Posted by Sean Carpenter in Real Estate Agent Resources

With a wealth of knowledge stemming from years of building trust with his clients and helping them find their dream home, Sean Carpenter often hears similar themes when talking through the new home buying process with his clients. Read Sean's insights below to 6 of the most commonly asked questions from new construction homebuyers!

1. How Do You Help New Construction Clients Envision Their New Space?

As with any new buyer client, we sit down for a Buyer Counseling Session. This gives us an opportunity to get to know each other (build rapport) and identify the client’s wants, needs, and dreams. I’ve always felt that the best indication of future behavior is past behavior, so understanding where they are now will help determine where they want to be.

Are they completely starting a fresh new chapter in their new home or will they be looking to move their current furniture, belongings, and lifestyle into a brand new shell? It’s really difficult for some people to envision a “blank slate” home, and it’s often hard to live up to the “model home” décor and staging. I always like to remind the buyers that there are no rules or restrictions on how they want to decorate or use the inside of their homes. Outside areas might have some neighborhood or HOA rules to deal with, so you can’t go too crazy, but still have some leeway with which to create a place to call your own.

2. What New Trends or Technological Advances Have You Seen Recently Shift the Home Buying Experience Paradigm?

Smart home technologies are becoming more mainstream and expected. Features like video doorbells, remote controlled lighting, and thermostats we can control from an app will soon be standard the way automatic windows and A/C has become in new cars.

As far as the buying process, photos and video tours are still perhaps the #1 demand from buyers. People need to be able to “see” themselves in the house. I also really like to see builders who can work with architects and landscape architects to create 3D models or virtual cityscapes with the streets and trees and little figurines of future residents walking through the streets giving visitors to the model home an ability to envision the development when it has been transitioned from a muddy Central Ohio cornfield into a thriving neighborhood filled with families and friends.

3. What Is the #1 Question You Are Typically Asked About New Construction, and What Is Your Go-To Answer?

“How long with the process take?” is probably the #1 question I get and can be the tipping point for buyer who know they want to buy, but just aren’t sure if they want to wait. More often, my “new build” clients have been former clients currently living in an existing house that I sold them years before. We then start the dreaming, designing, and “doing” process to create a realistic timeframe and establish expectations for all parties before even beginning to review, research, and interview builders.

A lot of the timing depends on the developments being considered. What phase is the community in, what lots are available, how much customization will be allowed, and what is the urgency and motivation of the client would be the first questions I would want to answer before going much further in the process.

4. What Is The Most Important Thing for Buyers to Think Through Before Looking at/Touring New Construction Homes for Sale?

Budget! It’s way too easy to start with a number in mind and within minutes of drafting out your “Need It/Want It” list with the new home sales rep you have exceeded your budget or financing abilities. Most model homes have all the features available such as room bump-outs, elevated ceilings, upgraded kitchens and baths, etc. Just like your food in a restaurant never looks as good as it does in the photo on the menu, it’s good to remind the buyers that the furniture and “décor” seen in a model home is not included with the purchase. The term “champagne taste and a beer budget” seems to be something many reps probably deal with on a daily basis.

Also, the trip to the design center is kind of like being on your own version of Super Market Sweep but at the end, you actually have to pay the bill for the things you added to your cart. Develop a plan before you arrive and consult your REALTOR®. Some features will impact resale greater than others.

5. What Would You Want a Buyer New to the New-Build Home Buying Process to Know About Financing?

Know your options. The builder will almost always want to capture the lending opportunity because it will help with profit margins so make sure you know what options, promotions, and tradeoffs might be available if you choose an outside lender.

There could be some definite benefits to using an in-house lender. Communication and intimate knowledge of the process and time frames is an underrated reason it might be wise to use an in-house lender.

Don’t get fixated on interest rates as much as overall cost. A great lender shouldn’t try dazzle with rates if they are just a camouflage for exorbitant fees.

Finally, a big piece of what you’re getting with a lender is the service during the process. Ask for testimonials from recent homeowners in the neighborhood or development you’re considering building in. You can often learn a lot about the “good, bad, and ugly” of the loan process from real, live people who have experienced it recently. This insight may help you establish proper expectations with the new home sales rep and lender. It’s always easier to exceed someone’s expectations if you know what they are upfront.

6. What Objection to New Construction Do You Hear from Your Clients Most Often, And How Do You Help Them Navigate That Concern?

Timing is usually the biggest concern or obstacle. We live in an on-demand world, and many people don’t have the patience to wait 6-12 months for a new home. However, once someone has lived in an existing home and they have learned to live with certain things like squeaky floorboards, older plumbing, and not enough room to entertain, it makes a lot of sense to create your own home to fit your life (and lifestyle) in.

It’s not going to be easy to replicate a neighborhood with mature trees and old-town charm in a new-build community, but sometimes being one of the original homeowners in a neighborhood could provide the opportunity to create a culture and feeling of neighborly pride.


Still have unanswered questions? Check out our answers to these 10 additional FAQs from our homeowners.


Sean Carpenter


Originally licensed as a REALTOR® in 1998, Sean Carpenter is the former Agent Development Director for the Ohio NRT companies. He jumped back into a sales role with Coldwell Banker serving buyers and sellers throughout Central Ohio. He founded Sean Speaks in 2018 to expand his speaking, consulting, and facilitation opportunities. His most popular sessions focus on creating memorable customer experiences, maximizing social and digital media, as well as business planning, leadership, and sales. Formerly recognized by Inman News as one of the Top 100 Most Influential Leaders in Real Estate, Sean was named as one of the “Top 20 Most Influential People in Social Media for the real estate industry” by The Swanepoel Report for the third year in a row. Sean recently received the Joseph McKinnon Award from the Columbus Realtors as their 2017 Instructor of the Year. Sean’s mission is to “teach with passion and enthusiasm instilling confidence and excitement in his students,” and he lives by his philosophy – build relationships, solve problems, and have fun.

What Is a Tray Ceiling?

What Is a Tray Ceiling?

Home Design

Buying a New Construction Home: Do You Need a Real Estate Agent?

Buying a New Construction Home: Do You Need a Real Estate Agent?

Home Buying