The process of buying a new home from a builder and buying an existing home is quite different. When you buy an existing home, what you see is what you get for the price you paid. When considering the purchase of a home from a builder that is under construction or not even started yet, the question of what I am getting for what I am paying can be more complicated. An experienced real estate professional that is representing your interest can make the entire process much easier and less confusing. That is because a furnished model is generally filled with many optional enhancements and features that are not included in the basic house.
An agent can help you with finding new construction in an area you want to live that also fits within your budget. In many cases, new home buyers let emotions take over and they lose focus between their needs and wants. They start adding all these wonderful opions and features only to realize their dream home is now out of their budget and not a reality. If you are represented by real estate agent, they would have helped you make prudent choices as you toured the models to help insure the home is affordable and within your budget.
Unlike a resale transaction, option choices in a new home build are extremely important as the basic model is not enough for most buyers. The challenge is to keep the options at an affordable amount which would be 15-20% of the base price according to some experts. When considering those options, it is recommended to choose those features that would be difficult or costly to add later. It is also important to consider options that will provide higher resale value in the future.
The experienced agent is there to help you negotiate the purchase as well as help you budget for the cost of new-home ownership. Many consumers do not consider or plan in advance for the costs associated with furnishing their new home after move-in. The agent’s experience will also allow them to ask questions such as what is planned for the acreage adjacent to the community, HOA dues and restrictions, as well as what type of incentives are being currently offered such as free upgrades, etc.
You are probably asking why most new-home buyers do not use a real estate agent to represent them in the purchase of a new home from a builder. Especially when you consider that the agent’s fee or commission is paid by the builder! The reality is that it takes planning before you visit the new-home builder’s development and speak with their on-site salesperson. When you visit a community under construction, the sales agent at the model will ask you to register your name and contact information. If you do not register that you are represented by a real estate agent at that time, then the builder demands that you pay the agent’s fee. Because so many times consumers begin their new-home search in a spontaneous manner, they don’t think to speak with an agent first. One thing to consider is that if you do not register on your first visit to the builder, you should be able to return later with an agent representing you.
The bottom line is that an experienced real estate agent can be an asset for new-home buyers when working with builders. Their expertise, knowledge and duty to represent you and your interests in a professional manner can make the difference in navigating this process and best of all it is at no cost to you. Source: Katherine Salant, The Washington Post
Steve Lester is a REALTOR living in Allen, Texas.