There are about 3 main builders that have been doing a lot of building in Spokane and then others also, the key here is more what kind of home are you looking for and where, that will limit your selection along with price. I used to live in Seattle and there almost every road had a development, not so here. The quality is not near what it was in Seattle, but it has gotten better. I really like greenstone homes. I thinkt hey offer great floorplans and some nice upgrades. As for development agents, don't go that route. you want an agent not tied to the builder. I wouldn't want someone who was working for the other side of the transaction and when problems come up, how hard are they going to fight for you when they have a contract with the builder. Get your own agent, there isn't much incentives here and the ones we have can be gotten by your agent because it's not as competitive. Visit our website we have a virtual tour for a Development called Greystone that is already built but you can get an idea of what to expect.
Here in the Spokane area new construction listings are on the MLS offering the cooperating broker (buyers agent/broker) a specific commission. I have not seen the white board example here. Don is correct that a good agent will be able to compare for you what is the best deal and why. So much is negotiable. What matters MOST is WHEN you are actually here and ready to write an offer, what are the special incentives at that time. When you have a good buyers agent, you can sit down with them on the live MLS available ONLY to agents, and see the remarks in the 'agent section" as to what incentives are being offered if they are not publically being advertised. I just sold a new construction a few days ago, and some builders are offer 3,000$ toward closing costs or upgrades, EG.
I imagine it is hard to decide how to locate a trustworthy agent in a strange place. I have many references!
I'm an out of area guy. I have no idea where Okemos is but I've got a tip for you. Most large builders work in larger new home communities and utilize model homes that are staffed by site salespeople, either agents or their own staff if they're in-house. Many of these builders utilize special, one week incentives that aren't advertised in the MLS or in the newspaper. They do this to help their site people sell the homes, which generally saves them some commission. In our area they call these "white board specials" or something along those lines, since they are posted on a white board in a model. Bottom line, you've got to get out to the new home sites to see these incentives and they change periodically. This is tedious work but it's up to you. My advice would be to trust your Realtor to find the best overall value for you. The best incentive doesn't always mean your getting the best deal available in the marketplace.
There are several (dozens)large builders in the area, Douglas, Sullivan Homes, Condron Homes, Paras, Finch, and many more. These builders have their homes on the MLS and they are all listed with agents, Therefore, a good buyers agent is what you need . Many of them are offering incentives, it depends on the price range and developement. You can also ask for what you want and need and see what happens! This is where a good negotiator such as myself will come in handy!
I sell new homes frequently, and I would be happy to put you on the scouting report which would e-mail you homes directly from our MLS that meet your specified search criteria. I can e-mail you several homes, a specific list of builders, and also include some of their incentives being currently offered. Hope to hear from you!