During my time working for a high volume on-your-land builder, I discovered that sales teams need to approach prospective buyers differently than when selling homes in a planned community.
Increasingly, prospective customers are coming to builders with a unique proposition – they want to build on the land THEY choose. Building On-Your-Land (or sometimes referred to as On-Your-Lot) offers customers the flexibility of living in a desirable location without the advanced costs involved with building a true “custom” home. Since builders and developers are scrambling to find large, easily developed tracts of land, adding an On-Your-Land component to their business model is appealing.
On-Your-Land building can provide unique challenges to onsite agents and online sales counselors as customers come with more uncertainty about the process. Your sales team needs to be informed and prepared for those conversations. On-Your-Land customers often need more knowledge from your team to build trust and set an appointment.
There are three areas you need to understand:
The On-Your-Land Customer
It’s important to understand that these customers are different from those looking for a home in a community. Whether they own the land they want to build on is an important differentiator.
For customers who own their land, they are meeting with you as well as other builders who specialize in “one off” custom homes. They are very informed, eager to move forward, and have high expectations for quick answers. In contrast, those who don’t own land yet or just have land in mind require more assistance. Since this customer hasn’t purchased property yet, they are still in the exploratory phase and are just beginning to understand the process. For these customers, your sales team needs to know what resources are available to help explore their land choice or even arrange for REALTOR assistance if they need help buying a buildable property.
Financing and Costs the Customer Will Incur
Since financing for On-Your-Land building can be quite different than traditional methods, you need to address these differences with your builder in order to present easy resources for your customer. With many builders, an On-Your-Land build requires a home construction loan. There are many variables, but a home construction loan generally has a few key differences. For example, a home construction loan usually requires a larger down payment and the types of lending available (VA, FHA, or USDA Construction Loans) are different.
It is important for customers to understand what is included with your pricing. It is difficult to give complete pricing for a home without seeing the property and understanding the development needs. Be prepared to help your customers understand what your online pricing (if posted) includes. It will take further understanding of land, site development, and permitting costs to gain a clearer picture of the overall project.
Costs and Work Required for Site Development
Site development is an integral part of the On-Your-Land building process. Customers generally know little about site development, and it is a tremendous opportunity for your sales team to gain the customer’s trust by giving solid, knowledgeable details. There is no need to get specific during this initial conversation, but an understanding of the process is important. This includes knowledge of the key components including orientation of the home on the property, utility installation, dirt work, and permitting.
There are so many variables involved with On-Your-Land construction, it is important to continually gain knowledge and understanding about the process to best serve your customers. You are the front line for earning the customer’s trust, and the customer experience starts with you!