So you are thinking about buying new construction! There is plenty of it in Houston and every development, every builder has an inviting showhome and friendly onsite sales rep ready to help you buy a home. So what’s not to love and why on earth would you need a realtor when you can work direct with the builder? Read on as there are very good reasons to have your own real estate agent.

Representation

Here in Texas we buy and sell homes using a system of representation. You should know that the onsite sales manager (as great as they are by the way), represents the BUILDER. Not you. Their job is to get the most money for that home for their builder. Their job is not to save you money or point out faults or that a new Walmart that is going up next door or that their development hasn’t taken off the way they expected. That’s the role of your agent who will be 100% team YOU. Best of all you do not pay to have a buyer’s agent. It’s free to you.

But can you save money if you cut out the realtor? Don’t bet on it. Builders build this into their costs and if you do not use a realtor then so be it. But the builder won’t automatically pass that saving onto you.


Saving Money

Who doesnt want to save money right? And its true to say it’s a challenge to negotiate price with builders who strive to maintain consistent pricing on their development. It can be their way or the highway. But your agent has access to sold data and can advise you on what homes have been selling at what price in that development. You simply cannot access that information anywhere else – certainly not from Zillow/Trulia who can only provide rough estimates. Sold data, together with a thorough knowledge of how well new builds are selling on that development will put you in far better position to negotiate. A good agent can structure win win negotiations which will save you money but keep the builders sales price where he needs it to be. This can be done by negotiating items IN to the price.


Saving Money on Upgrades

More ways to save money? Absoloutly. Builders make their money from selling upgrades and its easy to go crazy in the design center and get the best of everything for your new home. I have known buyers to do this (who worked direct with the builder) and now their home will not appraise (i.e its worth less than they paid for it). Your realtor will be your voice of reason and will do all she can to keep your sales price down. You can do many of the upgrades, after move in for a fraction of the cost. Your realtor will have a team of contractors who can help you with this.


Builders, Builders and more Builders

When it comes to builders, not all were created equally and your real estate agent will know the ones with the better reputations. A good realtor will help you research builders because she knows where to find out this information.

A good realtor will also be an expert in the new home construction process and will keep an eye on things as the home progresses. Never assume that a new build is perfect. Your agent knows what to ask and when and will be advising your every step of the way on what YOU should be asking.

Your agent will be recomending regular inspections by INDEPENDENT new home inspection specialists so you can be confident that your new home is being built correctly.


Emotions

Your home is your shelter. It’s your biggest investment. We can all get emotional about our homes. Emotion, however, doesn’t help negotiations and builders have been known to fire their buyers because of it. The purchase of your home is a business transaction to your realtor. She will keep emotion completely out of the deal making sure you and the builder stay happy.


It Takes A Village

When it comes to buying a home there are many parties involved in addition to the builder and your agent. A good real estate agent will come with a team of great resources they can recommend from lenders, title companies, inspectors and contractors.


A Final Tip

If you decide to tour model homes without your realtor – please know that the “sign in book” can mean you inadvertently sign up to work with a builder direct. If you don’t want to do that, either don’t sign in or mention your realtor’s name upfront.


About the Author

Fiona Gilmour is a Houston based real estate consultant and a New Home Construction certified specialist. She also is an Accredited Buyer Representative and Master Certified Negotiatior.

Please contact on 713 870 8532 or fionagilmour@kw.com for a free consultation.