Should I use a broker when buying in a new development?

Data gleaned from RealDirect’s survey of New York City home buyers shows that only 17% want to have a real estate agent negotiate their transaction, while 45% of buyers wish to handle negotiations on their own and 38% had no preference. While today’s savvy buyer can often handle a real estate transaction without assistance, buying in a new development is a situation in which working with a broker can add significant value.

To get the most out of this type of purchase, buyers should:

1. Look for experience: Be sure to find a buyer’s broker that has extensive experience with new developments. They know where developers will typically have some flexibilty based on the amenities, trajectory of sales and market conditions. Some of the things an experienced agent may be able to negotiate for you include upgrades, price and transfer tax.

2. Look for someone who has worked in development: Someone who has worked in development sales has seen firsthand what can and can’t be done, and knows what to look out for in terms of construction, time-lines, quality, costs and best choices for resale.

3. Ask for a rebate: If you are merely looking for a broker to help you on a transaction after you have identified the specific unit, you can likely negotiate a commission rebate, since the “hunt” has already been completed, and there is less work involved than if you were starting from scratch.

4. Be upfront: Let the seller’s agent know you are working with a broker prior to putting in an offer (and ideally before you make the appointment). While you are within your rights to bring in representation at any stage in the process, bringing a broker in the late stage has been known to anger some developers. Having a broker represent you from the beginning can avoid this potential pitfall.

Because there are so many variables and potential negotiation points in new developments that you wouldn’t find in other types of real estate purchases, working with a broker can make all the difference when it comes to getting the most bang for your buck.

photo via Thomas R. Stegelmann

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