Secrets from a former Colorado Springs on-site builder sales representative
Revised: December 2021
While most builders diligently strive to staff their models with trained and competent sales professionals, it remains my sincere opinion that you as a modern buyer need a licensed Realtor on your side from the start when visiting Colorado builders. I have not arrived at this belief based on arbitrary factors, but from past experience working as an on-site builder’s agent for nearly half of my 20-year career.
Please don’t get me wrong, I was fair and honest when doing that job, placing integrity above all, every day. However, I was there to sell for my builder client. For example, I could not tell you about a competing builder I knew of who was soon to release that perfect view lot you said that you really wanted but gave up trying to find. In fact, doing so would have violated my ethical duty to my builder client. This is one of a dozen real-life scenarios that happen every day in on-site sales. An on-site agent can be sanctioned or punished for trying to help you in this way. Now that I’m free of that, you can become my client, with that same kind of faithful representation working for you!
A key point is that you can’t know everything that’s out there, and you surely can’t know all the variations in pricing and features when visiting Colorado builders.
(If you are interested in the back-story about working on-site for builders, I think you will enjoy this piece, starting about paragraph # 4….))
Analysis paralysis? On the topic of Too Much Good Information to Process, nowhere does it apply more suitably than weighing the mind-numbing builder quagmire of lot selection, structural options, upgrades, design studio choices and way more. What they are seeking to offer is a competitive and wide range of selections, while making varying and targeted levels of profit on each. The deep water comes when trying to compare all of these things, often paired in a way that gives the builder the greatest advantage. This makes sense, but who’s there for you?
Studies show that when you have no one on your side of the desk when visiting Colorado builders, you usually won’t save a dime, no matter how savvy. In fact, buying a home without a Realtor on your side will likely cost you more, due in part to the complexity of options pricing. The next consideration beyond the topic of ‘options confusion’ is negotiation. Builders know how to strike the best deal for themselves – they do it every day. The average buyer, on the other hand, may only negotiate a new home purchase a few times in a lifetime, and is therefore at a predictable disadvantage.
Note: I have seen buyers create elaborate spreadsheets to compare the dizzying options and pricing models between four or five builders. This is not uncommon, and on-site agents actually respect the technique when buyers employ it. However, having been on the “selling side,” I can tell you that 95% still miss the big picture in many critical areas of comparison, simply because they don’t do this every day.
A Word on Commissions:
Modern real estate sales commissions are almost universally designated in advance. In other words, your agent’s commission is usually included. However, not hiring an agent for representation rarely results in the buyer being able to receive the equal or even a significant part of the commission savings from the builder – it is a fact of life I learned from representing builders for such a long time. There is an example below as well that illustrates the point in a practical way.
Example referenced above: Over the years I have met many home buyers who mistakenly thought that they would have a financial advantage if they approached a builder without an agent representing them. (We’ll call one of these buyers Jim for this example.) Jim believed that the builder would discount the price of the home due to the fact that Jim was not bringing in an agent. Jim thought that all or part of the commission that Jim’s agent would have received could now, somehow, be applied to reducing the purchase price – a better deal for Jim? No, as previously stated, this almost never happens anymore. The vast majority of Colorado builders do not and usually cannot respond to this approach for reasons, that if listed here, would make this a 4,000-word article.
Thanks for reading! If you need help in sorting out builders and details, I’m just a phone call away at 719-761-0546.