Your First Visit to the New Home Sales Office and How You Are “Qualified”.
Most new home communities throughout the country operate their sales programs in the same manner. Buying a new home in the North County San Diego area is no different. Besides the community itself and the model homes the real sales process begins when you meet the community salesperson. This salesperson may also be known as the sales counselor, sales associate, sales manager, community representative or sometimes the Vice President of Sales.
On you first meeting which usually takes place when you enter the sales office the salesperson will first sell themselves and try to build some form of a relationship to build your confidence in that person.
Once they “break the ice” they will send you on an unescorted tour of the furnished models which is typically 2-4 homes. When you are done viewing the beautifully decorated, furnished, landscaped and upgraded homes you will need to exit through the sales office after you view the models. This is known as the “model home trap”.
Regardless of whether a single family home community, townhome or condominium, the salespersons next step is to inform and sell you on the:
- Home Building Company
- Geographic Area
- New Home Community
- Models and Floor Plans
- Lots or Home Sites
In their initial presentation you can expect that the salesperson will tell you all about:
- The history of the home builder
- How they are dedicated to quality
- How satisfied their customers are
- The great schools in the area
- How convenient the location is to highway access, shopping and recreation.
- All the wonderful amenities that he community offers, which may include community centers, swimming pools, parks, hiking trails, open space or maybe the great views from certain lots.
- How they have the perfect home that will fit your family and your lifestyle needs
Qualifying. The salesperson will attempt to convince you that you should buy a home from home or her. The information that they start to deliver to you will not be generic but based on questions that they have asked you when they are “qualifying” you. When they ask you questions like this you will know you are being qualified:
- How long have you been looking for a home?
- Where have you looked at what other communities have you seen?
- How soon do you need to move?
- What is keeping you from making up your mind?
These opening types of questions will determine if you are a serious home buyer or just someone out looking for design ideas and touring models on the weekend. You answers will either lead to a brush off from the salesperson wishing you good luck in your search for a home or it will lead to more probing questions. If you tell the salesperson that you are interested in the neighborhood, have a definite time frame to move and can specify what your price range and size of home is the salesperson will further qualify you with more detailed questions.
In-Depth Qualifying. So you have shown some interest in the community and like what the builder has to offer. The next step will be for the salesperson to start creating a path that will lead to you buying a home from them. These questions all have a purpose:
Where do you currently live? They will want to determine whether you are relocating, moving-up from the same area or buying a second home.
When you looked at other communities, what did you like or dislike? This will inform the salesperson of what their competition may be and aloe them to focus and present the aspects of their new homes that best fit what you are looking for. How they respond to this may be different for everyone and finely tuned for your specific needs.
How soon are you planning to move? This will help evaluate what the urgency of your buying needs are. The more urgent you appear to be, the more the salesperson will try to create a sense of loss if you don’t buy now. Here are a view comments you might hear from the salesperson:
- There are only a few homes left. (which may be true, or just what’s available in the current phase).
- Prices are going up. (This worked in the past but is a hard one to pressure a buyer with in today’s market. There may be instances where the lots available later in the project may be larger and offer better orientations and superior views.)
- The builder has a few homes available for quick move-ins. They want to get you into what currently have under construction. In the current market builders are building limited numbers of unsold homes and won’t move on to the next phase until they have a certain percent of homes under construction sold.
- Interest rates are going up.
- Certain incentives they are offering will end soon.
What do you do for a living? This question helps the salesperson lead into further financial abilities questions.
Have you looked into financing? This will inform the salesperson how far you are into the process. Maybe you have a relationship with a lender or could you be a candidate for using the builder’s lender?
How much do you plan to put ass a down payment for a new home? This is a big indicator in the early steps as to what you can afford.
Once the salesperson know that you are interested in buying a home in the area and can afford the price ranges offered, the game begins. The salesperson will now try to find the right fit of floor plan and lot to meet your needs. The questions will change from financing to your lifestyle choices.
- What type of home are you looking for? Style, size, formal, informal, open?
- Are you married?
- How large is your family, or will your family be growing?
- What do you like or dislike about your current home?
- What would you change in your current home?
- Which of the models do you like the best?
- Which of the other builder’s models did you like?
At this point you will be able to judge how good the sales person is. How well do they know their product and how well do they know their competition. A good salesperson will take everything in that you have said and will determine what your “hot buttons” are (need 4 bedrooms, first floor master bedroom, 3 car garage, family room, etc.) and present only floor plans that serve your needs. The builder may only show 2-3 basic floor plans in their brochure or website however they may have many variations of each plan currently in production. A poor salesperson will give you copies of every floor plan they offer and hope you decide on one. If the salesperson has a plan that suite your needs their next step will be to tour a model with you if available or possibly a home with the same plan that is under construction.
The salesperson has taken you from the initial greeting and presentation to pinning you down to a specific plan type that works for you. By getting your interest in a specific plan indicates you have a real interest in buying at the community. The next few steps in the sales process you need to prepare for:
- Selecting the Floor Plan
- Selecting the Lot or Home Site
- Overcoming Objections