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The Short List: Brian Brunhofer on Ways to Develop a Good Relationship with Homebuilders

by Peter Thomas Ricci

brian-brunhofer-meritus-homes

Brian Brunhofer is the president/co-founder of Meritus Homes.

Every week, we ask a real estate professional for their Short List, a collection of tips and recommendations on an essential topic in real estate. This week, we talked with Brian Brunhofer, the president/co-founder of Meritus Homes, for his ways to develop a good relationship with homebuilders.

6. First and foremost, know that most builders truly welcome the opportunity to work with agents. You are an important resource for us to connect with buyers, and as such, we will do everything we can to make sure your clients have a positive experience with us.

5. Do some homework on what sets different builders apart, especially if there are a number of builders active in your area. What’s their story and their building philosophy? Do they offer a lot of flexibility and customization or a more straightforward design approach? What’s their reputation for quality? What sets their product apart? This will give you a better sense of what it’s like to do business with us and whether we’re a good match for your clients.

4. If you aren’t already well-versed in the new-construction process, ask a homebuilder for a tutorial. Most appreciate the opportunity to walk you through the new-construction timeline, typical contract terms, their design process, product specifications and other information that will better prepare you to present new-construction as an option to your clients.

3. Take an hour to preview a community without your client and get to know the people you’ll be dealing with – whether it’s the sales team or, in the case of a smaller builder, the owners of the company. You’ll be more comfortable and knowledgeable when you come back with clients. Plus, you’ll have a chance to candidly discuss the needs and preferences of your clients and how the builder can help address them.

2. Check in regularly with builders in the area, and let the sales team know how you prefer to receive updates about their community. They’ll give you a heads up about any special pricing, the availability of a quick-delivery home or new floor plan, and even advance notice of initiatives in the works that the builder might not be marketing yet.

1. We know our product, but you know your client. So work with us to help reinforce the purchase with your client. Use your expertise in the market to show why the home is a good purchase, and let us know when your client has questions or concerns we can help address. Ultimately, the most successful experiences we have working with agents is when it is a completely collaborative, team effort.


Brian Brunhofer is the president of Meritus Homes; he founded the firm with his wife, Karen Brunhofer. The couple has more than 30 years of combined homebuilding experience, during which time they led teams that delivered more than 10,000 homes to the Chicago area. Meritus Homes is currently building in St. Charles, Long Grove, Park Ridge, Inverness and Naperville.

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