How to start a career in new home sales

Young couple being showed around new build house under construction by sales negotiator

In this article, we’ll cover:

  1. How to get into new home sales
  2. Reasons to start a career in new home sales
  3. FAQ – What’s it really like to work in sales?
  4. How to stand out as a candidate for a sales position

Are you looking for a career in new home sales but haven’t got clue where to start?

A career in the property sector can be incredibly rewarding. But don’t be fooled: it’s not your typical 9 to 5.

The salaries are attractive (did we mention commission?), but it takes a lot of time, effort, and balls to be good at sales.

So, you think you’ve got what it takes? If you do, then expect roles to be falling on your doorstep – for the most confident and courageous candidates only.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s dive into what a career in new home sales looks like.

How to get into new home sales

So, you’ve decided you want a career in new home sales. Amazing. Now what?

As it happens, there are several different routes you could take into the role. And if you’ve got sales know-how, you’re already halfway there.

A lot of the top dogs in housing development are obviously keen to invest into the future of housebuilding. Developers will typically have really in-depth training schemes for new starters in sales roles, so you can develop the skills you need to start making them (and yourself) a lot of money.

On top of that, there is almost always a shortage of great candidates and a ton of sales positions to fill – some developers are even looking to recruit salespeople from other industries, such as estate agencies, car sales and more!

Basically, now is the perfect time to join the industry or make that career change you’ve been thinking about.

Sales negotiator trainee programmes

There are intensive training programmes that you can do as a trainee to fill the gaps in your knowledge, because there’s a lot of stuff that you wouldn’t need to know as an estate agent or other sales role, that you should do as a new home sales negotiator. You know, things like legalities, terminology…

Ideally, you need to have a full understanding of the construction process too. We’re not saying you need to know how to operate a cement mixer, but you might need to know how to explain to Mr and Mrs Smith why their new home hasn’t got doors yet…

Property developers take training their salespeople very seriously – they’re passionate about the product they’re selling and that passion needs to make it right the way through to the customer (that’s where you come in!). You’ll come away from these sales training schemes with everything you could possibly need to start selling homes.

Estate Agency

Maybe you’re already working for an estate agency that works with developers, even if it’s on a smaller scale? Well, you’ve already got your foot in the door. 

You will already have a good idea of what the role requires from you and some understanding of the product you’ll be selling. 

This is already a well-trodden path and, so why not consider applying for a trainee sales negotiator position with a housing developer? 

Car sales

Car salespeople, and especially those who specialise in selling new vehicles, tend to have a lot of the core skills required to sell new houses! Who would have thought?

But experience in car sales, particularly new cars, will be perfect for a career in new home sales as you’ll know the ins and outs of selling bespoke, fully customisable products that require significant aftercare.

Other sales roles

What if you’ve got experience in this area or any other sales focused role like telephone sales, lettings – perhaps even on a make-up counter? Good news – you’re already equipped with the skills that are perfect for the role.

If you can convince Karen that lipstick will make her look 10 years younger and get her to walk away with haul of makeup products she didn’t realise she needed – you’ll be great.

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Reasons to start a career in new home sales

‘But why new home sales?’ we hear you asking.

Well, whether you’re just at the start of your career, or you’ve got several years of experience under your belt in estate agency, car sales or many other sales roles, moving into new home sales could be just the change of pace you’re looking for.

New home sales is fast-paced

We know how slow it can be to make a sale at times – there’s a lot of back and forth, a chain of buyers and sellers to keep happy, solicitors to chase…We get it.

However, the turnaround to close a sale within new homes can often be much quicker than in estate agency, meaning you can move onto new leads more often.

You can specialise and become an expert

If you want to, you can also specialise in a particular product area in new home sales: for example, the retirement sector, which involves selling new homes to over 55’s. Or selling ‘Modular Homes’ – these are made in factories, shipped in pieces, constructed on-site (if you don’t know what these are Google them, very cool).

There are lots of schemes to help you close the sale more easily

Housebuilders want to sell homes. The UK government tends to align with this pretty nicely, often putting schemes in place to make buying homes easier, cheaper or quicker for buyers.

Think of schemes such as ‘Help to Buy’, 5% mortgages, and even one-off incentives such as the 2021 Stamp Duty holiday during the pandemic. Even ‘Shared Ownership’ – this scheme gives first time buyers the opportunity to purchase a share in a new build.

When these types of deals are on the table, it makes the prospect of buying a home much more attractive, and can help you close a sale much quicker.

Progression is clear and achievable

Sales and marketing departments have a really clear progression structure.

Sales negotiators sell properties on a specific development. They work on-site and have the most contact with customers.

Above them, sales managers look after all sales negotiators across a number of developments (this is known as a “patch”). They split their time between their various sites and head office.

