Building New Home

Updated on August 30, 2012
M.K. asks from Frisco, TX
12 answers

If someone plans on building a new home with a builder - do you think they need a realtor? Has anyone had experience with the benefits a realtor can bring to this transaction?


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So What Happened?

Iittle more info - we are looking at a these would be semi custom homes.... you pick your lot and the model/elevation you want to build and then they tell you what changes you can/can't make and you pick all the design stuff yourself...........

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answers from Houston on

In our experience and per our realtor, YES a realtor will be able to get you more incentives, perks, add-ons, whatever you want to call them. I'm sure some will come on here and disagree, and that is fine too.
We didn't end up going the new route in the end, but during our talks with the builder our realtor was able to get A LOT more in the deal than someone just walking into the model. Good luck.

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answers from Chicago on

We are currently buying a new construction townhome, and used a realtor. What a freakin waste of $3300! All she did was introduce us to the builder's agent, and hasn't had to do a single thing since, except for present us with the purchase agreement.

We will buy another townhome next year and will not use a realtor.

We have a great mortgage broker who has done 3 mortgages for us already and knows the process inside & out, and a new real estate attorney who is checking all the legal things for us (this will save us at least $2k when we buy our next unit.)

Oh wait, I forgot that the realtor will be coming to our walk-thru--not that I expect her presence there to be of any importance. She has probably invested a total of 6 hrs into our purchase, so her hourly rate is much higher than my husband (an M.D.) gets paid!

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answers from Salinas on

I don't get it. Why would you need a realtor? Is it a subdivision or something? I don't know anything about that but we built a custom home and I can't think of any reason we would of needed a realtor.
If you own the land then don't you just have to find a good contractor and work with him to ensure you get what you want?

It is a HUGE undertaking but very satisfying in the end. Good luck!

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answers from Columbia on

A realtor? For a new home being built?

My first reaction was to laugh - but now I'm curious. What will this realtor do, besides charge you a percentage (3%?)
I just read all the answers below - and I know Jim is a pretty level headed guy, so if he says it's a good thing, then I have to give that some weight.

But we JUST built a house (moved in in July), and watched my brother in law build his last year. We went with the best builder in the area - his name came up at every bank and every realtor (unrelated to this transaction).

We interviewed a couple others, but it was like a night and day difference. Ours gave us a guaranteed price with allowances, warranties - and we picked out everything (this was not a model unit or a partially constructed home).

The only place I could imagine a realtor coming in is after we've negotiated everything we want and the blueprints are approved - to come in and say "this is the price my clients will pay". I have big boy pants, I can negotiate myself. And I'm certainly not going to pay 3% of the construction cost for a negotiator.

And I'm still confused about all this legal advice a realtor can give. First, no they can't as legal advice giving is limited to lawyers. And second - really? A mortgage is confusing? I borrow, I pay back.

I think I'm missing something here....because this strikes me as being as useful as socks on a rooster.
per your SWH
OOooooooooooooooooooooooooooh. That makes more sense. I still wouldn't do it, but I can totally see using a realtor there.

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answers from Boise on

My husband and I built our home last year, at first we were going to buy an existing home but after seeing the condition of the available homes we decided to build. By that time we already had a realtor, and I questioned the necessity, but she was helpful when it came to all the legal stuff with the mortgage etc. You could probably just do it without a realtor, but you should be somewhat knowledgeable about the home buying process. We had an agreement to buy our home when it was finished being built so we did not have to get a building loan, the whole process was pretty smooth. We were out at the site nearly every day monitoring the progress; we met with the building inspector who made it clear that he worked for our benefit, not the builder. I highly recommend meeting with your building inspector and asking questions! And take lots of pictures of every step if construction, they are just really fun to have! Make sure that you do some research on the home builder you choose, check out some of their existing homes that are unoccupied and also try to meet with home owners who have had their homes built buy the same builder (sometimes that is easier to do online) ask lots of questions! Our builder has a design showroom where you pick out all your colors, fixtures, flooring, etc. It can get pretty pricy when you pick higher end finishes so try to negotiate as much as possible to have some things included at no extra cost. For example I was adamant that I didn’t even want to buy a home that did not already have a fenced in back yard and blinds in the windows so our realtor wrote those things into our offer to be included at no extra cost, the builder agreed! They even added in a fireplace at no extra cost, they were kind of desperate at the time because they did not have enough clients! Now a year later they are doing better and my new neighbors were not able to negotiate as good of a deal so buying at the right time makes a big difference. Best of luck to you!

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answers from Dallas on

We had a realtor with both homes we built. She guided us through the legal work, she was also another set of eyes when we would come inspect the progress and decide if something needed to be re-done or something.

