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Why you should use a real estate agent for new construction.

I spent almost a decade as a listing agent for big national builders. During that time, I’ve seen many of my buyers come in un-represented. So, the question is, should buyers of new construction use a realtor? In 99% of situations, the answer is yes and here is why.

Representation and fees

It’s important to understand that the builder’s agent has the best interest of the builder. A buyer’s agent has a fiduciary duty to look after the buyer’s best interests. Moreover, buyers do not pay the real estate agent commissions, the seller does. Builders work the commissions into their marketing budget as a cost of doing business because they rely on realtors to bring in buyers.

Research

An experienced agent can expedite and simply your new construction research. They can take all the possibilities and narrow them down to the best fit in just a day or two. They can also reach out to the builder reps to get additional details and simplify your home tours to a one- or two-day event. Each municipality may have different regulations on irrigation, HOA, trash, recycling, etc. A good agent can gather all these details for you very quickly.

Design Options

An expert that specializes in new construction will know all the differences between each builder, their strengths, and weaknesses. Some builders build spec homes where their in-house designers will choose all the colors and finishes. Other builders will give the buyers a choice to pick the home site, floor plan and some structural and design options. Many builders will have tens of thousands of dollars in upgrades in the model home. A consumer can easily lose control during a design appointment and get themselves over budget. An experienced realtor can help the buyer understand what route is best for the buyer and accompany them during the design appointment to protect them from making bad decisions.

Contracts and negotiations

Most builders require you to use their contracts so an experienced realtor will know how to decipher the purchase agreement and understand the fine print. An agent that does a lot of new construction deals will be up to date on all the incentives and possible discounts that certain builders may be willing to give. An experienced agent will also be able to negotiate better. They will already know what certain builders will be willing to negotiate on.

Quality and warranties

A newly built home will need to “breath”. As the home goes through its first hot and cold seasons, certain components of the home will expand and contract. In most jurisdictions, builders are required to offer a 1-year warranty of workmanship and build quality, a two-year mechanical warranty, and a ten-year structural warranty. A good realtor should be able to help navigate the homeowner as the home goes through those warranty periods. Lastly, builders will build to local building codes. A good realtor should understand those codes and why certain items in the home are built a certain way.

Registering with the Builder

Most builders will ask you to register your information when touring their model home. Please be sure to let them know that you will be using an agent. Otherwise, most builders will not allow you to use an agent moving forward and therefore you will not have an agent to look out for your best interest.

About David Kim

David Kim is a New Constriction expert in the Minnesota Twin Cities market. Nearly a decade experience working for 2 of the top 3 builders in the nation and 5 years’ experience in commercial real estate. Please contact me If you are in the market for a new construction home. I would love to help you on your journey.