The benefits and considerations of selling new construction as a real estate agent.
Jacqueline Kyo Thomas
If you're looking to carve a niche for yourself in your local real estate market, you may want to consider new construction. That brand new subdivision being built across town may offer the perfect opportunity for you to expand your real estate business.
While many agents don't ever consider venturing into new construction, this niche can prove to be a lucrative move. Buyers can definitely benefit from your expertise as a real estate professional, and you can market your services accordingly. Plus, working with builders is a great way to expand your network.
In this guide, we’ll discuss how you can specialize in selling new construction as a new agent, including why you would want to do it.
Selling new construction is a lot different than selling an already-built and lived in home. New construction homes offer a lot of great benefits to home buyers. These homes offer modern amenities and are built with new materials that include warranties that can last for years and even decades into the future.
Here are some other ways that a home buyer will benefit from buying a new construction home:
Of course, buying new construction has definite drawbacks which you should be aware of. The following factors may cause your buyer client to feel uncomfortable with the idea of buying a new construction home:
For most buyers, the pros outweigh the cons. However, the biggest consideration for new construction homes tends to be price. And, unfortunately for buyers, builders are less likely than individual homeowners to slash the price of their home. But that doesn’t mean there’s no wiggle room. You, as the real estate agent, may be able to negotiate upgrades for your client that make the extra cost worth the added expense.
Selling new construction homes is a great niche to get into as a new agent. You’ll learn how to negotiate in terms other than dollars and cents. You’ll also build your knowledge of construction and home building, which can inform other parts of your career, especially if you decide to get into real estate investing in the future. You’ll also establish yourself as an expert in the new construction niche, which can separate you from the pack.
As a real estate agent, your job is to help your clients buy or sell properties, and that includes new construction. There are two huge misconceptions that agents believe about new construction. First, some agents erroneously believe that builders don't want the help of agents to sell their homes. Second, some agents believe that new construction homes sell themselves.
However, that's not the case. While the builder may invest a lot of money into marketing their new build(s), they can definitely use your help in selling, especially if you already have a prospective buyer lined up. You can partner up with a builder to create a mutually beneficial working relationship. You both have the same goal in mind: to sell houses.
And while it's true that home buyers can buy a new construction home without the representation of a buyer's agent, it's definitely not recommended. The buyer's agent has the responsibility to act in the best interest of the buyer. Without this agent, the buyer is at risk of being taken advantage of by a builder. Or, at the very least, not getting the best deal that they could have if they had worked with a buyer’s agent.
The builder has its own representative that must act in their interest. In fact, this representative is usually an employee of the builder. And this sobering fact is something that many home buyers don't realize when they're out touring new construction open houses. While the builder's representative may be helpful, friendly, and attentive, they're also focused on getting the best deal for the builder and not the buyer.
This is why every buyer needs an agent to represent their interests. It's unfair otherwise.
Some buyers mistakenly believe that getting an agent will cost them more money when it comes to purchasing a new home. They don’t realize that builders incorporate agent commissions into the price of the home. So don't assume that prospective clients understand how the commission process works. If you'd like to get into selling new construction, be sure to educate your prospective buyer clients on how real estate agent commissions really work and that it won’t be an extra cost for them.
Also let them know that they won’t save money if they forego agent representation.
There are a lot of great benefits a buyer will gain when working with an agent to buy a new construction home. But just like you shouldn't assume that your prospective client understands commissions, you also shouldn't assume that they already know the wide array of benefits that working with you will give them. Here's a starter pack of benefits you likely offer your clients:
Negotiation Power - For properties that are currently under construction, you can use your negotiation skills to secure extra amenities for your client, such as upgraded floors or add ons. The builder may even pay for closing costs. These are negotiations that an unrepresented buyer may not think to ask for on their own, but you can go after as an experienced agent.
Knowledge of the market - A new home looks like a new home to a buyer, but to a real estate agent who knows the market, a new home that's sat empty for months is the perfect candidate for price negotiation. As an agent, you're also privy to comparative properties in the area, and can arrange a great deal for your client.
Financing Advice - The builder may have their go-to lender, but as the buyer's representative, you can offer alternative suggestions to ensure that your client gets the best rates on their deal.
As a real estate agent, you can sell anything, including new construction homes. However, so can thousands of other agents in the state. If you truly want to set yourself apart, commit yourself to become an expert in new builds. This includes:
It's also important that you understand how the builder will compensate you in terms of commission. New build, or builder co-op commissions are different from commissions made on re-sales. Builders can pay a commission on the percentage of the home's base price instead of the home's final purchase price. This can make a huge difference. The NAR has a fantastic guide about selling new construction that you can read here.
Another thing to be aware of is client registration with the builder. If you plan to sell a new construction home, make sure that your client hasn't registered with the builder before you show them the property. Oftentimes, when home buyers tour model homes, they fill out a registration card. This seemingly harmless gesture can come back to haunt you if the buyer did not list your name as their represented agent on the card. The builder will not pay you a commission if you return at a later date with your client to buy the home. It doesn't matter if the client was represented by you at the time when they visited the home previously. If there's no record of your representation on the builder's registration card, they can deny your commission.
Selling new construction homes can be both rewarding and profitable. Use the above tips to break into the new construction niche and ensure that you’re a success.