Do I Really Need An Agent?

Have you ever wondered why you need an agent to buy a home from a builder? Many people think that they don't need one or that it will cost them to have one. This is far from the truth. 

Negotiating with Builders

While it is true that buyers can attempt to negotiate with builders themselves, agents are often more experienced and skilled at doing this. On top of that, agents have access to data that buyers do not. As an agent, I can look in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for past sales in that neighborhood or with that builder. While not every builder enters every sale, agents still have access to more data than the average buyers. They can see trends and know whether the builder is selling them faster then they can build them or if they have a significant number of homes sitting unsold. 

Builders also often have incentives available but if you don't know to ask then you might not get them. Often, builders will offer to pay some or all of your closing costs if you use their lender and title company. 

An Experienced Set of Eyes

As an agent I am visiting new communities on a weekly basis. Sometimes showing the community to clients or sometimes just to familiarize myself with a new community. I often have clients buying new homes. I have also been through the process myself a few times. Because of this I am experienced with the construction process and know what to look out for. I have found plumbing lines with nails through them, electrical lines with nails through them, disconnected vents and many other issues. A typical construction supervisor has dozens of homes being built at any given time. They aren't going to catch every mistake made. Having an extra set of eyes checking in on occasion can be beneficial. As agents, we are not licensed inspectors but we have more experience than the typical buyer.

An experienced agent can also walk you through the process, explaining what to expect, and helping to ensure a smoother process. Building a home is stressful and if you don't know what is going on at any given time then that stress can make the process go from exciting to excruciating. Sure the builder will help you and explain things, but they are going to do so in a way that best protects their interest. Wouldn't you rather have someone on your side to walk you through this?

When Friction Arises

Building a home is complicated and it isn't uncommon for issues to arise. Maybe something didn't turn out the way you expected. Maybe the builder made a mistake. Builders typically use contracts that are prepared by their attorneys. These contracts protect their interests. When issues arise the builder will often tell you that you will need to just live with it. Or they will give you the option of cancelling the purchase but will retain your earnest money of thousands of dollars. Having an agent can be quite beneficial in this situation. As a buyer, you will probably buy only one home from this builder during your lifetime. An agent, however, can bring the builder many buyers over the years. So without an agent the builder looks at you as 1 lost sale if you walk away, but with an agent they are looking at 5+ lost sales. So they are more likely to work with us agents then with you as a buyer. 

A few years back a large, well known, builder was building a home for some of my clients. One day in the middle of the build a community mailbox was installed right outside my clients kitchen window. They were now looking at the prospect of having dozens of people in the community coming by their house every day and stopping right outside their window. My clients were livid. They were ready to cancel even if it meant walking away from their earnest money. I talked to the builder and we worked out a deal that my clients fence would be changed from 6' to 8' tall and that it would be extended up past the window so they would have the privacy they desired. In the end, everyone walked away happy.

Home Under Construction

How Much Will This Agent Cost Me?

Typically having an agent will not cost you. Obviously there are unique situations where this might not be the case, but typically the agent is going to be paid by the builder. Some people think that by not having an agent they can get a better price on the house but that isn't really true. Again, every situation is different, but most builders have different budgets for marketing and construction. The price of the house comes out of the construction budget whereas the agent commission comes out of the marketing budget. Builders also know that agents can bring them a lot of business so they don't want to sour that relationship by incentivizing buyers to not have an agent. In fact, I know several builders that will tell buyers that don't have agents to go and get one. 

In Conclusion

There are many benefits to having an agent assist you in buying a new home. So don't make the mistake of going it alone. If you are thinking of buying an existing home or building a new one please contact us. We are here to assist you!

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