Hi Buyer 2011,
It is obvious that you need a Buyers Broker to represent you, and pretty obvious you don't plan to hire one - for whatever reason. Unfortunately, if a flash of enlightenment hits you later in this process, and you realize you need (I didn't say want or prefer) need to be represented, the course you are on now can completely remove your option to be represented in the future with regard to certain sellers.
Let me be clear - you are not alone - a lot of folks go out and get in trouble with real estate because they don't know what they don't know.
This post is for your benefit (my free public service of the day) but more importantly, for the public at large - all the future readers and purchasers who will come after you, and who might be starting out with the same lack of knowledge and understanding about the process of buying a home as you.
A few questions for you to consider - I suggest if you concentrate on getting the answers to these - they are WAY more important for you in the long run than comps and price per sq ft etc. If you don't beleive me, Google Clark Howard, or Elice Glink (national consumer protection experts) and ask their folks - call an experienced local real estate attorney - but get the knowledge needed to protect yourself first - before making one of lifes largest financial transactions!
1. Do you really feel that asking a few questions "on the internet", arms you with sufficient and accurate information to go out and buy a home on your own - "acting as your own broker"?
2. Do you really think you you can forsee and negotiate all the pitfalls in real estate transactions as well as an experienced Buyers Broker acting on your behalf?
3. Are you operation under the flawed assumption that you will save money by "doing it yourself"?
4. You do know that Caroline, probably a wonderful agent, is representing the seller/builder DR Horton - and as such, is duty-bound to sell DR Horton homes and only DR Horton homes, and is legally charged with doing her best to get the best price and terms for DR Horton?
5. Do you realize that Caroline can say almost anything (because you are a customer and not a client) in order to sell her builders product - and she is not being misleading or underhanded - that is her job as the builders representative.
6. Technically, what you are asking Caroline to provide to you, is against the rules of agency relationships - according to GA Real Estate regulations, an agent is not allowed to provide things like "comps" and other data that gives the benefit of the agents professional expertise to "customers".
( And even if she could - would you actually rely on the sellers data - expect the data she gives you will be accurate, comprehensive, and have no conflict of interest!)
7. Are you aware that a "comp" on the same property can be spun many ways just by selecting inappropriate data, or leaving out a few peices of data?
8. Did you know that many of the agents on this very post do not know (or obey) these GA rules on the Laws of Agency - they routinly go out and work with buyers without ever entering into a written Representation Agreement - or wait until submitting the offer (a little late then because you weren't ever protected up to that point)!
A written Exclusive Buyer Brokerage Agreement is the ONLY thing that makes an agent accountable to a buyer for their errors, actions, or faliures to act. It charges the agent with doing thier best and doing everything (legal) to take all actions in your best interests - and it should be signed BEFORE they start working for you, not after or later.
To sum up, from a technical and legal standpoint, Caroline can't commit fraud, but short of that she can tell you anything to sell her builders product, because you are a customer and not her client. I am sure you dont know what I am talking about - so I will include a link so you can learn - you are so concerned over what apprears (to you) to be a $30K disparity between two new developments - you can loose a lot more mony than that if you don't know what you're doing.
Professional Buyers Broker
New Home Construction Expert
ICC Code Certified Building Inspector
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