Once you’ve given an email address to the builder, you’ll be included in their email marketing campaign, and start receiving several emails. If you’ve registered with several builders or with an aggregate real estate website like Zillow, you may find yourself in the middle of an email blizzard! The reason for this is that every builder wants to do everything they can to reach you and discover if you’re a “ready now” buyer. These are the most valuable buyers because they want to buy a home in the next thirty days. There can be many reasons that a family needs a home in a hurry. Their old home may have sold quicker than they anticipated, or their company may have relocated them. These people need to find homes fast. No builder wants to lose their chance at selling one of these people a home. In the case of aggregate websites, they will often “match” home shoppers to communities that they think fit their needs and then send the builder or developer the email address of these shoppers. Depending on the policies of these companies, your email address could be in the hands of many, many builders, and, consequently, you’ll receive a lot of home builder emails.

When a builder or developer receives your email, you’ll start receiving many different types of emails. Some of these are regularly scheduled automated emails, some are community-specific, some concentrate on the community or builder “brand,” and some are personal emails that come from the onsite salesperson. All are a little different, but the goal of each is the same. Emails are designed to encourage you to make some kind of contact with the sender.

The first type of email you start receiving is what I call “Builder Branding” emails. These emails are sent at regularly scheduled intervals (usually two or three times per week) and highlight the builder’s reputation, what makes them different, their unique selling proposition, how they started their company, personal information about the founder, information about new developments or communities, and new floor plans or new options that they’re including in their homes. These are not “product specific” emails, but rather emails that are designed to give you some personal insight into what makes this builder unique. These emails are designed to create a personal connection between you, your dreams and the identity of the builder. If you feel a level of kinship with the builder and the things that are important to you are important to them, you may feel comfortable enough to contact them.

The second set of automated emails that you’ll receive are “Promotional or Promo Emails.” These emails highlight promotions, sales, events, or new phases (or areas) in existing communities. Builders may offer pools, outdoor patios, cash discounts, game rooms or other exciting incentives to entice you to buy. These emails will also arrive at regular intervals. Both the branding and promotional emails are generally well crafted by the builder’s ad agency or marketing department. They’ll have fun slogans and attractive photos of homes and people enjoying their new home. These emails are designed in a manner that is consistent with the brand identity of the builder but also incorporates elements to create some urgency. These emails will contain dates when the sale or promo ends, statements about limited availability, and a strong “Call to Action” or CTA. Statements like, Call Today, or Don’t Lose Out on This Amazing Deal, and Only 4 Homes Left are all designed to encourage shoppers to call the builder and start the buying process.

Finally, if you’ve indicated a specific community of interest, the online sales counselor will deliver your email address to the onsite salesperson for the particular community in which you’ve expressed interest. You’ll then receive emails from both the builder and the salesperson with community-specific information. These emails vary greatly in both quality and content. Salespeople get paid for one thing - selling homes. Everything you’ll receive from a salesperson will generally be to urge you to show up in the community as soon as possible.

Salespeople will concentrate on sales events, incentives, promotions, available homes, limited availability and expiring discounts or offers. There’s no doubt that fear of losing a great deal, especially one of a home that you really love, can spur us toward making an offer on a new home, or at least get you into the model home to discuss buying a home. Salespeople may also send home shoppers copies of floor plans, video links, or inventory homes and simply photos and flyers of the existing homes. All this information, even that which adds a little pressure to your new home purchase situation, can help you make a better decision about moving ahead with the builder. Look at the floor plans, watch the videos and call the salesperson to discuss any questions you have about the home. Most salespeople are honest. They know that if they somehow manage to get you to make an offer on a home that you don’t love, there is a high probability that you won’t go through with the sale.

Depending on how extensive your online home shopping search has been, these emails could number in the hundreds during the first couple of months. That can feel a little overwhelming and even discouraging- but don’t worry, the blizzard will end as quickly as it began! Most builders will only aggressively follow up with you for a couple of weeks to see if you’re going to buy quickly, then, once it looks like you’re on a more moderate pace, the emails really slow down. You can expedite this process by asking a builder to remove you from their list, but I’d only recommend doing that if you know you’re not going to buy from this builder. You can also slow down the email parade by simply not responding. They’ll eventually get the message and it won’t be long before you stop receiving emails from salespeople, though the branding and promo emails from the builder will continue for 6 months to a year after you register.

Builder emails are packed with information, and reading through as many of them as you can will not only increase your knowledge of what is out there and how eager builders are to sell homes, but the information in them will also make you a better, smarter shopper.