New home sales is a definite specialism within the residential property sector, and slightly different in its emphasis from normal agency; for instance, the developer rather than a homeowner, is your client, you’re usually selling off-plan, and you will probably be working on site, rather than from an agency branch office. Plus, there’s a load of new stuff to learn, from NHBC guarantees to shared ownership (no longer for the poor: in London, households earning up to £90,000 qualify) and Help to Buy.
The more experience you have of the entire process and how it works, the more attractive a candidate you become for a job selling new developments.
Selling off plan poses particular challenges; the property being sold doesn’t actually exist yet, so negotiators need to be able to paint prospective purchasers a picture of what the development will look and feel like when it’s completed, and win them over using a brochure and artists’ impressions – more difficult than taking buyers to visit an existing house or flat. And the deadlines are very tight, with most developers giving buyers only 28 days to move from reserving the property to exchange of contracts. In addition to winning sales, negotiators may have to help buyers choose between various options for finishes, and may also need to deal with builders and decorators to ensure faults are put right and properties are completed to the purchaser’s specification. They may even have to save the day when poor workmanship or late completion of the construction process cause problems.
Most openings in new homes sales demand previous experience of estate agency. That ensures candidates understand the basics of the job – particularly the whole conveyancing process and the mortgage business, and how to progress a sale. The more experience you have of the entire process and how it works, the more attractive a candidate you become for a job selling new developments. So if you’re not already working in an agency, that’s where you’ll probably need to start.
Just occasionally, developers take on trainees with sales experience in other sectors. Telesales might get you in, but they generally prefer face-to-face sales experience – for instance from the motor trade or travel agents.
Any involvement with buy-to-let investors should be stressed in both the covering letter and your CV.
Any candidate who has dealt with property investors as well as home buyers will have a clear advantage, since buy-to-let accounts for a good percentage of most new build sales. Understanding how investors run their slide rules over a property, what they’re looking for and what questions they will ask, is vital. Any involvement with buy-to-let investors should be stressed in both the covering letter and your CV.
“You have to understand a marketing strategy,” says Anthony Hesse of Property Personnel – so flag up any marketing qualifications or experience.
Whether you’re working within an agency or directly for the developer, you’ll also need to be able to promote that developer’s brand. “You have to understand a marketing strategy,” says Anthony Hesse of Property Personnel – so flag up any marketing qualifications or experience.
Be ready to provide evidence within your CV that you fit the bill. Hirers will want to see evidence of sales success, but they’ll also want to see problem-solving abilities, ability to work to tight deadlines, and preferably some training in the basics of the sales process (perhaps through study towards NAEA | propertymark qualifications). If you’ve been involved in progressing a particularly awkward transaction, boast about it; de-snagging is one of the key skills for a new homes negotiator.
Some experienced negotiators are lucky enough to be able to transfer across to new home sales within the same firm. Others have to look for a job elsewhere. Read the local newspaper on property supplement day to ensure you’re aware of what new developments are going on in the area, and note which agencies are handling the business. Those will be your first port of call.
Reading the local press means you’ll also get a good feel for how different developers present themselves, and if you read the accompanying articles, how buoyant the market is – are people queuing up for homes on new sites, or are developers having to promote their properties with giveaways or special deals? You might consider improving your understanding of the housebuilding sector by visiting the various developers’ websites.
Read the local newspaper on property supplement day to ensure you’re aware of what new developments… note which agencies are handling the business. Those will be your first port of call.
As for getting a job in resale, it may help to use a specialised recruiter, who can give you advice on any shortcomings in your CV or any areas you should emphasise, as well as helping match you up with the right job. But you can also approach both agents and developers directly. Be sure, though, why you want to move into new homes – because it’s a stressful life, and since most sites open when buyers most want to visit… you guessed it; you may never have a weekend off again.