Can you save money if you skip the real estate buyer's agent and go straight to the builder?tour models yourself and go straight to the builder to build a new home?
A Realtor is a professional who is on your side in the transaction. No other person represents you -- not the builder, or architect, or the GC. The agent in the sales office ONLY represents the builder, not you. The agent in the sales office is often trained to tell buyer's agents that they will "take it from here" and work directly with the buyer while still paying the buyer's agent so that they have more opportunities to upsell the buyer without a buyer's agent looking over their shoulder.
A good Realtor should be able to provide you with comparable sales to make sure you are not overpaying. They can point out possible issues with resale of your planned home which you might not be aware of and help you determine if you are "getting what you pay for" when it comes to quality.
Not only can I help buyers tour models privately and meet with builders, I often accompany clients in making their selections to help them decide which options will actually add value to their home vs. which ones are likely not going to pay off on resale.
Some people think that if they don't use an agent, they can save the money the builder would pay an agent. Realtors are paid out of the builder's marketing budget, so having one involved doesn't cost you extra. Plus, having two real estate agents make sure things get done (from paperwork to selections) instead of one (just their own) is often a benefit to the builder so they are happy to work with a buyer's agent.
Also, consider that the builder is always a licensed agent themselves or has a licensed agent representing them. In MN, when an agent is selling a house themselves, we have to disclose this. Agents are considered "wolves" and buyers "sheep" because of the knowledge gap. As a sheep, would you want to approach a wolf alone?
When choosing an agent to represent you for a new construction build, be sure they have represented a buyer in building before AND they have the education in working with the new construction process. This is the best way to be certain they are going to be valuable in the process.
Lastly, if you have a home to sell, an experienced agent will make sure you understand your options when it comes to coordinating the building, selling and the financing of it all.
Best of luck with your home build, whether you decide to go it alone or hire an experienced buyer's agent (like me!).
Interested in reading more about new construction?
Check out these articles:
Tips for Buying new Construction
Should I Choose a Custom Builder?
Should I Choose a Production Builder?
Questions to Ask When Interviewing Real Estate Agents
Search for a New Construction Home
What is Your Current Home Worth?