Profile picture for marcus.cross

How does a buyer's agent work?

I'm looking to purchase my first house and need an expert to walk me through the process.  I am looking for a 4 bedroom home, new construction only, in the Carmel area.  How can a buyer's agent help me vs. me going directly to the homebuilder like Ryland, Drees, or Shoopman?
  • June 07 2010 - Carmel
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Answers (10)

A buyers agent represents you.  The Builders agents represent the builder.  It doesn't cost you so why not have that extra safety.  Good luck. 
  • June 17 2010
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Profile picture for Blue Nile
Though the "seller" does pay for the buyer's agent (not necessarily a Realtor® {member of NAR [National Association of Realtors]}), many "builders" do offer a "discount" to not have to pay this additional 3rd party.  You should find out what discount they will offer for that before even beginning discussions.  The agent (even if a member of NAR) usually won't be able to negotiate anywhere near the price reduction offered, nor other "upgrades".

The "inspector" is a must; but don't just get anyone randomly; some are much more detailed than others, and have more skills to find hidden defects.  Every home has defects; it can't be avoided.  For new construction, make sure your warranty information is clear in the contract.  Normally it is 1 year parts and labor; and many materials may be 15 year or more.  Make sure your inspector indicates the life expectancy of things like the roof, and the R-value of ceiling and wall insulation, and the U-value of windows.  Have the builder give you that information too; but you may find they cut the corner and the information given is not correct because they didn't know what the guys in the field did.  Especially have your inspector look at the foundation, and possible site drainage issues, and possible earth contact with the wood structure.

Also make sure they check the plumbing, the electrical, and all weatherstripping.  Many major problems can be avoided if found early.

If your inspector has an infrared camera and experience using it, he or she can find many problems hidden to most people.  (Such as missing insulation, or water leaks, or loose wires).

Your money is better spent on inspectors than it is on agents.  You also may want to have an architect friend look over the plans and specifications, to let you know any issues regarding what was specified, and any options that you might prefer (such as copper coils on air conditioning units in areas near salt water).  And with all the radioactive granite and radioactive drywall recently sold, it wouldn't hurt to ask your inspector if they have a Geiger counter.

If they promise anything, the "promise" doesn't exist if it is not in writing.  If they told you they would provide something, don't sign if you don't see it in the contract.

And don't forget to check on HOA documents and fees.  Many new construction projects are having problems with the Home Owner Associations, which will only cause you nightmares in the future.
  • June 09 2010
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Profile picture for JDaniel
Find a buyer agent that either specializes in new construction or who has experience from helping other buyers go through the new construction process. When you buy direct from a builder they have an obligation to treat you fairly, honestly and ethically but they do not represent your interests. Only a by hiring a buyer agent will you get that level of service.
  • June 09 2010
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Hire a buyer agent, who will be a professional, working for you.
  • June 09 2010
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Profile picture for ChandaB
Marcus,

I agree with Scottsdale_AZHomes.  One other thing I would strongly urge you to do, should you decide not to use a Realtor/agent to help you through the process....Get a home Inspection!!!!!  Just because the home is new doesn't mean it won't have defects.  I can't count how many times someone purchased a new construction home without getting an inspection, then found out the hard way that there were major defects with the home....Not a pleasant thing to have to work through when it's all said and done...

Hope this helps!
  • June 09 2010
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Profile picture for broker_GRI

Good evening Marcus,

Whether you decide to buy from a builder or not, having an excellent buyers agent to guide you through the process will not only provide you with "peace of mind" but also with the skills of a professional looking out for your interests.

Most often the buyers agent  will by paid by the seller at close of escrow.

 Unless you have a direct referral from someone you know and trust it would be well advised for you to interview several agents until you find one you feel comfortable with

Here is the contact information for two experienced and reputable real estate agents in your area. Each is familiar with the area you are interested in.

I know them personally from our work together in Rotary (a volunteer service organization).

 

Cara Denny    Broker, GRI and President of one of your local REALTORS Board

831-588-9407

 

Rebecca Wolf   REALTOR, GRI ( I believe she holds a chair position on the Monterey county Board)

831-241-2600

 

Best of luck to you in your search for a new home!

  • June 07 2010
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A first-time buyer would do well to enlist the expertise of a buyer's agent--who maintains everything you say in confidence, and who can tell you whether and/or how much more than similar homes, the builder is asking for the home you like. Going directly to the agent representing the builder--or the builder him or herself--puts you in the same position of asking an adversary's lawyer to represent you when his or her loyalty is to the builder/seller!  The listing agent's role is to get the most money for the property his client has placed on the market.  The buyer's agent's role is to get the most house for the least money for his or her client, the buyer.

Additionally, as a first-time buyer, you need to know EXACTLY what your responsibilities are, what your costs are, how long the process of purchase takes, what lenders can do the best job for you, the role of a home inspector, and myriad other details.  An experienced buyer's agent can provide all that expertise and more.

If you don't know someone who can do this for you where you want to buy, call me. I'll be happy to refer you to an excellent agent who can protect your interests.  And, by the way, you do NOT pay the buyer's agent. The seller's contract covers your agent, too.
  • June 07 2010
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If you decide not to have a Buyers Agent represent you, read the documents that the builder places in front of you very carefully.  I can almost guarantee you there will be a clause or two stating that the sales agent and broker DO NOT represent the Buyer and the Buyer acknowledges that they are unrepresented.

Now the builder isn't trying to rip you off, they are just trying to sell houses.  However, should anything go wrong or change once you have signed on the dotted line you have no one to negotiate on your behalf with the Department of Real Estate.  I can not tell you how many times I have heard a Buyer say "they promised to do this" or "they said they would give me that".  It becomes your word against theirs.  An agent on your side can substantiate that the builder did not live up to their promises.

  • June 07 2010
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I believe the biggest thing about a buyer's agent is that they represent you in the transaction.  If you go to the builder, whomever you talk to represents the builder with the builders best interests in mind.  Check with some of your friends to see who a good Realtor would be and then contact that Realtor.  Remember, the Realtor gets their commission from the Seller, so it doesn't cost you anything to have your own representation.  Good luck!  If you have a hard time finding a Realtor, contact me and I will see if I can locate one for you.
  • June 07 2010
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Someone from Carmel should probably respond, but here in Massachusetts, the buyers agent works for YOU, while the selling agent with the home building is really out for themselves.  Your agent can negotiate on your behalf when you are making your offer and make sure that all due diligence is done.

Good luck in your home purchase!
  • June 07 2010
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