by Zoe Eisenberg
In an industry where clients can find all the information they need with the click of a mouse, it’s important for real estate agents to be as knowledgeable as possible in every facet of the business. One educational plane that more agents are diving into is understanding the details of residential construction. The more agents know about how a home is built—the materials, methods and terminology—the more familiar they’ll be with their product. This wealth of knowledge will allow agents to better serve their clients, improve their level of professionalism, and increase their sales. The better an agent can understand residential construction, the better they’ll be able to serve their client, and the more valuable they’ll ultimately become.
“For most buyers, the purchase of a house is the largest and most complicated financial transaction in which they will ever be involved,” says David Horowitz, former senior vice president of Education and Development at NRT. “It is natural, therefore, for them to expect the REALTOR® they select to be well informed in every aspect of the buying process. This includes an understanding of the basic structural components of houses.”
Consider what most consumers would expect from sales professionals in other industries. Whether cars, technology, or other products and services, how much respect would prospective buyers have for a salesperson without fundamental knowledge of the products they sell?
As an agent, you want to be able to answer all of your client’s questions, from legal to foundational and everything in between. “How often are prospective buyers frustrated and disenchanted with sales associates who are unable to answer basic questions about a house’s components?” Horowitz asks. When a client can gain more information on the Internet than they can from their own agent, the agent’s credibility and confidence will suffer.
“Agents that know they’ll be able to answer those questions are undoubtedly more confident because of it,” says Mike Knapp, president and CEO of Iowa Realty in Des Moines, Iowa. This higher level of confidence will help agents attract more clients and excel in their field.
“The agent that understands how to help a client navigate this process will simply be more valuable than less informed agents,” notes Dan Forsman, president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties in Atlanta, Ga.
“If the agent provides accurate and relevant information about [residential] construction, the client will begin to trust them,” says Forsman, “and trust is a key factor in developing a successful relationship and connecting with a client.” Not only will new-construction knowledge amp up your confidence and improve the level of trust between you and your client, it’ll also make you appear more professional.
“Agents who are able to display their knowledge of new construction by expertly guiding buyers through the buying and building process will be viewed as highly professional,” says Knapp.
So how can you improve your construction know-how?
“One of the best ways to gain knowledge about home construction is through completion of the Residential Construction Certification course offered through Dennis Walsh & Associates,” says Horowitz. “The course, available in a self-study format, is extremely comprehensive. It’s a great way to become knowledgeable and self confident.”
The Residential Construction Certification (RCC) course focuses on all the details of residential construction—materials, methods, terminology, quality, and more. While essential for new-home sales specialists, “this training is also fantastic for all agents, allowing them to truly understand the product they sell every day,” says Dennis Walsh, CEO of REbuildUSA and Dennis Walsh & Associates, Inc. The course allows agents to speak more professionally with home inspectors, contractors and appraisers, and allows them to better serve buyers and sellers.
“Knowledge is a key ingredient for a consultant in any field of expertise,” says Knapp. “With new construction, there are a lot of specifics, and having an understanding of things ranging from different insulation options, different siding types and what homes fit best on what home sites is important.”
“We’re excited to have just completed a revision of our entire RCC course to include more than 500 new images to illustrate all the details of construction for the most comprehensive residential construction training in the industry,” says Walsh. “Designed specifically for real estate professionals, our training has helped more than 100,000 brokers, agents and others in the industry work more professionally with buyers, sellers, appraisers, inspectors, contractors, designers and others who impact real estate transactions and our clients.”
An agent with a wealth of knowledge and the ability to effortlessly communicate this knowledge will put their clients at ease. A thorough understanding of new construction will ultimately make you—the agent—a better resource for your client.