Buyers, reading about the nation’s housing woes, and hearing about the problems of friends and family, are understandably hesitant to buy any house, whether it is made of straw, or wood, or bricks.
Up until last year, according to Brian Catalde, president of the National Association of Home Builders, potential customers used to make two visits to sales offices before buying. "Now they're making eight to 12 visits …Why don't they want to pull the trigger?"
A builder himself, Catalde hired a pollster to ask buyers that question. Of 1,000 people surveyed, 725 said they feared going to contract, only to have the builder lower the price.
In my experience, builders don’t lower their prices unless they absolutely have to do so. Instead, they’ll throw in a lot more upgrades and extras at no additional cost, or be more flexible in what they’ll agree to do. I had one client who refused to drop his asking prices in a small development, instead offering decks and second car garages at no additional cost.
When I bought my house 20 years ago, my builder was flying high over the first four phases of an eight phase major development. Ask him a question and you’d always get “no” for an answer. Even when you were willing to pay retail for an upgrade or extra, just to not have to hassle with it later on. Gas burning fireplace instead of wood? No! Circular driveway? No! Then the housing market waned and the builder still had a hundred or so houses to move. Circular driveways, gas fireplaces? No problem! Babysit your kids? Sure, why not!