Ask An Agent! New Construction

Building a new house? Hire a REALTOR® first!
Art Vibulakaopun 
When someone thinks about buying a house for the first time, they usually will think about hiring a REALTOR® to help them with the purchase. Unless you are a agent or real estate investor, you probably haven’t purchased a house before. So that is why you ask your friends who they used to purchase their first home.
When someone thinks about building their home, they don’t usually think about hiring a REALTOR® first. They think about where they would like to live and is there any available land to build on.
The first thing that anyone who is considering buying and building a new house is to hire a qualified REALTOR®. When you are looking for a REALTOR® to help you with new construction, find out if they have any experience in the area.
For myself, I took a designation class in New Construction & I had past experiences with building a new homes. In class, we learn about the process of building a new house from the contract process to the final walk through before closing. My parents built their house and I was able to watch and participate in the build. When it came time for me to look for a home, I built a house with my brother and with a local and reputable builder in St. Louis.
What can an agent do to help you with new construction?
  • Builders love to work with REALTORS®. The builder knows that we understand the paperwork involved in the transaction, knows that we know houses. The builder also knows that the client that we brought them as been pre-qualified or pre-approved for financing if needed.
  • A lot of people think that they can get a better price if they do not use a REALTOR® when they build. This is not always true.  A REALTOR® can help you negotiate when it comes to new construction. We can negotiate the final build price. We can negotiate on a discount for the options you pick. Also, we can negotiate any lot premiums. As a REALTOR®, I am going to know what the surrounding market conditions are and use this to help you negotiate the final sales price. 
  • A REALTOR® will also help you stay within your budget. There are options that I am going to know are cheaper to do with an outside contractor than doing it with the builder. Also, I am going to know what option will help you in the future with re-sale.
    • For example, one of my clients decided to go the new construction route. The builder was in the middle of the build, so they had plenty of lots to sell and build on. I was able to negotiate for this client a reduction in the lot premium, help them pick the lot for their walk-out basement and a 50% reduction in price on all options. This was about a $30,000 savings for my clients.
  • A REALTOR® will also be able to help you with design features. When you are building new, you get to choose your light fixtures, flooring, bath fixtures, kitchen cabinets and kitchen countertops. I can tell you from experience that most people do not understand where and how to pick light fixtures. When I build my house, I just assume that the builder was going to build my house just like the display. Boy how wrong I was! I have had about 8 clients who I have helped with new construction. When it came to lighting, they were really glad to have me as their guide.  Yes, if you didn’t do a proper lighting, you can hire an electrician to solve this problem. However, I can guarantee that it will not come cheaply to resolve.
Like anything that we need done, we try and find the best experts or experienced people to get that done for us. When we need legal advice, we seek an attorney. When we are sick or injured, we seek the appropriate physician. So with new construction, you should find a REALTOR® with lots of new construction experience. 


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