The Truth About New Builds and Realtors
"I don't need a realtor to go buy a new build home." -This is actually true. The salesman at the model home can take you through the whole process without ever seeing a realtor. To me though, the questions isn't whether or not it can be done or not, rather it's whether or not you might have missed out on something.
"They'll negotiate a better deal with me if I don't use a realtor." -False, most likely. Seller's never give you more than they have to, and who do you think they are more intimidated by: a realtor who does this stuff every week, or a novice who does this once every decade or two? I won't guarantee you that the outcome will be different if you have a realtor, but I will say you've got better odds with a realtor. I've seen first hand my clients eyebrows perk up in disbelief while seeing the new build sales agent offer something that they weren't previously offered when I wasn't with them. I've seen my clients get things they wouldn't have gotten without me.
"The price is higher if I use a realtor." -Totally false. First, the builders build in the realtor's commission into the price of the house. If you ask, agents like me may be able to rebate part of their commission to you so that you MAKE money by using a realtor. If you don't use a realtor, the realtor won't make anything from your purchase, and neither will you. That's just money that stays in the pockets of the builder. Who would you rather have that money, your family, and the family of your favorite realtor, or the million dollar salary executives of giant national corporations? Someone is going to get that money, and you get to choose. Also keep in mind that you'll never have to pay your real estate buyer agent anything, ever, whether it be a new build or resale, since the seller always pays realtor commissions.
"I can go shopping around all of the new build sales offices first, and then decide later if I want a realtor." -Sometimes true, sometimes false. If you sign in without submitting your realtor's name, you're in danger of not being able to bring your realtor in on the deal later. Some builders will exclude them if you don't tell them about your realtor from the outset. Some builders even require your realtor to be there on the first visit WITH you. In general, I've experienced D.R. Horton to be pretty accommodating and congenial to realtors, but I did notice this clause in my client's contract last week: "D.R. Horton requires that you must accompany your client to the model homes on his or her first visit and register your client in the Subdivision at the time. D.R. Horton cannot and will not honor a "drive-by" agency relationship or any purported relationship attempted to be created by you sending your client to the model homes (or the Subdivision) with instructions to tell D.R. Horton's Sales Representative that your client is working with or represented by you. Any attempt to effectuate any Agency relationship with D.R. Horton without your actual presence shall be null and void and of no effect whatsoever." There are other builders that will have similar clauses. Now if you've already messed up, don't worry too much. Just call to your favorite realtor, and don't sign a contract until you've talked to them. Regardless of what their fine print says, your power to walk away and not buy may cause the builder to look the other way about their realtor policy, and include them per your request. Like I said, the realtor's commission is already built into the price of the home from the outset, so they should be willing to pay it if it's necessary to sell the home.
"A realtor will just slow me down if I have to bring them along for my home shopping." -If that's true, I'd say you might not have the best realtor. A good realtor will be grateful for the chance to get to work with you, and will give you absolute first priority in their schedule. If they don't, get another one! :-)
"The sales agent will be able to answer all my questions, so I don't need a realtor." -Sure, the sales agent probably knows their own product better than your realtor, but your own realtor knows more about YOUR needs, and therefore knows how to ask really relevant questions. Also, because of experience, your own realtor also might have an idea of what weaknesses they might be hiding (or not proactively showing you) about their own product. Just remember than builders will ALWAYS only tell you about how their product is the best. Your (good) realtor has been through this dog and pony show a million times though, and knows better. I think many people find that their realtors bring really insightful questions and point out things that wouldn't have been revealed otherwise.
If there are any questions I can answer for you, or help guide you through the new build process, please don't hesitate to contact us.