Do you need a Realtor to buy new construction?

You are ready to move up, move out, or move on to a new neighborhood so you take out your phone or device and hit the web to do some research, or maybe you just take a drive on a Saturday or Sunday and find a great new construction neighborhood. The salesperson shows you the model with ALL the bells and whistles and discusses payment/mortgage options.

Someone told you once that you didn't need a Realtor to buy and maybe, just maybe, the builder would knock off that pesky commission and give it back to you. NOT TRUE.  Builders want to work with Realtors because Realtors make great referral partners for future sales.  And as for the commission, it's built into their cost of doing business.  If a buyer doesn't use a Realtor, that commission goes back to the builder's profit.

Well, the builder's price is the builder's price; there's no room for negotiation.  Sort of not true.  A Realtor can research the sales in the area and see if the price quoted falls within the market trends for the neighborhood.  They can provide data to show the salesperson that may get you a better price.

Once the contract is signed and the build begins, there's nothing for the Realtor to do to justify that HUGE commission. Again, not true.  A Realtor can be as involved as you would like - they can go to construction meetings with you, they can go to the design center with you, and most importantly, they are another set of eyes at the walk-thru before closing.

Here are a few things I've noticed for some of my clients during the building process:

  • master toilet was actually plumbed in the master closet
  • the wrong brick was nearly installed on the house
  • debris under the carpet in the corner (plastic trash not removed before carpet tacked down)
  • sheetrock not taped/floated properly
  • doors not properly hung
  • many, many cosmetic items that may seem small but would be glaringly noticeable after move-in

As is usually the case in Real Estate transactions, the seller (in this case the builder) pays the commission. Why would you not want someone representing you and working for you in your best interest for FREE?

P.S. if you just can't see the value in using a Realtor, at least consider getting a new home inspection before closing; the report can be used to find things the builder missed or installed improperly.

Sharon McElrath, Associate Broker at ERA Benes Realty

Photo provided by #realtor via

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