I've heard many people say, "You don't need to use a real estate agent if you're buying new construction." You will certainly hear those words from any builder's sales rep. I can understand why a builder would say that (clearly they don't want to have to pay an agent's commission... that's less money in their pocket!) However, what I don't understand, is why a home-buyer would say that.
So why should you use an agent?
Well, from a buyer's perspective, one of the biggest reasons is that as a buyer, it doesn't cost you anything to use an agent! The seller (the builder in this case) pays the real estate commission. So, for the buyer, using an agent is a free service that could save you money both during the buying process and when you sell the home down the road.
As in any real estate transaction, your agent is there to guide you through the process and provide you with the expertise you need to make the best decision. Specifically with new construction, your agent can help guide you to the new construction neighborhood that will best suit your needs. There are many options out there, but they're not all right for you! She can also help you choose the best lot, as well as help you pick and choose the options that will make your home functional and beautiful but also give you the biggest bang for your buck.
Another very important area where your agent can help in this situation is with financing options. Most builders have a lender and a title company that are associated with that specific builder. As a result, the builder will often offer "incentives" to use their lender and/or their title company. These incentives can range from options in the home (i.e: granite counters, a deck, a fenced in yard, a finished basement, etc.) to closing cost credits. However, just because the builder offers these incentives does not necessarily mean that you are getting the best deal with their lender. Your agent can put you in touch with several lenders and help find the best deal for your situation.
Real estate agents also have a great deal of knowledge about the home-buying process that you most likely don't have. So how will this benefit you? In many ways, of course. It will also simply put your mind at ease knowing you have an expert to guide you through the process from start to finish. A specific example with new construction however, goes back to these "associated" companies I mentioned above. Often times, builders will discuss financing and settlement with you as if you don't have a choice but to use their lender and title company. BUT you always have a choice! The buyer gets to choose the lender and title company. Just because the builder may act like their's no alternative, doesn't mean that's the whole truth. Your agent will be able to help you decide if using the builder's lender and/or title company is right for you, or if it makes more sense for you to go with an outside company for either or both.
Just remember: it's very important to have your agent with you from the first visit to the builder!! I hope that helps to clear things up for anyone looking at purchasing new construction!