You’re probably aware that buyers typically pay nothing to be represented by a Realtor in a real estate transaction, because in virtually all transactions the listing agent splits his or her listing commission with the buyer’s agent. It’s called a “co-op commission” because the buyer’s agent (also known as the “selling” agent) is cooperating with the listing agent in the sale of his or her listing. My own analysis reveals that 95% of residential transactions involve both a listing and selling agent.
Builders of new homes also offer a co-op commission when a buyer has an agent, yet in too many cases, buyers deal directly with the builder’s salesperson and do not take advantage of the opportunity to have an agent on their side. It’s similar to buying an automobile from a dealer — the salesperson isn’t your friend.
This is particularly unfortunate when you realize that you pay just as much for the house when the builder doesn’t have to compensate your agent. You gain nothing and lose a lot when you buy a new home without professional representation.
I did a survey of 45 builder salespersons and the Realtors who put builders’ homes on the MLS, and learned that as few as half their transactions are with buyers who have an agent representing them.
In case it’s not obvious that you’re better off having your own agent when buying a home from a builder, let me point out some ways that having an agent on your side can benefit you.
First of all, your agent can tell you whether the builder is using the buyer-friendly state purchase contract or – as is usually the case – a contract prepared by the builder’s attorney. Any contract prepared by a builder’s attorney is written to protect the builder, not you. Although a real estate agent is allowed to interpret the state contract to buyers, only a lawyer can explain or interpret a builder’s contract. Your agent can refer you to a trusted real estate attorney who will help you understand the contract before you sign it.
It’s fair to say that a builder’s sales representative will not give as much weight as your agent would to the importance of consulting a real estate attorney. That salesperson also may not stress the importance of hiring a professional home inspector to make sure the home is well built and built to code.
Just because a home is new does not guarantee that it was properly built, or even built to code. I always recommend having a home inspector make three visits when you buy a new home — once after framing is complete but before the drywall is installed, and a second time prior to closing. You’d be surprised what these inspections can uncover. I also recommend a third visit a year later, before the builder’s warranty expires.
One thing your agent can tell you is whether the deposit money you provide at contract time is non-refundable (as is usually the case) and whether you’ll be spending thousands of dollars, not only for design-center upgrades but also for window coverings and landscaping, including a sprinkler system.
Your agent can also tell you whether the builder has created a “metropolitan tax district,” which means that you, not the builder, will be paying hundreds or thousands of dollars in extra property taxes for up to 30 years to cover the community’s infrastructure costs, including streets, sidewalks, and sewers.
If you hire an agent from Golden Real Estate, you’ll also get assistance with your moving costs, including use of our moving trucks, moving boxes, packing materials and labor. Don’t shortchange yourself by not engaging one of us in the purchase of your new home. Call us at 303-302-3636.