Let me first say, builders love to see a buyer walk through their doors without an agent accompaning them....A good agent not only will know the local market but they should know the various promotional initatives offered buy the builder.
The basic rule for bouers is to seek your own representation and not get drawn into being represented by the sellers agent. Given the choice, do you really believe you would get a fair shake if the choice were you or the seller?
Yes, you can make a lower than asking price for new construction....but understand that the salesperson on the floor cannot normally negotiate this type of activity. You will need to get to their supervisor/manager for this to occur. From our experience, it's easier to negotiate additional options into an agreement( tile, granite, crown molding, upgraded appliances, pavers etc.) than negotiating a lower price.
It's best to take the position that "it won't hurt to ask....."
I recently got drawn into being represented by sellers agent. I got too excited about the house and foolishly believed they were out to help me. When it came time to negotiate and make the offer, the seller agent discouraged me and advised I should offer the asking price because my offer was too low. (147k asking 140k offer) I'm talking about a new house that has been on the market for over 5 months. I'm pre-approved so I felt I had some bargaining power. The sellers agent went as far as offering me $2500 out of her pocket if I made the offer at asking price. I'm sure her commission check would have been nice had I gone through with it. I then withdrew everything I had done and started from scratch with my own agent. I'm glad I did.
As a first time home buyer it's easy to get too excited and make emotional decisions rather than strategic ones. I learned to keep my cool, be patient and let my agent get me what I want and need.
It all started by reading this awesome advise.
Your two questions above (my response being Yes and Yes), and the questions that are not being asked, is exactly why I wrote the following paper for when Buyers are looking to purchase from a Builder: http://docs.Steven-Anthony.com/BuilderRealtorAgent.pdf
I believe you will find the paper to be very useful as, and if, you move forward with a Builder purchase.
It is always best to have your own representative in the purchase of any home. The listing agent or in this case the agent for the builder is there to protect the builders interest and get them the most money for the home. Agents have access to what incentives are being offered through the new home mls system. It is not uncommon for new construction agents to not give the full amount of incentives. So as said before, yes you should have your own agent, but in most cases you will need to have them attend your first visit to the community. As for asking or offering a lower than asking price, that all depends, you may be able to successfully negotiate additional incentives but they are usually pretty stickler on the pricing in those communites. I hope this helps.
All good answers from the agents. You definitely don't have to look at homes with an agent, but when you're ready to start negotiating and submitting offers, definitely use a buyer's agent. Your agent will look out only for your best interests, and you don't even have to pay for it. As Bill said, use a local agent, in this case an agent who works primarily in North County, who can help you negotiate the upgrades and price. You'll be glad you did!
I am unsure about hiring an agent as I am only looking, not too serious. I don't want to waste his or her time.
This particular new homes I am looking at has all the upgrade already, I would rather a reduction in price, thus reduce my property tax. Hope this make s sense.
I have purchased two new homes from builders, both before I was licensed as a real estate broker. One time I had representation from an agent, one time I did not. I found that when I was represented, it gave me a bit more bargaining power and it gave me an ally when I ran into a dispute with the builder. Many builders have more inventory on hand than they would like, so you may be able to negotiate some great concessions (like paying down Mello Roos or HOA fees, more upgrades at no cost, etc).