5 Reasons Military and Veteran Families Need a Real Estate Agent for New Construction
by Becca Stewart - September 14th, 2022
As a military or veteran buyer, should you be represented by a real estate agent when purchasing a new-build home?
The short answer (in nearly all cases) is a resounding YES.
We asked PCSgrades partner real estate agents to tell us more about new construction homes – and why military and veteran families should consider working with an experienced buyer’s agent.
Why military and veteran buyers choose new construction homes
There are pros and cons to purchasing new construction homes over existing properties. In this competitive market, a new-build represents certainty; no cash buyers swooping in, no rejected offers, and no investors stealing your dream of homeownership.
“We are seeing the market cool off just a bit compared to summer 2021, but it’s still pretty intense. It’s not uncommon for my clients to put in several offers before either getting one accepted or giving up. New-builds are attractive options for these buyers because it removes the unknowns they face when buying older homes.” -Mike Chiesl, Sentry Residential
Plus, there’s something inherently wonderful about a brand-new home. It’s move-in ready, nothing is outdated or in need of repair, and it’s more energy-efficient than older homes.
5 reasons to use a buyer’s agent for new construction
Military and veteran buyers face unique challenges, even when purchasing new construction homes. If you think you don’t need to work with a real estate agent, think again. Real estate agents are there to guide, advise, and protect buyers throughout the home-buying process, even for new-builds.
Seeking representation from a real estate agent is always a good idea - as long as you find the right agent. Start by finding a reputable agent with excellent client reviews and a track record of success, especially with military and veteran buyers.
Whether you’re buying land and hiring a home builder or purchasing a home in a new construction neighborhood, real estate agents can provide invaluable support - all at no additional cost to you.
1. Experienced advice
Real estate agents are experts in home buying, selling, and negotiating. If you’re considering new construction, a real estate agent can explain all your options, help you find reputable builders in your desired area, and guide you through the process, start to finish.
“I love helping my clients with new construction. Many times, they’ve never had a home built before, so they don’t really know what to look for or what to expect. As someone who has spent years dealing with home builders, I can help my buyers get exactly what they want, and I usually end up saving them money in the process. Most agents have established relationships with builders in the area, too. So, we have this partnership that allows us to negotiate and advocate on our client's behalf. That’s something that comes with time and experience. Buyers simply can’t do that on their own.” -Kate Christofides, Century 21
However, it’s important to note that not all buyer’s agents are created equal. Military buyers should always do their research before choosing an agent to represent them. A military-friendly agent can help you connect with lending programs designed specifically for service members and veterans. Your agent should also have specific experience with new-build homes. Being a buyer’s agent for new construction requires a unique skill set.
Ready to find a military-friendly real estate agent? Access trusted agents reviewed and vetted by military families.
2. Representing your interests
The builder will have a team of legal experts representing their interests, including real estate agents. When you walk into a builder’s office, you have the choice to work with their on-site agent. This agent can help guide you through the home buying and building process, answering your questions about the timeline, upgrades, contracts, and more.
At first glance, it might make sense to simply work with the builder’s agent. But make no mistake: the builder’s agent works for the builder, and the builder is there to make money. No matter how nice the salesperson in the model home may be, the builder does not represent you and your best interests.
You need someone looking out for your best interest, too. Bringing in your own agent helps level the playing field and gives you better representation, from construction to closing.
3. Incentives and savings
Some real estate agents, like those partnering with PCSgrades, offer additional cash-back incentives for military buyers. At closing, the customer will receive a rebate (where allowed by law) if they use a PCSgrades network agent. This is separate and distinct from any other rebates or promotions offered by the lender. You can use their cash back calculator to see how much you would earn at closing.*
In some cases, your real estate agent may be able to negotiate with the builder to include upgrades or additional incentives into your contract. However, not all builders will be open to negotiations. Factors such as the local housing market, sales rates, and the number of homes available will all impact the negotiation process.
4. Tracking milestones
If you’re building a home from the ground up, you will have many important milestones along the way. The builder should keep you updated on your home’s progress, but you might not always get the complete picture.
