There was a time when would-be homebuyers wouldn’t consider shopping for a home without a real estate agent by their side. Times have changed. Thanks in part to the plentiful resources available online, many home shoppers are foregoing the assistance of a real estate agent, and are researching, visiting and bidding on homes all on their own.
If you are planning to build a new home, it is possible to close the deal without the help of a Realtor. Read on to find out what it takes to buy a new home without a real estate pro representing you.
Buying a home requires a lot of research. For new construction homes in particular, you’ll need to research home styles, availability, pricing, development locations, builder reputation and quality, and mortgage rates and options, at the very least.
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) advises taking the time to research from the start: “You should shop for your builder as carefully as you shop for your home. Whether you are buying a condo, a townhouse, a house in a subdivision or a custom-built house, you want to know that you are buying a good quality home from a reputable builder.”
If you’re someone who doesn’t mind doing this type of research and keeping at it when questions come up along the way that require more research, you’ve got a good foundation for buying a home without a real estate agent.
Be prepared to do a lot of communicating if you are buying a house without Realtor representation. In addition to having plenty of questions for the builder, you will need to speak with mortgage or construction loan lenders, home inspectors, a title agency and possibly a real estate attorney, to name a few. It’s not enough to simply ask questions or follow directions, you will need to know the right questions to ask and comprehend the answers and what that means for you.
Depending on whether you are custom designing a home or buying a newly constructed home, you’ll have even more questions and can expect a lot of back and forth with the builder. If you like learning about new things, speaking with people and analyzing your options, this can be a great learning experience.
“Closing a home can be a very stressful time for buyers,” says Teri Wilber, customer experience coordinator for Grenadier Homes in Dallas, Texas. “Communication with the sales counselor and builder is a key factor in helping ease anxiety. When the buyer is informed throughout the process, the stress is greatly reduced.”
Negotiating the sales price is arguably the most well known of a Realtor’s services. If you think there’s no need to negotiate when buying a new construction home, think again. There is always room for negotiation in a home sale. Builders typically won’t drop their sale price because it sets precedent for them to do the same for future buyers, but they can often be negotiated with “at the back end.” A builder may be willing to pay for closing costs or throw in upgrades or extras at no charge to make the sale.
You don’t have to be a debate pro to handle home sale negotiations, but it helps to have the confidence to ask for upgrades or deals and to know when to accept an offer or walk away.
A home sale comes with plenty of paperwork. You have to keep track of the building or sale contract as well as the various deadlines throughout the process: professional services to schedule and upgrades, options and change orders to track and manage. This doesn’t even include all of the paperwork and requests you’ll be receiving from the lender!
Are you someone who is well-organized enough to stay on top of deadlines and due dates, return calls when needed, meet with service providers, schedule inspections and know what needs to happen and when to keep the transaction moving forward? If so, then you can surely keep the many parts of a real estate transaction moving forward. If not, hire a real estate agent to do this for you.
5. Attention to Detail
How are you with the fine print? Home purchase contracts are pretty much entirely fine print. While existing home sale contracts are usually fairly standard, that’s not always the case with builders. Each builder may have their own contract and way of presenting information. You need to be able to read through that information, digest it and understand what it means for you.
Contracts will specify things like the sale price and any upgrades or special terms you’ve negotiated, the closing date and closing requirements (including any money you will be required to bring to the closing), and any covenants or restrictions on the property, among others. You’ll also need to read through documents from the lender, which contain information about your mortgage rate, loan amount and payment terms. You’ll also have documents to review and sign from your home insurance provider.
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Liyya Hassanali is a Project Manager and Content Strategist for Kinship Design Marketing, a boutique agency that provides marketing strategies and content for architects, interior designers, and landscape designers. She is a 15+ year veteran of the marketing and advertising industry, working closely with her clients to provide written content that meets their marketing goals and gets results.
Liyya is passionate about home design and décor and is a confessed HGTV and Pinterest addict. When not providing content writing services for her clients, she can be found browsing home décor sites or spending time with her family.