Your discussion with the new home salesperson is a two-way street. If you’re unprepared for the meeting, you’ll think that you’re in the midst of a congenial conversation while the salesperson is conducting a well-rehearsed sales process. To make sure you get the very best deal, you should approach your discussion the same way. Think of every discussion you have with the salesperson as an exchange designed to get you the deal you want. While they’re trying to get a sale, you’re doing what you can to “work the deal.” Here are some very helpful tactics to put in your toolbox that you can use to tilt the balance of power and price in your favor.
Keep Interest High
Salespeople are just like the rest of us, and they respond to positive signals. To keep the salesperson’s interest high and make sure you get the very best deal, make sure you do things that encourage them. Let them know by your words, body language, and gestures that you’re really interested in this house. The first thing you can do is answer in the affirmative when they ask you any of the soft closes. You can put off answering “yes” to the direct questions about buying, but you can certainly answer yes to the more innocuous ones. Affirmatively nodding and paying attention to the salesperson are also great ways to keep them engaged in the conversation. Something else you could try is to use the names of your children or family members in your statements, such as, “Suzy would love this room!”, or “Our family would love this room!” These statements don’t obligate you, but they send a clear message to the salesperson that they should keep working on the deal. While the salesperson is doing their best to get you to visualize living in this home, you should be doing your best to get them to visualize selling it! What you really want when you’re working with a salesperson is their very best effort, and demonstrating you're interested will certainly help.
The End of The Month
When I was a new home sales manager, there was just a different intensity on my sales team at the end of the month than there was at the beginning. We all had sales targets to hit and as the end of the month drew near, we all became more and more aware of the target- especially if there was a risk we’d fall short. Salespeople and builders are no different than most companies that sell products. They all have monthly projections and goals. Salespeople are especially aware if they have not met their sales quotas, as are sales managers. If the sales in this particular community as falling below expectations, then the sales team may be willing to take a little less or give you a little more to get this deal in before the end of the month. You won’t know this going into, but if you know you’re going to make an offer on a particular home and waiting a few days or a week to get closer to the end of the month may get you a better deal.
Two Way Street
Salespeople are great at letting you know all the hurdles they’ve overcome to make your new home deal happen, but they’re not really good at letting you know what you’ve done (or, more importantly, given up) to get the deal done. No worries, you can remind them by keeping a list of all the items not getting or how much more money you’re spending to make this deal happen. You should be keeping a list, along with the value of things you’re paying more for, or what you’re not getting to keep some balance in the negotiations. This is the primary reason that you should keep a list of all you want, are don’t without and what you’re paying above your initial budget. If you do not do this, all of your important sacrifices will be lost. A good list of all you’re doing, contributing, or sacrificing will help keep the scales balanced.
Available Inventory Homes
Builders don’t to hold onto inventory homes any longer than they need to, and will often make the very best deals on these homes. Inventory homes, often called “spec” (short for speculative homes) are houses that the builder completed without a particular buyer in mind. In other words, the builder has bought and paid for the home before anyone committed to buy it. So, the longer a builder has this home for sale after it is completed, the more it costs the builder to “hold” it. Many builder will make aggressive deals on these homes, especially those that they’ve had for awhile. If you find a spec home that you truly love, your builder may be more willing to offer a deal on the home.
A Couple of Thousand Here and A Couple of Thousand There
As you enter the final stage of your new home purchase, understand that most deals that a builder may balk at accepting are often only a couple of thousand of dollars away from being accepted. For the most part, when you’re at the end of negotiating the final price of your new home, you’re much closer to getting the deal than you may think you are. When I was a sales manager, a few thousand dollars would often determine if we would take the deal or not. As a buyer, you should end your first stage of negotiation with an offer to the builder that you think they probably won’t accept. The good news is, builders rarely flatly refuse an offer, rather, they will counter your offer with one of their own. Though your number and their’s may be far apart, in reality you’re getting close. You should keep this in mind, and if you need to toss in two or three thousand at the very end of the deal to get the home you want, you’ll be surprised a how often that last contribution will get you the home of your dreams. Having a little “reserve money” to throw into the deal after the builder counters your offer is the most important reason that you should underplay your budget and targeted home price at the beginning of your discussions. A few thousand dollars, especially if you contribute it at the very end, may be the “pot sweetener” that gets you the home. Don’t bring out this money too early or it will lose its impact, and you won’t have anything left in the tank to use later. Using this money at the very end will definitely get you the most bang for these “late” bucks.
These are just a few of the ways you can use proven sales techniques in your favor to maintain balance in your negotiations with a salesperson and get you the deal you want on the home you love!