In addition to making sure the house shines, you need to spiff up your sales process to sell inventory homes. Part of the strategy to sell inventory homes is the right marketing message. First off, don't describe them to prospective buyers as inventory or specs or field homes. Refer to them as completed, available, or "move-in ready" homes. The target buyers for these houses are the same people looking at resale homes-they can't or don't want to wait for a home to be built. You can offer them the same move-in timeframe of a resale home with all the advantages of a brand-new home-a full warranty, a floor plan designed to meet the needs of today's families, the latest innovations in technology and energy efficiency and, best of all, a house that doesn't need to be painted, cleaned, carpeted, or repaired before they can move in.
If you want to catch a buyer's attention, be there to answer their questions as the builder, says Tom Stephani, owner of Custom Construction Concepts in Crystal Lake, Ill., who also is a speaker and trainer in the building industry.
"When I had a tough one, I would sit the house myself," he says. "I wanted to be able to introduce myself and tell them why this house was special. Go back to personal selling. You have to be enthusiastic and excited about the house."
Also consider ramping up your warranty beyond the standard one-year term. Stephani says he feels strongly that all builders should offer two- or three-year warranties.
"If you're a good builder with a reputation to protect, you'll fix it anyway," he says.
Roland Nairnsey, vice president of training and development for Boca Raton, Fla.-based Bob Schultz and the New Home Specialists, used the follow sales strategies to help a builder sell a house that "had been coming back on the market for two years," he says.
1.) Nairnsey and the builder reviewed the pricing and realized the inventory home was being offered at its original price, $192,000, instead of the current price for the same floor plan, which was $223,000. They raised the price to match the current amount, then offered a $15,000 incentive to move in within 30 days. They saved the remaining $16,000 difference between the original price and the current one for negotiation.
2.) Nairnsey walked the house and strategized the proper route to demonstrate the home to create the most involvement from prospective buyers. That included moving some furniture vignettes into certain spaces and creating scripts to go along with them. ("Reading to children is so important, wouldn't you agree? Wouldn't this sunny corner be a great place for you and your daughter to snuggle up in a chair like this one and read stories together?")
3.) They made a flyer spotlighting the house as the builder's "Available Home of the Month." It was put on an easel in the sales office to create a talking point."
This was on a Wednesday," Nairnsey says. "They sold it on Saturday."