Back to Basics: The Importance of the PDI in Selling Homes

My new townhome on the day of our PDI

My new townhome on the day of our PDI.

In the course of a career that spans over three decades, I have witnessed first hand the many changes our industry has undergone. In fact, BAM has contributed to some of these changes, and for that I am proud.

But in many other ways, our industry is still the same.

For one thing, it’s still perceived as lacking in the customer-service department—rightly so in my opinion.

Take the Pre-Delivery Inspection, the process during which homebuyers inspect their near-finished home before they move in.

We refer to it as PDI; homebuyers likely call it one of the most frustrating days of their lives. We see it as a straightforward process; homebuyers look forward to it for months. We’re indifferent; they’re thrilled.

That’s why a PDI can make a huge difference to both parties. When done properly, it will reassure the buyer that they made the right decision. More importantly, they are more likely to tell their family and friends how happy they are and how beautiful their home’s going to be. They might even tell their boss and their coworkers, who know where they were because they took the morning or afternoon off.

But a PDI that’s not done properly will have the opposite effect on your homebuyer. They will mutter and grumble. They will flood you with complaints. They will go on Facebook and talk about how awful it was. And they will tell their family and friends and coworkers and boss.

By done properly, I mean a PDI should:

  • Take place in a house that’s ready,
  • Take place after the customer’s expectations are managed ahead of time, and
  • Be run by a qualified person — one who not only has good communication skills, but who also cares about details and customer satisfaction. In other words, said person should not be outsourced to an outside company.

A lot of the things customers are displeased about when they do their PDI can’t be avoided. Many expect their home to be in pristine condition; in their minds, it’s going to look as good as the day they move in.

But that’s where managing their expectations comes in, whether you have someone do it over the phone, or better yet, as part of the home buying process, in a workshop or homebuyer seminar, which many good builders offer.

We are so involved in what we do we sometimes forget the magic of it all, especially in the eyes of a family who has just bought their new home. It pays to keep that in mind, and few things show homebuyers you understand where they’re coming from as a properly conducted PDI.

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