By Sammy Gardner
You Don't Just Need "A Realtor", You Need a "Great Realtor"

This question comes up often from buyers who think they may be able to get a better deal if they go directly to a builder  or to a seller to  negotiate their own purchase.  They think that by eliminating a Realtor on their side, they can save the amount that would be due to the Realtor as compensation for representing them.   In today’s market, I completely understand the necessity of negotiating the lowest possible price for your home.   However, you should use caution before trying this.    Most real estate transactions today well exceed $100,000.   If you have a tax issue or a legal issue that involves this amount of money, it is doubtful that you would consider tackling these issues without a CPA or an attorney.  In the same way, you should consider having a Realtor assist you with your purchase. 

  • While the average homebuyer may purchase 4 or 5 new homes in their lifetime, many builder representatives will sell that many per month.   They will almost always have much more experience than you do.
  • The “builder representative” is just that….he or she represents the builder and has a fiduciary responsibility to maximize the builder’s profit centers.  Always remember that nothing is free.  While, the builder may “give” you something, they will always find a way to make up that gift.
  • Realtors know the reputation of the builders.  We never want to hear from a dissatisfied client about a builder that will not address a warranty issue.  Our office tracks the JD Powers rankings of area builders.  So, we not only rely on our own experience in dealing with these various builders but we rely on what homeowners across the Metroplex have said about their experiences.
  • Often times a Realtor that has brought multiple buyers to a builder will be able to leverage that in order to assist a buyer in negotiating a better deal than the buyer could do on their own.    Our brokerage office does a lot of volume in new home sales and is repeatedly among the top producers with the areas reputable builders.  Therefore, the builders like to keep us and our buyers happy and will work hard to make a deal happen.
  • A good Realtor will discourage a buyer from even looking at a home that will not have strong resale potential.   A good Realtor will be honest with you about lot choices and any deficiencies that might make a home you are considering difficult to sell in the future.  Most good Realtors will discourage a buyer from buying a home that backs to a busy road or to some other structure that would be less desirable to a future buyer.  They know that if you are happy with their services, you may ask them to assist you in selling the property in the future.  A builder’s representative, will never face helping you sell the home in the future.  They are only concerned about the one sale.
  • A good Realtor can help you determine how much home you can afford.  We always tell our clients that we want their pets to be housebroken….not them!  Additionally, Realtors can often assist in suggesting a good resource for mortgage financing.  In today’s rapidly changing market, it is important to work with someone that understands all of the new regulations and that works diligently to ensure that your transaction goes smoothly.
  • A good Realtor can also help you understand the property tax implications of any home you are considering.  For example, in Frisco, TX, there are two different counties, four different school districts and a community college district that covers one of the counties.  So, property tax rates vary depending upon where you live.  It is important to ensure that you have someone that can help you understand the differences.
  • A good Realtor will help you understand current real estate values,  impacts of home owner assocations, and any local zoning issues that could affect your decision to buy. 
  • A good Realtor will have access to the Multiple Listing Service and will be able to assist you even if much of your home search is happening over the internet in another city.
  • A good Realtor will have a network of other Realtors who share information about “pocket” listings, homes soon to come on the market, etc.  They will know the history of many properties and will have resources available to search out answers to your questions.
  • A good Realtor will take the time to listen to what your needs and preferences are.  They should be able to assist you in finding the best location considering your commute.  They should help you consider your needs with respect to schools, transportation, shopping and other personal preferences.
  • A good Realtor should be able to suggest innovative and creative changes that would make a home most suitable for you.  They should assist you by suggesting improvements that could enhance a home’s utility and value.  They should also be honest and cautionary with respect to any upgrades that could “over-improve” a home. 
  • A good Realtor will assist you in facilitating a negotiation on a purchase that creates a “win-win” for all parties.  They understand that negotiations are part of the process and should be honest and fair in their dealings with all parties.

We can tell you story after story of individuals that purchased homes without a good Realtor.  They ended up looking at a home and fell in love with the décor or decorating style of the sellers.  They looked at the homes despite the fact the home backed to an empty lot that was zoned for light commercial, or had over-head power lines, or had a postage stamp sized back yard, or had a two-car garage when others in the neighborhood all had three….  Now, they all wish they could sell and can’t understand their bad luck.   Make sure this doesn’t happen to you.   Research and find a good buyer’s representative to assist you in your next purchase. 

Posted by Sammy Gardner on


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