If you plan to buy an as-yet-unbuilt new home or one under construction in a development, you can go straight to the home builder without any representation. But the builder’s sales agents, while often knowledgeable and helpful, are paid to sell as many homes as they can at the highest possible prices.
“They’re trying to hit a quota, not help you make the right decision for you and your family,” say Judith Stock and Karin Beuerlein in an article on HGTV’s web site.
If you do wish to be represented by a realtor, it’s important to bring the agent with you on your first visit. “You need your own real estate agent from the get-go,” Cathie Ericson says on Realtor.com. “Even if it seems like plug and play to sign up with the builder’s on-site agent, you’re going to want someone representing your side of the deal.” Builders often “refuse to pay your agent a commission if you don’t register the agent the first time you visit the home on a new construction site,” Ericson writes.
Ericson interviewed several agents who cited advantages of bringing a rep with you on your first visit to a new development:
PRICE: The builder’s sales agents aim to get the highest price they can for a new build. Your real estate agent should know what’s negotiable given the builder’s situation and current market conditions.
UPGRADES: Your agent can help you negotiate upgrades on things like appliances, tile or paint. Or, an agent can simply help you better understand the true cost of a new build. The advertised price is likely to be much lower than the actual price of a model home decked out with hardwood floors, bay windows and chef-quality kitchens. ” When their cost is added in, the seemingly affordable $400,000 advertised base price quickly balloons out to $500,000, far more than you can afford,” notes architect Katherine Salant in a Washington Post article.
LOANS: Builders typically have a preferred lender. Your agent can help you shop around.
HOME INSPECTION: Even new homes can have serious flaws. Your agent will make sure a proper home inspection is done.
Yes, your realtor will get a commission — a commission builders expect to pay.