Every week, we ask a real estate professional for their thoughts on the top trends in real estate.
This week, we talked with Meg Thompson, the chairman of the Professional Women in Building Council and an associate broker with Solid Source Realty. Meg has 25-plus years of new home sales and marketing experience, in addition to extensive capabilities and valuable insight into the marketplace and diverse customer segments. She is an active member of The Greater Atlanta Homebuilders Association, Sales and Marketing Council and the National, Georgia and Northeast chapters of the Metro Association of Realtors.
Atlanta Agent (AA): What areas in Metro Atlanta are seeing the most new construction? Why do you think construction is so strong there?
Meg Thompson (MT): First-time suburban single family homebuyers are purchasing property in exurban locations in Gwinnett, Hall, Forsyth and West Cobb Counties because of their affordability, whereas move-up single-family homebuyers are purchasing in traditional suburban locations in highly rated school districts in Cobb, West Gwinnett, North Fulton and South Forsyth.
Downsizing, active adult are focusing on East Gwinnett, Hall, Henry, South Forsyth and West Cobb Counties, due to the amount of available land for 300-plus homes and amenities. Finally, for in-fill, Atlanta/Buckhead is always in high demand. Multifamily options fill the need for more affordable housing in highly desirable locations.
AA: What homebuilders have been leading the charge in construction, since the market began recovering in 2012?
MT: The top homebuilders in the 26 county Atlanta MSA are all national homebuilding companies that had the financial ability to purchase thousands of developed, bank-owned lots at “re-set” prices. They have flourished in benefitting from superior land position and locations, along with innovative product offerings. They are:
- DR Horton
- Pulte Homes
- Ryland Homes
- Lennar Atlanta
- Ashton Woods Homes
Meanwhile, the top local Atlanta homebuilders are:
- Smith Douglas Homes
- The Providence Group
AA: Finally, how can agents position themselves to work in new construction, as it continues to grow?
MT: Selling new construction is a specialty and a different process than selling a “pre-owned” home. The new construction sales agent is an expert on their builder, the product, the neighborhood they are selling and the surrounding community (schools, shopping, healthcare, commuting times, etc.).
Educate yourself to successfully position yourself to work in new construction. Building companies will train their sales representatives thoroughly on how they want them to sell, what knowledge they need about their product and building systems, how to process contracts, design selections, change orders, traffic and competitive market reporting. In general real estate, an agent can take advantage of courses and classes offered online or in-class, can align themselves with brokerage companies that represent homebuilders and developers and specialize in new home sales and marketing, or be mentored by an agent with a new construction background.
The National Association of Home Builders offers a course for those interested in a career in new construction – Certified New Home Sales Professional (CSP) Designation. Taking the required classes in person or online, you’ll gain a broad understanding of the home building industry, better understand today’s consumers and learn tried-and-true techniques used by real estate veterans for greeting prospects, overcoming objections and closing the sale. Local Boards of Realtors offer CE classes for little or no cost for agents interested in new construction also.