1. Make sure you show up with your own agent. There is no cost for you to do this. The new home builders allow you to hire your own agent and they pay your agent to represent you. Talk about total transparency.
2. Make sure you go in already pre-approved. The new home builder is going to want you to pre-approve or pre-qualify with their lender. If you go in with a solid pre-approval letter from a reputable lender, it gives your agent a stronger ability to start pre-negotiation tactics with the new home builder's agent. (more about this later)
3. Find out the phase release number and other "phase" related information. This will show your more new home savvy than most. In fact, you may enjoy the shock on the face of the new home builder's real estate agent. Earlier phases usually gain more equity than later built phases, depending on the local Santa Clarita real estate market condition.
4. Don't be afraid to ask for discounts, credits, and incentives. When you are going into a new home builder community and when you are represented by a real estate agent who has no connection with the new home builder, ask them. That agent should be forceful with the new home builder's agent in asking for discounts, credits, and incentives.
5. Find out what you are paying to be a homeowner in the community in which you are buying. Maybe you can have the new home builder pay 1 year of your Home Owners Associaton Fee? Maybe they will pay 6 months of any special assessments or Mello roos fees.
First Things First - get your own agent
If you want to buy a new Santa Clarita home you need your own agent. If you were being sued in court, you would not request to work with the attorney for the defense or prosecution - depending on what side of the law you are on. You want your own "shark" for your attorney.
The new home builders in the Santa Clarita Valley have their own agents. You also need your own new home expert by your side throughout the process.
Having your own new home agent is especially important during any and all negotiation phases with the new home builder's agent.
Of course - you could ask your agent to give you some of their commission back. That would be up to them.
Is it offensive? I don't think so. They may tell you that you'd be pretty angry if your employer called you in and told you, "Ralph, I know you worked 40 hours this week and that your hourly pay is $55.60 per hour. However, I'm going to take 25% of your earnings for myself - thanks for being a team player."
Some agents look at that in the way I laid it out above. Me, I don't. I get it. If you don't ask you won't get it. So why not, you don't have to be a stick in the mud about it and you should have a decision to make when you don't get back a cooperative tone.
If your own agent has been around the block in real estate at least a few times, they are bound to have represented people with new home builders.
However, most agents just sign up their clients and let the new home builders' agent take care of the rest.
I have often wondered where that value is?
I can guess that they may be contemplating, "It's costing my clients nothing, the new home builder is paying me to sign them up, what do they care?" Well, I'd care a lot. Show me something! Show me your value - that is what I do when it comes to my clients buying new Santa Clarita homes.
That attitude does nobody good. - Hire smart when it comes to getting a new home agent. Interview a few - make sure I'm on the list.
Go in pre-approved for a home loan
I know that most are going to say. This step is a waste of time because the new home builder is going to have you, or I should say make you get interviewed and give up your financials with their lender of choice.
That's cool and don't panic about your credit being harmed. There is a mechanism called a rapid rescore that fixes multiple mortgage credit inquires.
But, when you and your agent walk in and when you are pre-approved, it's a stronger position than Joe Blow who is there not represented and without a pre-approval letter. In the big picture, it helps you get what you want.
First, the new home builder's agent knows you are serious. Second, they know that you have been talking about re-sale real estate also. They may actually try a bit harder for your business.
Plus, if the new home builder is offering incentives if you use their lender of choice, you may find that they are asking you to pay more in interest or costs in order to give you that "credit". A different lender that is not tied to the new home builder in a captive way may be able to beat a 7,000 closing costs credit with a 1/2 lower point interest rate. In the long run, that would be better than 7K all day long.
One additional item - The new home builder's preferred lender also now is put on notice there is a competition between them getting your money and someone else. They might actually try a bit harder to keep you happy!
How many phases, what phase currently, and when?
In the Santa Clarita new home builder community, a "phase" is a group of homes that are going to be offered for sale.
Most new home builders operate in "phases". Releasing a pre-determined amount of homes per phase.
These phase releases depend on consumer interest and actual homes selling in each phase.
