s basic capabilities, which are accessible to all users. For more advanced features, upgrade your subscription. The basic price is $38, and the Pro is $99.

2. Houzz Pro and how it works

Houzz Pro is a comprehensive project-management, marketing and customer-management tool for the design and remodeling industry, but can be adapted for our real estate needs.

Houzz Pro goes far beyond just 3D floor plans and allows users to personalize profiles and marketing settings online to generate leads. In addition, users can use a central project portal to engage with clients, get estimates and find proposal templates — this can be useful for agents who work a lot with developers on new-construction projects.

Pros

  • Your clients can experience not only 3D floor plans, but also an augmented-reality tour of their future house.
  • It allows you to modify every detail of your design.
  • You can manage leads and projects while on the go with the Houzz Pro mobile app that is available for iOS and Android.

Cons

  • It has many features, and the learning curve can be a challenge, so start off with the basics.
  • The Projects pages can be challenging to edit, but if you are using the program only for 3D floor plans, it is doable.
  • The platform still has a few quirks; all the features don’t always appear on some of the pages.

Note: There is a free version available. However, you won’t have access to major features with the free version. Houzz offers three subscription options starting at $65/month for the starter, $99/month for the essential and $399/month for the full-blown version. 

The bottom line

Allowing prospects to be able to “feel” the space that they may potentially be buying has really grown in popularity, almost becoming the norm. Get familiar with these tools, and start using immersive technology with 3D floor plans in your marketing strategy. You will be happy that you did. It will generate more leads, sell your listings faster and take your real estate business to a higher level. 

Anne Ewasko is a veteran Realtor in the Chicago area and a longtime techie. Visit her at anne.luxhomechicago.com.