Being a Realtor, not only have I (Joseph Yu) been asked if one really needs a Realtor when purchasing a new home, but I have heard numerous people throughout the years share their regrets for not using a Realtor when buying a brand new home.
In attempts to help others avoid this mistake, I have accumulated the top ten (could have easily have been more) reasons why you need a Realtor when buying a new construction home.
Here are the top 10 reasons why you need a realtor when buying a new construction home.
Most people don’t know this, the nice folks who welcome you in the model homes work for, and represent the builder. They do not represent you, as the home buyer. The reality is, they are not there to sell you a home but they are there to sell homes for the builder. Let that sink in.
In fact, a several years back there was a lawsuit and settlement where people purchasing new homes were under the impression they were being represented by the sales agents at the model homes. THIS IS NOT THE CASE. Fiduciary responsibility for the sales staff who work at the model homes is to the home builder, and not to you as the buyer.
The builder does not have a fiduciary duty from the real estate transaction standpoint since they do not represent you. However, the builder does owe you fiduciary responsibility or obligations for the home being constructed. In fact, if you ask any builder sales agent to interpret the contract, in all likelihood, they will not and in reality, they should not.
#2. Builder Knowledge
Not all home builders are the same. In fact, many builders will focus on a certain aspect or segment of the home and the market. For example, some builders are purely focused on providing the most affordable home as possible, while others work with buyers on custom features and altering floor plans. Some builders have the pulse on what buyers want aesthetically in a home where other builders may focus on energy efficiency.
On top of that, I can share my observations and experiences, and also the experiences from current and past clients with builders in the area. As an experienced Realtor, I can pass on (in person and in private) what opinions a professional Realtor such as myself think of the builders you are considering.
#3. Area Expertise
Metro Phoenix is very transient. Nearly everyone is from somewhere else. In fact, when we introduce each other, one of the very first questions that come up is “Where are you from?”.
Since most people tend to be new to Arizona, where do you start? What city and neighborhoods should I consider? Every situation is unique. Many times, people end up choosing where they live purely based on proximity to work or because of where friends and family may already live or suggest they move to. I suggest, take everything into consideration. Yes, proximity to work matters. Yes, the opinions of your friends and family matter. But also balance that with the knowledge and experience of a full-time Realtor who is familiar with the nuances of various areas in the metro Phoenix area.
Here is a real-life example that happens all the time. Let’s take Queen Creek. Many people may or may not know, but there is the town of Queen Creek. Most of the town of Queen Creek is in Maricopa County, but there is also a small portion within Pinal County. On top of that, did you know that there are mailing addresses with Queen Creek as the city address that technically is not in the town of Queen Creek, but in an unincorporated area known as San Tan Valley?
Some of you may say so what?! Does this even make a difference? Why as a buyer should I know this? How does this affect me? The answer is that there are differences and as a buyer, you should find out what are those differences and how they can potentially affect you. Having a knowledgeable Realtor that understands these subtle nuances can help guide you in the right direction and bring certain things to light that may ultimately affect your buying decision.
#4. Lot Selection Assistance
Everyone knows the saying, “Real estate is location, location, location.” But Joseph, does that really matter when I’m selecting a lot in the neighborhood or subdivision that I’ve decided on? Yes, yes, and YES! A good and knowledgeable Realtor will analyze the lots that are available and will make suggestions and recommendations on which lots to consider and which lots to avoid. When I’m analyzing lots for a client, I am looking at lot size, depth, width, orientation, proximity to neighborhood amenities, potential street traffic, proximity to any potential negative aspects to the lot as well as if there is a lot premium attached to lots we are considering.
Many times it may not bother you as the home buyer, which is fine. I personally like to give advice and suggestions to my clients so they can make the best decision for them. On top of that, I have the mindset that life is unpredictable. We never know when we may need to sell. I believe it’s part of my job to provide you that insight, so if and when that day comes that you have to or want to sell, your home will be more appealing to as many potential buyers as possible.
