The builder represents the builder, not you. The builder’s contracts are filled with fine print, which could mean that you’ll be signing many of your rights away disguised as arbitration. Aitken Home Team realtors are licensed real estate agents and the builder’s representatives are usually not licensed agents. Builders know that nothing which is said is set in stone…they count on what is in writing and you must, too.
Here’s an example. A builder’s site agent may say to you, “The lot across from yours is probably going to be a park.” Sounds good, right? Enough to make you feel really good about your lot choice, so you buy the lot. Fast forward to one year from today. You’ve built your house on said lot and now that the other lot across from yours is a commercial building. Not what you were expecting!
An Aitken Home Team realtor can help you see all angles of your potential purchase so that you know exactly what you’re getting.
2. Leverage and Negotiation
If you’re a buyer and you attempt to work with a builder you represent one deal. One relatively insignificant deal. If the builder loses you, they lose one customer out of hundreds or thousands. But if you’re represented by an Aitken Home Team realtor, you’re likely to get a better deal. And, because the Aitken Home Team closes so many new construction transactions every year, builders know that they must perform well for any customers that we bring their way – or else they risk losing hundreds of customers!
Representation equals leverage.
Additionally, your Aitken Home Team realtor will negotiate on your behalf. Builders like to pretend that prices are fixed, but they are not. Builders typically have some wiggle room in their prices and incentives. Your Aitken Home Team realtor will pursue getting you the best possible deal from your builder.
3. Experience Counts!
Aitken Home Team realtors represent many buyers and have negotiated many contracts with builders. They are aware of their contracts and can point out any red flags up front. They’ll assist you with mandatory target dates in the contract (pre-approval through a lender, etc.) and will guide you through every step of the process. Aitken Home Team realtors can help you with upgrades that you might consider.
If you upgrade the floors, then you could be paying significantly more than actual costs because of mark-ups and rebates to vendors. Aitken Home Team realtors can help you focus on the structural features which are harder to install later: walls, closets, cabinets, etc. Aitken Home Team realtors can help you with a good lot selection on a quiet and less-traveled street location, orientation of the house (sunrise & Sun Set), efficiency, and much more. Your Aitken Home Team realtor will offer assistance from beginning to end.
4. Issues Will Come Up
Builders often miss important features such as cabinet locations, or they may misplace a door, forget about coach lights, install the wrong fixtures, etc. Your Aitken Home Team realtor knows the hierarchy of a builder’s corporation and can get items resolved by going straight to the top if necessary. Many times, a builder will be too far into the process and try to bully you into accepting the issue as-is. Having an Aitken Home Team realtor as a mediator will help. Sometimes, an Aitken Home Team realtor can resolve issues with a simple email or phone call. Sometimes they have to ‘bulldog’ or champion the matter to get it resolved. An Aitken Home Team realtor is always working for you.
5. Builder Tie-Ins
Builders are notorious for making discounts and perks conditional on you using their lender and/or title company. Your Aitken Home Team realtor will minimize the tie-ins or give you ‘outs’ if the lender isn’t competitive.
Let’s say you’ve made all of your selections for the house that you plan to build. You’ve picked out the lot and you’ve chosen which side the garage will face, etc. Now, it’s time for you to meet with the builder and verify all options selected, determine where every outlet will be located, inspect the blueprints, and verify what you’re building. Your Aitken Home Team realtor is an extra set of experienced eyes that will ensure you’ve not missed a detail and will assist with your last chance to include vital selections in the house.
Is the house zoned properly with the HVAC to maximize efficiency, HVAC Location? Did they include that second sink in the upstairs bathroom? Is the back porch stubbed with a gas line for the grill? Is there insulation between the media room and game room? There are so many details to discuss when tie-ins come up. You need someone with builder tie-in experience to help you navigate these important decisions. Your Aitken Home Team realtor has that experience.
6. Walk-Through Meetings
Your Aitken Home Team realtor will be with you at the first meeting, the slab pour, the framed pre-sheetrock meeting, and the final walk-through. This experienced set of eyes has been through many homes and can assist you with features you might miss. The best advice you can receive is to hire a licensed inspector to ensure all components of the house are installed correctly. You don’t want to rely on a city inspector because they sometimes are lax when completing an inspection. Your Aitken Home Team realtor will help you get an inspection and navigate the inspection report, even requesting repairs or modifications on your behalf.
7. Financing Guidance
Unless you’re paying cash, you’ll probably need assistance with your lender choice. Comparing fee worksheets, getting a settlement statement upfront, and comparing it between different lenders can be like reading computer code. Your Aitken Home Team realtor can guide you through this process. It’s imperative that you break down each fee worksheet and make an apples-to-apples comparison. One lender might be charging one point more and a higher document preparation fee while another might not be charging any points, but has a higher interest rate. You might be considering a 30-year note with an 80% LTV or an 80-10-10. There are so many options available to you and your Aitken Home Team realtor can lend critical guidance.
You started this process over six to eight months ago and it’s finally here: the closing day on your new house. Did the builder complete the final walk-through items you pointed out? Is all the paperwork at the title company and is it correct? Your Aitken Home Team realtor will help you celebrate the day by attending your closing and having already reviewed your paperwork to ensure there are no surprises. They’ll assist you with getting the keys and help welcome you into your new house.
Your Aitken Home Team realtor will continue their relationship with you post-closing. They’ll remind you to file for your homestead exemption, assist you with tax assessment appeals, and, if a warranty issue arises and the builder is reluctant to resolve it, your Aitken Home Team realtor has the ultimate leverage on your behalf because they are a source of new business for the builder if the builder serves you well.
Builders typically pay realtor commissions. You may be thinking, “If I don’t use a realtor, won’t the builder give me that extra cash towards the cost of my house?” The short answer is no. Builders will not discount the cost of the home to you because you don’t use a realtor. As an example, when you book a hotel through a travel agent, the travel agent makes money by selling the room to you at a retail price after he’s already gotten it at a wholesale price from the hotel. The travel agent keeps the difference. However, if the hotel sells you a room directly, you’ll still pay the same retail price as your would with a travel agent, only this time the hotel keeps the difference.
Simply put, you are far more likely to save money and prevent headaches by working with a realtor on your new construction project.