Shared ownership, time to get underway – Part 4

So, we’ve decided to develop shared ownership as part of our programme, carried out a sense check on our culture to serve the new client group and got our sales policy together, so what do we need to do to get underway?

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A good starting point and one where SDS is helping new entrants is to undertake the sales and marketing capability audit. This is primarily a forensic look at what needs to be done and what facilities and resources the organisation have that can do this and where the gaps exist.   From this, a capability audits can be put together to address what needs to be put in place.  With a clear roadmap put together well in advance of the sales process commencing, the move into this new venture will be less daunting. In addition, there will be less risk of a poor customer experience and disappointing sales performance.

One key principle of shared ownership development that needs to be embraced is that the sales and marketing activity is not just the last thing on the development journey. Sales and marketing expertise should be utilised when looking at potential sites, and a market appraisal carried out to complement the development viability appraisal.

The market appraisal will take a view on the demand and saleability of the development along with assessing if there are any particular barriers to sale that can be overcome. A market appraisal is necessary because the traditional local authority modus operandi looks at the need for a property as a function of the demographics of the waiting list. But with shared ownership, the dynamic needs to be quite different, or properties may be built that are hard to sell.

For example, in many parts of the country, one bedroom shared ownership is not a good prospect to build. There may be couples without children on the waiting list, but if their relationship has developed to the point where they are looking to invest in property that they own, children are often on the mind. Hence, while a traditional need analysis might make them candidates for a one bedroom property, they would simply not want it. There is a definite disconnect between the prevailing need and demand in this case.

In summary, the mature shared ownership developing organisation will create an environment where the sales and marketing team influences the choice of sites, along with property mix. Ultimately the sales and marketing discipline should have the final say on whether or not the proposed site can be developed for shared ownership or what changes need to be made to ensure the homes are saleable.

by Greg Warner – Harris

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