On Sales Tour, John Wieland Aims to ‘Get Housing Moving’
In a unique marketing campaign, Southeast home builder John Wieland, CEO and founder of John Wieland Homes, is touring his five markets in a distinctive green-ish Winnebago emblazoned with a “Get Housing Moving!” banner and is covering the basics to educate consumers about the good things that housing can do for their neighborhoods and communities.
Wieland hit the road on March 7 and says that he will continue his travels until he has sold 101 homes, a quota he hopes to reach within 40 days. Eight days into the promotion, he had driven 1,082 miles. He is spending each night on his own mattress in a completed home for sale in a John Wieland neighborhood.
To more easily navigate his neighborhoods, Wieland has also acquired a yellow scooter that will be raffled off as the days go by somewhere along the way.
Wieland’s itinerary includes Atlanta; Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C.; Charleston, S.C.; and Nashville. As part of its campaign, Wieland Homes is offering the lowest prices in the company’s 39-year history — with discounts of anywhere from 5% to 25% and mortgage interest rates as low as 4.5%.
At the start of the tour, there were 380 unsold John Wieland Homes in the company’s four-state area.
Wieland’s mission is not just to sell homes. On a person to person basis, he is also working to convey the message that housing is critical to staging an economic recovery and that now is an opportune time to buy with mortgage rates and prices running near all-time lows.
The veteran home builder is also providing a running commentary on his marketing adventure on a Get Housing Moving blog at www.gethousingmoving.com.
Highlights of the trip so far include meeting with a variety of real estate professionals at the Allen Tate convention in Charlotte, the largest group of Realtors® in the city. Its Builders Services, Inc. division (BSI) has handled sales for John Wieland Homes for nearly 20 years.
Along the way to the Queen City, the nation’s second largest banking headquarters, Wieland had the opportunity to meet with Pineville, N.C. Mayor George Fowler, who put on a Get Housing Moving T-shirt to demonstrate his support for the industry.
Wieland has used his blog so far to weigh in on a couple of important issues for the housing industry during these challenging times.
Banks and Housing Values
In a March 13 post, he notes that banks need to think twice about the impact of some of their actions on banking values.
“It is truly tragic to see what is happening to home values in some neighborhoods in Atlanta and Charlotte,” he writes. “Pricing has become basically irrational. Fortunately right now these situations are isolated.”
Wieland voices concern over banks selling foreclosed homes for less than the cost to build them, even if the developed lot is free. “This is creating a frenzy in terms of qualified purchasers who might otherwise be interested in a new home. Purchase offers are being made way below the inherent value of the home. Bank foreclosure pricing is being used as a rationale for the extremely low offers.”
Driving down home values to “absurdly low levels,” Wieland argues, is not in the best interest of lenders. By creating more homes whose value has sunk below the owner’s mortgage, banks are only contributing to conditions under which some households “may simply give up and mail in their keys, creating yet another foreclosure and another loss for the mortgage lender.”
With banks’ cost of money as low as it is today, and the relative low expense of holding onto the home, Wieland believes that lenders should wait until they can sell for a reasonable price. The bank comes out ahead and it helps prevent further erosion in the value of other homes.
“We presently have an out-of-control system that is feeding on itself and creating a massive disaster,” he writes. “It needs to be fixed.”
Why Buy New?
In a March 15 blog, Wieland tells prospective buyers why they should buy a new home when foreclosed homes are available at unusually low prices.
“Simply put, new is special,” he says. “Just like a brand new car, there’s a special smell, sense and feel to a brand new home. It’s a privileged feeling to know that this is your own home and no one else has lived there before you. No hand-me-down thoughts from someone else.”
Wieland also cites steady improvements in new home design, including higher ceilings, better performing appliances and the latest in cabinets and counter spaces. The new home buyer also avoids being stuck with the maintenance of the prior owner.
“The really good news is that a new home often costs little more than a used home,” Wieland writes. “When you figure in the greater warranty and the sheer pleasure of owning something that is brand new, a new home is usually the better value. Why settle for someone else’s leftover. A brand new home is special.”