Getty Images

Hiring a REALTOR® when purchasing a resale home seems like a no brainer, but many new-build homebuyers don’t take advantage of this valuable resource.

“For most people, buying a home is the biggest investment they will make in their lifetime, so having representation is key,” said Ariette van Pelt, a local Realtor and agent with Real Estate Professionals Inc.

“You are not buying a refrigerator. A home is a huge investment and showhomes are manned by salespeople who work for the builder. You need to have representation on your side – someone who understands the process, who knows how to handle certain situations, who has the experience to foresee problems and who knows how to fix them before they become bigger problems.”

Although the new-build purchase process is similar to that of a resale home, there are some crucial differences, starting with the contracts.

“Builder contracts are created by and for the builder,” said van Pelt. “They are not created by the Alberta Real Estate Association. They are not the same contracts that you would use when buying a resale home and you need to understand the fine print.”

“You are not buying a refrigerator. A home is a huge investment and showhomes are manned by salespeople who work for the builder. You need to have representation on your side.” – Ariette van Pelt, Real Estate Professionals Inc.

In addition to navigating through the contracts, a Realtor will also advocate for you, advise you and guide you through the process. They also have access to statistics and recent sale prices, and will negotiate the price on your behalf, saving you money.

“You can also bring your own home inspector to a new-build home inspection,” said van Pelt. “It’s a few hundred dollars out of your pocket, but at the end of the road, it may save you a lot of grief and hassle.”

A Realtor will be able to negotiate this into the contract. Any deficiencies found by the home inspector will then be added to the builder’s deficiency list, all of which must legally be rectified within one year of possession, van Pelt adds.

A Realtor also brings expertise to the table when it’s time to see past the surface-level details of a home and get down to the nuts and bolts.

“They are called showhomes for a reason,” said van Pelt. “They are usually fully loaded and everything shines, but you may not be buying the same model or floor plan or finishes, and not everyone has the capability of really visualizing the changes. A Realtor can help with that.”

The best part of hiring a Realtor for a new-home purchase is all this expertise basically comes with no added cost.

“The builders pay the commission for the Realtor,” said van Pelt. “It’s built into the purchase price.”

However, know that if you are out driving around on a sunny Saturday afternoon and you walk into a builder showhome without a Realtor, it is very likely that you will be waiving your right to representation.

“So, bring a Realtor on board at the beginning of the process,” said van Pelt. “Let the salesperson know you have representation.”