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The Ultimate Real Estate Guide for Buyer Hot Buttons

By Jamie Pugh 9 min read

Sometimes, prospective home buyers will share their intent behind purchasing a home right off the bat. Maybe they’re empty-nesters who want to downsize or retirees who want to move closer to their children. Many times, home buyer motivations are totally obscure — and learning their key drivers, or hot buttons, to purchase can require careful questioning. 

Though it’s often time-consuming to uncover every possible driver, even for those with more up-front wishes, it is a worthwhile assessment to complete. Determining the motivations and emotional drivers of home buyers is not only critical to building strong customer relationships, it creates a more favorable selling process with buyers and ultimately makes the sales team more effective. By learning what the home buyers want from their new place and its surroundings, you can sell at higher conversion rates and create more profitable deals. This is where hot buttons become very effective within the new home sales process. 

What is a hot button?

Buyer hot buttons offer one way to understand and organize a questioning process to get all of the necessary information you need about prospective buyers. Our list of 12 buyer hot buttons in new home sales was inspired by a University of Michigan study detailing the 12 psychological factors that drive people to make a purchase decision, and it was personalized for the home buying journey by our team of seasoned sales experts.

Why are hot buttons important in sales?

Hot buttons not only create a favorable thought process but also maximize conversion rates. How? Basically, by learning the why behind the buyer's purchase, the agent is able to frame their unique selling proposition in the frame that will best relate to the buyer. This creates a sense of trust with the buyer and allows them to trust that the agent has their best interest and desires in mind. 

Hot buttons allow agents to build trust with buyers. By better understanding the buyers’ motivations and desires, the buyer will create a greater sense of trust, and the agent will show that they are looking out for the buyer's best interests and desires to help them find their perfect house. 

If we understand and utilize hot buttons, we can better connect, communicate, and build credibility with potential home buyers, increasing the likelihood of a seamless sales process and the chance of achieving a sale. 

How to identify hot buttons

Most buyers will have multiple hot buttons, so sellers have to evaluate each one closely before making a call on which hot button resonates most with the customer. This means prioritizing skillful questioning and attentive listening. Sales agents need to let the customers dominate in talking so they can focus on listening and hearing the person’s story to determine motivations, desires, and values. This is just one best practice — the process requires a team of sales professionals who understand the value of personalization and truly care about uncovering each buyer’s motive. 

It’s important to put the time in to connect with the customer on this level. By developing a hot-button strategy for the home buying experience, you can optimize your closing rates and improve your brand image through superior customer experiences tailored to every buyer who engages with your storefronts.

Without further ado, here are 12 hot buttons to maximize conversion rates for selling new homes.  

Primary hot buttons in new home sales

#1: Family 

A customer with this hot button will make their decision based on the needs and priorities of their family. School district caliber, proximity, and access to kid-friendly amenities like parks, playgrounds, big backyards, and soccer fields will top their lists. Big family rooms and the ability to make structural changes as a family grows (like converting a dining room into a playroom) also matter. One important note is that the consumer can have a family, but it does not mean they have this particular hot button. Make sure to understand the main motivations behind their purchase. This can be discovered by asking about other large decisions they have made and how they came to the conclusion they did. 

#2: Financial

This one is straightforward: cost is the predominant concern of a customer with a financial hot button, and these customers want as much money to stay in their pockets as possible. Limiting monthly cash flow is a strong focus. But know that just because they ask financially focused questions doesn’t necessarily mean they have this hot button. To see if cost is truly the most important and uncover whether money is a priority motivation, ask questions to determine how and why they’ve made big financial decisions in the past. Make sure to dig deep to fully understand motivations before making any assumptions. Be aware not to confuse a person’s budget with what they qualify for the home purchase.

#3: Investment

While the financial hot button is focused on short-term money orientation, customers with an investment hot button care more about what they can get in return for the money they spend. They believe a home purchase will pay dividends in the future, so this customer will need convincing that purchasing this home is a sound long-term choice.

