Hi Jay and thanks for your post.
First, please know that it is "customary" (not a requirement) here in Santa Clara that the Seller, rather than the Buyer, pays for the fees associated with escrow. This does not, however, mean that the transaction is "free" to the buyer. Here are the costs customarily paid by the Seller:
1. Title company insurance for the Buyer
2. Escrow Fees
3. County Transfer Taxes
The Seller can certainly ask the Buyer to pay for some or all of these fees, and it's completely up to the Buyer to agree or not to agree to pay the charges. This is the "negotiation" portion of the contract settlement, and it's the reason why we (as professionals) encourage everyone to get their own agent in a new homes situation--its worth it to have someone "on your side" in dealing with the developer's representatives. If you have not yet finalized a contract, then you need to sit down with the agent and work on the contract. If they don't acquiesce to your demands, then you need to seriously evaluate whether or not you want to buy the home. If you're, unfortunately, already "in" the contract, there's nothing you'll be able to do now to renegotiate the distribution of fees and there is no reason that would compel the developer to give you money for title, escrow and transfer taxes.
Buyers will traditionally pay for lender's fees and for title insurance for the mortgage company. Perhaps the lender fees and title insurance costs for the mortgage have been mistakenly interpreted as those fees normally paid by the seller?
Now on to your questions:
1. Will the home hold its value? That's a good question and one that should be answered by your Realtor. If you don't have a Realtor, then talk to the agent at Robson and ask them for statistical information regarding home values.
2. Has anyone worked with Robson in Santa Clara and had this situation? Well, I've worked with Robson before and they did not ask my clients to pay for customary expenses charged to the buyer, but things may have changed. Again, if you have doubts talk to them about these.
3. Is negotiation possible at all? To be frank, the market is very hot throughout Santa Clara right now. By way of example, my clients put in an offer on a home yesterday in which they were competing against 62 other offers...yep, you heard me right SIXTY-TWO offers. So while I do understand that you'd like to negotiate on fees, terms and upgrades, it's probably far more likely that there are people waiting to buy the home you want, so the developer's thoughts are, if you won't buy it, someone else will. Buying the home without upgrades and without the most favorable terms is your decision.
If you have a Realtor who you registered on your first visit to Sundrop to represent you, then allow that Realtor to help guide you in this purchase. If you went to the property without a Realtor and without representation, then I'm afraid you'll need to do a lot of this on your own without help, so use the Robson agent to help you in this transaction. Do keep in mind, however, that given the market, their lack of flexibility in the sale is not surprising. Again, the decision to buy rests with you. If you choose not to buy, then I would strongly suggest working with a Realtor in the future to help you negotiate your contract.
Allison James Estates & Homes