Building a tract or spec home (any new construction that is not truly custom)? Here’s why you need Realtor representation:
Unless you know the builder/representative personally, you can’t always trust the builder’s sales person to have your best interest in mind. The company’s bottom lines are time and money.
Texas is a “Buyer Beware” state for new construction: the burden is on the buyer to research the contractors, know the product & process, monitor progress (including payments) to subcontractors, etc. Texas also does not require new home builders to issue any disclosures about a new home to the buyer. Maybe a big, shiny Walmart is going in behind your house. Or over that hill next to the park where your kids will be playing, there is an abandoned nuclear waste site (this is more common than you’d think – there’s one in South Houston). Your Realtor has insight and access to resources to help you avoid these pitfalls.
Your Realtor knows the difference between the builders with a great reputation and those who are snakes. She knows which builders use cheap components vs quality construction. She will even help you pick your lot based on the best return for your money. Did you know there are lot premiums? There’s a choice of 4-6 different elevations, which vary in price from $0 to $45,000. Which elevation should you choose? When it comes to adding room variations with the builder and general options at the design center, your agent will advise you which choices will net you the best return on your money, which options will price you out of the neighborhood (compromising appraisal) and which options are cheaper to contract on your own (like extending that back patio or adding built in cabinets to the game room). Your agent will coordinate walkthroughs at every stage of building. She will arrange necessary inspections by a trusted, licensed inspector, at up to 4 different stages throughout the build process. She will ensure that the loan process is on track and she will compare the builder’s lender rates/fees to make sure that the buyer gets the best deal all around. Your agent will also make sure that you don’t overpay for options and that the home will meet appraisal. What if you have an emergency and need to cancel the contract? You have a better chance of receiving your earnest money back if you have a Realtor. Over all, she has an arsenal of tools & suggestions to help you make better decisions when building, which will save thousands in the end. Your builder will not be so introspective. He wants to finish your project in 3-6 months and get on to building the next group of homes.
Finally, it doesn’t cost the buyer a dime to employ Realtor representation and contrary to what some believe, the builder WILL NOT give you a better price on your home if you don’t have a Realtor. Builders rely 75% on Realtor referrals. Without us, builders would be unable to reach many new buyers. For the most part there is a very symbiotic relationship amongst builders and Realtors.
The bottom line is that buyers need representation in all facets of Texas real estate. The builder has representation in the form of sales agents, attorneys and corporate backing. You have nothing if you don’t use a Texas Realtor.