Do I need a real estate agent if I'm buying a new house?
Recently, we were working with a buyer client trying to find a home. We seemed to have exhausted the resale market in as there was very little available in her price range, so we investigated what was available at some of the new home sites in the area.
We found one new home builder who offered homes in the price range that our client could afford. Yay! We brought the client to the new home site office, chatted with the builder's representative about the home and our client decided she wanted to make an offer on a house.
The next day we accompanied our client to the builders site office to sign the offer. The builder's representative went through the offer form (about 27 pages long for a new home!) and because this was a common element condominium also explained some of the restrictions that applied. (If you aren't sure about the pros and cons of a common element condominium , call us! These are becoming popular with builders in Whitby, Oshawa and Bowmanville) One of the restrictions she talked about was regarding pets. She told our client that owners were not allowed to breed animals or have chickens, but otherwise municipal by-laws applied regarding the number of dogs allowed per household. At this point our client was chatting with the builder representative about her two dogs and showed her pictures of the little darlings. The builder's representative gave us copies of the offer and the Condominium By-Laws.
We left the office on top of the world! Our client was thrilled with the floor plan, and the price, and was already making plans for decorating.
We took the paperwork home so that we could deliver it to our client's lawyer for review. That's when the bottom fell out. In reading the Condominium By-Laws it said, right there in black and white, that pets were limited to one per household and only to a maximum weight of 20 kg. WHAT! Our client had one dog who was already over the weight restriction not to mention the other little critter.
We just want to mention here that we do not believe that the representative deliberately told a fib about the pet restriction. We don't think she was aware. To make a long story short, our client walked away from the house. But here are the reasons why you should have a real estate agent working for you even when buying a new home.
- The people at the new home site work for the builder. They are not required to look out for what is best for you. They are not required to explain any of the forms that you are signing and they are not responsible for your understanding of the terms in the contract. This is a situation where "Buyer Beware" applies.
- The people at the new home site are employees of the builder and anyone who has been to the tool section of your local home improvement store knows, some employees have more knowledge about their products than others.
- New home representatives cannot tell you that you can't take your contract to a lawyer, but often they will tell you that you can't change anything in the contract which seems like they are discouraging you from have a lawyer review it by making it sound like a waste of money. You absolutely should have the contract explained to you by a lawyer, but it you have developed a good working relationship with your REALTOR®, they can review the contact beforehand knowing what is important to you (like being able to have 2 dogs!)