7 Reasons Why You Need a REALTOR® When Buying New Construction

Many buyers assume that they do not need an agent for a real estate transaction with new construction. The truth is that it is one of the most critical times to have a real estate agent representing you! Here’s why:

#1: You need representation. The builder is using a professional agent to represent him; you should bring professional representation as well. You do not want to be in the position where you don’t have your own confidential agent fighting for you. When the builder starts pushing your move-in date back, your agent picking up the phone to negotiate. You’ll have more leverage if you have your own, private representation.

#2: It’s a real estate transaction. Many people assume that building a home is a different type of transaction. In truth, it’s a real estate transaction where the builder is selling you the property once it’s completed. There is no reason to treat it unlike any other buyer/seller relationship. You want to set the tone with the builder that you have a professional on your side that is watching for anything that may seem iffy.

#3: You have someone managing the whole process from start to finish.

New Construction in Raffia Preserve Naples
I was able to negotiate thousands off of the price as well as upgrades throughout the home here in Raffia Preserve Naples.
Speaking of move-in dates, how about the whole list of meetings and deadlines leading up to the closing? Don’t get caught in a legal nightmare because you missed submitting certain paperwork. An agent monitors the entire process and makes sure that everyone is meeting the deadlines set in the contract. Your agent will also make sure that the builder is consistently giving you documents that are legally required by certain deadlines.

#4: Negotiation secrets. Builders will rarely negotiate on price for new construction. As a buyer without representation, you might just walk in and accept that. What REALTORS know is that there are hidden gems that you can negotiate for like upgraded countertops or even a pool!

#5: The construction manager. His whole job is to get the job done in the interest of the builder. Before the closing, the buyer will need to do a walkthrough with the construction manager. This is where you need a professional who has done walkthrough after walkthrough of new construction and knows what to look for. So many things can slip through the cracks! I have found ….

#6: Need to get out of your contract? Things happen and real estate deals fall through. You’ll need an agent who knows the laws and can get you out of a contract that is no longer in your best interest.

#7: It doesn’t cost you a penny! You’re not paying the agents in the transaction. The seller is paying the agents. You get free representation. Don’t forego your biggest asset in the deal!

Which agent is right for you? See our article on How to Choose an Agent.

3 Ways To Ensure You Have Representation When Buying Your Next Home

Dear Buyers,

Please stop being your own worst enemies.

You know that open house that you decided to “just stop in on” when you passed by the sign on Sunday? You should have told the agent immediately that you have representation through your own agent.

Remember when your neighbor listed their home and you nonchalantly walked through it with their listing agent? Shouldn’t have done that.

You may have burned yourself when you were “just doing research” and stopped into a new construction site. It may have cost you thousands.

Why do I say this? Because when buyers walk into any home sale situation without their own agent present or without mentioning that they’re working with an agent, they’re giving up all their rights to exclusive representation. They’re essentially hurting themselves.

The REALTOR® rule is: The first agent to show the property to the buyer becomes the buyer’s representative. This means that if the agent is also the listing agent, he or she will be representing both the buyer and the seller in the transaction.

How does this hurt you, the buyer? Imagine walking into the courthouse and finding out that your lawyer is also representing the opposing side. Yep. That’s what you’re doing to yourself. You’re selling yourself short of personal, confidential representation.

How to avoid this while house hunting

Be upfront with all other agents. Before even asking your first question, clearly state that you’re working with an agent. “Hi, I’m John Brown. I’m working with Chris Farrugia of Premiere Plus, but he’s not with me right now. I’m interested in this property, but I want to make sure my relationship with Chris is protected.” You’ve just covered your butt.

Carry your agent’s card. When the urge strikes to stop into an open house, grab a card out of your purse or wallet and hand it to the agent in the open house as soon as they speak to you. Use the script from above: “Hi, I’m John Brown. I’m working with Chris Farrugia of Premiere Plus, but he’s not with me right now. I’m interested in this property, but I want to make sure my relationship with Chris is protected.”

Do not assume anything! Don’t assume that the other agent is just being nice. Don’t assume that the other agent is just helping you out. Don’t assume the agent doesn’t see a dual transaction in his future by answering your questions. If you want to protect the representation you have with your own agent, do not ask a single question or walk into a home without clearly stating that you are working with an agent.

In the end, you’ll be relieved to have your own advocate in your corner. Feel free to walk into open houses and speak to other agents, just be sure to be upfront about your existing relationship.

What You Need To Know About Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals

What is a service animal?

A service animal helps someone with a disability. They are not considered pets under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), so landlords need to be very careful when asking questions. Only dogs, small horses, and ponies can qualify as service animals under the law. Service animals must be specifically trained to perform a specific task to help their owner, such as alerting their owner to medical danger or predicting a seizure. In fact, a service animal is considered to be an assistive device in the same manner a cane or a walker would be.

What can a landlord ask the owner?

Landlords need to be very careful when asking questions to a prospective tenant with a service animal. Only two questions are permitted to be asked:

  • Is this a service animal that is required because of a disability?
  • What task has the dog been trained to perform?

Further care needs to be taken if the person has a visible disability, such as being in a wheelchair. In cases where the disability is readily observable, an accompanying animal is assumed to be a service animal. Although it may seem to be a reasonable question, landlords are not allowed to ask the person what their disability is.

What is an emotional support animal?

An emotional support animal (or ESA) falls under a much broader set of rules for acceptance. Just about any animal can be considered an ESA as long as the tenant shows a psychologist or mental health professional letter of approval.

Only two questions can be asked of someone with an emotional support animal:

  • Does the person seeking to use and live with the animal have a disability?
  • Does the person making the request have a disability-related need for an assistance animal?

If the owner answers no to either of those questions, he or she is not eligible for an ESA and the animal is treated like any other pet. If the answer to both is yes, the landlord has to make reasonable modifications to current policies.

What about police dogs?

Although none of us could argue that a police dog is not a working dog, police dogs are not qualified under the Fair Housing Act nor the Americans with Disabilities act and are treated like any other pet.

What do you do if you’re a landlord?

If you are completely against animals occupying your rental property, what can you do? The simple answer—nothing! Both emotional support animals and service animals are protected in some form under the Federal Housing Act or Americans with Disabilities Act. Ask the two questions that are permitted and make your decision appropriately.

How do you feel about service animals? Should a property owner have the right to refuse housing to someone with a service or emotional support animal? Do you own one and have had problems? Let us know!