By Rebecca Alwine, Army Spouse
The short answer, yes, you really do. Kate Christofides, a Realtor with Century 21 New Millennium in northern Virginia, says, without a doubt, there are benefits to working with a Realtor, even if you are buying new construction.
Here’s Why Realtors are Important for Military Moving, Buying, and Selling
- Representation – The builder has someone representing them in this deal, shouldn’t you? “Clients don’t often know they can ask for certain things,” says Christofides. “They need someone on their side to help watch out for hidden fees and to make sure everything is easily understood.” The builder’s representative is there for them, and your Realtor is there for you.
- Resale Value – When looking at upgrades and add-ons, a Realtor can help you figure out what is needed to maintain the resale value of your house. “Realtors can help reign you back in when you have a plan to buy and then resell or rent,” she says. It’s important not to get swept away by pretty things, but to keep in mind the plan.
- Cost Effective – Sometimes builders will try to sway you into believing you don’t need a Realtor. They may offer ‘extras’ instead to offset the Realtor fee. “You’re not going to get a discount by not using a Realtor,” Christofides says. Your Realtor is actually part of the legally negotiated price, and the builder receives that extra 3%.
Finding the Right Fit
When looking for a reliable Realtor, keep in mind they are not all created equal. ‘A-Graded’ Realtors, reviewed by the military and veteran community can be found at PCSgrades.com. Working with a realtor who is familiar with and has worked with local builders is a huge plus. “You want someone who understands the process for the specific builder you are working with, someone who knows how they operate, all of their idiosyncrasies,” Christofides says.
Don’t be alarmed if the Realtor you like doesn’t have loads of experience with a particular builder. It is not a deal breaker. You want someone who is looking out for you first and foremost. If your Realtor has experience with a variety of builders, they may encourage you to explore others. “I have my clients go look at other companies, so they have a level of comfort when they are deciding on their new home,” Christofides says.
Along with finding a Realtor, you’ll want to research your builder. Consider how many homes are being sold, the economy, and the builder’s reputation when choosing one. Your Realtor should be familiar with these statistics and be able to offer you sound advice on the company. Also, consider looking at the plans for development in the area where you are buying. The city will have published plans regarding roads, parks, schools, and other public spaces. It’s not enough just to have a nice home, but you’ll want to know about the plans in the area.
Bottom line up front: You need a Realtor, even for new construction. Find a Realtor who ‘gets’ the military lifestyle at PCSgrades.com.
Rebecca Alwine is a freelance writer, army wife, and mother of three. She’s a contributing writer for ARMY Magazine, a regular contributor for several publications including to Homefront United Network, PCSgrades, ESME, and has also been published in Ms. Magazine and The Atlantic.