Competing With New Home Communities

One of the toughest considerations people have to face when deciding to go the For Sale By Owner route is to weigh the competition in the area from traditionally listed homes. Realtors®, especially those that belong to large, multi-state companies, have a much better chance of getting their listing noticed over your FSBO in several marketing categories. They have the power of their company behind them, as well as willing accomplices in title and other service companies that offer free mailers, flyers, and other promotional services in exchange for recommending their services. In previous articles we’ve discussed options to help level the playing field when it comes to exposure of your home compared to traditionally listed properties, but did you know there’s another competitor out there?

New Home subdivisions offer yet another route to steer potential buyers away from your property. They spend a lot of money enticing people and convincing them they are best option for their housing needs. Below are some things that New Home subdivisions are doing to lure potential customers to them and some things you can do to make your FSBO home just as attractive.

To go through and address these issues, let’s take a look at them from the New Home sellers perspective. They have several arguments that are designed to show how they have the upper hand, but having an equal or well thought out answer can still keep you in the game.

New Home sales argument:

New Homes come with a warranty! While home warranties are often provided when buying a resale home, new home builders cover everything with no deductible or co-pay.

Your rebuttal:
Consider providing a 2-year Home Warranty for the buyer. There are several Home Warranty companies out there, and you may even have experience with one yourself. Select a reputable, highly reviewed company that offers full service Home Warranties in your area. This is definitely not the place to ‘go cheap’ when selling your home yourself. Show potential buyers that you can offer them a rock solid warranty in case anything in the home needs servicing. The few hundred dollars you will spend on the warranty goes a long way in making For Sale By Owner buyers more comfortable.

New Home sales argument:

We have New Appliances! Today’s homes not only come with new appliances, they come with energy efficient appliances.

Your rebuttal:
There are a few things to consider before making concessions or adjustments to existing appliances in your home. For example, if your appliances are more than 10 years old, consider offering the buyer the choice between an ‘upgrade allowance’ in which you will replace certain appliances of their choosing up to the agreed upon limit. On the other hand if you decide to update all of the appliances in order to make your home more competitive, select those that will yield the most bang for the buck… and the most visible. Kitchen appliances such as range, refrigerator, dishwasher, etc. now come in a variety of energy efficient models and designs. If you really start looking, you might find that the replacement cost is far less than you thought. If your appliances are fairly new, do a deep cleaning and stress the point that they are only X number of years old and that they will be fully covered by a Home Warranty if you provide one for the buyer.

New Home sales argument:

Design Options! A lot of developers today have flexible floorplans, meaning you can make some changes to the layout, sizes, and placement of some or all of the rooms. These are great opportunities to make your new home unique. While these custom and flexible options can add uniqueness to your home, they can also add a lot of money.

Your rebuttal:
Did you catch that last part? A lot of New Home developers like to highlight the fact that in some cases you can customize your rooms sizes and even general layout. This great, right? Yeah, until you get to the additional price. Once a buyer gets excited and starts customizing the structure, they quickly learn that the price increase typically puts the home way out their financial reach or prices the home well beyond it’s market value.

Over the years, you may have inquired yourself as to how much it would cost to add that extra bathroom or enclose a patio. If you still have those quotes, show potential buyers what certain upgrades or changes to your home may cost. You should also emphasize the point that unlike a New Home, upgrades and changes do not have to be done during initial construction. They may try your existing bathroom for now and see if they can make-do with it, then decide to have it remodeled or expanded later on if needed. If it turns out that the need for that larger bathroom with Jacuzzi tub wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, they just saved money.

Closing thoughts:

Take a trip to a few New Home communities in your area to get a sense of some the things they offer over your home. One of the simplest and most cost effective ones you can do before listing your home is to replace dated lighting fixtures, door handles, and electronic thermostats.

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