Should buyers visit new developments in SOMA/South Beach with an agent or on their own? Putting aside

Asked by Curious Buyer, Bay Street Viaduct Area, Savannah, GA Wed Feb 27, 2008

the fact that you may be an agent, some people have mentioned that sales agents are incentivized to give buyers concessions or lower the price of the home if the buyer is not represented by an agent? Or can a buyer's agent really add value to the negotiation process?

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Sally Rosenman’s answer
Sally Rosenm…, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Wed Feb 27, 2008
Dear Curious,

Definitely take an agent with you.....because that Agent's Fudiciary responsibility is to you. Taking business cards most often does not work. Most developers will not accept an agent after the fact.

When you do the Punch List walk-through, your agent will point out everything she (he) sees and ask the developer to fix it. When you walk through with just the developer's representative, perhaps you might think it is too "small" an item to ask them to repair or repaint, when indeed it should be fixed.

Two different sets of eyes on the contract and all disclosures is also helpful. And your Agent can help you negotiate! I do not believe developers will lower the price just because you do not have an agent. After all, their staff is on commission too.

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Paul Hwang, Agent, San francisco, CA
Thu May 28, 2009
Having sold $35+ million worth of condos in South Beach last year, I can honestly say: 100% YES.

Most Realtors are worthless, I don't need someone who is going to drive me around on Sunday and ask me what I think.

I need a bad mofo that is going to get me what I want or save me some serious money.
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Tue Mar 4, 2008
Yes, you should take me with you.
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Jed Lane, Agent, Petaluma, CA
Wed Feb 27, 2008
An agent representing your interests can add value and get you more possibly than the agent representing the developer.
A dual agent can't really fulfill all of their duties as fiduciaries to both parties. A dual agent, in a negotation can function as a conduit of the offer/counteroffer but can't advise.
Also the agent representing the seller is contractually bound to the seller and the attempt to get the buyer to use them is part of the representation of the seller's interest.
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Chris Word, , San Francisco, CA
Wed Feb 27, 2008
Hello Curious, you should take the agent you have been working with on your visits to new developments, or if possible, take several of their business cards with you. Your agent will add value to the sales process, and the sales office working with you will also be keeping your agent in the loop as time goes on. As for the various sales offices offering incentives for you because you're not using an outside agent, that's simply not true (here's the caveat) - with offices that claim they are co-operating with the agent you've been working with. They generally offer the very same incentives that they offer everyone else. Your personal agent, however, should be in the "know" of what incentives are being offered throughout the entire development community and would be able to make sure you know about them as well. With that, you and your agent can then begin to ask and negotiate with the developers for terms that would be beneficial. Remember, though, that you have to do this BEFORE you write a contract for purchase, or before you reserve a unit for purchase.

The information you've got from Kevin, Tanja and Michael are valid. You've selected an agent, and may have been working with them, take them with you on your tour of the new developments!

Happy hunting and good luck!
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K Feat, , San Francisco, CA
Wed Feb 27, 2008
Hi Curious Buyer,

I believe one of the benefits, especially in new developments that a realtor working with a buyer can provide is the guidance through the sales process. This said, often times, the new developments have their own purchase contracts and escrow processes which are quite different from buying a resale. However, having someone to help negotiate on price, concessions (e.g., pre-paid HOA dues for a certain period, upgrades in features for the unit, etc.) and the inevitable "punch list" (items that need to be repaired, replaced etc. when you have your final walk through before your close of escrow). Finally, having someone that understands the contractual process is a great asset to have as your personal representative in the process so that you aren't doing this alone. That realtor then should be your first call if any problems or issues arise after the sale -- even if it's a few years afterward.

So in short, the added value are many matters and issues that are unknown to a first time buyer or perhaps someone who has previously never purchased a new construction unit.
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Michael Robe…, Agent, San Ramon, CA
Wed Feb 27, 2008
Good Morning Curious, What is Most Important, as mentioned below, is this; When you visit the developers Sales Office and Register you have essentially minimized your options. You will be required to use their Sales Person and you may want to remember where their fiduciary responsibility lies! The Prudent action would be to visit as a represented buyer. Meaning you have an Agent in your corner. This will allow you to make aggressive negotiations without being made to feel pressured by the "Seller's Agent". There are inumerable reasons why there are Buyer's Agents. Most important is they are on YOUR side and they are ethically and legally required to benefit YOU in the process. If you are prepared to buy now...You are fortunate and will certainly use that phrase " I got Lucky" in the future although, the truth is, you likely have worked hard and made good choices! Good Luck!

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Scott Rose &…, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Wed Feb 27, 2008
If you think about it you can answer the question your self. An agent double ending a deal, meaning he represents the seller/ developer and the buyer/ you, will be a big incentive for the agent to offer you some rewards. This may work out very well for you. On the other hand you want to make sure that you get the very best advice. Would it be great to have an aggressive agent who will get the same if not more incentives for you plus guides you through the Real Estate Jungle? It is the seller that offers the incentives and has to agree to them not the selling agent. So an independent agent will most likely fight for you more than the in house agent.

Soon as you register alone you need to use the in house agent. What kind of choice do you have? I hope you find the right solution. Good luck to you.

Tanja Beck, Broker Associate
Top Producer
Zephyr Real Estate
4040 24th Street
San Francisco, CA 94114
cell: 415.377.8756
fax: 415.277.3782

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