The “yeah but they said...” chorus is robust as unrepresented new home buyers learn hard lessons during construction. The value of an experienced buyer’s agent as an advocate when building a home cannot be understated. Especially now, and especially since the cost of representation is borne by the builder. Remember, the agent on site works for the builder only. Builders sign contracts with the site broker, they pay a set percentage on every sale. Need to verify that? Ask the site agent to show where the credit for not using a buyer’s agent is specifically written on the contract.

Speaking of contracts, know that builder contracts are written to protect them solely and allow them complete latitude at every stage of the build.  The majority of new home buyers have no idea what they are signing because they don’t know what to ask, don’t require the contract to be thoroughly reviewed before signing and/or don't fully understand what the language means. For example:

We Rep ONLY the Builder

unrepresented new home buyer clause

It cannot be said enough and there it is in PLAIN SIGHT yet again. Come in, have a drink and bag of chips….we’re so excited to have you in the community…sign right here. Then a few weeks later when it's hitting the fan... "Nice to see you...remember, we represent the builder…we can ask about blah blah blah but….”. After a few lip service emails and shuffled papers..."sorry...yeah the builder said they can't do that". Of course they can't; what juice does the buyer have, what can they do to bring any heat? With no buyer agent, who's rattling any cages?

Changes? We Do What We Want

builder change clausenew home change clause
Custom? Of course! Pick either the white or off white garage door. Many buyers are expected to largely complete selections before the shovel hits the dirt. Change orders? Hundreds of dollars IF allowed. Note the language above, how many times does it say “absolute right” and “sole discretion”? Builders even have the ability to change materials without consent. Of course the site agent will let you know after the fact.

Appraisal Clause? LMAO

new construction appraisal claue
If the lender requires one and it comes in low, maybe the builder will lower the price. And maybe the Falcons will win a Super Bowl. Note that it’s clearly stated that a low appraisal does not excuse a buyer from performance; in other words, the buyer remains responsible. A work around might be to use the builder's "preferred lender" - seems to limit appraisal issues.

You Understand, Right?

new construction buyer agrees clause
The “it says it right here….and the buyer signed it” clause. In short – and as in every contract – if it’s not in writing and not in the contract, it doesn’t matter. But as seen above, even when it is, builders maintain ample wiggle room. Calls and inquiries come in constantly with familiar themes, “…they said we could do this…I was told they would allow that…” Well that falls into the above; unless it’s written into the contract it never happened. Like the awesome credit for not using a buyer’s agent often vanishes.

Have the site agent point to the part of the contract showing the credit given for not using an agent.

Going into a new home build and not fully understanding the process is financial suicide. Many contracts allow the builder to terminate if buyers become “unreasonable”. Examples are out there of builders terminating contracts, finishing a home and selling it for many thousands more than originally contracted. It’s no secret that quality of materials used and workmanship have declined; builders will adjust to reflect the increasing cost of materials, labor and land while maintaining profit margins. It’s just business and if buyers are lining up, the builders will and should serve them. The smart buyers however, bring along their skilled agent to oversee and ensure the project moves along as it should.


The Hank Miller Team puts 30+ years of full time sales & appraisal experience to work for you. Act with complete confidence & make sound, decisive real estate decisions. 678-428-8276 and info@hmtatlanta.comNew

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