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businesswoman_preparing_workIn markets across the country, the housing turnaround is in full swing. Low inventories and a rebound in sales are not only raising asking prices, but also bringing a return to new-home construction. While numbers have pulled back a bit from the strong gains of the spring, monthly housing starts for July of this year—as tracked by the U.S. Census Bureau and HUD—are still up more than 20 percent from 2012, reaching levels not seen since 2008. And confidence among single-family homebuilders remains at an eight-year high, with builders fairly upbeat about sales prospects over the next six months.

After several years of pruning inventory without having to worry too much about development, are you and your agents prepared to step into the new-home game?

Before jumping in, it’s important to understand the significant differences between new-home sales and existing-home sales. While the central mission of a buyer’s representative is to identify the buyer’s housing needs and fulfill them, what if the solution to those needs doesn’t exist yet? New-home buyers, if they’re buying something other than a simple tract home based on a set model, are buying an abstract. Unlike the buyer trying to find a “close-enough” match to their needs, the new-home shopper is in a position to define and seek a dream home. As a new-home buyer’s representative, your agent must devote considerable time to ascertaining and refining the buyer’s vision, helping to translate that dream into reality.

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