Introduction: Welcome to the Guide

Purpose of the Guide

Home Marketing and Sales Planning

The NeighborWorks America Stable Communities Initiative created this guide to assist nonprofits, local governments and others in marketing and selling the homes they worked so hard to develop to increase the supply of affordable housing and to stabilize and revitalize neighborhoods. The Guide presents a series of planning steps and offers practical tools to help affordable housing developers create a marketing and sales plan document.

Most in the housing industry, both public and private, are used to working in an “up” market. Prior to the market decline of 2007, affordable housing developers in most places could prepare homes for sale with the following assurances:

  • The homes would likely appreciate in value.
  • A lot of people were enthusiastic about buying a home.
  • First mortgage financing was available to buyers with credit scores as low as the mid-500s.
  • Down payment requirements were affordable to many working class households.
  • The economy was stable and unemployment was low.
  • The market had been stable for so long that supply and demand were in reasonable balance.

None of those things have been true for the past few years. Because the market has changed abruptly and dramatically, housing developers must also change their approach to marketing and selling to expect good results. The costs associated with a house sitting on the market are substantial:

  • Carrying costs of taxes and insurance, utilities, security, lawn maintenance and so forth
  • Capital tied up in a property that cannot be used to develop the next one
  • Risk of vandalism
  • Staff time in property and asset management
  • Real estate agent or staff time in showing and marketing the property
  • Reputational costs with funders and partners
  • Continued erosion of confidence in the future of the neighborhood

These challenges and costs make careful planning and creative effort more important than ever. Even when the national housing market rebounds, nonprofits and other affordable housing developers will continue to work in challenging submarkets—neighborhoods that struggled to attract new homebuyers even before the market crash. Careful planning can always help affordable housing developers minimize costs and maximize impact. For these reasons, the NeighborWorks America Stable Communities Initiative created this Guide to:

  1. Assist you in developing a marketing and sales plan for your homes
  2. Help you train and manage your development and sales team
  3. Share templates, examples and resources to aid quick implementation of your plan

If you follow the Guide chapter by chapter and complete all the worksheets, you will have most of what you need for a complete marketing and sales plan document. Click here for a list of suggested planning steps and associated components of the marketing and sales plan document.