• StarPointe Realty Group

TOP 10 Secrets Builders don't want You to Know!


1. “Builders” are a Brand | Builders are focused on Selling Homes more than Building Homes. Clients often tell me they want to buy from a certain brand. When I ask why, it’s usually because they truly believe that “builder” does a better job. Usually their perception is based on a friend or family members experience. The major builders mostly use the same sub contractors and suppliers. Your new build experience and quality level is 90% dependent upon the sales rep and superintendent who happen to be in that community no matter what brand it is. I advise clients not to rule out a builder or choose a builder based on someone else's experience. In the end, most homes end up being built to a pretty good standard. It’s really just the customer service along the way that can ruin your experience. When we represent you, we deal with the builder so you can enjoy the experience of building your dream home.


2. The Builder Sales Reps | The sales representatives who you meet when you visit model homes are there to represent the builder, not you. They are highly trained Sales Reps who are paid on commission. Their job is not to help you make a good decision for your family or to make sure you are fully aware of anything that might cause you to look elsewhere. For example, a certain neighborhood in Goodyear is close to a water treatment facility. It is well known that it regularly produces a foul odor. Do you think the sales reps are going to point that out? Of course not and you can’t blame them. They are doing their job which is to sell houses for the builder. You deserve to know these things prior to signing a contract which is yet another reason to have a realtor on your side.


3. Customer Service is not their Priority | Take a look at builder reviews online. Do you think they care if you leave them another bad review? They don’t have to worry about their reputation because they all have tons of negative reviews. They know that every house sells eventually. Management only cares about financial results because their duty is to their shareholders. Do you really think they care if one of their top sales reps isn’t returning your phone calls? No. Some of the most successful sales reps provide the worst customer service after the contract is signed and they use their charm to control clients. That doesn’t work on us. We will deal with them in a professional but very firm manner to make sure your concerns are addressed promptly. There are excellent sales reps and superintendents all over Phoenix who do a great job and provide great service but in my experience you are very lucky if you get great service throughout the entire process.


4. Build Time | Most builders will finish your home within their estimated time frame. However, most new build contracts state that they have up to 24 months to complete your home. In the event of a labor shortage build times can be delayed up to 5 or 6 months. If you are moving to Phoenix from out of state and plan to stay in a rental home temporarily until your home is finished make a contingency plan in case your home doesn’t get finished on time.


5. The Model Homes | If design features are important to you, verify that those options are actually available. Anything you see in the model home such as appliances, light fixtures, and materials. They may only install tile in 2 or 3 basic patterns even though a designer pattern is shown in the model homes. For detail oriented clients who value design features I always advise them to visit the builders design center prior to signing a contract if the builder will allow it. The builder contract also allows the the right not make constructions changes throughout the process. Most builders stay pretty close to what you see in the model homes but be aware that if a construction worker accidentally builds your kitchen island a foot shorter than it is supposed to be, they are not obligated to correct it.


6. Your Deposit is held by the builder not an escrow company | When you make an Earnest Money Deposit for a Resale home it is held by a Title Company and there are laws that govern your deposit and protect your deposit. When you make a deposit with a builder, most builders take the deposit directly and if you don’t have a legal right contractually to get it back they may very well keep it. In my experience most builders are pretty good about returning deposits but it’s usually up to the regional sales manager or V.P. I have seen builders keep large deposits and it’s almost always from people who don’t realize they could get the deposit back if they knew how to go about it and most of the time people deserve to get it back.


7. Permits | In a New Community the builders plans may not be permitted by the city yet. You would think this would be impossible but I have seen builders begin to sell lots in a new neighborhood that is just a block over from their current neighborhood and they assume that the city will approve the same floor plans… this takes several months in certain cities. All of the sudden the city or the HOA may decide in that neighborhood they don’t want 3 car garages for example. It doesn’t happen very often but when it does it causes major construction delays. Of course you would have a right to cancel your contract in that scenario. I’ve also had clients who picked out a home and a lot and the HOA ends up not approving it. That wasn’t the builders fault, in that case the HOA manager was just not a reasonable person.


8. Builder Reps prefer that you don’t have a Realtor | Why? For them, dealing with people who don’t have an agent is easier. For example, I know several people who bought a home and a specific lot so that they would be able to park their RV or trailer in their side yard and they discussed that in front of the builder sales rep who never mentioned that they wouldn’t be able to due to HOA restrictions. My next door neighbor in a new build community was told by his Sales Rep during the sales process that he could start his pool build during the construction of his home! They excavated and had started to install plumbing until the city inspector noticed it and shut them down and made them fill in the hole. They had to start all over again costing my neighbor several thousand dollars. If he would have had an agent on his side that would definitely have been avoided. Remember, the builder’s sales rep has a professional duty to the builder, not you, and most are paid on commission only.


9. Spec Homes | In the valley builders often start home for a clients who end up cancelling the contract or their financing falls through. Buying a spec home is a almost always a much better value. In 2017 Greg Whipple and I worked on a deal together and we were able to negotiate a spec home listed at $389,900 down to $360,000. The house right next door to it had sold for $425,000 and was nearly identical in size & features. If you want to build a dream home and pick everything out from start to finish we'd love to represent you. If you care more about value we will help you negotiate a great deal on a spec home.


10.. You Can Save up to $5,000 | Our team offers commission refunds for New Homes. There are a few limitations that may apply. For example, if an agent has been showing you homes for 6 months and you then decide to go with new build, we have to make sure the agent is compensated for the amount of time involved in the process. There are a few other factors such as the price of the home, how much commission the builder is paying, etc. If you already know that you want to buy from a builder, get in touch with us, we will tell you exactly how much your commission refund will be up front. You can apply the refund towards closing costs that the lender credit doesn’t cover and possibly towards design center options or a price reduction. Each builder has slightly different policies about commission refunds.


Discover the Benefits of having an Experienced Realtor on Your Side.

-It costs you nothing. The builder pays our commission.

-We have relationships with sales reps valley wide. Their insight gives us an advantage.

-You Save Money through our commission refunds.

-Our knowledge and experience allow our clients to make informed decisions.

-We know how to negotiate with builders for a better deal.

-We ensure that your experience is a stressed minimized process.

-You have us on your side if any quality or contract issues arise.

-If you have already met with a builder or registered with a builder sales rep, you still have a right to have your own representation. Just give us a call to learn more.




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