NEW HOME salespeople are trained to quickly take control of a sales situation and direct your mind in the direction of buying a new home. If you leave the model, they know there is a good chance they’ll never see you again so they’ll do everything they can to keep you there.
Everything the they says is designed to nudge you toward a purchase. There is nothing wrong with this. Most of the information they’ll deliver to you will be very helpful. Chances are you’ll face some of these questions as you walk the model home. To help you keep control of the discussion on here is a little inside insight and tactics you may choose to incorporate into your approach.
You and the salesperson have two different agendas. They will do all they can to get and keep you on theirs. They are trying to sell you a home. You, on the other hand, are on an important fact-finding mission. Each of these objectives has different requirements, and while some may overlap. Knowing the hidden meanings behind what appear to be innocuous questions will help.
1. WHAT HAS YOU OUT SHOPPING FOR (OR BUYING) A NEW HOME?
This question is designed to initially frame your discussion with the salesperson as a buying encounter and away from a “just looking” meeting. Imagine how many times a new home salesperson hears the phrase “We’re just looking,” from customers who walk into their model. This question subtly introduces the word “buy” into the conversation. Salespeople know that people who walk into their model are on-guard for “salesy” talk and ready to say “we’re just looking” to the the salesperson. Chances are that you’ll do the same, but the salesman feels that at least the word “buy” introduced. In your discussion with the salesperson, the word “buy,” in all its forms and tenses, will come up often. You’ll hear phrases like “When the Johnson family bought this floorplan, they …”, “Buying this home is probably easier than you think with some of the discounts we’re offering.”
2. ARE YOU PRE-QUALIFIED?
We recommend that you become pre-qualified for a home before you begin shopping. This process will tell you how much home you can afford and help you keep your new home search focused. If you’re not pre-qualified, the salesperson will probably feel that you’re not a serious buyer and ask when you will be. If you are pre-qualified, the salesperson may ask you if you have price for your home or monthly payment. There are two ways to approach your home price and monthly spending amount. If you only give them the full price of the home, they’ll probably ask you how you came up with that number, ultimately trying to get to a monthly payment amount. A monthly payment amount will give the builder more options and ways to help you compare what you’re spending now to what it will cost for the new home. Not letting them know how much you want to spend each month takes some selling tools out of their hands. If you really want the salesperson to go to work on your behalf, let them know how much you want to spend each month, but give them a monthly number lower than the one you really are comfortable. So, if you want to spend $1,800 per month on your mortgage, tell them you’re looking to spend about $1,450 and see what they do. Just because the bank or mortgage company gave you a price or monthly payment amount that you can spend, doesn’t mean you have to give that to the builder. If you’d prefer not to give the builder a monthly payment number, do some calculations on the price of homes you can afford for the monthly amount you want to spend, and then give the builder a slightly higher home price than hat your calculations indicate.
3. WHAT DO YOU DO FOR A LIVING?
This isn’t a question about your job; it’s a question about how much money you earn so that the salesperson can mentally qualify you for a price point. If you answer, “I’m an engineer,” they’ll assume that you make whatever engineers in that city make. If you say you’re store manager, they’ll do the same. This is the easiest way for them to get a range on your household income in a polite and non-invasive manner.
4. HOBBIES & CHILDREN
The salesperson will want to know what your hobbies are and if you have any children so they can create an emotional connection between you and the home or community. Once you give them your hobbies, they’ll come up again and again as they describe the area. If you like boating, you’ll be amazed at how close this community is to the lake, the food at the local marina, and the great safety record on the water. If you like eating out, listening to music, or playing golf, you’ll hear about all those opportunities. The same thing is true for your children’s activities. These are all important elements of a community, but if you’ve done your homework, you probably know all of them already! What you probably won’t know about the community are the things, schools, or businesses have in the works. While the salesperson is talking to you about schools, ask about new shopping centers, churches, and schools that are being planned. This is some of the information that you can’t find on a builder’s website that you should be able to get from the salesperson. New information is what you really need from the salesperson while they’re telling you about the community.
5. WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU’D LIKE IN A NEW HOME?
As a sales manager, I really thought this was a great question for both the shopper and salesperson. Generally, your most important needs will have more to do with the neighborhood than the home. Having good schools for your children, a shorter drive to work, an amenity center with a splash pool or great shopping and restaurants nearby may be more important than oil rubbed bronze faucets or granite in the master bedrooms. Either way, you should be prepared to let them know what you need in your new home. Remember, this is an extremely early stage of the conversation, so let the salesperson know several of the things you want in your home and see how they handle it. If they say ask if there are some things you could live without, you can politely tell them “not at this point” then, let them do their job! This is also an important question if you have preferences about the direction your home faces or certain interior design features.
In trying to sell you a home, most salespeople will ask you questions designed to get you thinking in a “buying” direction. These questions help them do just that. Answering them correctly, and discretely will tap the breaks on their sales process and get you great information at the same time. Being prepared for a salesperson’s questions is the first step in getting the information you’ll need to make the right decision. In most cases, getting the salesperson the information you want them to have should also help them put homesites, floor plans, and upgrades in front of you that meet your budget needs.