Tom Richey called me the other day to vent about the inability of most new-home sales agents to master the art of selling special financing. The Houston-based sales management consultant, who's been at it for more than 30 years, says he's amazed how few sales agents even know how to sell the tax advantages of home ownership over renting, let alone the benefits of a builder's offer of a 2-1 buy-down of the mortgage rate.
"Buying down the mortgage rate for two years is better than discounting the sticker price by an equal amount," says Richey, "because it doesn't have the negative psychological impact of a price decline. Home buyers don't want to see the price of the house go down."
Richey also laments that when many of the largest builders cut their sales staffs to try to survive the current crash they often cut their most experienced salespeople — and even experienced sales managers — first. "They kept the kids," Richey says, "young people who have no experience dealing with a downturn or selling special financing offers."