A real estate agent who is familiar with buying and selling in a given community will have the expertise to help you make better decisions when choosing your lot, your floor plan and any optional upgrades.

When it comes to new construction homes, many buyers think that they can save some money by buying directly from the builder’s sales agent instead of using a real estate agent. This route can lead to costly mistakes.

If you are planning on buying a new construction home, consider the following reasons for using a licensed realtor before reaching out to a builder’s sales agent or signing a contract:

1. The builder’s sales agents represent the builder, not you.

The sales agents who work for home builders can be very pleasant, friendly people. They are happy to show you the community’s selling points and each home’s fabulous upgrade options. At the end of the day, however, the agent’s job is to make sales and watch out for the builder’s interests.

2. A realtor represents you for free.

While it’s true that realtors do not work for free, in this situation, their fees are not paid by homebuyers. Production builders understand that they will be paying for the homebuyers’ real estate agent fees. They anticipate this cost and factor it into the price of the new home, whether you use a realtor or not.

3. A realtor understands the community.

A real estate agent who is familiar with buying and selling in a given community will have the expertise to help you make better decisions when choosing your lot, floor plan, and any optional upgrades. If you are looking for advice, real estate agents who are experienced with particular active adult communities can be found on each of the 55 Places community listings.

4. A realtor can negotiate to get you a better deal.

While you may consider yourself to be a savvy negotiator, realtors have specific experience within a community which gives them an edge. They know what promotions may be coming up and understand the community’s recent sales record. This is especially helpful when you are buying a home in another state where you may know less about the area.

5. A realtor will consider your investment and the home’s resale potential.

Builder’s sales agents are primarily focused on the sale at hand. A good realtor will have a more long-term interest in your investment. They will want to help you buy a home that will have a strong resale value down the line, especially because he or she might be the one you call to help sell that home someday.

6. A realtor can explore all of your options.

Sales agents will only tell you all of the options that are available for new home constructions in their communities. Once your realtor knows what you want, they can help you find it—even if that means expanding the search to a resale home or to neighboring communities.

7. A realtor will help you understand the contract.

Even if you’ve bought and sold real estate before, the sales contract is likely to have some confusing wording. Misunderstanding the legalese can lead to some expensive mistakes, particularly if there are problems during construction. A realtor can help you fully understand everything in your agreement before you sign it.

8. A realtor can watch over your home during construction.

When you are buying a new construction home, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the progress while it is being built. This is easier said than done if you are relocating to the area and currently live far away. Fortunately, many realtors are happy to watch over your new home, make sure upgrades are on track, and even send you progress reports.