Q: I’m looking for a new home. Is there any advantage to working with a real estate agent? — George M., Las Vegas
A: I’ve heard this question many times over the years.
While many buyers don’t realize this is an option, there are several advantages to working with a Realtor when buying a new home from a builder.
It doesn’t cost the buyer anything to work with a Realtor whose commission comes from the builder.
One misconception I’ve heard over the years is that builders will lower the price of a home if the buyer buys directly, rather than being represented by a Realtor. This is a myth.
Realtors know what homes in similar neighborhoods are worth.
Even if a Realtor can’t convince a builder to lower the price of a newly constructed home, he or she may be able to help you find ways to get more for your money.
When buying from a builder, buyers have all kinds of choices, from flooring to countertops, landscape to lighting and windows to wiring for home alarms and surround sound systems. As someone who helps clients buy and sell homes for a living, a Realtor knows what features make homes more marketable and are most likely to maintain the highest possible resale value.
For example, if you plan on owning the home for a while, it’s generally a good idea to upgrade the padding in the carpet.
And given the ever-evolving technology needs of today’s homeowners, I think most buyers are wise to upgrade the wiring and related amenities in their new home when they have the chance. Such improvements are easier and more affordable when the home is being built than years later.
Some of the other buying tips a Realtor can provide relate to fundamental home choices, such as what direction the home faces, the size of the lot and the home’s location within a development. For example, many buyers object to homes that back up to a busy street or are willing to pay more for a corner or cul-de-sac lot.
Then there’s the complicated purchase contract and other paperwork involved in buying a home. A Realtor can be a big help here. Every builder seems to have their own contract. With so much paperwork being presented at one time, it’s easy for buyers to miss something that could pose a problem later.
A Realtor can help by explaining the contract to you, pointing out anything that seems unusual and helping you negotiate changes to the contract.
Builders usually require buyers to pay a substantial deposit on a new home. If anything goes wrong during the transaction or either side wants to reconsider, it helps to have a professional advisor charged with protecting your deposit.
In a new home transaction, builders are often selling a home that will be delivered months after the buyer agreed to purchase. Especially in today’s housing market, conditions can change from the time the buyer decides to buy and the time the home is delivered and ready to be occupied.
A Realtor has more insight into what is going on in a specific housing market and can make sure a purchase contract protects you from changes to market conditions or even changes involving the builder’s business status.
If you ask me, the real question should be: Why not use a Realtor when buying from a builder?
For more information, visit lasvegasrealtor.com.
Rick Shelton is the president of the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors and has worked in the real estate industry for 20 years. GLVAR has 12,500 members. To ask him a question, e-mail him at email@example.com. For more information, visit lasvegasrealtor.com. Questions may be edited for space and clarity.