The Real Realtor Block

using licensed Real Estate Agents to sell contracts to build custom homes.   The same would apply for other types of construction, but lets focus on new home sales, specifically new homes to-be-built.

Real estate agents are trained to list homes, and market them using MLS, social media, open houses, and the like.    They usually attend weekly (and sometimes daily) training sessions, especially at the beginning of their career.   The successful realtor (10% of them) will follow the track they are trained to run on, developing a portfolio of listings and a network of co-operating agents.

To a Realtor, the builder’s Show Home is just another listing opportunity, as is any product that the builder is currently constructing and which can be “shown” physically to a potential buyer.   The traffic in the Show Home, to a Realtor, is a parade of potential listings and, more than that, potential buyers who need to find a suitable...

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Good and Bad Builder Sales

We see many examples of Builders doing their own sales, and for many of them, it is certainly a good way to develop business.   No doubt about it, the public likes to sit down with the owner, the decision-maker, and these individuals can provide very quick feedback on pricing and other key questions.

In fact, many times I have done exactly this.  When sales were slowing down, from time to time I would jump into the show home for a season and interact directly with the flow of traffic.   Every time I did that it helped fill the sales funnel with prospects to talk to, and when I would hand the leads back to the licensed sales staff they would start closing deals with regularity.

This works especially well for the small builder, the five-to-ten homes a year level of the building.  This builder has the time available to spend in multiple meetings with prospects, carefully massaging the plans and the budget until what emerges is a contract that satisfies...

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The Nervous Prospect

Working with prospects for a new home or a renovation is very much a dance….one that can easily get off on the wrong foot.

In today’s connected world, prospects usually know more about you than you think they do, even before that first meeting.  They know if anyone has written a google complaint against you, they know what their friends say about you, and they “know” just enough to make them nervous in a process that is foreign and scary to them as buyers.

That’s a huge uphill campaign to gain the high ground.   And it can’t be won exclusively through social media.

Let me burst a bubble I see developing all around me.  Some builders think social media is the big answer to drawing in sales.  That is like throwing a fishing lure into the water, with no line attached and no rod and reel. just a shiny lure.   Imagine it floating past a school of fish, doing its job attracting the eye of the roving...

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When A Coach Really Scores

Its hard to know you are making progress, sometimes, even from the Coach’s perspective.   Team Coaching is one of our specialities, and for the past 6+ months the team in the photo has been working through a major business transition and shift.   Sometimes it feels like we’re not moving ahead, sometimes frankly it feels like we’re losing ground, but then comes a day like today.  As a coach, my buttons were popping all night as the entire homebuilding industry in Manitoba gathered in the prestigious MHBA Parade of Homes Gala celebration to celebrate a Big Win for Discovery Homes.  

 

The backstory is a business in transition, new owners, new staff, new vision.  In the midst of that mix, throw in a decision to build a brand new show home in 90 days and enter it against the best of the best in Manitoba’s builder community.  The odds were indeed stacked against us.

 

When our category came up, and I saw the...

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The Biggest Waste of a Builder's Time

 

 

THE BIGGEST WASTE OF A BUILDER’S TIME

 

The biggest waste of a Builders’ time isn’t golfing (although some Builders would disagree with me)

The biggest waste of a Builders’ time isn’t management meetings (although again some Builders I know would strongly disagree0

The biggest time wasters are the endless parade of Sales reps from every walk of life, every supplier, realtor, advertiser, and promoter of gadgets you can think of.

Just today I was dealing with setting up a scheduling system for a new set of projects, and staff came to me with the latest and greatest (and their favourite) online gadget, complete with tutorials and complexities galore.   Experience has shown me how wasteful these “shiny objects” can be when a simple, one-page production schedule works just fine.

It’s not like the industry should not evolve and become more digital, but in truth, there is way too much detail, way too many...

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Why homebuilding is one of the most profitable side/full time ventures in today’s economy.

I might be preaching to the converted here, but even our favorite TV programs today highlight house-flipping, real estate investing, and often walk us through entire renovation projects…in amazing (and unrealistic) timelines.

The TV only produces a product that audiences support.  If the world out there wasn’t fascinated with the subject, these programs would go away quickly.

This should tell you something.   There is a niche, a place in the marketplace where the average person can navigate to profits without a great deal of licensing and hoops to jump through.

Think about it.   Even realtors have to take a course and pay for a license to work in this realm.   How many contractors have come and gone totally unlicensed and unregulated?

I know our industry is moving toward tighter licensing and regulations, but in the meantime, it’s still open water for fishing for business.

The trick is, can you set up a solid, reputable business...

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My First Build

They say everyone has to start somewhere.   Some of us had such humble beginnings we don’t like to think or talk about them, but it's important to know that anyone can do this.

I was raised on a farm, so simple construction projects were often the way of life for us.   I learned to mix concrete by hand, form foundations with boards and sweat and tears, and to work hard at an early age.

But the idea to build my first house began as an idealistic conversation between myself and a handful of university buddies.   Finally, two of us decided to take the plunge and design and build a house to be sold.  How naïve we were!

I remember drafting the plans myself, ( rather crudely by today’s standards), and applying for a mortgage at age twenty at the local bank.  It was a small town, things were done more casually back then, but in no time I was financed and on my way.

The build went fairly well for a while, we hired a contractor to...

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Doing it For The Little Guy

When I consider the landscape of builders and renovators that make up our marketplace, I am drawn more to the startups, the guys doing just a handful of projects every year.   Typically, these men and women are very much hands-on, usually trades based, doing an honest days work for an honest day’s pay.   This is my tribe.

It's not like I am not familiar with the mega-builder community.   I have a lifetime of experience at the boardroom tables of high volume builders and developers and intimate knowledge of their sophisticated systems of operation.

Although we typically build (ourselves) very high-end large homes, very big ticket contracts, my own personal comfort zone has always been the entry-level market, because those clients are usually grateful for what you can give them and just a simpler market to serve.

Likewise, when considering coaching builders and renovators, my comfort zone is the five-to-ten homes a year small contractor.  ...

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