Let me give an example of a recent new home that I assisted a client to buy. Michelle and Ray became interested in a new build after several months of looking for and failing to find the perfect resale home. They noticed a listing that came through their portal that was advertised by a builder. Fortunately, Michelle remembered my many reminders to call me before going through any builder models. We discussed a game plan and after arriving at the sales office and registering them, they ended up falling in love with a beautiful home in which to raise their family. I advised them in ways to move forward that could save them a significant amount of money and headaches. I negotiated a purchase price $10,000 under the listed sales price and counseled them in shopping for a lender despite the sales agents insistence that they “had” to use one of the builders lenders. I also helped them see that the “incentive” to use the builders lender was not as much of a benefit to them as it seemed.
I made sure that their earnest money was deposited into a “safe” account in the event the sale fell through. When it came time to visit the design center to pick out upgrades, I accompanied them and provided information that saved them another $15,000 in items that they could add after close for half the cost of the builders prices. It’s not as simple as you think – some items are priced very reasonably and some are marked up by ridiculous margins. I made sure they knew their rights regarding inspections and worked to get the builder to comply. I attended every walk through and inspection and made sure that all of the right questions were being asked and that every issue was addressed.
Builders use their own contracts rather than the Arizona Association of Realtors contracts. The contracts are written for the builders benefit and there are specific items that you will want an experienced agent to review, question, and negotiate on your behalf. Often, the sales agent is a real estate agent, however NOT a Realtor. They are not subject to the same code of ethics that Realtors must operate within, or the sanctions that can be applied in response to unethical or unfair treatment of clients and customers.
Understand that the sales agent represents the builder ONLY. As nice as they may seem, their job is to get the best possible deal for the builder and they sometimes do that by not communicating certain rights that you have as the buyer. Having an experienced representative will make the process go more smoothly and will provide protections that you otherwise would not have. Think of it this way: purchasing a new build without representation is like trying to give yourself a haircut. However the consequences are much more significant in making that home purchase. Hair grows back….the quality of the build and the money lost will affect you for years to come, especially when you go to sell that home in the future.
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