#5. Design Center Assistance
For some, when buying a new home, the design center is fun and exciting, (like a kid in a candy store). For others, it’s pure torture, even the thought of going through the process of picking options and items that will go into your future home is dreadful and downright nauseating. For many of my clients, they seek my advice to help them spend in the right areas of the home that will give them the best chance to get their money back out whenever it is time to sell.
Part of my role at the design center is to help my clients stay within a certain budget. They often want my assistance in making smart selections that will not only help the home be more marketable when the time comes to sell but also make smart choices with the budget in mind. I also lend a hand when picking options based on a certain look and style, and color scheme. Between you, the builder’s design consultant and myself, we are able to create a home ideal for you.
#6. Value Upgrades versus Indulgence Upgrades (No Return on Improvements)
It is very easy to overspend at the design center. Things add up quickly. So how do you know what options provide value and a return versus other options that would be considered more indulgences or have very little to no return?
I can only speak for myself, but I tell my clients that I look through the lenses of the day when you may need or want to sell. As I mentioned prior, my role is to make my clients not only aware of aesthetic selections that will attract the largest audience, but also advice what upgrades have no to little return versus ones that will have more of a return. One example could be flooring.
Flooring is one of the most important components when making selections at the design center, not only from an aesthetic point of view but also from a cost standpoint. Selecting the right flooring, how it is to be laid and where it is being installed is key. I tend to recommend to my clients not to buy the most expensive flooring options because as beautiful and pretty the flooring may be, you will not get the return when it comes to selling. I try to assist my client find flooring options that bring the most value.
#7. Walk Through Assistance
When purchasing and building a new home, there are several phases and milestones that you may want to consider. The names vary from builder-to-builder but the phases typically start from a pre-construction meeting to the pre-concrete inspection, foundation inspection, rough frame inspection, the pre-drywall inspection, your orientation (blue tape walkthrough), and all the way to your final walkthrough. Even though we are not construction experts, a good Realtor will explain all the steps along the way and will give you the advice to help make the construction process as smooth as possible.
#8. Current Trends
A good Realtor will know the current real estate trends for the local market. There are both short and long term cycles in real estate that should be considered whenever buying or selling. A knowledgeable Realtor will not only know where we are in both short and long term cycles but will explain them to you so you can make the best decision for you. They will also know what improvements and styles will garner the best value and attract the largest buyer pool whenever it is time to sell.
We live in unprecedented times, where knowledge is at our fingertips. And with access to data and information like no time ever in history, I believe and have personally experienced that buyers are more knowledgeable than ever before. In fact, because of this access to knowledge some buyers don’t feel like they need a Realtor or worse, know better than a Realtor. But from my observations and experience, the buyers and sellers who not only do their research, but also who embrace and work with a Realtor are in such a better situation.
#10. It’s Free! No cost to you.
That’s right. When purchasing a new home with a large reputable builder, there is no additional cost or fee when using and being represented by a Realtor.
Many people are afraid to reach out to a Realtor because of fears there will be charged or billed just speaking to us. We do not charge a retainer fee. You do not pay us directly out of your pocket as a buyer of a new home. The home builder pays the Realtor. Builders do not discount the price of the home or provide additional incentives if you do not utilize a Realtor.
In conclusion, if you want someone on your side who is representing you and has your best interest in mind, before you even walk-in and start looking at models homes (even if you are just “looking”), bring a qualified Realtor such as myself or some from the Arizona Key Team who not only help navigate you through the entire home buying process but will truly work for you and for your best interest. Remember, the home builder does not represent you in the sale; The sales agent for the home builder is not there to sell you a home, but they are there to sell homes for the builder.
Now, can you represent yourself when buying a home? The answer is yes. Can you represent yourself in a courtroom? The answer is yes again. The real question is should you? Should you represent yourself in the courtroom or should you hire an attorney who is not only the professional but who has a fiduciary responsibility to you? Should you represent yourself when buying a new home or should you hire a Realtor who is not only the professional or expert in the field of real estate but who has a fiduciary responsibility to you? Oh and guess what, when buying a new home, you are typically not paying the commission, the builder is. It’s free.
Please feel free to leave your comments below. If you would like to contact me, visit my website www.josephyuaz.com.