Is it necessary to use a real estate agent when purchasing a new construction home? The answer is YES! When you buy an existing home, what you see is what you get for the asking price. When you buy a new construction/unbuilt home, what you see is the builder’s furnished model – not what you get for the advertised price.
The model home is stuffed with upgrades and features sure to make you fall in love – the amazing kitchen, four foot sunroom extension, cherry hardwood floors and bay windows are all a homeowners dream. But when you check out the more affordable version of the model – a nearly completed house down the street that only has $30,000 worth of upgrades – it’s not the same dream house.
Working with a real estate agent can help you avoid the disheartening experience of model home envy. The agent will direct you to a new construction that fits your budget in the area where you want to live. As you tour models together, the agent can help you tell apart the upgrades from the basic house and also point out the options that are prudent choices.
Option choices should ideally be 15-20% of the base price. For example, if your total budget is $400,000, you should be looking at houses that are base-priced about 15-20% lower, or about $320,000. That will give you $80,000 for upgrades, which might seem like a lot but will not go as far as you think.
Most new-home buyers don’t use a real estate agent to help navigate a brand-new house purchase because it requires planning ahead. Most new-home purchases begin spontaneously after a Grand Opening banner for a new development is spotted and an impromptu visit ensues. After giving their contact information to the sales agent in the form of a registration card, the builder can demand that the buyer pay the agent’s fee if they choose to bring one on board. This is usually 2-3% of the base price.
To get the real estate agent’s help and have the builder pay the agent’s fee, the agent must be present and register on the initial visit. But if you decline to fill out a registration card on your initial visit, you should be able to return later with an agent and not be hampered by the fees.
When buying new construction, having an agent that represents you personally is a huge benefit when it comes to asking important questions, negotiating, monitoring the building process, running inspections, etc. Please remember that the builder’s agent is there to represent their interests, not yours. Using your own Realtor® can save you thousands. Let Dawn Delgado assist you in this process and help you build your dream home!
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