In today’s market, most sellers contact a real estate agent to SELL their home, but then “emboldened” by the experience, CHOOSE to negotiate their own deal with a builder. Is this practice a good idea? We don’t think so, and here’s why…

“Builder Contracts are Builder-Friendly”

Unlike in the resale market, you are contracting with someone to BUILD you a home, and so there is more leverage on their part to compel you as a buyer to align with their terms. In many cases their contracts aren’t even “approved” by the local real estate association. As real estate agents, we are familiar with a variety of builder contracts and we have the resources of multiple settlement attorneys to help us understand whether a term in the contract can be modified.

Can legal terms like settlement dates, etc, be modified all the time? No, but a good real estate agent will know where to look for those opportunities and help you negotiate the strongest deal possible.

“Not in the Contract, Not Enforceable”

Too often a buyer goes on the hype that a builder sales representative (note: representative, as they don’t have to be licensed) says about a community or a home, and then the buyer moves in, and finds out that none of the promises were kept. They complain to the builder, or the representative (if they are still there) and nothing happens, because it wasn’t in the contract.

Good real estate agents know to ask questions about proffers, facilities and the quality of construction, and they also will help you navigate the process of understanding the homeowners association that you are moving into. In my personal experience prior to becoming a real estate agent, my neighbors and I were promised a community swimming pool, and when it was finally built fifteen years later, we found out that it was for the entire county we lived in, not just for our neighborhood. With me as your real estate agent, I will make sure that we either clearly understand the “promise made” or ensure that it is in the contract to be enforceable.

“Without a Real Estate Agent, You Get a Better Deal”

Go look up the sale prices of your neighbors homes in the tax system of your local county. Generally, they are about the same, whether your neighbors used a real estate agent or not. The builder has a list price and they don’t inflate it due to you being represented. Don’t believe this statement, because it isn’t true.

“Use our Mortgage/Settlement Company, Get a Better Rate/Price”

While in some cases this may be true because the builder is sending so much business to a particular bank, you should still shop the rate. A good agent can give you the names and phone numbers of at least two different lenders and settlement companies that will allow you to understand the cost and value of their services. You can then compare that to the builder rates, and make an informed decision.

To be clear, not all builders are evil, and many are very reputable and build beautiful homes. If anything, agents depend on their quality to help keep the resale market growing.

What is important to remember, though, is that when you enter a builder’s sales office, they have one mission…to sell you a home.

As agents, we have a mission…to have a customer for life…and we work very hard to be sure that everything about your home sale and purchase goes smoothly. Retaining a agent to represent you in the purchase transaction is just as important as on the home sale side, and it costs you nothing. We make the process better for you and we will ensure that you have another “set of eyes” on one of the most important purchases you will ever make in your life.


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