Meanwhile, Norfolk is busy building new homes on the remaining lots and finding new buyers. That landscape has changed, too.
In the past, Lefere says, buyers were happy to go ahead with construction on their new home before selling their old one--most just asked the builder to let them know when their new home was forty-five days away from completion, so they could put their existing home on the market. Now, uncertainty about how long a home will take to sell, and at what price, means that most don't even want to sign a purchase agreement until they close the sales of their existing homes. While their homes are being built, which typically takes four months, there's no place for the buyers to live.
Norfolk has come up with a clever solution: they rent their own unsold condominiums or homes to the displaced buyers. It's a win-win, because the buyers get a time-flexible rental, and Norfolk fills unsold properties and gains happy customers.
"Both builder and customer need each other," says Lefere. "We both bring something to the table."