Use a Realtor for New Home Construction

Did you know.. You can use a Buyer’s Agent (aka a Realtor) to help purchase New Home/Condo Construction?! That's right.. you can! And it's in your best interest to, here's why: 
1. A Buyer’s Agent can help ensure you hire the right builder. Without a doubt, one of the top reasons to have a buyer’s agent when purchasing/building a new home is to get a professionals advice on the reputation (and credit history!) of the builder. And always, always take your realtor with you on the VERY FIRST VISIT to the showhome as part of disclosure you're working with one! One of the greatest things about working with a knowledgeable Realtor (like me lol) is that you benefit from their network of Credit folks, other agents, vendors, and other construction industry professionals. Word gets around when businesses, or service providers, don’t take care of their customers. If there is a builder in your area that isn’t reputable (ReidBuilt Homes who went bankrupt for example), chances are I will know about it. On the flip side, I am likely to have heard about the builders that go above and beyond for their customers. With new construction, just about anything can go wrong. You are building a home that takes time to construct. There are any number of things that can cause problems including weather, labour shortages, as well as issues with materials. Some builders have an exceptional reputation for delivering homes on time. Others are the exact opposite. In fact, one of the greatest complaints from those buying new construction is the builder’s inability to complete the home on time.
2. A Buyer’s Agent can help guide you when it comes to the lot, location, and neighborhood. The best value in real estate is not always clear without extensive experience to guide you. Working with an agent can help ensure you make choices that will best serve YOUR interests. Choosing the best lot, the right community for your lifestyle, the neighbourhood features and the upgrades that are worthwhile – an agent can help with all of these things. You are the final decision maker, but even the best leaders have capable advisers to help guide their choices. You can choose to work with any real estate agent, but having someone in your corner with extensive experience in new construction AND credit can be an even bigger asset! For example, in new construction, the lot you choose can have significant consequences. Quite often buyers choose a lot from a fancy looking neighborhood plan. It will look all green and pretty, but they really don’t know what they’re getting from looking at a builders marketing plan. An agent who knows new construction inside and out will ask to see the specific site plan. From this, you will be able to gather the topography of the lot. Maybe you don’t want a steeply sloping lot? How about finding out there is a large drainage ditch in the backyard? Maybe there will be a large utility box smack dab in the front yard! You're getting the idea lol Does the builder pay their suppliers and workers on time? Do they have any Builders Liens filed against them? What does ‘No condo fees for Two Years!’ really mean?! Many buyers do not think of these things until they have committed to a contract, but by then.. it’s too late.

3. A Buyer’s Agent can guide you on appropriate upgrades and plan modifications. One of the nice things about new construction is the ability to customize the home to your exact needs and wants. Of course, like any home, there are certain amenities that are going to be more important than others. Without proper guidance, you could easily spend a lot of money on things that don’t matter when it comes time to sell. Again, an experienced buyer’s agent can guide to some of the best upgrades with the highest return on investment (ROI). Some improvements really make a difference, while others are throwing money away. An agent who also has experience working with builders from the ground up can often be great consultants for making small modifications to a plan. I can’t tell you the number of times I have tweaked a builders standard plan into something better (that they even made a standard item later!). This is the kind of advice that can help years later when selling!

4. A Buyer’s Agent will make sure all the paperwork, including the contract, is in order. Having a buyer’s agent isn’t just important when buying a new home. Real Estate purchases involve a lot of paperwork and documents that can be confusing, or overwhelming. I can help make sure all the paperwork is filled out and filed correctly. I will help review any contracts and can also recommend attorneys who will add addenda to the contract that will guard against complications should something go wrong. Typically, a builder’s standard contract is written in a highly protective manner that favors the builder, not you. The attorney can help protect your interests including looking over the thoroughness of the building specifications and the Builders Warranty. 

5. A Buyer’s Agent will negotiate on your behalf. When buying new construction it is imperative to have a buyer’s agent; someone who is in your corner representing your best interests. You don't go directly to the listing agent (or Seller) in a typical home purchase, so why do that in new construction? In many provinces, this is what’s referred to as Dual Agency. A real estate agent should explain how Dual Agency works, but many may not know themselves, or explain it in a way that it makes sense a consumer. A Dual agent is a neutral party in a sale. They are not allowed to guide you as a designated buyer’s agent would. A strong negotiator understands the true value of all aspects of a deal. Ideally, an agent understands what you want and need, but also understands what the builder values most. Because an agent sees both sides clearly, they are most capable of negotiating a deal that will be to your benefit. Builders like to keep prices consistent. The builder could point to your sale and expect the next buyer to accept a price that is close to what you paid. Or you could pay close to the previous buyer.. but what exactly did they get?? Keeping a certain price point is important, but it also means the builder may be willing to give other concessions in negotiations – such as offering upgrades. Let an experienced Realtor help guide in what to ask for! Keep in mind, however, that every market is different. If the builder is selling all the homes at full price and not giving away any upgrades, don’t expect an agent to perform miracles. In some areas, builders can’t build the homes fast enough to keep up with buyer demand so don’t expect a builder to discount when they don’t need to.

An experienced agent will also help to negotiate that you have your own Home Inspection done. Yes, the builder does a possession walk-through with a new owner, but will it favour you, or fail to catch something that may be left for you to repair, or do?

5. A Buyer’s Agent is a professional that will represent you through the entire buying process. With an experienced and knowledgeable Buyers Agent, you get to step back and make the key decisions that will get you what you want – while the agent filters all the marketing, salesmanship and other noise into the mix that will help you make the best choice. An agent will find builders you can trust and will help see the offerings of each builder clearly so you can compare and choose what is the best value for you.

6. The Builder’s Agent represents the Builder, not you. Keep in mind, the builder’s agent is focused on the best interests of their client – the company selling the homes. Most of the time, the builder’s agent will be happy to work with an agent. But even if they can’t, it’s still a good idea to have your own agent to protect your interests. There are so many questions that can come up when buying new construction, you want a trusted advisor to bounce questions off. Having a buyer’s agent when purchasing new construction is paramount to your success... and your wallet! :D

November, December and January are slower times and builders are looking for sales, making now the best time to purchase. Contact me if you're thinking about building, and let's see if we can get you the Best Build for YOUR Hard-earned Buck!