Home buyers often make the mistake of thinking that working with a builder is just as beneficial as buying a house with a Realtor. What they don’t realize is that it is quite the opposite. The builder’s sales representative is just that, a representative for the builder. They do not represent the consumer or buyer of the house. Sure, they want to sell you the house but do they work exclusively for you and your best interest? The answer is a resounding, “no”.
Aside from the fact that experienced Realtors can often negotiate better deals on upgrades, closing cost incentives and other items that greatly affect either the bottom line for the home buyer or the value for which you’re paying, there is actually a more important factor in utilizing the expertise of a Realtor when building a new home. This factor is having someone who represents no one but you and your best interest.
What happens when the builder is delayed on your new house but you’re still under contract with them to be sure your home is sold, creating a situation that makes you move twice? What about when the builder’s subcontractor framed your options wrong or installed the wrong electrical or tile? What happens when the builder gets behind on other homes and pulls their contractors off of your house to get caught up the others creating a delay in your closing resulting in having to re-schedule moving, movers, utilities, etc.? These are all things that no one thinks about until they’re already under contract and then it’s too late, unless of course you’d like to pay a Realtor outside of closing to take on representation. You see, that’s a huge bonus, the builder pays your Realtor just like a seller of an existing home would. Representation doesn’t cost you a thing when bringing your agent with you to a new construction home. There are some builders who will openly tell you that if you don’t have a Realtor they will give you “x” amount in “free” upgrades. Let me ask you, do you believe anything in life is truly free? Why do you think builders would rather give you additional upgrades or incentives rather than have someone involved that represents your best interests? Often times we hear from people who say they fully understand why about half way through the process when problems began to arise. If someone, besides them, were involved and concerned with their best interest then the problems more than likely would never have been present or they would have been corrected much quicker having someone whose full time job is to represent them rather than them trying to remember to call the sales rep back 2-3 times per day to try and get an answer or resolution. In the end, the $5,000 of “free” incentives the buyer is given is paid for in time, headache, exhaustion and fees having to reschedule everything around closing or moving or possibly having to move twice.
An experienced agent knows the home building process and can guide you through it, help set expectations where the builders don’t and are always working on your behalf. This is also a benefit for you because most builders are going to offer you a full, “bumper to bumper” warranty on your new house once it’s finished. If you were the one calling them every day with new problems, do you think the warranty experience the first year is going to be the best? But if you were the homeowner with the “Johnny on it” agent or the “annoying” agent who was always making sure things were done, do you think that experience would be different? An agent working for your best interest doesn’t mind being the “bad guy” every now and then to get done what is supposed to be done. And then, when the job is finished, you get to stay the “good guy” and enjoy the experience of homeownership utilizing your new warranty in your new house.
A perfect example of this is this week, my team was told by a builder’s sales rep that, “Coordinating closing dates of an existing home into their new home is impossible and we should just give up.” He went on to say that he was living in an extended stay hotel waiting for his home to be built, too. (My first thought was, “Should’ve used a Realtor!”) For me, to give up on my client’s behalf is unacceptable. As a parent, I know what it’s like to not only sell your home with young kids but to move in general, it’s not fun, to say the least. I can’t imagine telling my clients that I’m just going to give up and you should take your mother-in-law, toddler twins, elementary aged son, husband and dog to live in an extended stay because coordinating the closing dates is “too hard”. That would not be acting in my client’s best interest. Instead, we took the road less travelled by finding out when the permit inspections were requested and calling the city to see what their turnaround time is like on these requests. This will better help us gauge what kind of timeline we’re up against without any additional delays and then plan accordingly. This is where we go above and beyond for our clients, as expert Realtors do. Then, we re-negotiated the closing date on the home they have to sell first to move into their new home. Problem solved.
The next time, you’re considering making a real estate purchase by yourself, please really think about it. Sure, there are people who use Realtors every day that have terrible experiences but generally speaking, those aren’t Realtors that have been vetted, interviewed and chosen carefully. They’re the ones that people happened upon or use just because it was convenient. Remember, making a real estate purchase or sale is a huge investment. You should be interviewing multiple agents for the job to ensure you’re getting into business with the right person. If you’re wondering what you should be asking or looking for, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be happy to send you some questions and criteria that our clients have used.