We want to buy a wooded lot and build. Do I need a buyer's agent & where can I get a list of local architect and builder in Austin?

Asked by Elaine, Austin, TX Sat Nov 13, 2010

We want to relocate to Austin in a year, and want to be in a neighborhood with good school district.

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Jeffrey Nyla…, , Austin, TX
Sat Nov 13, 2010
Hi Elaine,

Hands down, get representation. Your agent will look out after your interest and 99% of the time, the buyer's agent cost you nothing. Is there anything better than free representation?

All the best!

Jeffrey Nyland, REALTOR®, GRI, SRS
The Nyland Team
Prudential Texas Realty
512-626-8552 (Direct)
512-267-3640 (Fax)
Jeffrey Nyland TX AUC# 16644
Exceeding Expectations!
Web Reference:  http://www.NylandTeam.com
1 vote
Celia Hogan…, , Sioux Falls, SD
Thu Nov 18, 2010
I would suggest that you use a Buyer's Agent to represent your interests. For example..a friend of mine bought some years ago, an acreage property, on her own in California. It was hilly and there were many steep dirt/gravel driveways on the surrounding hills. Guess what? They didn't know that the situation had changed and they had to put in a paved driveway with bump outs for the fire department...it ended up being something like a $100,000 driveway.
0 votes
Betina Forem…, Agent, Austin, TX
Thu Nov 18, 2010
Dear Elaine,
While you can do it on your own, why would you want to when the seller pays the fee for you to have representation. A Buyers Agent can help you determine the right price by using recently sold comps and help you write the deal up and be with you at closing to answer any questions.

There are a number of great architects in Austin. I would go online and look up architects and see who designs homes in a style you like. Also there are some wonderful design/build firms like Vintage Fine Homes. Bill Aydam the owner/architect designs an individual home to your specs and lifestyle and also works as the general contractor to build the home. His office is in Lakeway and that is where you will find most of the homes he designs, although he occasionally ventures into Austin proper. He built a gorgeous home on Aqua Verde close to Lance Armstrong's former home. Bercy Chen is another one of my favorite ultra modern architects they do extensive remodels as well as ground up design.

Please let me know if I may be of further assistance.

0 votes
Scott Butcher, , Austin, TX
Mon Nov 15, 2010

I would recommend you speak with Matt Webb or Britni Ganze with Trinity Architects. They are a great custom home architect and have been in business around the Austin/Round Rock area for many years.

I have worked with them in the past with good success and a project outside of my Mortgage Banking practice.

See website below for contact info.


Scott Butcher
Maker Capital Group
0 votes
Stephen McCl…, Agent, Georgetown, TX
Mon Nov 15, 2010
Good day to you. First congratulations on your decision to relocate to the Austin, TX area. Austin offers a tremendous quality of life to both individuals and families. I am confident you too will soon come to discover all the riches the Austin area has to offer.

I think your desire and goal to design and build a custom home is great and exciting! The primary benefit is that ultimately you can have the exact home you want personalized to your specific needs and wants in regards to design and level of finish-out. The other truth is that designing and building a custom home is even in the most perfect of situations a complex and tedious process. There are so many questions and decisions which must be addressed before and during the construction of your new home. As to your specific question regarding the need of buyer representation, my answer to you is that depends on you. How comfortable, knowledgeable and experienced are you with the new home construction process?

I spent 28 years working in the new home construction industry representing the builder in sales and construction. Over that time period I have sat down with literally hundreds of clients who desired to own a new home at various price points, size and finish-out. The one common theme I quickly came to recognize and appreciate with most of these clients was how easily they all became overwhelmed with the process and experience. They simply did not know and understand how much was involved.

That is why in 2008 I created and started my own company Cornerstone New Home Solutions. I decided it was time to offer my experience and expertise to buyers desiring to purchase a new home from a builder or design and build a new custom home. In short, we offer a guided comprehensive service that allows me to represent their best interest in achieving their dream of owning a new custom home. Feel free to visit our web site at http://www.CornerstoneNewHomeSolutions.com where you can obtain a better understanding of who we are and the service we offer. If you feel there is value to you feel free to contact me by email or phone at your convenience to discuss your specific situation and how we may best be of service to you. Our goal is simple but critical- To maximize and simplify your custom home building experience.

