7 Things Most Builders Don’t Want You to Know
1. The on-site sales agent works for the builder. On-site agents will act in the best interest of his or her client, the builder, not you. Doesn’t it make sense to have your Realtor represent you?
2. Builders pay for you to have a consultant. All builders pay a Realtor commission – it is figured in the list price of the home. What that means is that you pay for professional assistance whether you use it or not. Builders don’t lower the price just because buyers haven’t asked for help.
3. Upgrades are the nickels and dimes that add up to big dollars. I’m not saying that you should leave everything “builder grade” in your home, but I definitely believe that you should add value to your home, not just cost. Some things must be done during construction – others can wait. I can help you determine which upgrades are smart to put in during construction, and which can wait until later.
4. Required items are not always included. There are lots of questions to ask about exactly what is and is not included. (i.e., The seller traditionally pays for the title insurance, so we assume it is included; however, builders are not required to do so).
5. In-house financing may not be as reasonable as it seems. The rate you pay with an in-house mortgage lender may (or may not) be as good as anywhere else. While the rate is important, so are the loan discount fees and lender charges associated with the loan. Remember, the builder who pays loan points has built that cost into the price of the home, so it should not matter who you decide on as your lender. Shop around…avoid “junk fees.” Ask lenders to procide you with a Good Faith Estimate so you can compare the total transaction charges. Also, look for a lender that will allow you to lock your rate for an extended period of time, i.e., 45, 60, or 90 days.
6. The cost of a new home is generally much higher than the list price. When determining whether to invest in a new or existing home, take into consideration that most existing homes have the landscaping and window coverings in place for you. These two items alone can cost lots of time and money. I recommend that if you are considering both pre-owned and new homes, be sure to compare “apples to apples.”
7. The quality issue. This issue comes up particularly in the custom home market. When you have a Realtor working for you, he or she can help locate the areas where the itemized estimate won’t be the quality you except, where to invest those precious upgrade dollars – and where spending more money will be necessary to get the quality you deserve. I believe home buyers should not be surprised by the actual cost of their new home.