I’m often amazed at how wrong some estate agencies get it when they try to win instructions from builders and property developers. Long gone are the days when agents could turn up at a site, offer an ‘incentive’ to whoever was in charge and seal the deal. As the land and new homes sector continues to boom, winning instructions from developers and builders is becoming tougher but, still I’m seeing some agencies absolutely seizing the opportunity with both hands and others haphazardly letting it slip through their fingers.
Developers will always look after the hand that feeds them with land!
The successful agencies have their research, initial approach, proposition and pitch honed to a fine art. Here are five things in my experience, dating back 20 years in this sector, that help agencies win far more than their fair share of land and new home instructions.
Any agent aiming to develop a New Homes department, needs to understand that the lifeblood for any developer or house builder is the introduction of land. You can be the best agent in your area at selling houses, but developers will always look after the hand that feeds them with land opportunities. If you deliver them, you’ll be in pole position for the instructions to sell the built properties. That’s why you need to have a clear plan identifying land opportunities. Be pro-active as they won’t just fall into your lap. Whether you employ three people or 100, they are all land finders and you need to train them what to look out for.
KNOW EVERY KEY CONTACT
There’s no point in securing land deals if you don’t have potential developers in the wings to seal the deals. That’s why you need to make it a priority for your agency to know all the house building and property developing community in your patch.
Take time to get know who does what in the companies you are interested in. Google searches and LinkedIn can be very useful for this, but nothing beats making the effort to meet them for a beer, coffee, round of golf, or whatever they are comfortable doing.
SHOW YOU’RE IN THE KNOW
When approaching house builders and developers it pays to be able to show what’s happening in your local area – not just what land opportunities you’ve come across but also more detailed information.
This information is vital to help you create your land and new homes business plan.
How many active new build sites are in your area with units currently for sale.
- Sites with planning granted in 2018
- New build units with planning granted in 2018
- New build units with planning submitted in 2018
- Sites with planning submitted so far in 2018
This kind of thorough approach shows developers you take your role seriously and can prove your agency’s efforts to sell their stock will be based on more than just a glossy brochure and some adverts.
CREATE A COMPELLING PROPOSITION
When preparing a proposition to present to house builders, carefully consider:
- Don’t tell them the typical information you’d tell a vendor, tell them what you can offer to ensure their development is a great success and achieve their goals.
- Show them how you can help with part exchange and assisted moves.
- Show you can offer add-on rental services to prospective investors.
- Provide rental guidance to assist the sales staff.
- Create a bespoke VIP proposition for BTL buyers.
- Show how you source new opportunities for builders and developers.
So, you’ve polished your shoes, done your research, packaged it up professionally and practiced your pitch. You have your evidence clearly laid out and ideally can show the developers where their buyers will come from. Now it’s show and tell time.
Finally: consider these key things to address during the pitch:
- What differentiates you from the competition?
- What is so good about your marketing plan, experience and network that makes you the best choice for them?
- Do not treat a developer like a typical vendor, they’ve heard it all before.
- They want to see that you have belief in their product, understand their goals and what you can do to ensure that their development is a great success.
Otherwise they will just get on and do it on their own, or worse still give the instruction to one of your rivals. Good luck.
Kevin Ellis is the founder of the Land & New Homes Network which helps non-competing independent agents across the UK win more business in this rapidly growing sector.