Stephen B. McClain, Broker Owner
Cornerstone New Home Solutions
512 876-3116
0 votes
Steven Nusin…, Agent, Austin, TX
Sun Nov 14, 2010

This is going to be an exciting, stressful, and all around crazy time of your life. I really do think it is in your best interest to have representation. Please feel free to contact me to discuss the process, custom builders, and financing options. In addition, I would be happy to put you in touch with a client who is currently going through this exact process in Dripping Springs. Please feel free to contact me anytime.

Steve Nusinow
0 votes
Scott Frieds…, Agent, Lakeway, TX
Sat Nov 13, 2010
If you want a lot in the Lake Travis area, I know of several on and off market. I can also introduce you to the areas best custom builders for price and quality. The builder of my home just won Best In Show at the Rough Hollow Parade of Homes 2010. I also rebate buyers cash at closing. Call me at 512-904-9900 for assistance.
0 votes
Nanci Zimmer…, , Cedar Park, TX
Sat Nov 13, 2010
Most important, where are you from (City and State) and what are your desires in a home. Find someone that will listen to you. You can obtain school district information on the internet.

Their are numerous builders in the central Texas area, Once you narrow down an area in which you want to live, then you should contact an architect/builder. You do not necessarily need a buyer's agent, but I highly recommmend it.

Best of Luck to you.
0 votes
Tamra Duarte,…, , Austin, TX
Sat Nov 13, 2010
Hi, you most definately need an agent to guide you through the process of negotiating an offer, signing the contract, inspections and appraisal, and finally to closing. I would love to help you find that perfect site to build on! Please feel free to call me at any time for all your realtor needs and questions! (512)294-9583
0 votes
Don Groff, Agent, Austin, TX
Sat Nov 13, 2010
Being new to the area you will be best served by using a Buyer's Agent. Besides being able to show you properties you may not be able to find yourself you can gain valuable are information by using an experienced Realtor. We help guide our clients throughout the entire process and ensure that your best interests are always covered. An experienced agent will help you with the necessary contracts and in the structuring of your offer to always ensure your are being represented in the best way possible There are too many things that can go wrong in a real estate transaction so make sure you are being represented by an experienced Realtor familiar with your specific needs.

Don Groff
REALTOR & Mortgage Broker
Keller Williams Realty
0 votes
Pam Drawbaugh, , Austin, TX
Sat Nov 13, 2010
Hi Elaine!

You can go it alone but consider this...would you represent yourself if you were going into court and standing in front of a Judge? You could but would you? The same holds true when you are buying any real estate. Having an expert on yourside is usually a better option. You can get a list of local builders by contacting the Home Builders Association. If you are looking to customize your home from start to finish, I know several local builders with architects that will do an excellent job for you. Give me a call. Thank you!

Pam Drawbaugh, ABR, GRI
Broker Associate/REALTOR
Austin City Living
0 votes
James Pounds, Agent, Austin, TX
Sat Nov 13, 2010
Hi, Elaine,
If you are indeed new to Austin, it would be advantageous to work with a Buyer's agent. They have access to many listings you'd probably never find; Building Designer and former general contractor myself, I would suggest you go to the Austin Energy Green Builder program website:


Once there, go to the "Find a Green Building Professional" tab. There, you'll find many reputable, energy aware, and experienced Builders, Architects, and Designers you can contact. And THEY will know about building costs, codes, and quality sustainable housing. I'd be also happy to refer some custom builders I have worked with over the years.

I'd love to help you navigate the terrain.

