Buying & Selling

Do You Need a Real Estate Agent When Building New Construction?

You’ve always been rather specific about your likes and dislikes, and that’s never been more apparent than when you started looking for a new home. What you want just isn’t out there. Or, maybe you love the idea of choosing your own piece of land and building your dream home – a home that nobody else has ever lived in – from scratch. Either way, you know that new construction is the right choice for your homeownership dream.

Do you really need a real estate agent of your own? Legally, no, you do not. If you’re wise, however, you absolutely want to make use of an agent’s skillset to make this process easier because buying a newly constructed home can be infinitely more complicated than buying a property on resale.

It can be hard to separate the myths from facts about new home construction. Here are the most important reasons you want your own real estate agent when buying new construction:

The Salesperson Doesn’t Have Your Best Interests at Heart

Every builder has agents in their sales office that will be happy to walk you through the options you have with new construction. However, that agent is primarily a salesperson that represents the builder’s interests – not yours.

There are a lot of subtle ways that a builder’s salesperson can influence you to spend more than you want to spend. Those model homes you’re shown, for example, have all kinds of bells and whistles that don’t come standard, so what you see is most certainly not what you’re going to get – unless you move into a higher price point. 

If you fall in love with the granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and other high-end upgrades and must have them, for example, the builder increases their profit margin while you increase your costs.

By comparison, your real estate professional is obligated to look after your interests. They can make sure that you stay grounded as you investigate the possibilities that come with new construction, and help you get the most value for your investment dollars. 

Part of that process may be guiding you away from upgrades that can wait until later (like those fancy appliances), and part of that may involve reminding you that you need to keep an eye on your home’s resale value. Along with negotiating the price of the upgrades, an agent can also guide you through which upgrades are worth it. It’s easy to upgrade yourself into improvements that will make your house too costly for the neighborhood’s market in the future.

Your Agent Is an Invaluable Source of Support When Buying New Construction

First, it’s important to note that new-construction buyers don’t pay their real estate agents’ commissions – builders do. (It’s also important to know that you won’t get any kind of discount or credit toward your purchase for not having an agent by your side.) 

For that reason, you have absolutely nothing to lose by having your own agent – and everything to gain. For example: 

1. They Can Guide You to the Right Builder

Experienced real estate agents have a network of reliable home builders and the industry experience to gather information about builders they don’t already know. Your agent can talk to you about a builder’s reputation, the quality of the construction work they provide, the timeliness of their projects, and their ability and willingness to customize a project to your needs.

When there are hundreds of potential builders to choose from, you want to make sure that you’re connected with one that is both reputable and reasonable.

2. They Can Help You Choose the Right Piece of Land

You’ve probably heard the phrase “location is everything” a few times before – and that’s never been more true than when you’re building a home. Everything from the neighborhood you choose to whether you have a corner lot or one in the middle of the street can affect your satisfaction level once the project is over. 

Your real estate agent will listen attentively to your goals and help you avoid buyer’s regret down the road.

3. They Act as Your Negotiators 

It’s hard to negotiate for yourself when you’re emotionally invested in the outcome of a deal – and sellers can sense that. Your real estate agent knows where there’s room to bargain, and how to strike a deal that can make all the parties happy. 

For example, builders typically don’t like to lower their asking price on a property (because that sets the tone for future sales), but they may be willing to give you some of those upgrades you want, instead. Your agent can probably get you a much better deal than you can get on your own.

4. They Can Direct You Toward the Best Financing Options

Builders typically have a network of financing options or offer financing through their own companies – but that’s seldom the best deal you can get. Builder friendly lenders typically have artificially low rates but super high origination fees. Even tiny differences in the interest amount you end up paying can make a big impact on your bottom line.

Instead of going with whatever options the builder has available, your real estate agent can steer you to their trusted lenders and help you get financing that will benefit you the most.

5. They Will Make Sure the Contract Is Fair

Every real estate contract is complicated, and you need someone to review it and make certain that what you’re signing doesn’t overly favor the builder. They know how to spot anything that’s out of order or clauses that leave you financially or legally exposed. Plus, if you’ve negotiated some upgrades or other concessions, they’ll make certain those are properly incorporated into your agreement.

Your agent will also make sure that the paperwork is properly signed, witnessed and filed, so that you have all the security you need in the future to guarantee that the builder will uphold their end of your bargain.

Finally, your real estate agent will oversee the home inspection once the property is built. Warranty or no warranty, you don’t want to discover that your property has problems with the electricity or shoddy workmanship after you’ve moved in.