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Should I Use a Realtor if I’m Buying New Construction?

I’m often asked, “Should I use a Realtor if I’m buying new construction from a builder”.  The answer is only if you want a solid home built that will great for resale value when it comes time for you to sell. Here are just a few of the reasons why you should have a Realtor help you when buying or building a new home.


Representation
 – The salesperson represents the builder and their interests, not yours. In most cases the builder’s salesperson does not hold a real estate license. That means they aren’t held to the same standards of treating consumers fairly you might expect. A Realtor will represent you and look out for your best interest.

You May Not Get What You Think You Are Getting – When you walk into a model home it’s easy to fall in love with all the bells and whistles. The problem is the home you saw advertised for $400,000 isn’t going to have the top tier countertops, wood floors, upgraded kitchen and master bath or fancy ceilings. The model home often has over $100,000 in extra upgrades. A Realtor will help make sure you understand what’s included with the base price and what will cost you extra.

Resale Value – An experienced Realtor will help you select the right floor plan, lot and upgrades that are very import for future resale value. Because we sell so many listings and see so many buyers at our own open houses we can give you expert guidance about what lights up buyers’ eyes and what turns them off. In real estate you make your money when you buy and not when you sell. Avoiding a few mistakes when building a new home will help you sell your home for more money in the future.

Agent Fees – When you purchase a new construction home you do not pay the real estate agent fees, the builder does. Builders view the commissions they pay real estate agents as part of their advertising budget. Therefore, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by having an outside agent represent you.

Negotiations – You may or may not be a good negotiator. Even the best negotiators tell me they are better when they are negotiating for someone else. When you negotiate for yourself, especially with something like where you are going to live, it’s too easy to let emotions get involved. A Realtor will look at the sale from a financial standpoint without being influenced by emotions. A real estate agent who works with builders in the Austin area every day will also understand what items are negotiable and how to negotiate upgrades so you get the best deal and don’t leave money on the table.

Get Everything in Writing – AIn real estate if it isn’t in writing it didn’t happen. Anything the builder promises should be in writing. Make sure the details agreed upon are in your contract including any upgrades and fees. A real estate agent will make sure those items are incorporated into the contract to avoid any misunderstandings and so in the end you get what you are expecting.


Inspections
 – Most builders will have what they say is an independent third-party inspection. We always recommend buyers hire your own inspector. Many builders tell buyers not to worry about having the home inspected because there is a warranty that will cover any issues that arrive after you own the home. What you have to remember as the buyer is you will never have as much leverage with the builder as you do before closing. A real estate agent will help arrange inspections and review the report with you and the builder to identify areas that need to be addressed with the builder.

This picture is from an inspection performed on a new home our client purchased. According to the inspector the builder hired the roof was fine and the builder said if there was ever a problem it would be covered by the warranty. The inspector hired by the buyer pointed out the defect and we fought tooth and nail with the builder eventually getting them to agree to replace the roof.

Financing – When you are buying a new home the builder will have a relationship with a preferred lender. If you obtain your loan with the preferred lender you will receive incentives. Many times the preferred lender will have higher interest rates compared to a lender you work with on your own. A higher interest rate can significantly increase your payment. An experienced real estate agent will be able to review estimates from lenders and connect you to reputable mortgage companies so you can get a comparison of interest rates.

Quality of Construction – How familiar are you with the builder? What is the quality of their construction? Do they have a reputation of standing behind their product? There are dozens of builders in our area. An experienced agent will be familiar with all the major builders and their quality of work.

REGISTER – If you want to be sure you have someone looking out for your best interest contact us before you visit the builder’s office or tell the builder on your very first visit that you are already working with Kopa Real Estate as your agent.  If you do not communicate this information upfront when you are buying new construction, your agent won’t be able to represent you and watch out for your best interest.  If your agent is experienced with new construction there’s a good chance they already have a working relationship with the builder and community for which you are interested.

Are you thinking of buying new construction? Don’t go it alone, let us be your guide! We help buyers purchase new construction homes in Austin and the surrounding suburbs including Cedar Park, Leander, Georgetown, Liberty Hill, Round Rock, Kyle and Buda. Contact us today at 512-791-7473  or email eric@koparealestate.com for a confidential consultation.

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