All great comments thus far and much depends on the type of builder> regional or national publicly traded builder. There are varying levels of flexibility based on the builders situation. If the only value added feature that the Realtor suggested they could offer was to assist on negotiations, I would suggest that hopefully you have other benefits with your relationship with them. Such things should be that they are working in your best interest and can suggest good inspectors who can inspect the home at various stages of construction. They should assist in calling a builder's bluff for overcharges that may be a policy but lack common sense in a particular situation. Also, help in reviewing mortgage rates, GFI's, HUD's, etc. should be a service they assist you. Remember also that while a sink (or any item) in a retail shop is much lower in price, it does not include installation or installation warranty in case of leaks, etc. Best of Luck.
Certainly there are home builders out there who have variances in pricing with same or similar "included features". Please remember that what is behind/in the walls, in the foundation, and in the attic can comprise a lot of cost. For example, if one builder is using 2x10's or 2x12's and another is using TGI's, the TGI's are more costly, can bear more load and there are engineering reports to substantiate. Neither of these are usually code restrictive but one is definitely better than the other.Another example is foundations: Two builders may do post-tension foundations but one is using using piers and another one is not or deeper, thicker footings, etc. Certainly some agents may not have a lot of construction experience but some of them do. Find out these types of details because the true quality of a home is what makes up the structure, not just the appliances, light fixtures, and such.Most reputable builders will not want to offer a better deal to a buyer without a real estate agent if a large portion of their business is driven by agents. However, in times like this, these things can happen. My comments are based on my 9 years of new home builder experience. Best of Luck!
Perhaps RS you should focus on being positive and if you have something negative to say, just keep it to yourself and your masked identity. I'm sorry but I think we have enough negativity out there already. Post your thoughts and leave other people's thoughts alone.
Red Squirrel,Seriously? Do you disqualify people where you are not familiar with their situation. I've sold to smart young people who have acquired an estate from a family member. It would be wise to understand their situation first which is what my entry suggested>find out where you stand first. I'm sure you can agree that you can't buy a home too early. You can even be a licensed agent at 18 so why would you be hesitant for someone to purchase at 19? I'm sorry for the initial question but how can you comment on whether they can afford it? Perhaps she just needs help of how to extract the money from a trust. Seek first to understand.
It seems that most all the answers here are great information to consider but really to your question: Why is a DUPLEX a great investment typically (depending on location and such)? One of the biggest reasons why it usually is, is because the two most expensive parts of a home are the foundation and the roof of the home. In a Duplex, you get 2 for 1 basically, thus the cost of the dwelling is much lower allowing an investor (first time or experienced) to realize a good investment. Perform you due diligence on location, etc. and get after it!