36 REALTOR® SEP TEMBER/OCTOBER 2015 REALTORMAG.REALTOR.ORG
When housing demand was soaring a decade ago, home builders in many regions, including the Phoenix metro market, could
simply plant a flag in the ground and prospective buyers would
camp outside a development, waiting to enter a lottery for a
chance to buy a new home. The red-hot demand marginalized
sales agents, and builders thought they could go it alone.
Those days are gone.
“Our cheese was moved,” says Tammie Smoot, regional
sales manager for Builders Digital Experience, an Austin, Texas–
based company that provides builders with online marketing
and digital solutions to connect home builders and buyers,
referring to the housing crisis that, among other things, dried up
lending for spec homes and new construction.
Indeed, builders were on the bleeding edge of the subsequent crisis, and according to U.S. Census data, the number of
housing units under construction nosedived from 780,900 in
2008 to 495,400 units in 2009. Projects were abandoned in
Builders Offering You Tools of the Trade
various stages of completion, lending dried up for builders and
buyers alike, and some builders contracted their services to
banks to complete unfinished subdivisions on a contract basis.
Amid the strong recovery in the resale housing market, new
single-family home sales over the 12 months ending in July
increased sharply—up 25. 8 percent over the prior year. Never-
theless, the 507,000 new homes sold during that period remain
below the annual 50-year average of 660,000. Another positive
sign: Single-family permits in July were reported at an annualized
rate of 679,000 units, according to Census data—still below
2008 levels, but trending upward.
As new-home construction regains momentum, the builder
community is regrouping and is increasingly recognizing the
value of creating connections with real estate agents. “We have
common goals,” says Smoot, who is also a past chair of the
National Association of Home Builders’ Professional Women in
Homebuilding committee. “The agent and the builder both want
to sell homes. Both want repeat business. Sometimes we forget
we are partners in this.”
in New Construction
In a rebounding new-home market, here’s how you can forge relationships
with developers, builders, and buyers. By Paula Hess