Fear is present among prospective buyers in the housing market.

Rate- and price-conscious buyers are fearful that now may be the wrong time to buy, and buyers are flooded with messages from the media reinforcing their anxieties. It is the role of the salesperson to alleviate fears and shift the focus, Ryan Taft, a certified trainer with Shore Consulting, said during “The Rally: An Immersive Journey Into the Future of New Home Sales” panel at the International Builders’ Show.

“Sometimes we need to have our fear be focused in a different way. [Because] what you focus on gets magnified,” Taft said.

Taft said, in the absence of shifting fear, common behaviors can be observed in prospective buyers.

  • First, they slow down, taking multiple visits into the sales office and model homes, with enthusiasm waning in each subsequent visit.
  • Second, the emotions of prospective buyers simmer and worsen as they prolong the sales process.
  • Third, buyers who do follow through with purchases often settle and purchase a house that is not their ideal home.
  • And last, among customers who do not make purchases, they stop searching altogether, guided by their fear of buying at the wrong time.

“People will make decisions to move forward if their reasons to move forward outweigh their reasons not to move forward,” Taft said. “The first step to getting buyers to change their focus is by getting their story. Get [the buyer] focused off why not to move and get the focus on the stories of why to move.”

Taft said asking for the buyer’s story helps to evoke emotion and reinforce the reasons they want to move. In addition to shifting the focus from fear, by collecting stories a salesperson is better equipped to understand a buyer’s needs and help find the right home to help them move.

Gathering stories can also help salespeople transfer confidence to buyers by sharing the reasons why now is a good time to make a home purchase. Taft said salespeople can transfer confidence by conveying to buyers succinctly why it is a good time to buy a home and dispel messages that are contributing to fear.

“[Sales leaders] should make sure their teams can deliver a definitive, confident ‘why buy now message’ [to buyers],” Taft said.

While buyers may be fearful of high interest rates, as rates drop lower, housing demand will increase and push prices—already a concern for many buyers—higher.

Additionally, as rental rates increase, many renters may begin to consider the housing market, increasing demand and pushing prices higher. Finally, the undersupply of homes will eventually contribute to a wider gap between supply and demand, driving competition for available inventory and pushing prices higher.

“Nobody is telling why they should buy a home right now. You might be the only person giving [the buyers] the confidence that they need,” Taft said. “Unfortunately, if they are focused on their fear, that does tend to win out.”