- Builders and agents who come together provide a higher level of service for buyer clients who want an exceptional experience from build to buy.
- The success of the New Home Advisor position at Inspire might prompt more builders to hire agents in an adviser capacity.
Realty agent Whitney O’Reilly has a new role, and it’s one she thinks other licensees might want to consider.
O’Reilly was recently named New Home Advisor at Inspired Homes, a production homebuilder in Jefferson County, Missouri, and the greater Kansas City area. In her new post, the 25-year-old agent will help match buyers to the Inspired property that best fits their needs.
Her responsibilities include a mix of marketing, sales and relationship building, says Melanie Osterhaus, director of marketing and communications for Inspired, which builds about 140 houses a year. The company currently has four properties under construction, with prices averaging in the mid-$200,000 range.
What does the New Home Advisor do?
When a prospect reaches out to the builder — whether through its website, social media or digital ads — O’Reilly will follow up promptly, no matter the time or day. She will talk to each lead to learn their needs and desires, determine if they have a budget and understand their other financial considerations.
Then, she’ll combine that information with her extensive knowledge of each Inspired property to recommend which developments best fit their needs.
O’Reilly will also help prospects understand the homebuilding and buying process, and will remain in contact to assist them whenever the need arises.
This sort of personalized attention plays a significant role in providing an optimal experience for the people Osterhaus calls Inspired’s “guests.”
“This role is a huge part of the journey for our guests,” she says. “We want them to have someone they can connect with that they know will have the information they need and can help them get to the next phases of their journey.”
The journey to this position
O’Reilly started in the real estate business about two years ago when she joined the Reece Nichols brokerage in Kansas City. Before that, she was in medical sales. About a year ago, she began sitting in on Inspired’s projects; and a month ago, she became the company’s New Home Advisor, a new position within the company.
O’Reilly has always been drawn to new homes, so the job is a natural fit. “When I first became a real estate agent, I realized I was passionate about new homes,” she says. “In this new role, I’ll assist each person with finding the best home in the best area” and ensure that “they get the most seamless experience possible” when they chose their builder.
What this role adds for buyers
The new job will be particularly helpful to buyers relocating to the Kansas City market. Not only will O’Reilly help them select a community and floor plan, she will also increase their knowledge of the area to facilitate a quick adjustment to their new surroundings.
Inspired President Todd Lipschutz says the role of New Home Advisor fits right in with his company’s philosophy of serving its customers, and that includes a willingness to proactively shift the company’s process to better align with evolving buying habits.
“We’re in the age of Amazon,” he says. “Customers want instant feedback and communications, and we want to be responsive.”
Osterhaus agrees: “We want someone to be there and ready to help anyone who’s interested in building a new home. Buyers have really changed. They are doing most of their shopping online, and that’s how they want to communicate. We want to be there and available to them.”
Would this type of position be right for you?
Neither Osterhaus nor O’Reilly would discuss how O’Reilly is being compensated — whether on salary or commission — but she is now an Inspired employee with full benefits, including vacation, sick leave and the like.
But both agree that other builders and agents should consider adding similar positions. As for builders, Osterhaus says “anytime you can communicate early on in the [buying] process, it’s good business. The more you get out front, the better.”
And as for agents, O’Reilly was “excited” to be offered this new post — one she believes is “crucial and integral” to the housing business.
“In today’s society, responsiveness is a tremendous asset” she says. “So, working for a builder offers an incredible opportunity to help people at the beginning of their online search. At Inspired Homes, it truly separates us from our competition and is very rewarding.”
Lew Sichelman’s weekly column, “The Housing Scene,” is syndicated to newspapers throughout the country.