Do I Need A Realtor If I Buy New Construction?
Circle Mountain Ranch – Anthem, AZ
YES, YES, YES!
New construction is plentiful in metro-Phoenix, and you may be considering buying a newly built home. New construction has a ton of advantages, but many buyers make the false assumption that they can save money by not using their own Realtor when purchasing a new home. This is a huge misconception!
Why buyers don’t think they don’t need a Realtor?
Many buyers assume that the builder’s agent will help them with the purchase of their new home. They also assume that working with the internal representation will result in getting a better deal on their purchase.
However, guess who the builder’s works for? The builder – not you! Their success relies on getting the best deal for the builder, who is their employer. But when you use a Realtor, you are the employer.
Did you know the builder makes more money when you don’t use a Realtor?
You may not know that the commission for buyer representation is part of the purchase price. If you are not using your own Realtor, the builder simply receives an extra 3% from your purchase. Basically, it’s free for you to use a Realtor. Completely Free.
When you hire your own Realtor you will be hiring a licensed agent who represents you, not the builder! Your Realtor looks out for YOUR best interests. The builder’s agent looks out for the BUILDERS best interests. Sometimes the best interests are the same for the buyer and builder, but many times they are not.
What can your Realtor do for you?
Experience isn’t expensive. It’s priceless. Your Realtor, who understands the ins and outs of home purchasing, can work on your behalf to negotiate a better deal, free upgrades, or simply whatever is in your best interest. Most people wouldn’t consider buying an existing home without a Realtor to represent them. Therefore, why consider going through the even more stressful and complicated process of building a home without someone on your side? In many cases, you are committing to something that doesn’t even exist yet.
It can be very daunting to go through the process of home-building, and dealing with the last minute changes and surprises. Buyers can avoid a lot of bad surprises with good representation of their own Realtor. Why not take advantage of being represented by a licensed buyer’s agent when it’s FREE to you?
If you plan to use a Realtor to represent you…
And we sure hope you do!, be absolutely sure to hand your Realtors card to the builder representative at the door of the model, and tell them, “this is my Realtor”. It is even better for your Realtor to bring you through the door of the model to make it clear at the very start that you have Realtor representation for your purchase. There are rules as to how you are introduced to a builder, and when a Realtor is due their fee for working for YOU. Just be very clear and give your agents name, and business card. If you plan to visit a model, give your agent a call and they can call ahead for you so that the builders rep knows you will be coming and that you are represented by a Realtor.
“TO DO” List for Buying New Construction
Here’s a helpful list we’ve compiled – follow these “to dos” when working with a builder to have the best experience.
1. HIRE A REALTOR.
This is simply a must. your Realtor will work for YOU. Home-builders prefer to monopolize the sale. They may only give you special “incentive” packages if you agree to use all of their representatives: lender, title company, and even insurance company! But your Realtor can walk you through this process and make sure you are protected, as well as make sure you are getting the best deal. If you decide to use the builder’s lender, your Realtor can make sure you get a good rate and fair closing costs. Your Realtor knows the standards, and can make sure the builder doesn’t try to go beyond those standards. By bringing in your own Realtor, you’re asking your builder to be on their “best behavior.” Your builder doesn’t want to get a bad reputation, and will want the potential to create a good relationship with your Realtor, who will hopefully bring buyers their way in the future if the transaction is successful.
2. DON’T SIGN ANYTHING UNTIL ALL DETAILS WITH THE PURCHASE ARE APPROVED BY YOU
Your builder may try to capitalize on the emotionality of buying a new home. Once you’ve become attached to this new home, they may try to get you to write up the contract quickly so you don’t lose it. But you absolutely must know what is in the contract, understand it and agree with it. No matter what the builder tells you, you much get EVERYTHING IN WRITING. Everything will be done as it is written in the contract, so it’s important that you understand it clearly and be sure every i is dotted and every t is crossed.
Your Realtor can be a great player on your team when going through and trying to understand the builder’s contract.
3. RESEARCH THE BUILDER
Your Realtor is an expert on homes in your area. This will include builders and their reputations. You want a builder that is not selling too many properties to investors – this can lead to creating a rental neighborhood and affects pride of ownership. Ideally, you also want your builder to be constructing homes of equal or greater value in your neighborhood to keep your property values high. Your Realtor can help you sort this out and advise you on these items.
In these times, it’s important to know the builder’s reputation and financial health so you can be certain your earnest money is properly handled and the construction will be carried out as planned.
4. RESEARCH CITY PLANS
New neighborhoods are often in newly developing areas. Therefore, you want to know what is likely to happen in the area you are about to commit to. This includes the city’s plans for roads, water, public spaces, parks, and schools. You want confidence that your neighborhood is going to become a good place to live as it develops.
The perfect source for this? Your Realtor, who likely already has this kind of information available. This makes the job so much easier.
How to Proceed
So, the first thing you do is hire a Realtor to work with you and your builder. The next thing you should do is tell the builder you have a Realtor when you walk in the office door “Hi, I’m working with My American Dream Team” and hand them your Realtor’s card.
When touring the model home, ask the builder how much the home costs as you see it! Keep in mind that the model usually contains many upgrades and special features. You will want to understand the difference between the base model and the upgraded models. We can help you understand the difference. As your Realtor, we can advise you on what upgrades make sense and which ones are not worth the cost.
Keep in mind that developers will often want cash upfront for upgrades that you order for the house. They do not want to be held accountable for your extras if you decide to walk away from the sale. You should also expect that if you do walk away from the sale, you may not be refunded for these upgrades.
Get a copy of the blueprints of your home, along with floor plans and surveys (including room sizes). This will help you in the future if you want to make changes or sell. It’s usually easy to get them in the beginning.
As your home is being completed, check in! If you are proactive, you can catch mistakes that may happen. We can help you with a schedule so you know when items will be complete.
Do not close on your home until your home is complete. This is very important, and something your Realtor can help you with on the walk-through of your home. Keep a record of any possible, minor repairs and get them in writing and signed by the builder.
Know that your Realtor can look out for you in the event of delays or problems. There are things that happen beyond the builder’s control. Have contingency plans for cost overruns, temporary housing and bridge loans. As your Realtor, we can help you with ideas, and help you work with the lender in these scenarios.