You have good advice from the three answers I read below. Most agents familiar with the area you would like to live in will know most of the builders. Agents should know the builder reputation, quality of work etc. On another note, if you are trying to get a good buy there are a few approaches you can take depending on how far along the builder is to being finished.
1. If the house is not yet started you want to approach the builder and inquire what their policy is on buying a â€œto be built house". Many times you can negotiate with the builder up front since they will be able to calculate all their costs for building, carrying the project, overhead, etc.
2. If the house is partially built you want to inquire about "the specifications" they will be installing in the house. You want to know type of cabinets, windows, faucets, towel bars, type of heat, all the details. The list provided should be long and comprehensive. Many times when you negotiate at this point you can pay the asking price or a little off but get extras included in the sale. Maybe hardwood floors instead of carpeting or a larger deck, etc. This way the builder can still cover his/her costs, expenses and profit. You win with "extras".
3. If the house is already completed and just sitting there you want to offer a fast closing to attract the builderâ€™s attention and then negotiate the price.
It's all in the delivery and circumstance.
Let me know if I didn't cover everything for you,