Real Estate Buyers Tell It Like It Is

October 23, 2012

A spirit of optimism is on the horizon for builders and residential developers as new home inventory continues to be absorbed and pricing begins to climb in many major US markets. As existing homeowners have the ability to sell their home, builders and developers will feel the effect of liquidity in the marketplace. Yet as buyers across the country return to new home sales centers, real estate professionals are wondering how have their priorities shifted? How has their perception of value been impacted by the lengthy downturn?Has the election cycle delayed their decision?

As builders and developers strive to enhance 4thquarter sales results, it is crucial for them to recognize the shift in the market and thoroughly understand the changing buyer psychology. The new normal has yet to be seen, and it is unlikely we’ll return to peak sales volumes for several years. With smaller lead generation budgets and fewer buyers in the market, every unit of traffic is important to developer’s sales success.

So what are the options? The first reaction is typically, to ask the sales team on the floor about what they are hearing from the buyers. This feedback is often inaccurate because it can only include information the buyer shared during their interaction with the sales person. Negative responses that are obstacles to the sale are often merely avoided in polite conversation, and the homebuyer continues their search elsewhere.

To gain this critical insight, savvy new home developers are turning to consumer exit surveys. “It’s amazing how much information buyers are willing to share if they are given the opportunity,” says Stephann Cotton, an industry specialist in the sales and marketing of residential real estate. “When we encourage the homebuyer to help shape the direction of a community and provide vital feedback to guide our decisions, they respond.” Database research is now guiding decisions on amenity planning, HOA structure, residential services and other soft programming elements directly related to buyer sensitivities.

Many principles of relationship selling also apply to the implementing a tactical research program. The survey strategy, methodology, tone and distribution are essential elements to entice consumers to engage in the process. For more information on residential consumer research and the next wave of marketing innovation, visit TheCottonSolution.com.