The home buying process is often a trying, confusing process for most home buyers. Buying a resale home on the open market is tough enough, but if you choose to go the new build route it can be even more arduous. Which is why you should have a trusted Realtor by your side during the process. And here's why:
1. The builder's sales agent is not on your side. Although they may come across as friendly and helpful, the sales agent at new construction sites work for the builder, not you. Therefore they have the builder's best interest at heart, not yours. Which puts you, the unrepresented buyer, at a severe disadvantage. Though purchasing a new build home may seem a lot easier than purchasing a resale on the open market in actuality it's not. Having a professional by your side can save you thousands of dollars and countless headaches;
2. They don't build 'em like they used to. Quick story, when my wife and I were purchasing our first new build over 12 years ago we were assisted by an agent (I wasn't an agent at the time). And even though the builder and their sales rep insisted that they would have their on site supervisor do a thorough inspection of the home before closing our agent suggested we hire an independent home inspector to do an inspection for us. And we were glad we did. Our inspector did a fantastic job. And he ended up saving us more than the fee we paid him by uncovering a BIG problem up in the attic. It seems that during the construction process a piece of plywood or a joist had fallen on the main air duct connected to the air handler in the attic. The A/C unit was just blowing cold air into the attic. Had we not hired our own inspector I SURELY wouldn't have caught this malfunction because I would not have climbed up in the attic, and I doubt the on site supervisor would have either. It would have cost us hundreds of dollars in electric bills before we would have noticed that something was wrong. Granted the home would have been under warranty still, but we would have been out the cost of the utility bills during that time. Thankfully we had a Realtor on our side to look out for our best interests;
3. Negotiating. Buyers of new build homes often think there's no wiggle room in the listed price of the models. This is not always true. Especially for "spec homes". Spec homes are homes that are already in some state of construction, however, for some reason or other, the original buyer could not close the deal. The builder has already sunk most of his costs into the materials and construction of the home and continues to build the home out anyway. This is where a home buyer can get can get a good deal on a new build home. There is one catch though, you probably won't get to choose too many of the finishes to the home. Usually the flooring, cabinetry and other trim and upgrades have already been chosen by the original buyer and ordered by the builder. But if they are to your taste you may get the home for less than if you had the home built to your specs from scratch. That's where a Realtor can come in handy, negotiating the price AND researching builder sites for spec homes that may be available to you. Remember, the sales agent is trying to sell the home for top dollar, YOUR agent is trying to get you the best deal. The builder's agent may SAY that there's no wiggle room in the price, but seasoned Realtors know otherwise.
4. What you don't know can cost you. Namely at the design center. For those unitiated buyers, the design center is where, after choosing the floor plan and lot that you would like built you choose all the upgrades, trims, and finishes to your home. Believe me, this can be an arduous, confusing, and costly endeavor. And again, the builder's sales people would LOVE to have you get every upgrade possible. Don't get me wrong though, some upgrades ARE worth the price. And that's where a Realtor can really help. BRING YOUR REALTOR TO THE DESIGN CENTER WITH YOU!!!! I can't stress this enough. Not necessarily to choose the color of granite countertops or cabinetry, but to advise you on what REALLY matters in a home. There are so many choices in the design center and a buyer can get overwhelmed. I know, I've been there. But a Realtor who has seen thousands of homes and been with hundreds of buyers and sellers can give you sound advice on things like flooring (pay a little extra and opt to have tile in ALL the heavy traffic areas), appliances (stainless steel looks great, but much like a black car, only when it's spotless), and other little things. My favorite "little thing" being the side yard access door from the garage. This is one of those items most people don't even think of... until they've moved into their home and EVERY time they have to empty their garabage they have to go clear outside and around to the side gate to access the garbage cans. Wouldn't it be nice to just be able to go through your garage to get to the cans? That's why you want a Realtor there with you, to remind you that yes, it is worth it to pay that few hundred extra dollars to have that side access garage door installed. And other items that will help you sell the home later on. And yes, most likely you will sell that home (the average American moves now every 7 years or so).
5. It costs you nothing. That's right. But a Realtor can save you a lot. The builder pays the buyer's agent commission. Which is why they would prefer you come unrepresented. It saves them money, going directly to their bottom line. They won't discount the home any just because you don't have an agent. And you won't have years of expertise by your side.
So, when, or if, you ever decide that your tired of living in someone's old house, and want to try a brand new, freshly built home of your own, remember to call your trusted Realtor. And please do so BEFORE you step into the builder sales offices. Most builders require your agent to be with you upon your first visit if you are going to use one.
If you're a Phoenix/Scottsdale area buyer interested in new build construction please give me a call at 602-334-3757 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org