James Pounds, REALTOR
Coldwell Banker - United Realty
0 votes
Buyers House…, , Texas
Sat Nov 13, 2010

Hello. You do not have to have a buyers agent when you purchase a home in Texas. However, it would be repairing your car on your own, although you may have the tools, using them could lead to new problems. I definitely would recommend going with an agent to make sure the contracts used and terms negotiated are in your best interest. Here is is an Association of Architects in Austin; http://www.austinone.com/c/arc.cfm. Hope this helps.

Keep in mind that we are a non-traditional type of real estate company with the best buyer rebate program in town.

P.S. I love referrals! If you ever have a friend of family member, who is tech savvy looking to find a home in the 175k-500k range, and would appreciate a New Way of Buying a Home in Texas, please refer them to http://www.Buy75.com

BuyersHouseRealty is the virtual evolution of real estate, and we firmly believe in educating buyers! So much that we pay our buyers for their education! Learn more>> http://www.buy75.com/learn-and-earn/why-choose-buy75

Happy House Hunting,

Gavin St.Louis
Managing Broker/Owner
"The Real Estate Deal
0 votes
Moe Paknia, Agent, Round Rock, TX
Sat Nov 13, 2010
Yes, you do need to have a buyer’s agent. This maybe the first time that you are buying a lot to build your dream home. But an experience agent has gone this road several times with different clients. You will be using his/her experience along the way, during the selection of a lot, pricing, negotiating, requirements of the lot (zoning, septic, utilities or well and ect…). With all this he/she is working for you and the seller is paying your agent. Plus an experienced agent has several connections with builders and architects that he can refer.
It would be the best, if you interview few buyers agents to see their qualifications and who you are most comfortable with. It would be my pleasure to be one of the agents that you are going to interview. Please call me at 512-468-8788.
By the way I have a listing for a 3.47 acre lot in Spicewood with a great Hill Country View. I attach the link: 3900 Bee Creek Rd Spicewood 78669 http://www.postlets.com/res/4013627
0 votes
Paul Burton, , Midwest City, OK
Sat Nov 13, 2010
A buyer's agent would be a great idea. Most would be free to you and it gives you an expert that is your advocate in the deal. Most agents will have the list that you're looking for as well so it's a win/win situation.
0 votes
1st Zero-Emi…, , Austin, TX
Sat Nov 13, 2010
To better detail the real benefit of Buyer Representation, you really only need to understand that Seller's and Builders represent themselves, not you by any way shape or form.

Seller's most commonly have an Agent representing their own best interests in order to sell their Lot for the most amount of money the market will bare, and Builders (also selling a product) commonly have a sales associate, or themselves as a sales associate, to represent their own best interest in order to sell their product and their service for the most amount of money the market will bare.

Builders and Seller's Agents are experts in the market place. They are trained on facts, stats, ups, downs, ins, outs, objections, concerns, values, and the whole nine yards. And, it is their absolute mandated JOB to yield the highest returns (This relates to the story I mentioned earlier that I will share with you).

Now... this doesn't mean that it's going to be a throw-down nasty battle to get you a good deal.... in fact, you always want to maintain good relationships with all parties involved. What it means is simply this: You'll want to have an expert on your side that also knows the facts, stats, ups, downs, ins, outs, objections, concerns, values, and the whole nine yards, so you can be sure to pay (at or below) current market value.

Buyers not taking advantage of Buyer Representation often attributes to that Buyer paying 5-15% over market value, and never knowing it. It's impossible for them to know it because they simple don't have the stats and tools to know.

Anyhow, here's where it gets real interesting:
Builders love Real Estate Agents! And, they immediately credit the Agent with the respect of expertise and knowledge, so the deal starts off at market values opposed to above market values like they can get off an unrepresented buyer.

In essence, when unrepresented buyers come through to Builder's, these buyers pay the highest prices because they don't know the real bottom line difference, which allows Builders the ability to buy business from real estate Agents. "Buy Business" means that they will be negotiating the best price with the Agent, PLUS they will be paying the Agent a commission, and are happy to do so in order to gain the Agent's respect for future business with future buyers.

