AS YOU ENTER a model home and start talking with a new home salesperson, there are several things of which you should be aware that they may do to influence you- after all, they are salespeople and selling homes is how they earn a living!
Most of these tactics are the result of their sales training, and none of them are bad or dishonest in any way, but I do feel that knowing and understanding them will allow you to make a better, fully informed decision on your next home. In no particular order, here is some “inside information” about some of the most popular new home sales techniques you’ll encounter.
1. NAME THAT ROOM
Salespeople will often ask you to tell you the name of your children and use them as they describe the home. You’ll hear phrases like, “Won’t Sally and Jane love watching movies in this media room?” or “Sally will love studying up here away from the downstairs noise, won’t she?”
In some cases, the salesperson may even ask you to tell them which child will have a particular bedroom with a question like, “Do you think Sally or Jane would prefer this room?” If you give them an answer, the salesperson may even write the name of that child in the room on the floor plan. The reason the salesperson does this is to get you to start “living” in the home before you buy it and to attempt to get you to make an emotional connection to the property.
The fact is, you’re probably already doing this in your mind as you look at rooms, but salespeople know that saying things “out loud” can create an emotional connection to the home, and if you do that, you’re more likely to purchase it.
2. SAY YES
Salespeople will ask you innocuous questions in hopes that you’ll answer them with a “yes.” The sales logic behind this is that by getting you to answer “yes” to small things will make it easier to say “yes” to bigger things down the road. Agreeing with the salesperson also help you build trust and confidence in them. The salesperson knows the more of your “yesses” that they can put in their “yes bank” the better chance they have of closing the deal. Getting you to answer “yes” will be subtle and you may not even notice it as it is happening. You’ll get obvious questions like, “isn’t that a pretty staircase?” “do you like granite countertops.”, “a covered patio just seems like a good idea, doesn’t it?” and “wood floors just seem to add something elegant to a home, don’t they?” These questions are simple and harmless and add a level of trust to your conversation. The difference is that you think you’re just having a conversation and they think they’re making a sale! The goal of getting you to say “yes” goes all the way through the sales process. Eventually, you’ll get more direct questions like, “Can you see your family living in a home-like this?” and, “Would you like to see if this home even fits into your budget?” Finally, they’ll ask the question, “Are you ready to make this home yours?” These are all effective and fair practices, and now that you’re aware of them, they should minimize the impact they’ll have on your purchase. Be aware that while you may not be counting “yesses,” the salesperson certainly is!
3. BIG, BIG ROOMS
In some new homes, the secondary bedrooms may appear smallish, especially if you’re moving from a home that was built many years ago. The biggest reason for this is that today’s new homes offer more room options in the floor plans than those built-in decades past. Today, many new homes feature game rooms, home offices, media rooms or theatres, study areas. Homes are built differently today because people live in them differently than they did years ago. Homes still have the same amount of interior space, but it is used differently. One of the ways designers were able to add a media room to a home may have been to take a little space from each of the bedrooms. Salespeople are aware of this shift, but they also understand that many home buyers are not. One way that salespeople will use to make these rooms appear larger than they are is to talk to you from the other side of the room, even raising their voice a little to indicate that they’re aware of the distance between you and them. This tactic doesn’t make the room any larger, but it may appear a little larger to you when they do it.
4. APPEAL TO YOUR SENSE OF FAIRNESS
You’ll often hear a variation of the phrase, “that seems fair, doesn’t it?” This could come into play when a salesperson responds to your inquiry about the size of the bedrooms. They’ll tell you that they’ve added a media room and a larger kitchen to the home. Following this explanation, the salesperson may appeal to your sense of fairness with a statement like: “getting an added media room and a larger kitchen seems like a fair exchange for a few square feet in a bedroom, doesn’t it?” This term will come into play in other areas when you’re being asked to give a little something up to get something. In the simplest case, this would be a case where you have to give up money to get something you want. However, it could also be used to justify keeping your deposit if you decide to terminate the deal. The statement would go something like this, “We don’t usually like to keep a buyer’s deposit, but if you do decide not to buy and we’ve taken the home off the market for a month, we feel that there should be a nominal fee for that since we stopped trying to sell it for those thirty days. That seems fair, doesn’t it?”
5. YOU’RE A BUYER
Many builders will immediately greet you as you enter the new home model as though you are a buyer, not a shopper. As you walk in they’ll ask you what has you out buying a home today (instead of shopping for a home). This is simply a subtle technique to get you thinking about buying instead of just looking. The fact is, you probably are a buyer, but hearing it for the first time may be a little unnerving. There’s nothing wrong with the question, so try and not be too put off! Let’s face it, the reason you’re there in the first place is that you’re thinking about buying a home.
Being prepared for and aware of these techniques will allow you to maintain a good sense of where you are in your initial discussions with the new home salesperson and help you stay on track as you walk through a model home with confidence.