At the 2008 Professional Builder Benchmark and Avid Leadership Conference, Dan Barnaba, president of Liverpool, N.Y.-based Eldan Homes, shared several creative tricks he has up his sleeve that help nail the sale. Here are a few:
- Delayed Start Program — If buyers are nervous about how long it might take to sell their existing home and don't want to get caught in a double mortgage situation, tell them you'll delay the start of their new home until their existing home is sold.
- Home Sale Assistance Program — Make an offer to discount your sales price the same amount that the prospective buyer's home needs to be discounted to sell.
- Let Us Sell Your House — Offer to handle the sale of your prospective buyer's existing home. Use your network of real-estate contacts to help do the work.
- Give-Aways/Upgrades — Have a few upgrades that might not cost you much, if anything, to give away in order to seal the deal. For example, offer to include a custom tray ceiling in the dining room free of charge. It may be an upgrade you typically charge for, but costs you little if anything to include during construction. Another example would be to offer an upgrade for something such as cabinetry. Pine cabinets are offered standard and oak is an upgrade. Oak is typically perceived as a greater quality than pine in the buyer's eyes. In reality it doesn't cost much more to toss in the upgrade.
Barnaba says home builders can also glean ideas from other industries. The people who bring us Corn Flakes started putting a little less product in the box but still charged the same amount. Builders could do the same by value engineering their homes. He also suggested listing spec homes on the local Craigslist.org where people are always hunting for what they perceive to be bargains.