Are you thinking about purchasing a new development such as Howard Hughes’ Aalii, The Block 803 Waimanu, or 900 Green Valley? Or one of the new builder developments in Ewa Beach/Kapolei such as D.R. Horton’s Hoopili, Castle & Cooke’s Koa Ridge, Haseko’s Hoakalei, or Gentry’s SEABridge & Coral Ridge?

Are you using a realtor?

Your right as a buyer is to be able to be represented. If you’re not you may be making the process harder on yourself and losing out value that a realtor can provide.

If you walk into a sales office for a new condo, townhouse, or single family home development you will be greeted by a sales agent and they will ask you to fill out a client registration card and if you have a realtor. If you don’t have a realtor they will be more than happy to walk you through the process. The sales agent may seem like they are there to help you but they are first and foremost there to sell the project and they represent the developer. They will help give you information about the project, get you in touch with a project lender, and help you apply for the building or lottery.

*** Some new projects require your realtor to accompany you in person. Make sure you consult with a realtor prior to taking a tour.

Although they may seem like they have your best interest in mind their first commitment is to the developer and your interests come second. For this reason they won’t tell you about any flaws with the home or building, or reasons why it might not be the right fit for you. Here are a few reasons to always use a buyer’s agent when looking at new construction.

Why You Should Use a Realtor

It doesn’t cost you anything
Commission for the agent that represents you is paid for by the developer. There are no extra costs associated with having someone represent you. If you go directly through the sales office and one of their agents helps you the commission they planned to give a buyer’s agent for helping you goes right back into the pockets of the developer.

A buyer’s agent will get you in touch with the right project lender/loan officer
A good agent will select the right loan officer for you depending on your buyer profile and your personality. A good agent has several loan officers at their disposal depending on their buyer’s needs. A sales agent may just direct you to someone who is available at the sales office who may not be a good fit for you. Projects may take a couple months or a couple years to be built. Working with the right loan officer who knows how project loans work, when to lock rates, and when to touch bases with buyers is key to a successful transaction.

A buyer’s agent will give you the best shot at getting a unit.

§The project may use a lottery system or they may sell units on a first come first serve basis. A buyers agent can notify you of new releases and help ensure you are one of the first people in line to secure a unit. Knowing how a project is sold and when releases happen is a task in itself that buyers on their own may have a tough time navigating.

A buyer’s agent can help review Documents
Going back to the fact that a sales agent represents the developer, a good buyer’s agent will help review condo documents with you. The sales agent may just hand documents to you and tell you to review them. The declarations, house rules, and public report will tell you a lot about the project you are buying into. A good buyer’s agent will point out important items for you to be aware of. Some key questions to ask pertain to the following:

  • Maintenance Fees
  • Pet Policy
  • Parking Stall
  • Common Area Interest
Many buildings that are deemed “workforce housing” “affordable” or “reserved housing” have specific requirements and are under regulations regarding “shared appreciation” and “buy backs”. These are all topics that a buyer’s agent can give their unbiased opinion on.

Tracking Timelines
New projects have varying timelines. There are dates you must cancel by, turn in deposits by, submit approvals by, etc. all before you are even locked into a unit. When the project is close to completion there are dates you must submit your loan by, get your financing in order, sign your loan, and deposit your cash to close. Although a sales agent can help you with the process, they may be juggling hundreds of other things and you may get lost in the work they need to do. A buyer’s agent is committed to you. A great buyers agent is watching out for your best interest so you can rest assured you remain a high priority.

Hawaii Starts Here | Joseph Castaneda (RA)
Joseph is realtor-associate with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Advantage Realty. He majored in finance and has experience as a former mortgage loan originator. He has helped buyers both with new project loans and going through the process of applying and obtaining units in new projects. He uses his finance, mortgage, and real estate knowledge to help home buyers find the right properties to fit their needs. Contact Joseph by phone or email at (808) 351-8394 or JosephC@BetterHawaii.com

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