In the never ending effort to know what is on the market, I am constantly touring new homes. My endeavors often deliver mixed results. Some on-site greeters are there to meet me offering a warm welcome and information. Other times I find there is no one home, even when a person is standing in front of me.
New home builders have taken to hiring temporary workers to "babysit" the models in order to give the "regular" person a day off. The so called "babysitters" often tell me straight up, they don't know anything about the home and if I want to know something, I'll have to come back later. Hearing these words generally makes me cross the builder off my list. I already made the effort to show up, now give me the courtesy of respect and tell me about your home!
Sunday the Denver Post columnist Al Lewis wrote a good piece about market testers having similar experiences. It seems "real buyers" are finding nobody home at the models too.
What I find curious is why do builders spend so much money attracting consumers, then drop the ball at the most important point, first contact?
I wonder if builders shop themselves. Maybe if they did, they would find ways to improve the system.
A good builder representative knows the product inside and out. They will talk to you about the home, the construction techniques and what's in store for the neighborhood. A good rep can make or break the sale.
My suggestion to builders is to partner with agents who would love to learn about their product and sit in the model on the off days for the regular on-site person. They in turn could be helpful in listing the homes of the builder's new buyers. Of course builders might think this is a conflict of interest for them (wolf in the hen house). That might be right, depending on the ethics of the agent.
Of course the alternative would be to hire those sign twirler guys. Actually I think the sign twirlers would be as informative as the temps, at least more entertaining.