When home inventory is limited like it is right now across the country it can become frustrating for everyone. Homebuyers obviously struggle to find a home they’d like to purchase and struggle even more against competing offers to actually be able to purchase a home. But even home sellers face some frustrating challenges.
What if your family has outgrown your “starter home” and it’s time to buy a new place with some more space? And you can’t compete because all of your equity is tied up into your current home and there are dozens of other buyers in your same market with the same challenges competing for the one or two homes that have come on the market? That of course leaves your starter home unlisted on the market and unavailable for the next owner. It’s a compounding issue that’s difficult to resolve.
The solution often is purchasing a new construction home.
New construction homes can provide homebuyers with more flexibility, certainty, and favorability than trying to compete in the open real estate market for already existing homes. The great news is that in a market like this current one, home builders are building homes as fast as they can. We have a ton of new construction home options and more on the way.
But purchasing a new construction home does come with some challenges and you need real estate professionals representing you and your interests in the transaction. Why?
For starters, as nice as your new construction salesperson is going to be to you, they represent the builder and the builder only. They’re not going to volunteer information that is not required. They’re not going to help you navigate upgrade options, contract terms, incentive programs, or anything that is not beneficial to the builder. They aren’t going to care too much if they’re delayed or off schedule. They aren’t going to advise you about what a typical contract looks like or voluntarily make terms favorable to you. They do not represent you. You are on your own. If you know homes and real estate and purchase transactions and do them often, that may be fine. If not, you need an agent on your team.
Home builders include in their pricing the cost of real estate commissions. You don’t get a better price by purchasing a new construction home without using a Realtor. Home builders typically enjoy having a real estate professional involved in the transaction because it helps them coordinate the transaction, make the process more smooth, gives them someone to communicate with that speaks a common language, and is understanding of the construction process. Builders like for you to have representation and that’s why they pay a real estate brokerage fee.
Home builders have taken the time to strategically form relationships with lenders, title companies, and attorneys that will all pay affiliate fees, kickbacks, and marketing agreements. In some cases the home builder even owns the title company or the mortgage company. Your agent not only has relationships with multiple lenders, title companies, and attorneys, but they also know the programs and customary charges associated with those services. They can make sure you’re getting the best deals available from these ancillary services and that you are being served well. In addition, your real estate professional will have relationships with other home builders and know of all the new construction opportunities that are available to you, not just what that one home builder may have available.
Floor plan, lot, design selections, and cost savings:
In addition to their fiduciary duties in representation your Realtor can advise you of options available to you when choosing your floor plan, lot, and design features. When you meet with a builders representative, they have the options available to them and them only. Your Realtor may know of another neighborhood directly adjacent that better meets your needs with lot sizes or home types that more match what you’re looking for. Your real estate agent may be able to advise on future resale value and desirability of your choices throughout the build process to make sure you are making wise decisions and investments.
Your agent can also advise on areas where you can install an upgraded option or have better design selections by going outside of the homebuilders standard choices. They’ll help you from overbuilding/overdesigning and also help you focus your upgrade dollars in the areas that will make the biggest impact on your future home.
Contract to close:
If you’re unfamiliar with real estate contracts and terms, this is where having an agent on your team really helps. The builder’s salesperson isn’t going to be looking out for your best interests when it comes to contract dates and deadlines. Making sure you meet the contingencies and deadlines in your contract is your agent’s job. Coordinating with the lender and title company to make sure you get to the closing table on time with all of the needed documents is a key part of your agent’s job. And ensuring you know about all of the options available to you from lenders to title policies to surveys and more are all part of an agent’s fiduciary duties to you.
Construction Process and checkpoints:
A great real estate agent will be checking in on your project jobsite regularly and providing you with updates. They’ll attend your pre-construction meeting with detailed notes to make sure everything that you have requested for your new home is on the builders radar. They’ll walk the home weekly to make sure your wishes are actually being installed in the house and raising red flags along the way as things get missed. Having an agent on your team during the construction process ensures you have an advocate that does the fighting for you so that you can stand on the side and know your interests are being addressed. When you have concerns, they’ll communicate directly with the builder on your behalf and make sure that all of your concerns are taken care of along the way. And if they think something is being done incorrectly, they’ll get professionals involved early in the process. The vast majority of the time, construction goes on without many issues. But in the rare instance that construction doesn’t go as planned or there are issues, having an agent on your team is an invaluable part of the process to make sure your best interests are protected, that your money is protected, and ultimately that you get the home you want at the end.
Closing, follow up, and warranty:
Having an agent make sure you get keys, move in, and that everything is as you expected is putting someone in your corner to represent you. As things settle and you get moved into your new home, there will come times for warranty requests and repairs that need addressed. An agent can help you navigate warranty claims and know what you should request.
Ultimately, the builder is an expert at building homes and has a team of professionals, attorneys, architects, engineers, sales people, title companies, and lenders that are all on their team and representing them and their best interests. The home builders are willing to pay your real estate agents commission on new construction. You need a Realtor on your team protecting you and making sure that your new home construction experience goes smoothly and reaches the finish line the way you intend.