Strong Building Activity Tests Agents

Even as real estate professionals across the country grapple with a persistent shortage of homes available for sale, some agents are facing a different kind of challenge: convincing buyers to consider existing properties when builders are briskly turning out new homes a short distance away.

That’s the situation in the coastal South Carolina city of Myrtle Beach, where a strong supply of new homes is prompting many buyers to shun properties that have been lived in, says sales agent Brandi Minchillo of RE/MAX Southern Shores, a real estate brokerage in the resort community.

“Oftentimes, buyers see new and want new,” says Minchillo, who spoke with REALTOR® Magazine earlier this month during the RE/MAX R4 sales convention in Las Vegas. “They want the newest countertops and the newest flooring … they think you’re going to walk in the door and it’s supposed to be a turnkey property, and you don’t get that with a 10-year-old home.”

To generate interest in properties that aren’t brand-new, Minchillo says she looks to differentiate existing homes from new ones in specific terms that appeal to a client’s sense of what they will get for their money. She highlights custom features or superior materials that might not be available directly from a builder, and makes sure buyers are aware that living in a fledgling development can mean dealing with the noise and inconvenience that typically accompanies new construction—issues they likely won’t have to worry about in an established neighborhood.

“It’s my job to come up with a good value proposition for those resale properties and market them in a way that shows that really, although they’re not brand-new, they have a lot to offer you that new construction doesn’t have,” Minchillo says.

Even recently completed homes can be difficult to market in Myrtle Beach because buyers know they can easily find brand-new properties close by, adds Jeremy Blanton, another RE/MAX Southern Shores sales associate who was at the convention.

Sellers of homes as little as nine months old “are having to cut their prices dramatically just to get people in the door,” Blanton says. “They’re just not coming in because the builder down the street is offering incentives of all these upgrades—they’re going to pay closing cost fees, all of these things they’re throwing in the deal.”

—Sam Silverstein, REALTOR® Magazine