Building a house was he$$ with all the inspections, making sure you aren't getting hosed, etc. When it is all done there is a huge sense of relief.

We've ended up replacing and upgrading all major things with our house. The builders use "code" and we expect more than "code". I heard that word so many times I can still scream.

Good luck!

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answers from Los Angeles on

We were in Arkansas when we built our "dream home". We owned our property "free and clear". We never used a realtor.

We made a deal with our builder for a cost plus 10 contract. We paid him 10% more than he spent on the labor and materals. He had to give me a list of materials he needed two weeks in advance. Then I would go out and shop and see if I could find better deals. I found better deals about 25% of the time and he either used my deals or his supplier lowered his prices to match what I found.

I found enough savings to pay for his commission.

Good luck to you and yours.

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answers from Dallas on

YES YES YES. You absolutely want a realtor in any home purchase unless you are an agent yourself. The reason you want a realtor is to help navigate the whole process because the builders will try to get over on you if they know you don't know any better. For instance, my husband and I was purchasing a spec home and it was 90% finished. The walls had not been painted and the builder never offered me the $1,000 off from the design center. My agent went in and negotiated that for me. Also, I paid to have bookshelves built in the home and the builder said I only paid for part of the shelves and not the other shelves and I called my agent and told her to get the job done or else I am backing out of the deal. Also, they can find incentives for you, they can make sure the negotiated price stays the same and they can work with the lenders for you and go over all the paperwork to make sure you don't sign anything you shouldn't be signing for.

They are an extra set of eyes who have experience in the field. Now with new home builders, you could go in there by yourself but you need a check list of all the things to ask for and don't be afraid to be a hard negotiator. Most people will back down once a builder says no you can't have something but they want to sell the house more than they want to say no.

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answers from Philadelphia on

We didn't use a realtor when we were buying new construction so I am not sure if a realtor could have gotten us anything else. I dont think a realtor could have helped. The cost for the upgrades were standard. The builder just made more profit off of us. Ask a realtor if they would be willing to split the commission they would receive with you. That seems like a win win.
Fyi... We were the first to buy in the development so we had great deals ( a free sun room and $20,000 in free options). I do know that there were price increases with each phase of the development. I also know that we payed much less than many of our neighbors and have a bigger model house with all the options we wanted (upgraded counters, floors, and cabinets, walk out bay window, lighting, fireplace etc.). Some of the people who have our model house paid almost $100,000 more than us. We also bought in 2011 so the market was going crazy then too so that was a factor.

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answers from Columbus on

We did not use a realtor BUT my husband watched them like a hawk! He knew what all was supposed to be done, etc. and didn't let them get away with anything!!

It was a fantastic house - since we were able to pick out everything and design it the way we wanted, my husband chose to make the walls thicker than the standard ones. That house wasn't only quiet between rooms, but warmer/cooler because of the thicker insulated outside walls!! AND since he knew wiring, he put in a really cool stereo system and nice security system. Plus, he put in a laundry chute from the master bedroom upstairs all the way to the basement - my kids loved that feature! It was great!!!

Unfortunately, after eight years we had to move because of my husbands' job:( I miss that house!!!

My advice: get EVERYTHING in writing!!! And I mean EVERYTHING!!!! There were a couple times the builder tried to cut corners and/or fight with us about stuff but we just showed them the paperwork and problem solved!!

Good luck!!!

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answers from Dallas on

We are building a home, 'with' a realtor...we have yet to meet (and we started this process in February). She will make almost $10K off our deal and the only thing she has done is direct us to a specific salesman in a specific sub-division...that's it. There were promises of free appliances and $$ for upgrades, then we were told those were community specific incentives...which the builders offer, NOT the realtor. In some instances, they may be able to negotiate certain things for you, but you'll need one that actually wants to be involved, unlike ours. I've been told she will be at closing (we haven't done our mortgage yet) but I'll believe that when I see it...still don't understand WHY she'd need to be there, though...??

Our salesman, however, has been A+, top-notch, first-class, wonderful! Not sure where you're looking or what builder you're considering, but I would refer anyone to our guy in a heartbeat, so feel free to message me if you'd like.

Best of luck!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

We've built 3 homes. We used a realtor one time, because we had to with relocating with my husband's job (so we weren't out any money). The only reason I would suggest one is if you're not good a negotiating. When we used ours we made her go back to the builder and get what we wanted. (we're good with negotiating but wanted her to earn her money ;-))

Otherwise, no I don't think so. But like others have said get EVERYTHING in writing and watch them like a hawk!! Myhusband was great at that. He can eyeball when framed when the boards aren't 18 on center.

Also, if possible, go into a home with the same floorplan so you can figure out what you will need, for example rules here are different than NC and we don't have enough outlets...little things but make a difference.

Good luck!

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