And at the top, you have sales directors, who oversee the sales function, manage the managers, and work from a head office location.

If you’re driven to progress, developers want to help you succeed. There are always clear targets in place, so you know exactly what you need to do to take that next step up!

Salespeople can make a lot of money

It goes without saying – a good wage is important. And in new home sales, the rewards and pay structure is SO much better than many other sales roles, including estate agency.

As a trainee, you can earn a basic of £24-28k (much more than an estate agent starts on!).

And like you would in any other sales role, such as estate agency, you’ll be earning commission too. Realistically, you could be on track to earn up into the 50-70k range…outside of London! Top billers can make even more!

 

In fact, it’s even entirely possible for a sales negotiator to be raking in more than their managers if they’ve got it in them, particularly in roles with uncapped commission. 

In new home sales, commission is paid either between exchange and completion, or immediately after completion. (This is earlier in the process than with estate agency roles too!) 

Fancy finding out how much you could earn in sales where you live?

Download our 2021 Salary Guide now

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FAQ – What’s it really like to work in sales?

If you’re not already working within the property industry, there may be some realities of the role you aren’t familiar with. Here are some frequently asked questions! 

Are the hours long, and do I need to work weekends?

People typically view and buy houses in the evening and at the weekend, so you may need to be flexible and willing to work outside of the typical 9-5.

You’ll need to be determined, adaptable and willing to commit a large chunk of your time to the role if you want to really succeed!

Will I have to move across the country to find a sales job?

There’s usually no need to relocate for the role – developers want you to work in an area you’re familiar with and will usually place you somewhere close by. You’d typically be based in one location for the duration of a project, which depending on the size of the development, can be either long term, short term or even a position “for life”.

It’s possible you may need to commute within a patch for an opportunity, but as you need knowledge of the location during the sales process, developers tend to place you in a role closer to home – knowledge of an area is a really powerful tool in your hands when selling new homes!

Do I need to wear a suit?

Presentation is key – like in any customer facing role – and you need to look the part! So, dress code is typically smart, and you may even be provided with a uniform.

Do I need to be good on the phone?

You need to be proactive with your approach to sales – there will be a lot of phone calls as well as face to face meetings. It’s possible that you will be given a database full of leads that require you to be diligent with follow ups. Good communication skills are absolutely key in sales!

What other skills and knowledge are useful to have?

Sales progression – there’s an element of sales progression to the role, which if you’re an experienced estate agent, you’ll have no problem with. Getting buyers across the line is just as important as getting new leads interested!

Marketing – there’s also an element of marketing involved in new home sales, for example, the promotion of the developer’s brand. You’ll quickly develop a good understanding of your brand’s values, products, and what makes them stand out, and of course you’ll want to align your sales pitch with the marketing materials!

How is it different from being an estate agent? 

The process of sales is different – second-hand home sales don’t have the same key touch points or customer journey. With a new build, it’s an ongoing experience, all about delivering a 5-star, customisable experience. You’ll quickly need to get to grips with what sets your offering apart from other new builds on the market.

Above all, it’s a learning curve, no matter what industry you’re coming from.

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How to stand out as a candidate for a sales position

Like any candidate for a job, you want to stand out. Here’s some tips to give you the best chance of being noticed:

    • Do your own research – employers in all industries love this, but in the property industry it’s perhaps even more important to get ahead of the competition! Why not do a ‘mystery shop’? Go and pretend to be a customer and get a feel for the process and see what a site actually looks and feels like, and get some insight into the process.
    • Be enthusiastic – when you really believe in what you’re selling, people are more likely to buy from you, and that needs to come through when you’re interviewing. It’s always good to get to grips with the product beforehand – know what you’re selling!
    • Get educated – there are various qualifications in property management and estate agency available, and training courses just like the ones we mentioned earlier. While a formal degree isn’t essential, it might be beneficial and give you an edge over other candidates. Degrees or diplomas in subjects such as business studies, property management or surveying can help you stand out.
    • Be yourself – if you don’t have a degree, don’t worry! Sales is all about people skills, and your glittering personality and charming nature may just be enough to bag yourself a role in new home sales. These skills are often valued more over qualifications when applying for a role in the property sector, especially at entry-level, so if you don’t think you look the part on paper, it’s always worth applying if you’re really passionate about the role.

With the right experience and skill set, it can be easy to make the move into new home sales, whether you’re currently in the property sector or in a different industry entirely.

What are you waiting for? If you are interested in a career in new home sales, we can guide you into your next job by reviewing your skills, experience and goals, and find the best role suited for you. Send us your CV and we’ll take a look.

Better yet, you can register as a candidate here.

Why not start your research right now? Have a look at some of the sales jobs we’ve got to get a feel for the role.

Hero image by Pavel Danilyuk