New Home Buyer Beware
Ah, new homes. There’s nothing like the sparkling shine when you walk through the front door of a freshly built home after the sawdust settles and in rolls the faint smell of paint and potential. It’s a unique feeling to know that your family will be the first to fill the space between those walls or that each and every detail was selected by you for the way you want to live.
Billboards and masses of flags line the streets guiding you in to these new communities as you begin your home search. But not everything can be as good as it seems once you’re in the door. Here’s why you really, really should use an agent when you decide to buy one of these gleaming new abodes:
- Builders expect you to use an agent. They calculate agent commissions into their sales pricing already. And it’s something they have already figured out when they offer or agree to reduce the sales price or offer concessions like upgrades. You don’t get a lower price when builders don’t have to pay commissions – you just get less representation and the builders make more than they planned.
- Negotiating. Builder prices are not always firm and they’re not always based off of the entire local real estate market. Builders generally have some give on their prices or in the features or upgrades they can offer. Why not have an advocate pushing to get you the most for your money?
- Experience. As a first time home buyer or a first time new home buyer, did you know that most builders don’t include blinds or sod? Did you know that some consider tile and wood to be standard flooring, while others charge a premium? Do you know the stages of building construction or what to do if something goes wrong early in the process? A good agent will. And a great agent will help guide you through those stages and help solve any potential problems. Not to mention the fact that experienced agents can offer advice on price of upgrades, contractors, and workmanship.
- On-site salespeople work for the builder. They may seem nice and friendly, but ultimately it’s their job to get money for the builder. While some are awesome and most are good, there just might be an unscrupulous few out there. We’ve seen everything from mysteriously unavailable sales counselors when buyers have questions after signing the contract to others who have told outright lies about included features and basic terms of the contracts. Realtors are regulated by a state licensing board and held to the higher standard of the National Association of REALTORS® Code of Ethics while on-site salespeople are not.
- Contracts. Purchase agreements are legally binding contracts on both parties. While agents are not attorneys, they do see contracts every day and can help give advice on what elements to be aware of and which to lookout for. Just today I heard the story of an unrepresented buyer who signed a purchase agreement with a new home builder and didn’t pay attention to the fact that there was no clause making the purchase contingent on the sale of their other home. If this buyer’s home does not close by the time the new one is built, this buyer could be out a lot of money.
As you can see, it just makes sense to have a real estate agent on your side when purchasing a new home. The builder will pay the commission to your agent and you get someone who will take care of the details and make sure you get the best from the deal.
image courtesy of antony_mayfield