Your real estate agent can keep tabs on the progress. They will know what questions to ask, when to be concerned, and how to address problems that arise. Your agent is there to make sure you get everything you paid for: the best quality, with no shortcuts.
This representation is particularly helpful for military families stationed away from the building site. Since you can’t be there to check the home’s progress, your agent can act on your behalf, making sure everything goes according to plan.
5. It won’t cost you anything extra
Here’s the great news: using a buyer’s agent won’t cost you anything extra. Typically, the seller pays all real estate agent commissions. With new construction homes, the builder is the seller. So, the builder will cover your agent’s commission, usually around 3% of the home’s sale price.
However, your builder has already factored the buyer’s agent commission into the home’s sales price, whether or not you use a buyer’s agent. And builders won’t reduce the sales price just because you choose not to bring an agent to your side of the table.
That said, you can either let the builder reap extra profit, or you can get representation from an experienced and reliable agent who will protect your best interests.
“I’ve talked to so many buyers who don’t want to ‘pay for an agent.’ There’s this misconception that either you don’t need an agent for new construction, or it’s too expensive. Most people don’t know that the builders have already accounted for my commission, and they pay me at closing. So, my clients have absolutely nothing to lose.” -Matt Orchard, Century 21 Select
How to choose a great buyer’s agent
Hiring a real estate agent for new construction has countless advantages. And with your agent’s commission already covered, there’s really no reason not to work with a buyer’s agent.
Okay, there might be one reason not to work with an agent – working with the wrong agent. Having an inexperienced, inattentive, or downright negligent agent will only complicate the home buying process (and leave you frustrated). You should have representation, yes. But the goal is to find a military-friendly real estate agent who knows the ins and outs of buying new-build homes.
Finding the right agent can sometimes feel like finding a needle in a haystack. We’re here to help. At PCSgrades, we take the guesswork out of finding a great real estate agent.
Click here to connect with experienced, vetted, real estate professionals near you that are A-graded by the military and veteran community.
Do you need a real estate agent? Answer these questions to find out!
Q: I’m a first-time home buyer who is purchasing a new construction home. Do I need an agent?
A: YES. The home buying process can be lengthy and complicated – and did we mention the stacks of paperwork filled with legal jargon? It’s confusing even for the most experienced home buyer. The right real estate agent can help you understand your options, explain the home buying process, and then walk you through that process, every step of the way.
Q: This is not my first home, but this is my first time buying a new-build. Do I need an agent?
A: YES. Even if you’ve purchased a home before, buying a new-build property can be a challenge. An experienced real estate agent will keep track of the builder’s timeline and make sure everything is done properly.
You will not be paying your agent’s commission at closing. The builder will cover that cost. However, the builder has already factored the buyer’s agent commission into the home’s sales price, so you’re essentially paying for an agent when you use one or not!
Q: I’ve purchased a new construction home before, and I was happy with the builder. We’re moving to a new state, and I want to use that same builder again. Can I expect the same experience?
A: Not always. The large, nationally-recognized home builders vary from one location to another. Even within the same state, that brand could have vastly different results.
In each location, the builder uses different general contractors, subcontractors, and staff. So, just because you had a great experience in your current location doesn’t mean it will be smooth sailing at the next. This is where having a real estate agent representing you can help. If your agent is knowledgeable about new-builds, they can give you insight into the best builders in the area.
Q: We’re stationed overseas, but want to start a new-build at our next location. Is that something a real estate agent can do remotely?
A: YES. You can start the home-building process anytime, though as most military families know, it’s probably best to wait for those orders to come in!
This is one situation where working with a military-friendly real estate agent comes in handy. They’ll understand the challenges of buying a home from a different location. They can be your “eyes and ears on the ground,” going to the property to check on its progress, even if you’re unable to be there.
If the build runs into any snags along the way, your real estate agent can handle those, too. Real estate agents provide incredible peace of mind, especially for military families!
Ready to find an experienced military-friendly agent near you? Start with our agent finder tool. You could qualify for up to $7,500 cash at closing!