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5 Mistakes Agents Make with New Construction Active Adult Communities

Real Estate Agents vs. New Home Sales Professionals

By Todd Warshauer, Founder, Active Adult Consultants

Navigating the sale of new construction in active adult communities presents challenges and opportunities for real estate agents. The 55+ buyer demographic has specific needs, desires, and expectations that differ significantly from buyers looking to purchase a home in a new construction community versus those buying resale homes.

When working with homebuilders in the 55+ niche, agents must know these differences to market and sell these communities and homes effectively. However, mistakes can occur, which may not only jeopardize sales but also affect long-term relationships with builders, new home sales professionals, and real estate agents alike. Below are five mistakes real estate agents make when working with homebuilders to sell new construction homes in 55+ active adult communities and how to avoid them.

1. Lack of Knowledge About the Active Adult Lifestyle

One of the biggest mistakes a real estate agent can make is not fully understanding the active adult lifestyle and the amenities these communities offer. 55+ buyers are often interested in a lifestyle that includes social activities, fitness, easy maintenance, and access to healthcare. Agents who choose not to educate themselves on these key selling points, not only inside the community but the surrounding area, may struggle to convey the value of the community to potential buyers.

To avoid this mistake, agents should spend time learning about the community’s amenities, clubs, and calendar of events that cater to the active adult lifestyle and prepare to discuss how these features meet the needs and desires of the buyer. Agents need to share the vision of “how will I live here” with their clients, both within and outside the community, and they need to be authentic, compassionate, and curious when sharing that vision. These are the three main foundational pillars of working with active adult consumers.

2. Not Effectively Communicating with Homebuilders

Successful collaboration with homebuilders is important for real estate agents in new construction sales. Miscommunication or lack of communication can lead to misinformation, unmet expectations, and dissatisfaction by all parties involved. The best real estate agents build a relationship with the builder and the new home sales professionals when they’re not with clients. They’re at agent-only events, new community grand opening previews, dropping by with coffee for the onsite team, and getting to know how best to work with the new home sales professional to register their clients and work with them when they bring them into the community and model homes.

Agents need to establish clear, consistent communication channels with builders to stay informed about available pricing and lot releases, construction timelines, available options, incentives, and any potential delays or changes that may occur. This information gathering ensures that agents can provide accurate and timely information to their clients, helping to build trust and facilitate a smooth buying process.

3. Overlooking Customization and Upgrade Opportunities

New construction communities allow buyers to customize their homes or choose from various upgrade options. Everything will be brand new, and it’s an exciting opportunity for buyers but it can also be overwhelming. Successful agents know the builder, their features and options, and what’s popular in the market for a new buyer and future resale value. They correctly set expectations and understand the timelines associated with the new build process, often working with the new home sales professional to reset expectations with features and options as needed. Agents who overlook the importance of this knowledge may miss crucial aspects of selling new construction to 55+ buyers.

To avoid this mistake, agents should familiarize themselves with the builder’s offerings and walk through the models to understand the included features and options available in a specific community. Agents must know that these features and options vary from builder to builder and community to community. Real estate agents need to take the time to understand their buyers’ needs and preferences so they can guide their clients through the option selection process, helping them create a home that fits their needs and their lifestyle.

4. Failing to Address Accessibility and Future Living Needs

Accessibility and the ability to age in place are significant considerations for 55+ buyers. Agents who fail to address or emphasize these aspects offered with new construction homes may inadvertently overlook the long-term needs of their clients. Agents need to highlight features such as single-floor living, wider doorways, and other accessible design elements that can accommodate buyers as they age. Understanding and promoting these features not only assists in meeting the immediate needs of buyers but also supports their future living requirements.

Consider joint presentations with homebuilders at their models to turn this potential failure into success on both sides. Combining the homebuilder’s knowledge of the construction and community features with the agent’s expertise in the local real estate market allows builders to invite prospective buyers and current backlog and agents to ask their clients to attend to get a sense of the constructions and meet potential future neighbors. Agents may get a referral from the event, and the builder might find their next sale.

5. Neglecting Follow-Up and Post-Sale Support

The relationship between a real estate agent and their client doesn’t end at the sale, especially in new construction when the time of contract to closing or move-in is several months apart. Post-contract engagement is critical for ensuring that any issues are addressed and the buyer remains satisfied with their purchase. Agents who neglect follow-up may miss the opportunity to resolve problems that arise after move-in, leading to dissatisfied clients and potential damage to their professional reputation.

To avoid this mistake, agents should establish a clear plan for post-sale follow-up, including regular check-ins and offering assistance with any issues related to the home or community. With out-of-town buyers, agents should regularly send photos and progress updates to keep their clients informed. Many builders have technology set up for their new home sales professionals to do the same. If so, work with the onsite sales team to exceed your client’s expectations with timely communication and updates.

Conclusion

Working with homebuilders to sell new construction in active adult communities requires a detailed understanding of the 55+ market, effective communication with the builder and real estate agent’s clients, and a commitment to meeting the unique needs of these buyers. By avoiding common mistakes, real estate agents can build successful partnerships with builders, provide exceptional service to their clients, and increase their sales in active adult communities. This approach leads to satisfied customers and enhances the agent’s reputation as a knowledgeable and trustworthy professional in the active adult industry.

About Active Adult Consultants

Todd Warshauer’s career is a narrative of growth, innovation, and leadership in the active adult market. In his 20+ years in the real estate industry, he has worked for some of the nation’s most recognized homebuilders in various sales leadership roles and, for ten years, was a member of the 55places.com executive team. During his tenure there, he built, trained, and coached remotely a sales organization of 700+ partner real estate agents, a team of sales directors and support staff, and a call center that generated over $12 billion in transactions. Todd started Active Adult Consultants to offer business consulting, sales leadership, coaching, and training to the active adult industry.

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