Why Should I Use an Agent When Buying New Construction?
The advantages of an agent represent you in purchasing a “new” home are the same as those for purchasing a resale home. What are those advantages? Knowledge of the market, freedom to look at many different builders, expertise in contract writing/negotiation, and closing assistance. The builder has a professional representative watching out for his needs, and you need the same representation. Who does the on-site person represent? You or the builder? I have sold more than $25,000,000 in residential new construction as an agent. Don’t leave money on the table and not get your own representation.
Most builders require that your AGENT accompany you on your first visit to the Builder’s sales office, or they will NOT PAY your representative’s fee! Make sure this does not happen or you may miss out on considerable discounts or builder incentives.
Buying a new home is a little more difficult and time-consuming than buying a resale. I will guide you through this process. I have experience working with builders and have access to a database of information about subdivisions, floor plans, etc. In addition, I am familiar with new home warranties and builders’ purchase contracts.
It is very important that your interests be professionally represented when you are entering into a contract for a semi-custom or build-to-suit home. These transactions are complex and the contract details must be exact in order to protect you and to ensure you get exactly the home you want!
When looking to buy a new home, it is easy to stop by a Utah builder’s site that advertises their brand new houses going up in a wonderful new neighborhood. You go in, look at the upgraded model of the community, get your list of each plan available along with how much they cost and are sent on your way to look at the model homes in person. The on-site salesperson will sit down and talk numbers with you, no problem. How convenient, right? So, why would you need a Buyer’s Agent for new construction?
The builder has something to sell you. You will be signing contracts you have never seen before. You may not know what the best the builder can do for you. A licensed, insured and knowledgeable buyer’s agent gives you more strength to negotiate the best deal. Think about it…The salesperson you are talking to works for the builder. By law, they have to get the best deal for the builder, not for you. If the builder is represented by this on-site agent, it follows that you should also have representation. You need a buyer’s agent to work for you. There is no additional cost to you to have a buyer’s agent work with you.
IS THERE ANY ADVANTAGE TO NOT USING AN AGENT TO PURCHASE A NEW HOME?
No. There is no financial advantage for you to buy directly from the builder. Builders have a “single-price” policy, meaning you will be charged the same price whether your interests are represented by an agent or not. Just as in any resale, the Seller pays the Buyer Agent’s fee. Will the builder offer you a few upgrades as part of the sales process? Absolutely. That is where the negotiations stop. Did you know that you could negotiate additional terms with the builder? Many times we can get a better deal for you because we are repeat customers and we know what each builder is willing to do for a sale. You should be more concerned with the new home sales contract that you are signing. The dates that your money is non-refundable, what happens if you do not qualify for the loan and other terms and conditions that may favor the builder if there was ever a legal dispute.
Have you ever asked a new home sales agent if you should get a home inspection on your new home? Would the new home builder pay for the inspection? Did the agent tell you that a home inspection is not needed because it is a new home?
I am not saying that builders are out to get buyers. I am saying that having representation at no cost to you, ensures that you have someone on your side looking out for you.
Here are my top tips:
- Hire an agent – One that has experience with new construction and is not affiliated with the builder.
- Be creative during negotiations – Builders don’t like to drop their prices. You will encounter resistance. Offer alternative options such as asking them to cover closing costs, finish the basement or upgrade the kitchen for free.
- Get everything in writing – Don’t sign until everything has been negotiated, agreed upon and written into the contract.
- Research the builder -Visit other developments that the builder completed and talk to home-owners. It is ok to walk through a neighborhood and knock on a door. I encourage it. Buying a home is a major decision in your life. Google the Utah developer for reviews and testimonials.
- Ask for written guarantees – You’re often buying a home that is not completed. What guarantees do you have the home will be ready on time?
- Get the home inspected – New homes have problems too. Hire an inspector to make sure everytthing is safe and up to code.
- Get a quote from at least one home lender that is not affiliated with the builder. I have seen outside lenders beat the builders preferred loan company on many occasions. Shop around for the loan that is best for you.
Phyliss Sinclair, a broker associate, has been on both sides of the fence. For 10 years she represented builders as an on-site salesperson. During the past three years she has represented both buyers and sellers in resale and the purchase of new homes. Sinclair sums up new homes sales as, “A one price policy…buyers receive all of the services and don’t pay them any extra, but they also don’t receive any discounts. I always felt concern for buyers who weren’t associated with a Realtor, as they didn’t have the support system they deserve in such a major lifetime transaction.”
In our current, fast-paced real estate market, there are many new home communities to choose from. You need to ask yourself some pertinent questions when looking for a new home. Is this a good builder? Does he have a solid reputation, years in business, etc.? How does the quality of his product compare to that of other builders? What are the existing inventories of the various builders? How do builder models meet your needs (floor plans, square footage, and location)? If I sell in a few years, what upgrades should I include to be competitive?
When you find the answers to these questions, ask yourself if the time spent in researching these answers was time well spent – put a dollar value on your time. Real estate professionals can be a valuable asset in collecting information in areas which may affect your decision on the purchase of a new home.
If builders rely on real estate professionals to sell their homes, then why wouldn’t you, the buyer, take the same precautions in assuring yourself the best service and expertise in making this important decision?”
Salt Lake County New Homes
Cities: Salt Lake City, Bluffdale, Cottonwood Heights, Draper, Herriman, Holladay, Kearns, Magna, Midvale, Murray, Riverton, Sandy, South Jordan, Taylorsville, West Jordan, West Valley
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Cities: Provo, Cedar Hills, Cedar Hills, Eagle Mountain, Elk Ridge, Highland, Lehi, Lindon, Mapleton, Orem, Payson, Pleasant Grove, Salem, Santaquin, Saratoga Springs, Spanish Fork, Springville, Woodland Hills
Davis County New Homes
Cities: Bountiful, Centerville, Clearfield, Clinton, Farmington, Kaysville, Layton, North Salt Lake, South Weber, Syracuse, West Point, Woods Cross
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