10 ways agents can help their new-build buyer clients

Clients who are building a home instead of buying an existing property may think they don’t need an agent to help them through the process. Not so, according to an Inman.com article. The article discussed the reasons why even those who are working with the builder’s staff need the expertise of a real estate agent,

“As cordial as new-home sales staff might be, they have a fiduciary duty to the builder client,” wrote RealEstateCoach.com CEO Bernice Ross.

Just as the builder has its staff looking working for them, so should buyers. According to Ross, representing a new-build buyer is “an excellent way to illustrate your value while also helping you earn a commission if your clients elect to build.”

Here are some of Ross’s 10 tips for helping your buyers through the new construction process:

  1. Have buyers immediately identify you as their agent — “Otherwise, they will be stuck in a dual agency situation with the builder’s on-site salesperson,” Ross wrote.
  2. Do the research and compare builders — Take clients to see older subdivisions of different builders so they can check and compare the wear of exteriors.
  3. Beware of big, non-refundable deposits — Almost every builder requires a 10% deposit. Canceling could result in the buyers losing some or all of it.
  4. Brace buyers for major sticker shock – Buyers fall in love with the builder’s model home, not knowing that it may include $50,000 or more in upgrades. They pick similar details for their new home and the price skyrockets. “The buyers then have to decide whether to scale back their choice or to dig deeper into their pocketbook,” Ross wrote.
  5. Investigate what you want ahead of time — Buyers will have limited time to make their design selections so suggest they visit the design center prior to their selection appointment.
  6. Know there’s no credit toward upgrades — There is no credit given for upgrades installed but not offered by the builder.
  7. Inspect what you expect — Buyers should make sure they know what’s going on at every step of the building process. “It’s imperative that your buyers either hire someone to monitor what the builder is doing or track it themselves,” Ross wrote. She also suggested hiring a home inspector to check the property pre-dry wall and again before closing.
  8. Circumvent costly change orders — Let buyers know if they decide to make changes or additions to a feature of their home, they will pay the retail cost of the item plus the change fee, which can start at $250, according to Ross.
  9. Avoid costly maintenance headaches — Ross noted buyers should consider how livable the property will be.  In other words, keep your design choices simple. “…. that trendy German stove takes six to eight weeks to get replacement parts from Germany,” Ross wrote.
  10. Look for impractical design features — For example, smoke detectors that are placed in very high ceilings can be a pain to change.

Source: “Why every new-build buyer needs a savvy agent,” Inman.com (Sept. 6, 2016)