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New home construction is an appealing option for many buyers, particularly those who have grown tired of being outbid in multiple offer situations. However, when buyers pivot to newly built homes, they also risk giving up their right to representation.

When this occurs, both buyers and agents have missed a significant opportunity to work together for mutual benefit. To avoid this possibility, encourage your agents to take these four essential steps:

1. Explain your value proposition to buyers. Help buyers understand that builders do one thing: sell homes. It is easy to be lured by their friendly sales reps and attractive model homes, but who will be looking out for their interests after the contract is signed? No one, unless they bring their buyer’s rep into the process before agreeing to anything.

Questions will arise when building a new home; decisions must be made, and concerns may surface. Without representation, buyers will be going it alone. But if their agent is involved from the get-go, buyers will have a loyal and trusted sounding board for everything from contract review and disclosures to smart upgrade decisions, financing options and more.

2. Take a proactive approach with buyers. Do not wait for buyers to mention new-home construction. Also, do not hesitate to remind them how you can add value—but only if they disclose your relationship to builders before signing anything. All too often agents invite problems simply because they are reluctant to discuss new homes.

Ideally, this conversation should occur while discussing the buyer representation agreement. Consider adding language to your agreement that specifically addresses new-home construction.

3. Develop relationships with builders. Make appointments to meet all the builder reps in your market. Tell them about your buyer business and your clients’ potential interest in new construction. Then, let them “sell” you on their homes and discuss how they typically work with buyer’s reps.

Continue nurturing these relationships, potentially including them in your marketing efforts. For example, after your tour, you could post a few photos of a model home on social media (with the builder’s permission).

4. Learn the ins and outs of the business. The new-home construction process is different and more complex than an existing-home sale. To earn credibility with builders and buyers, agents should learn builders’ vocabulary and understand their perspectives.

Fortunately, agents can rely on REBAC’s course called New-Home Construction and Buyer Representation: Professionals, Product, Process. This one-day course was recently updated in cooperation with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). To learn more and register, visit training4re.com.

Marc D. Gould is senior vice president of Member Development for NAR, overseeing a wide range of professional development programs for REALTORS®, including the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC). REBAC is the world’s largest association of real estate professionals focusing specifically on representing the real estate buyer. With nearly 20,000 active members, REBAC awards the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation to REALTORS® who have completed the specialized education and documented experience in working with consumers purchasing a home. To learn more, visit REBAC.net.

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