I remember my first listing back in 2005. It was a fairly new house in an area where there were new construction houses going up all over just a few blocks away. I was worried anybody wanting my listing would prefer to spend similar money to get a similar sized brand new house. A few months later, the market started to tank and I haven’t had to really worry about competition from new construction since. Until now. Don’t know if you’ve noticed, but a heck of a lot of the sales these days are new construction. New construction is so hot right now that the biggest builder in town has raised their prices three times this year.
New homes are cool. Everybody likes that fresh new feel in a house. I’ve found that about 10-15% of buyers are the type who will only pull the trigger on a brand new home. After many years of working with buyers like this, I have learned to recognize the person who will only buy a new home. They are the buyers you show many perfectly fine houses to and they don’t like them over very minor issues like paint, or light fixtures, or won’t consider any updating. It doesn’t take me long any more to suggest to these buyers that we need to check out new construction……and they always find exactly what they wanted!
There is also a small percentage of buyers out there that will only consider an existing house. These are the people who talk about how sterile new neighborhoods are. I know NOT to suggest new homes to them!
So, let’s say you are a seller right now with new construction close to your house….or even worse, IN your neighborhood. Know that there are a few people who just won’t consider your house period. Don’t worry about them. Your buyer may be somebody who would consider new construction though. How are you going to compete with shiny and new?
For starters, you’ve got to price it a little less than what a similar sized house would sell for brand new. A buyer is going to ask themselves why would they pay more for an existing house when they can get brand new? Ok, I guess they are also asking themselves why would they buy an existing house regardless of price when they can get brand new. That is where some marketing comes in to play.
About the only thing a brand new house doesn’t have is character. Yep. They just don’t feel like a home at first. 6 foot tall trees. Sod strips that look like a bad skin graft laying in the yard. Yeah, there is this one downside to new.
What you need to do is make sure buyers notice the things you have that they can’t get with a brand new house. Got nice landscaping or tall trees? Let them know in the remarks and with pictures. Have you gone beyond builder basic with lighting? Added crown molding? Have special window treatments? Screened in a patio? Fenced the yard? Added closet storage systems? A theater room? Firepit? Show anything like this off. It will give you an edge. Why? Because these are the things most buyers are going to do to a brand new home anyway. They want to make any house they buy feel like a home. That is the Achille’s Heel of new construction.