There's an array of responsibilities on your Agent's behalf, far outside of just driving you around, talking shop, showing Lots, and collecting their pay check.
The value is in the expertise, due-diligence, and work ethic of your Agent. Again, the value is in the expertise, due-diligence, and work ethic.

Here is a more formal description about Buyer Representation.

Feel free to call me direct and I'll share the story about others in your same position that pay 5-15% over market value, so Builders can afford to do lots of business with real estate Agents at market value and under market value prices.

Shawn Monshaugen
Keller Williams Realty

And you can search Lots here by simply typing in your search criteria such as "Lot" and "Zip Code" you'd like to be in:
Web Reference:  http://www.ShawnMon.com
0 votes
Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Sat Nov 13, 2010
IN many new construction communities are owned by particulars builders SO selecting your own builder may not be an option.

Best determine what school district you prefer, what you can qualify for then select area build. KEEP in mind cities such as Austin could all ready be "built out " with no new construction. Example here in Dallas any community I am resident of there is no new communities built .

Buyers Agent is your better option to represent you

Lynn911 Dallas Realtor & Consultant, Loan Officer, Credit Repair Advisor
The Michael Group - Dallas Business Journal Top Ranked Realtors
0 votes
Jim Young, Agent, Austin, TX
Sat Nov 13, 2010
I echo the answers of the above agents. You can and should avail yourself of a Buyer's Agent. That agent will represent YOUR goals, desires, and needs. You should ask potential agents about their experience with new constructio. There are a host of considerations that you do not want to learn the hard way. For example, proper zoning, legal lot status, easements, availability of utilities, (& cost to bring those utilities to your dream site).
Additionally, most agents who work in the area of new construction will have exisiting relationships with General Contractors and Architect firms that go back several years. An experienced agent will be able to link you up to contractors who can and do deliver, a quality product, on budget. By the way--there are many contractors who will overpromise and undeliver, which is another good reason to utilize someone else's wisdom/experience.

Contact me for coffee/lunch to discuss and/or for pointers-

Jim Young
KW Commercial
0 votes
Guy Gimenez, Agent, Austin, TX
Sat Nov 13, 2010
1. Only you can determine what you "need" based on how versed you are in the acquisition of real estate. But you certainly don't have to use an agent unless you find it difficult to locate suitable lots (which could be more difficult than you anticipate depending on what part of Austin you wish to live in).

2. You will also have to define what a "good" school district means to you. Those who live in Round Rock think Round Rock is the best school district and the same is true for those in Westlake, Georgetown, and Dripping Springs. So, your challenge will be to clarify for yourself what you're looking for in a school or school district.
Web Reference:  http://www.phgbrokers.com
0 votes
Kristee Leon…, Agent, Austin, TX
Sat Nov 13, 2010
You definitely need a buyer's agent. A buyer's agent will work on your behalf making sure that you do not overpay for the lot and that your best interest is protected from contract to close. Please contact me at kristee@theleadersrealty.com or 512-695-5144 to receive a list of lots currently available that match your criteria.
0 votes
Jared Crecel…, Agent, Jonestown, TX
Sat Nov 13, 2010
Hi, the short answer to your question is no, you do not have to have a buyers agent to purchase real estate. However it would be an advantage to you to have an agent on your side, and the fees are typically paid by the seller even though an agent will owe fiduciary responsibility to you. Depending on your budget and type of home you intend to build there are plenty of options both in terms of land and builder/architects. I'd be happy to discuss further with you, with no obligation - if you are interested feel free to contact me at 512-771-9129, or email me at Jared@mysolis.com. Confidentiality guaranteed.
Web Reference:  http://Www.mysolis.com
0 votes
1st Zero-Emi…, , Austin, TX
Sat Nov 13, 2010
Yes, absolutely a good idea to have buyer representation when building a new home.
I'll tell you a very relevant story about this and how it can save you incredible time and money.
call me at 663-4686. I'd be happy to help out and consult.
Shawn Monshaugen
Keller Williams Realty
0 votes
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