If you live in some of the country’s hottest real estate markets, then you may notice that single-family home builds have continued at a steady pace since the beginning of the year. According to the National Association of Home Builders, the annual rate of single-family housing starts was 770,000 in August 2016.
Many real estate agents have discovered that establishing strong relationships with home builders is a great way to not only gain consistent listings but also provide a reliable resource for home buying clients. We interviewed two successful real estate agents who work regularly with home builders to gain some insight into why they work with them and how they gained their trust.
Adam Hergenrother is owner of Hergenrother Realty Group, ranked the thirty-third real estate team in the world; Keller Williams Vermont; and BlackRock Construction, a residential construction company. F. Ron Smith is a founder of the prestigious Partners Trust real estate company in Los Angeles and a member of the Smith & Berg team. The Smith & Berg team at Partners Trust work with a variety of builders, including two of the area’s most talked about homes on the market now The Wave House and 868 Leonard.
How long have you been working with builders to list their homes?
Hergenrother Realty Group: We have been working with BlackRock Construction for almost four years. However, we have also listed homes for other small builders to help them sell their land lots and new construction projects.
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Smith & Berg: Eighteen years.
How often do you list builders‘ homes?
HRG: We list a new construction project at least monthly.
SB: Ten to twelve a year.
How did you first think of the idea and how did you start the process to get in touch, build a relationship and start listing?
HRG: Prior to Adam Hergenrother’s founding BlackRock Construction, he built relationships with other builders through networking events and word of mouth in addition to online lead generation. Often the smaller builders were looking for agents to maximize their exposure with the best marketing and systems, and that’s what we provided.
In addition, we work with clients who own land listings and work with them to put build packages (in partnership with BlackRock construction), in order to maximize the listing’s exposure.
SB: Our original approach was to first identify a property for the builder to buy and keep his/her trust. They then will generally list with us when they bring the newly built home to market.
Do you have an exclusive relationship with a builder? How did you secure that?
HRG: We work primarily with BlackRock Construction, since Adam Hergenrother owns both companies. However, we are happy to list all projects for any builder.
SB: We work with different builders at various price points for their acquisition, construction budget and area of comfort and expertise.
Do you work with several builders? How do you manage them?
HRG: We manage a builder like any other of our clients – providing exceptional customer service throughout the entire process – from regular marketing updates, to invitations to exclusive client events, to regular check-ins and re-positioning in the market as needed.
SB: You establish an exclusive arrangement with each property to find for the builder. Over time, the trust grows with your continued success and track record with the builder. Make decisions for your client as if you were making those decisions for yourself.
What other insights and tips do you have for other agents to help them list for builders?
AHG: Developing a strong relationship with a builder is key as well as having an agent well-versed in new construction on your team. New construction is a longer process for the client. It is harder for clients to envision a home from a floor plan and photos than it is selling an existing home.
The key is training the agents on your team to understand the home building process as well as the builder and be able to identify when new construction may be the best option for your client. It is a benefit to the builder to have a knowledgeable sales team, not only marketing their listing but also educating buyers on new construction.
- Know the market.
- Be the first to bring them a property either on market or off market.
- Have their interests come first.
- Be a source of information.
- Stay in touch – twice a week.