Curt Dean, REALTOR®
602-316-6790 mobile

Buying a new home is extremely exciting and also a bit daunting! The process can vary widely from builder to builder, with some offering very little in the way of personal choices or “options” as they are frequently referred to, and others offering a wide variety. If you make wise choices, and shop the market, you can end up with your dream home!

I often get asked the question “Why should I use a realtor when buying a new home?” And the answer is simple, “Why wouldn’t you want someone who has been through the process many times to be your guide?” Let me explain a bit:

First, I have built no less than seven new homes for myself. I have also represented dozens of buyers purchasing new homes. As such, I am very familiar with many of the builders in Phoenix, their strengths and weaknesses, and their quality of build. Experience counts!

Second, who does the sales rep work for? The builder! I would love to say that everyone is honest, but the fact is they aren’t. At the end of the day, the builder is selling you home to make money, and while I will readily admit some builders have excellent quality control, if something doesn’t go right, you need someone who is willing to battle for you, which I will do as if it were my own home! A quick story: on the second home I built with a builder who still builds in the valley, and is reputable, we had what is known as a frame walk. At the frame walk, there was a wall niche that had a very obvious slope where it should have been level. The builder rep swore it was level. I walked to my car, pulled out a level, and showed him it was indeed not level. I am convinced this home would have been built with this sloping niche had we not intervened. This is a small item, easily corrected, but easier done during the construction process than after. The point of this, the builder in many cases will stubbornly protect their best interests over yours.

Third, as someone who works with new home builders frequently, I often visit with the sales reps and managers to find out what incentives they currently offer. For example, I recently worked with a buyer for a small townhouse. She had prequalified for a loan from a mortgage broker. However, as I pointed out to her, using the mortgage company supporting the builder meant 4% towards closing costs for her. A quick check of rates showed that while the builders mortgage was a 1/4 point higher in rate, it was more than beneficial for her to work with the builders mortgage provider. Additionally, we were able to show them the rate offered by the other company, and they were able to match it. It pays to have someone who does this frequently support you and ask questions you may not know or forget to ask.

Fourth, upgrades and options! Another story from a recent deal: when asked about why a builder does not offer a particular wood floor as an option, the sales rep said that it was about $20,000 to add that flooring, and that they don’t offer it as a result. Okay, I rehab homes from time to time. I know what $20,000 gets you in flooring, and that was about $4,000 in flooring. The sales re was simply throwing up a number he had heard to make it seem out of reach. Options from the builder are often priced so far above market level it is ridiculous. While others may make complete sense. As a consumer, you must weigh your objectives versus your wallet versus what is offered to make the best choice. I can help you to understand what market rates for flooring, cabinets and upgrades might be so you may wisely choose what you want to add through the builder, and those you may want to add after closing. Some of the best buys I see are using the builder to do a basic home, and then adding on top grade flooring and designer choices after. However, if you are moving into the home on day one, this might be an issue, living through construction. The point is, we should discuss and understand the best course to get you to the finished product you want.

Fifth, what does my representation cost you? Nothing! I am paid by the builder. Contractually, I have a fiduciary responsibility to you, the buyer, not the seller. I MUST act in your best interest regardless of who pays me!

Bottom line: The only time I would advise you to NOT use an agent is if you are an experienced consumer, and the builder is providing you a 3% rebate on the cost of the home to not use an agent, which does not happen very often.