This is also why it;s more important for you to have a Realtor to help you navigate through the whole maze. Also, even though the builders will probably handle the contract, it's nice to have your Realtor look through the contract to make sure things are handled in your favor.
Of course alot of money, that's why some will give you thousands in upgrades and really good loan terms if you don't bring a realtor... Other builders will say "thank you very much" and put it in their pocket...
A buyers agent can also advise you of other home sales in the area (in and out of the development) and help you make sure that you are making a sound investment.
The builders agent represents the builder and his/her goal is to maximize profits for the builder.
Also be careful - some builders offer sizable bonuses in features and upgrades if you *do not* bring a realtor. The trick is - you need to find out from the builder ... without giving them your name so that the decision is still yours whether to bring a realtor or not.
DO NOT sign an exclusive buyers agent agreement if you're looking at new construction... don't create a contract that might cause you trouble if the builder decides not to pay commission because, say, the first time you walked through the model home you didn't have a realtor and signed the signin sheet.
Whether you use a realtor or not DO NOT SIGN ANY CONTRACTS WITHOUT HAVING AN ATTORNEY REVIEW THEM! New home purchase contracts are heavily weighted towards the builder. make sure you understand the terms. You can get certain terms in the contract changed if they are unfair, ( I've done it twice.) Really!
Oh, and don't sign away your right to a home inspection.
If you do use a realtor, they may be able to help you negotiate a better deal (builders are dealing in this market and a good realtor may have some insight.) Not just any realtor - I would look for someone with specific, recent, quantifiable experience with the builder. Might be hard to find.
Honestly, the builder does most of the work with new home purchases, but if you are uncomfortable with just a real estate attorney or you find a realtor who knows which buttons to push ... it could be worth it. Remember though - once you walk through the model with a realtor, your realtor gets paid when you buy regardless of how effective they are - make sure you choose somebody who will bring something to the table worth, say, the $9,000 commission they'll get on a $300K home...
1) Location - an agent can help you identify whether there are any issues with the location that might make it more challenging to sell the home - we have all had listings that were more difficult to sell due to a location issue - the builder rep (because they are always working solely for the builder - at least in my area) will not tell you what issue you may run into when you go to sell the home. You don't buy to sell but it probably is helpful to at least know in advance so that you may negotiate a little wiser - if the builder will not relent on price due to a negative location issue, then you are at least making a knowledgeable decision.
2) Floorplan - same as #1 - those of us in the business are hearing comments about floor plans every day - the floor plan may be appealing to you but isn't it helpful to hear whether others will also think it is appealing?.
3) Upgrades - a knowledgeable agent can tell you whether the cost of the upgrade is reasonable from the builder or whether you are paying twice as much.
4) Contracts - at least in my area, the builders each use their own contract that is heavily slanted toward the builder (most of the time they make me gag!!!) - although you probably have no choice, a good agent will help you understand what rights you are giving up over the standard state contract and what questions you may want to ask.
5) The tough questions - the sales reps on-site tend to have very good people skills and my experience is they will be very friendly - are they going to volunteer negative information? No. Are you going to think of all of the tough questions that they are not going to volunteer the information about - probably not but if you have an agent who has done this many more times than you, both of you may get more of the info before you sign on the dotted line. An agent also can become a supporting witness if a legal issue does develop over a topic that was discussed.
6) Suggestions/Recommendations - if the home is a "dirt start" and you and your agent visit the home site periodically throughout construction, your agent may be able to give you tips about changes that may make your life easier (for example, adding outlets outside the home in strategic locations so that it makes Christmas lights easier to string, or adding a hard surface to heavily trafficed areas).
Good luck with your purchase.