During a typical real estate sale, buyers have their own buyers agent unless there is a unique situation and the agent is representing both sides. The question seems to come up more when buying a new construction, which totally makes sense because when you go into a new neighborhood there is a sales office with real estate agents ready to help.
Which poses the question — should you use a realtor when buying new construction or should you use the agent at the new construction office?
In fall of 2013, I bought 2 new-build rentals for family, as part of their 1031 exchange, which is when they sold one house and bought 3 more, allowing the taxes to differ. Our amazing agent at the time was the one who brought us the deals. Even though I had bought 4 properties prior and was currently living in one and renting the other three out, I was mighty happy that we had our agent. After that experience and having watched friends buy new construction, there are 3 reasons I would never recommend not using a realtor.
#1: There are No Savings When You Forgo a Realtor
In my experience, not having a buyers agent does not add value. You don’t get to keep her 3% commission or get a better “deal.” Honestly, if anything, you get a worst deal. I know our realtor has been able to get additional deals for both us and her other clients because she was able to show comparison to lower-priced houses and really advocate for the best deal.
#2: Sales Office Real Estate Agents Are Sellers (Not Buyers) Advocates
These agents work for the builder. Think of them as the sellers agents. At the end of the day, their goal is to sell the house for the builder. They are not there to help you when issues arise on your side, they are there to close the loan.
When we were buying our house, we ran into some financing issues due to it being an investment property. The only reason it went through was because our agent advocated for us and helped fix the issue. I know that I also appreciated a second opinion when it came to what upgrades would have the best resale value.
#3: They’re a Third Set Of Eyes
I am not an interior decorator and struggle picking out the different tiles and other features. This was totally new for us, as all of our other houses had either been purchased as fixer uppers, or as is.
I had also never bought a new build, as all of my houses had been short sales or foreclosures, so I was not used to being able to have an opinion. It was a huge asset to have another person to bounce ideas off of, and get an idea for what is acceptable and normal. For example, there were botches on the outside of the house where the paint didn’t set because it was too cold when they painted. They told me they would fix it in the summer, and it was nice to have a second opinion to let me know that that truly was fine.
At the end of the day, I am so thankful that we had our realtor for this sale. She came to all the walk-throughs and meetings. She was a huge asset, and I couldn’t image not having had this type of assistance, especially since there is no discount for not having it.
A Piece of Advice
My only piece of advice is to make sure that you don’t register until you bring your realtor, otherwise they do not get credit. There is a new development that I am interested in reviewing when they open their doors in a few months, and I’m taking my real estate agent on day one — otherwise, I would not be able to use her. Every developer is different, but definitely keep that in mind.