Buying new construction sounds so simple.
Pick a floor plan, lot, elevation and wah-lah your perfect new home is built and you get the keys. Except it’s not that simple and it doesn’t always go as smoothly as that all sounds. You need a trusted advisor who has your best interests at the forefront at all times. Someone who has been a party to new construction purchases day in and day out to the point that it’s just all in a day’s work for them. They’ll not only guide you through every step, but they’ll also be able to resolve a potential problem before you end up with a home that isn’t as perfect as you thought.
Why do I need a buyer’s agent with the builder already has an agent working for them?
The agents working for the building doesn’t represent you. Who do they represent? The builder. That means their fiduciary responsibility is solely to the builder, not you.
Here’s 5 reasons why you need a buyer’s agent when buying new construction.
1. Your Buyer’s Agent Represents YOU
As we just mentioned, the real estate agent working for the builder is focused on the best interests of his/her client – the builder. You need an agent who is looking out for you and focused on your best interests. If you have the financial qualifications you can go and find a builder and purchase a new home but, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage by doing it on your own. The average person doesn’t buy new homes every day, or even every year and the agents who work for the builder can often write multiple contracts in just one day. They are there to make as much money as possible and they’re qualifications are far superior to the average home buyer. Having your buyer’s agent there to represent you will allow them to filter out the bright lights and beautiful marketing and point out what’s important so that you can decide what the best value is for you.
2. Help You Hire The Right Builder
Your agent will have insight on local builders – they’re not all created equal. Word travels fast and different builders have different reputations. There’s a lot that can go wrong with new construction. The weather is a big one but, material and labor shortages and incorrect options being installed are also common issues. Some builders have a flawless reputation of delivering homes on time where others are known for missing the mark. If you work with the right buyer’s agent they’ll be able to share their insight on the reputations of different builders – both good and bad.
There’s more than one new construction neighborhood to select from. Your buyer’s agent will get to know you, what you desire in a new home, and then provide you with a list of neighborhoods to choose from. They can then take you for tours of the neighborhoods that interest you. Odds are you’ll be selecting a lot after you’ve chosen the builder and neighborhood you want to be in. Different lots fit different lifestyles and it’s an important part of the decision making process. Odds are the sales rep that works for the builder will present you with a gorgeous neighborhood plan that shows the pretty trees, vibrant colors, and is quite frankly nothing more than a marketing piece. An experienced agent will request the site plan for the lot you’re interested in. That will show you the topography of the lot – does it have a strong slope? Back to a drainage ditch? Have a utility box on the lot?
4. Your Agent Will Handle The Paperwork, Negotiation And Manage The Process
Buying a new home differs from buying a resale home and that includes the paperwork. Your agent will review the contract and addendums presented by the builder and make sure you’re signing what you think you’re signing. Certain addendums need to be in place to protect you and they’ll make sure they are indeed in place. If you have questions about the paperwork your agent will be by your side to answer them or gain clarification from the builder and explain it to you in a way that’s easy to understand.
Negotiation, this is a big one! If you don’t have your own representation the agent that works for the builder is practising dual agency. With dual agency, you have no one to negotiate on your behalf. In fact, a dual agent is not allowed by law to guide you as a buyer’s agent would. We all know builders want to sell homes for the highest price possible, every seller wants that.
However, a builder has an added incentive to sell for as high as possible. Why? Because they want to keep the price high because it helps them sell the next home for a comparable price. That doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways to negotiate, the builder may be willing to give you other concessions such as closing cost assistance or upgrades. This will all depend on market conditions – your agent won’t have a magic wand. If the builder can’t build the homes fast enough to keep up with demand from buyers it’s not likely they’re going to discount because they simply don’t have too.
A buyer’s agent will know the market conditions and be able to advise you accordingly.
Your buyer’s agent will also be present for inspections. Not just with the builder, you also need inspections from your own home inspector that doesn’t work for the builder. You don’t want any surprises after you’ve moved in and your agent can guide you on what inspections to obtain.
5. Assist With Choosing Options
Design centers are amazing but, they’re also distracting. All those beautiful options to pick from. What do you choose? A buyer’s agent will accompany you to the design center and advise you on which upgrades offer the highest return. Customizing your home is a ton of fun but, without the proper advice, you could spend a ton of money on items that won’t matter when it comes time to sell. Some upgrades truly do make a big difference while others just simply aren’t worth the cost. This goes for selecting options for your floor plan as well, some modifications go a long way while others just don’t go the distance. Rely on your agent to be a consultant at the design center and when selecting your floorplan.
Bottom line, when buying a home, not just new construction its smart business to have a buyer’s agent working for you and putting your best interests first. Buying new construction isn’t as simple as it sounds and there are many questions that can come up. You need an agent that works exclusively for you and that you trust to be your advocate throughout the process.