Since the recession began in 2008, flexibility has been key to keeping continuous employment for many involved in the property industry. For some, this has meant being pragmatic about the level of appointment, for example, taking a position a rung or two below your last job to keep gainfully employed. For others, it has meant utilizing transferable skills in related sub-sectors, and so we have seen former estate agents try their hand at selling new homes directly for a developer and vice versa. Selling new homes or selling second-hand; what’s the difference?
Office versus showhouse
For many new homes, sales negotiators’ work is a lonely place. Most sites are single-manned, and interaction comes primarily from potential customers visiting the site and follow-up calls to interested parties. They see the sales manager from time to time, but their immediate peers are on other sites around the region. Compared to the estate agent’s office, this is a quiet working existence. There is no office banter or water cooler chat about last night’s TV.
New versus second hand
Selling second-hand homes on behalf of a client is about finding the person who wants that combination of size, specification, and location of the property and who is willing to make an offer the vendor will accept. Selling new homes is very similar but with a little more flexibility in terms of specification and price. The negotiator has the ability to change details in the kitchen, bathroom, or garden to suit the buyer’s requirement and often can show similar properties on the same development, which offer a slight tweak on size and outlook. The new home salesperson also has a deal up their sleeve and can negotiate on behalf of their employer to close a sale.
Compare this with the estate agent who cannot make any alterations to the property for sale and, whilst can convince the vendor that the offer being made is one they should accept, cannot bid on their behalf. Where the estate agent gains the upper hand is that he isn’t tied to a specific development produced by a single builder. He gets a whole town to sell from with different styles, sizes, and prices of property.
Every weekend versus some weekends
Most housebuilders are currently working on a five-day opening rota which is Thursday to Monday inclusive, so other than annual leave, the new homes negotiator works every Saturday and Sunday. Estate agents vary in the weekend opening hours, but no individual works more than half of the weekend days in a given month, so whether that is a combination of half days or whole days, some of the weekends are their own.
Both estate agency and new homes negotiator positions are commission driven in their salary structure, with basic salaries somewhere in the teens, but a good salesperson can double their basic salary.
If you are a good property salesperson, there is no reason why you can’t succeed in either an estate agency or new homes. The nuances come in what selling environment suits you best. Are you the kind of person who likes to be in control of what you are selling, able to alter the spec, ensure the property is presented to the highest possible standards, and get to know your product inside out? Or do you prefer a wide range of properties to sell and the buzz of being part of a busy team sharing in each other’s successes?