Don’t believe the agent for the builder. Please. Whatever you do, do NOT believe you’ll save 3% by not using a real estate agent. Tip #6: Use a Realtor when buying a new home. Here’s why:
I recently had a client looking at new construction in Vienna, VA. A builder had identical homes with a few modifications to the floorplan per request of the purchasers, but the model was basically the same (same exterior, bath #, bed #, sq ft, etc.) Let’s take a look at what happened:
Side street, awesome backyard, some upgrades like stone counters, wood work inside (built-ins, wainscoting), finished a storage room to a home gym, added a front porch, walkout basement. Used a real estate agent: Paid $1,389,000.
Corner lot of a busy street, ok backyard but lot was slightly bigger, upgrades to appliances, enlarged island, some built-ins, basement bar, finished the storage room to a home gym, no front porch but did a small stone patio and screened in porch, custom closet, wood fence, walk-up basement, but the rest was the same. Did NOT use an agent. Paid $1,561,000.
I can’t for the LIFE of me come up with a reason for such a HUGE price difference. That’s nearly $200,000 – for a closet, appliances and a screened in porch! I’m BAFFLED by this. Even worse is that having walked through the second home at completion, I saw so many things that needed to be addressed: upside down light switches, mismatched shelves in the pantry (half the size they should have been), cut rods in the closet with no kind of capping or attention to detail, and other details a very excited home buyer probably wouldn’t notice, but an agent SHOULD.
Please, please, please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Use a real estate agent with some experience with new construction. The builder contract is built to protect the builder, not you. They have every right to change things on you if they see fit, not meet your closing time, charge you their side of the closing costs, etc. It’s not a typical real estate contract that we use for resales. Read it CAREFULLY. Read it more than once. Have someone else read it before you sign it. There’s virtually no way out of a new construction contract without some kind of financially penalty, so know what you’re signing before you do it. New homes are exciting and they’re pretty and they’re big…but they’re still huge financially investments that need to be looked at carefully.