If you plan on buying a new construction home, do not sign anything until you consider the following reasons for being represented by a REALTOR®:
1. The builder’s sales agent’s job is to put the builder’s interest first; they represent the builder, not you. They can be very knowledgeable when it comes to the community’s selling points and each home’s upgrades, but their purpose is to do what is best for the builder when it comes to signing the contract.
2. Production builders pay for the home buyer’s real estate agent fees, not you; a REALTOR® represents you at no cost, protects your interests, and only gets paid from the builder at closing.
3. A REALTOR® will have a more long-term interest in your investment and home’s resale potential, but the builder’s sales agents are primarily focused on the sale at hand.
4. A REALTOR® will tell you all of the options that are available for new home construction in various communities, but the builder’s sales agent will focus on new home construction solely in their communities.
5. Misunderstanding the legalese of a sales contract can lead to expensive mistakes, and a real estate agent will help you fully understand everything in your agreement before you sign it.
6. When you are buying a new construction home, your REALTOR® can watch over your home while it is being built. It is a good idea to keep an eye on the progress while it is under construction. It may be difficult to monitor the builder if you are currently living far away.
Buyers who think they are going to save money by not using a real estate agent when it comes to buying new construction homes directly from the builder’s sales agent may end up with costly mistakes!
To avoid potential problems when you visit the new construction community, make sure your REALTOR® registers you before you look at homes (your agent should accompany you to the community and walk you across the threshold of the property to represent you). Be cautious when you are looking for properties online — builder websites encourage you to “register” your contact information to get more information. What they are doing is capturing you as “their customer,” making it more difficult for the real estate agent to represent you.
Also, you may want to give the builder’s sales agent your real estate agent’s card every time you visit the community; that way the builder’s sales agent understands that you have representation. The sales agent should still help you by showing you models and each home’s upgrades, but when it comes to making an offer, you will be protected.
JODEE BENNETT, REALTOR® | JOHN R. WOOD PROPERTIES 239.631.2561