Phase releases also have the pricing strategy restructured. Phase one may be less expensive than Phase two and so on.
Phase releases typically have a fixed number of homes to be released.
Total build-out could be 100 homes - each phase could have been pre-determined to be 10 homes released per phase. That strategy has been built around a lot of smart people who crunch numbers for a living.
Those tactics change often, where if inventory is moving slower, it could be that the prices are reduced for a faster sale or the phases are cut from higher numbers to show a better supply and demand profile.
Most homes at new home builder communities sell at lower prices during the beginning phases. They typically continue to get higher in price per square foot as the phases are bought, built, and moved into.
You can also make a determination as to approximately how much the final build-out phases are going to cost. This could be good for an investment strategy.
You may as well take every advantage you can get when it comes to new housing and the buying of. That is why I ask all these questions for my clients.
It gives them the best advantage. (there's more - stay tuned).
Show me the money...
If I buy this home, what will you give me? I'll tell you if there is a high demand for new homes, you will be lucky to get the new home under contract in your name.
Lately, there has been a re-sale strategy rumored to be starting at a new home builder near you.
That is the highest and best pricing strategy.
There is a price for the new home. You know what that price is, but you are supposed to offer your highest and best offer right out of the gate if you want the home.
There could be complications with this strategy. With re-sale, the home buyers in a hot "sellers" market are even going as far as to waive their appraisal contingency. Meaning, if the home appraises for less than they offered, they will pay the difference in cash.
It may be legal, but it is not as clear-cut as it may appear on paper. There are a lot of moving parts to this strategy. It's important to get the best advice before venturing into the highest and best and removing appraisal contingency scenario.
Ask the new home builders rep for discounts, credits, and considerations. That's what I do well.
Ask the agent you chose to represent you at the new home builder for part of their commission.
If they tell you no, you have a decision to make, do you walk or do you continue to buy the new home.
That one is up to you.
I will tell you that I'd not let real estate become too personal. If you make an emotional connection with buying a home, you will have a tendency to take everything personally. That includes if you ask your new home agent for part of their commission and they tell you no. It may be their office is taking 70% and the IRS another 20 - leaving them with a few hundred bucks, instead of thousands. Go easy and do the right thing.
However, it does not hurt to ask.
What's it cost to own a new home per month?
You have your mortgage payment and your home insurance payment.
You may have your payments broken down into a total monthly payment that includes, principal, interest, insurance, taxes, and Home Owners Association(HOA) fees.
Or, your loan may be structured where you pay for your taxes twice a year and your own HOA once a month, etc.
Find out what the costs are and see if the new home builder is willing to pay those fees for a pre-negotiated time period.
Something that you may not know about the new homes and new housing is most have a higher HOA fee during the build-out. When they are all finished, the HOA typically reduces to what will be the "normal" monthly amount.
Of course, most Home Owners Associations have a clause in the CC&R's that they can increase the HOA fees at particular times of need. CC&R's - Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions.
Most of the new home communities in the Santa Clarita Valley, including Five Point in Valencia have mello roos taxes and special assessments for every home being sold.
The new homeowners will have to pay these fees when they pay their taxes or on a supplemental bill. Make sure you have that factored in.
Paying up to a year in advance of mello roos or HOA, or both is not a bad question for me to ask the new home builder representative.
Sometimes, that question is so far out of the left-field, they ring corporate and get the approval. It's nuts, but if you don't ask, you don't receive.
I'm your new home agent, Connor MacIvor
What do you think? A lot of moving parts right? Well, it's not that tough. But when the inventory is low and the buyer drive is high, you may walk away being happy just getting a new home to buy under contract.
If the pushing is hard enough, there are usually some incentives to obtain. Knowing the right time to ask and when to time these types of requests are also very important.
In some cases, you don't want the new home builder's agent knowing the hand you are holding. Hence, you don't ask during the first meeting.
You should wait until some precalculated time later that corresponds to your best advantage if the answer is in the affirmative.
If the answer is in the negative, you have now asked at a point where you may be able to get the "no" overturned.
I'm Connor with Santa Clarita new home experts.