Selling off-plan – the good, the great and the misunderstood

When formulating the sales and marketing strategy for a new development there is a lot to consider, and timing is everything.

Ensuring swift sales at the right price is something we talk about a lot, but delivering on this comes from knowing your market and having a clearly defined strategy which, to begin with, should pivot around off-plan selling.

The benefits of selling off-plan extend much further than the bottom line too.

Test the market and set a pricing strategy

The greatest single advantage of selling off-plan is the opportunity to test your pricing strategy without committing. We typically advocate that early off-plan sales don’t have publicised pricing so the opportunity is there to find out exactly what people might be willing to pay for a home. This allows for the creation of a sound pricing strategy that ensures your property sells swiftly at the right price.

Create confidence

Being the first to buy can be a little daunting. Some customers may be put off by the lack of sold property on a development and this could affect the speed of their decision making, which can have knock-on effects on the sales success of a development. A new development with lots of plots sold tells potential house buyers that others have been confident enough to buy, so they can too.

Generate urgency

As above, the feeling of exclusivity combined with urgency helps to ensure property sells swiftly and at the best prices. Percentage sold messaging early in the development creates a further sense of urgency in buyers who ‘don’t want to miss out’. Selling off-plan creates this effect from the off.

Get off to a really good start with sales

Good sales are rarely a bad thing! Having sales under your belt on a development says good things to customers, staff, management and the local community.

Having the right product

Selling off-plan ensures that, on larger developments, a housebuilder has the optimal design/specification/presentation of the product, for the target market. There’s nothing worse than building out an entire site, only to find that the feedback from your target market is ‘if only they’d done that it would have been perfect for me’. Early-doors sales conversations reveal these thoughts/feelings, to ensure that (if you have the opportunity to) you can adapt what you’re building to guarantee that it will be well received by your target market.

Reduce your spend on advertising

We tend to find that selling off-plan typically requires a greatly reduced spend on advertising. This follows on from the urgency and exclusivity point. If you’re promoting in the right places, with the right product, at the right price, your need for greater advertising exposure is typically greatly reduced, as the urgency around your product will carry the development through to success.

Selling off-plan is an art and not for the unprepared. As a developer, you must be ready to support these types of sales and have the infrastructure in place to take advantage of them.

Simon, Director at Antler explains, “selling off-plan is, of course, reliant on supply and demand but there are also fundamentals that you must have in place. You need to be prepared to make an off-plan sale – they’re different from selling stock plots, and you need the personality and confidence in your team to make the sale. Plus, how you present your development off-plan must be top-notch to ensure the customer has the confidence and trust in your ability to deliver.”

In our experience, a development with off-plan sales is a successful development.”

Annie Huddleston, Director at Antler

There are myths about off-planning selling that often stop a developer from taking advantage of the benefits it can bring. Some people believe that off-plan sales don’t get the best price and that people will pay more having seen a show home.

We tend to find that estate agents also feel nervous about selling off-plan and would always prefer to wait and have a show home or the bricks and mortar to physically sell. From their perspective it’s understandable, but off-plan sales are hugely beneficial to a development if they are done correctly.

“In our experience, a development with off-plan sales is a successful development.” Says Annie, Director at Antler. “We know how to set the right strategy for a development to ensure it will be a success and off-plan sales are an important focus for us”.

If you’d like to sell more property off-plan, we’d love to help! Get in touch for an informal chat or to arrange a consultation.

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