You've asked an excellent question about a topic that is not well understood by consumers. While you technically don't need a real estate agent to represent you with a new build, it is a good idea to have one. Why? The first reason is a great one - it costs you nothing. When you enter into an agreement with a seller (home builder), the person handling the transaction at the sales office works for the builder and represents the builder. Without your own real estate agent, you do not have anyone in the industry representing your interests, using industry knowledge, contacts and expertise to negotiate the lowest price, assist you with reviewing and understanding contract terms, going to bat for you in the event of a dispute with the builder, and potentially adding or modifying contract terms to protect your interests or accommodate your particular situation.
My office goes one step further - we pay for a professional 3-stage home inspection by Landsafe. Your new build will be inspected by Landsafe just prior to pouring your slab, prior to insulation, and prior to final walk-thru. While all new construction has to pass city code inspection, there are items that may pass code but not be acceptable to the homeowner. For instance, on one occasion the inspector was removing Taco Bell debris from the bottom of the slab dig before concrete was poured - something the inspector surely would not have seen, but was very bothersome to the homeowner. In another instance, the builder had used slightly bowed 2x4 beams in several places that passed code, but we asked the builder to replace. In another instance, a hole was never cut into the drywall for a duct return, and if the inspector hadn't caught it, my client would have had an air-conditioned attic.
If you are considering utilizing a real estate agent, make sure they are familiar with new construction and even more importantly, that they are intimately familiar with the local market. In other words, if you are buying a home in Tolleson you would be best off using an agent who works locally in the Tolleson, Avondale, Goodyear, Buckeye areas and understands issues unique to those locations. Also, don't hire the first agent who returns your call - interview at least three agents and hire the one who you feel has the most expertise, the most professional demeanor, and the one who you feel will do the best job for you.
Builders have very strict rules about buyers using their own agents. If this is something you are going to do, your agent must walk you through the sales office for the first time and register you, in writing, as being represented by them. Only if you do that will the agent receive a commission (paid for by the builder) and be able to assist you.
My team sells an average of 100 homes annually, including new construction, and we come from a very hard-core negotiating background having worked in the foreclosure/REO industry for the last few years. If you contact my office, we would be happy to discuss the particular community, pricing, etc.
Amazing AZ Homes
602 614 3842
At no cost to you, Having representation is paramount for all of the reasons Jennie explained. In addition, if you choose the right realtor with the proper experience & negotiation skills, there is a strong chance they will be able to negotiate a better deal than you could have yourself. I did exactly that for my clients in a new home subdivision in Goodyear. Contact me if you need my assistance.