Prospective home buyers are turning to builders for a new home. Unfortunately, many are leaving their real estate agent out of the transaction thinking that doing so is in their best interest. There are many reasons this is not a good idea, and most are totally unrelated to the commission. The reasons are all about you, the buyer. So, before you start building a new home, consider the following.
1. The sales agent at the builder only represents the builder NOT the buyer. As nice as the man or woman in the builder’s sales office is, they do not represent you. It’s called fiduciary responsibility, and you only get it when you have a licensed real estate agent or real estate attorney represent you. According to The National Association of Realtors it means you have an expert looking out for your best financial interests, an expert who’s contractually bound to do everything in their power to protect you. If you don’t have a real estate agent or a real estate attorney with you when negotiating a new build contract, you don’t have anyone representing your interests except you.
2. An agent has the ability to understand, and negotiate complex contracts. The sales associate for the builder likely understands the contract and is hired to represent the seller. They are not obligated to explain or scrutinize the contract with your best interests in mind. Today’s contracts can be 50 pages long, and a builder’s contract is as different as each builder. Reading these lengthy documents and hoping you understand what you are signing up for is risky. Additionally, many builder’s contracts have several clauses that are not standard practice and, without the expertise to know the difference, can seem to be quite reasonable when they are not.
3. Making the builder more accountable. Having representation insures that you can keep the builder accountable to promises made during the negotiations and building a new home. Your agent will make sure you get everything in writing, and that all expectations are met.
4. Avoid expensive attorney fees if the builder does not perform. According to real estate attorney Warren Christopher Freiberg, a good real estate attorney will cost you a few thousand dollars or more to rectify a contract dispute. Having a licensed real estate agent represent you reduces the likelihood you will need to hire an attorney later.
5. It’s free. The seller, and in this case that’s the builder, pays the real estate commission. This comes from a different budget so not paying for a real estate agent does not reduce the sales price of the home. You may think it does, but it doesn’t.
Trying to represent yourself when buying a new home is risky. Having representation is not, and protects your interests. Thinking of visiting a builder to look for a new home? Invite your real estate agent to join you.