#4: Prestige 

This customer wants to feel inward achievement and accomplishment when making a home purchase. They don’t care about other people’s opinions; they want to upgrade the house and make it the best it can be for internal fulfillment. 

#5: Ego

Ego-driven buyers, on the other hand, care most about the potential envy they can evoke from others. They want the biggest and the best — and they want everyone to see and know about it. They want to know that they have the most unique features and amenities to set themselves apart from others with a one-of-a-kind home.

#6: Convenience

Customers with a convenience hot button will seek out stress-free environments and comfort both throughout the sales process and in their home environments and neighborhoods. They need sellers who make things easy for them, and they care about amenities such as the proximity of bedrooms to bathrooms and mailbox to the front door, cutting back on as many daily inconveniences as possible.

#7: Love 

This hot button focuses on improving a single relationship (and it’s not always romantic). Customers with love hot buttons care most about pleasing their loved ones and will want floor plans and features chosen with this person in mind.

#8: Sex

While the love hot button focuses on fulfilling the needs of another person, the sex hot button focuses on a physical connection with another person. A buyer with a sex hot button wants spaces that enable close bonds with loved ones – think less open floor plans and cozier corners that help maintain a sense of closeness. 

#9: Privacy

Buyers with a privacy hot button seek out personal retreats and look for homes and communities that offer seclusion, like those tucked away in the woods or with a high acreage. People seeking privacy in their spaces may also be more reserved in answering questions about their personal life, so sellers need to take the time to build trust with these customers.

#10: Security 

Those with a security hot button are driven primarily by their need for safe shelter and a secure community. They may care more about home alarm systems, town crime rates, and nearby emergency services. 

#11: Culture

The culture hot button represents customers’ ties to communities and the value they place on living close to groups they identify with, which could include nationality, religion, belief system, vocation, stage of life, and economic condition. People with this hot button need to be certain that specific beliefs, values, etc., important to them align with those of the community where they plan to live.

#12: Recreation

Buyers with a recreation hot button want leisure and recreational activities around their prospective home that match their interests. The empty-nesters we talked about earlier, for example, might want a similar-aged group of people nearby to participate in retirement activities together and, depending on their interests, might opt for a more aesthetically pleasing home located near an ocean or lake.

Want to learn more about optimizing the sales process with hot buttons

Here at New Home Star, we have seen hot buttons' national impacts and have built an entire training library on the topic. We also require every sales agent to inventory their interactions in registration forms, our CRM, and check-in meetings with their managers. This allows our agents to tailor customer presentations effectively. 

To learn more about how New Home Star utilizes hot buttons in new home sales to optimize the sales process, please contact one of our account specialists. You will also receive a complimentary partnership assessment.

 *“The Bases of Social Power” in D. Cartwright, ed., Studies in Social Power (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1959).

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most common hot buttons?

Family and financial tend to be the most common hot buttons.

Other common hot buttons are Investment, Convenience, Prestige, and Recereational.

What are the most difficult hot buttons?

The financial hot buttons tend to be the most difficult. 

It is important that sales consultants back up their knowledge with facts and data about the home, the competition, and the market. Prospects with this hot button may not purchase on the first, second, or third visit. 

What do hot buttons mean?

Hot buttons are what motivate and emotionally drive a prospect to make a home 

When the sales consultant fully understands these hot buttons, they can more effectively sell a home by framing their messaging to speak to the motivations and emotional drivers. 

What is an example of a hot button?

An example of a hot button is family. 

Someone with a family hot button may try to buy a bigger home for their growing family or buy a home in close proximity to their extended family. They also will likely want to be close to kid-friendly amenities. 

What is the difference between the family hot button and the love hot button?

Those with the family hot button are motivated to make decisions centered around their family. In contrast, those with the love hot button are motivated to make their decisions around a single relationship—romantic or not.  

Originally published Jun 6, 2024 under Explore the latest topics, updated June 6, 2024

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