Getting clients into a newly built home can be thrilling, but there are things you, and they, need to know ahead of time to help them have the best experience possible.
You’ll be able to help clients move into their house feeling confident that you’ve done everything to ensure it will be a home by staying involved in the process with a little research. This way, they will be so satisfied with your service that when they are ready for another new home, they will certainly contact you again.
1. Choose the developer first.
Though the model homes might be beautiful and shiny, if the reputation of the builder isn’t great, it doesn’t make much difference in the end. Have clients talk to the people in the communities they’re looking to build or buy in, along with the Better Business Bureau. They will need to know ahead of time if the builder is dependable or not.
2. Be add-on aware.
Just as they do when you’re shopping for a new car, add-ons can considerably drive up the cost of a new home. Warn clients to watch out for higher-quality materials used — for example, granite countertops, extras such as additional fireplaces or bathrooms, and design elements including wainscoting or crown molding.
3. Stay involved in the building process.
If clients are contracting someone to build a new home for them, remind them to stay involved with the process after the initial meetings are over. Keep in regular contact with the contractor to stay appraised of the progress and any issues that might come up. Clients should ask for weekly meetings, either by phone or in person, so they can stay on top of things.
4. Learn the neighborhood.
If the home is in a new development, you and your clients have a unique opportunity to get involved in the community from the ground floor. Start meeting the neighbors before the move-in date, if possible, and contact the new homeowners association to see if the clients can help on any committees and if you can advertise in the newsletter.
5. Be flexible.
When possible, urge clients to allow some overlap between leaving their last residence and moving into the new home. As deadlines approach, things can go wrong, and the home might not be ready in time. The extra cushion afforded by that flexibility can come in handy in such instances.
6. Plan a walk-through.
Whenever possible, before, during and after building, plan walk-throughs with the contractor. If they’re building, clients should ask to meet at the home to check progress on things such as concrete pouring, framing and completion. They might feel concerned about being a pest, but if that happens, just remind them that this is likely one of the biggest and most costly projects they’ll take on in their lifetimes. The builder, more than anyone, will understand that and probably appreciate your involvement, as it could save everyone time and money in the long run.
Send checklists with your clients of items to do that have come from your weekly meetings, and have them go over them with the builders.
7. Know emergency shutoffs and plans.
Have the builder take clients through the location of each smoke and gas detector in the home, and learn where pipe and gas shutoffs are in case of emergency. Prior to move-in date, put together an evacuation plan and go over it with your clients, so everyone knows what to do in an emergency situation.
8. Prepare for closing.
Make sure that you have all the necessary paperwork together and ready to go, in order to facilitate closing. Though stressful, being prepared can help smooth the process. Make sure escrow officers, inspectors, lawyers and any other involved parties are organized and ready to close.
9. Inspect before you move in.
Plan for a final walk-through with the contractor and client before they move anything in the home. Beforehand, have an inspector go through everything with you, and make notes of anything that they determine might need addressing prior to signing off on completion.
10. Look into new-home warranties.
Clients should do some shopping around and find a home warranty, independent of any offered by the developer. An additional level of insurance, this warranty will be their safety net in case anything goes wrong within the first year in the new home.
With these tips, your new homeowners will feel secure that they, and you, have done everything possible to ensure success with their new home.
Einat Mazafi is the owner of NY Shipping, an international moving company based in New York. She is also a specialist in providing the best relocation solutions to clients worldwide.