If you’ve toured a model home, you’ve probably run into a friendly person — ready and able to answer any questions you may have about that home, the builder or the surrounding community.
If that’s the case, then chances are you just met a builder’s sales professional, an extremely important player in your new-home buying process.
Whether you’ve worked with one of these professionals before or not, it’s a good idea to make the most out of this relationship. With this article, we’ll accomplish just that by teaching you both their role and your role in the whole process.
The Role of The Builder’s Sales Pro
Although the role of the builder’s sales professional may vary from builder to builder, some things generally remain the same: You can find them in the model home or builder’s sales center and their job is to help you understand what it’s like to buy a home with that builder.
“It is so important for the new-home purchaser to have the utmost confidence in their builder,” says Carrie Matthies, a sales manager for Illinois-based Red Seal Homes. “It is my job and obligation as a new home sales representative to convey who we are as a builder and discuss items such as our reputation, years in business and the fact we are a family-owned business. In doing so, I help make the buyer comfortable with the team that will be building their new home.”
In addition to introducing you to the builder, they are also highly trained on just what you’re searching for: a new home.
“I think it is important that the buyer knows the sales representative is a partner in their homebuying process,” says Laurie Richards, another sales manager with Red Seal Homes. “For example, with some builders, the sales rep is the person who takes the buyer through the entire process of selecting features and finishes for their home, while other builders might have a separate design center where buyers work with a designated design team to make those choices.”
Finally, the sales pro is also there to give you information about the surrounding community.
Richards and Matthies both agree that the sales rep should be an expert in the surrounding area and should be able to answer any questions about nearby schools, local shopping and dining options, commute times and local amenities, parks, events and festivals.
Your Role as a Home Shopper
So where does that leave you?
As a new-home shopper, you have the easy job: just ask questions!
“The questions customers have when they first walk in (are usually) relative simple and basic,” says John Palumbo, CEO of The Sales DNA Institute as well as a National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) keynote speaker. “It’s hard to know what to ask until you get to know the product, builder and location.”
The longer you chat with a builder’s sales rep, the more they will help you uncover your wants and needs in a home and share important details about their new homes and communities.
Christine Lutz, director of Chicago-based Kinzie Brokerage, suggests the following questions for your visit:
- How many homes and communities has the builder successfully completed and where?
- Do they have a list of references from happy customers?
- Can they take you on a tour of an empty, completed home?
She also suggest you ask yourself a few questions:
- How much home can you afford?
- What are your wants and needs in a new home?
- What kind of lifestyle are you looking for?
However, these might take a bit more research on your part.
“The sales representative is the buyer’s one-stop resource for all information about a new-construction community,” says Matthies. “But it’s also a great idea for a buyer to do a little homework before visiting a community so they’re prepared with questions and can make the most of their time with the sales rep.”
She suggests checking out floor plans, finishes and other design upgrades available on the builder’s website, as it can arm you with a list of questions about your options and what you want to get accomplished on your visit.
Once you’ve gone through all the details, it’s time to jot down your list and head to your local sales center. Your friendly neighborhood sales pro will be waiting with all the answers.
“The sales agent’s goal is for the customer to feel like they have explored all the necessary details to make a good purchase decision that they feel great about,” says Palumbo.
Drew Knight is a freelance writer for Builders Digital Experience (BDX). He graduated from Texas A&M University in December 2014 with a degree in agricultural communications and journalism.