General agents need to show new homes, because they will sell more resales and get more listings if they do.

About 95 percent of agents don’t believe this. The other 5 percent believe it, and, because they do, they are closing sales they may have otherwise lost.

Realtor Lorraine Kuney of Re/Max Executive Realty Kuney-Todaro team in Franklin, Mass., believes it. In fact, her team is so sold on working with new-home prospects that they market directly to them. Why?

"We market to new-home buyers exclusively, because we are, first and foremost, resale listing agents."


"We are the first to meet most mid- to high-end buyers, and most have homes to sell," Kuney said. "Many pay cash or carry low mortgages and purchased their homes long ago. Many purchase resales instead of new construction."  

As it turns out, many buy "new" as well. That’s why, over the years, her team has built a reputation with local homebuilders and is now sought out by them to represent their subdivisions. And as she said, "We are doing just fine."

In today’s market, does Kuney’s success not scream out to the thousands of frustrated agents to take a hard look at what Kuney understands? Kuney understands that new-home prospects buy resales and resale buyers buy new homes. 

Understandably, we all are more comfortable staying with what we know. General agents know what they have been trained to know: list and sell resales. They find it easier to stay in the "Which resale do you prefer?" business, and, in my opinion, this mindset is costing them millions in commissions.

Sometimes we need a fresh wind to blow across our habits, and blow away some old ways of doing things.

Here’s an idea: Make a stop at a new-home development’s sales office the first stop on your resale showing schedule, because you will sell more resales, get more listings, and sell a new home or two along the way.

Does this sound too weird? I hope not.

It doesn’t sound too weird to a 20-year Atlanta agent who emailed me last week complaining that her resale buyer bought a new home after she "helped them understand the resale market." The builder wouldn’t pay her commission because his policy (like so many others) is that you earn your commission by bringing the prospect in person the first time. She never took her prospects to a new-home sales office.

So when she called requesting a commission, the builder refused. As he should have. Her position: She will "drive right by that builder’s subdivision every chance I get."

Really? Had her prospect purchased a resale FSBO, do you think that seller would have been called? I don’t think so.

To this agent’s credit, she admitted that she knew better and that she should have included a new home first on her showing schedule, because it would have at least flushed out her prospect’s interest in new homes.

But there is a much better reason to show a new home first: It will help you close more resales!

Here’s why:

  • Your prospect will have a quantified price/value baseline to compare every resale you show them after you leave the sales office. Otherwise, you are comparing resales to themselves among themselves.
  • Your prospect will get location questions answered correctly, thereby taking location issues out of your prospect’s mind when you show resales.
  • Your prospect will be better qualified by a third-party professional who spends her on-site life qualifying homebuyers. This, in turn, helps you show resales in terms of their needs, or helps eliminate homes that will not meet their needs. This is the reason this stop should be the first of the day, not the last.
  • Your prospect will see the latest technology; learn about energy efficiency, and more. Part of the value of a home today is its potential resale in a few years. You need to help the prospect understand this. They will appreciate and trust you more. This is not to say they should buy "new." It is to say that the more informed they are, the more comfortable they become, which leads to a willingness to make a purchase decision faster with more confidence, be it new or resale.
  • When you leave the model and drive to your resale showings, your prospects will have a price point, hopefully have heard a mortgage story, know the general location, and will have seen what they can have if they want the newest and best.
  • You will also have taken their "new homes temperature," giving you a feel for their level of interest in new homes. Chances are they will not have a clear idea until they start looking at resales. If they are interested in seeing more new homes, it’s better that you learn that now, rather than Monday morning when they call to tell you they bought a new home over the weekend and are going to send you their referrals.

Now we come to the good part. The part about how this helps you get more sales and listings.

Remember, back at the site table when they were pointing out location features and benefits? You, more so than the prospect, needed to hear the update because it will make you a better lister. Your prospects represent one sale. This area of town may represent a listing farm for you.

Your seller will like the fact that you have a good grasp on the location and what the new home market is doing. It makes you a better and more confident lister and seller.

If you are taking prospects to resales in the area, does it not follow that you will be able to offer them better service if you know the new homes market?

Bottom line: Forget about how to SELL a new home and start remembering to SHOW them.

You will be making sales you would have lost, and you will be making them because your prospect is dealing with current information and can make real value judgments that lead to a faster decision. As opposed to, say, deciding not to buy anything, or shopping for new homes without you.

Can you think of a bigger incentive to show new homes? I can’t either.

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