Builders and Real Estate Agents’ Love-Hate Relationship

Jonathan Dalton, Phoenix Real Estate AgentBuilders and real estate agents have a definitive love-hate relationship. I tend to believe this comes from the corporate level down; the agent inside the sales office doesn’t lose anything if a buyer wants to be represented. More often than not, they’re just following company policy.

There’s no question a builder would much rather deal with someone with comparatively minimal experience negotiating real estate purchases. Some builders’ agents will tell you that they “represent” the buyer if no agent’s present. Bull. They still represent the builder first and foremost. At no point – NO POINT – does the best interest of the buyer come into play.

A couple of years ago builders would discourage real estate agents’ participation by refusing to pay a co-broke to the buyers’ agent. Now that they need us again, most will fall all over themselves to pay a commission. As long as the agent is present on the first visit, incidentally.

This has to be one of the most asinine rules out there. In most cases, all the sales agent did to “earn” the business was smile when a buyer walked in the door. And oh, do they smile- right up until they see me holding my business card and asking for a registration form.

Earlier this week I spoke of an agent with Taylor Morrison (nee Taylor Woodrow) who gets it. Maybe I’d have felt differently if a different question were asked. My buyer today is a teacher. She asked the agent at one of Taylor Morrison’s developments in Surprise if there’s an added incentive given to teachers.

Pulte has such an incentive – $5,000 off the purchase price – for teachers, veterans, etc. So does Taylor Morrison. But with a catch.

“There’s no incentive if you have a Realtor,” the agent said. “It’s 3 percent if you don’t have one, but there’s none if you do.”

In other words, come unrepresented and let us do whatever we do and you’ll get the incentive. Choose to bring one of those evil real estate agents with you, and you get nothing.

I said it’s possible I would have received a different answer from Kathy, the sales rep at Taylor Morrison’s Canyon Trails development in Goodyear. Our agent in Surprise today did concede she may be able to get my buyer a smaller incentive.  It sounded like supreme effort to pull off.

I’m reasonably certain I could have gotten the discount regardless of my presence. But my hunch is we wouldn’t have had to pull teeth in Canyon Trails but that’s just a guess, based on what we found earlier in the week.

As I told Kathy at the time, “argue with me just a little bit so it looks like I’m doing my job.”

Fortunately (or not) many of the other agents I’ve run across the past week have allowed me to show I’m doing my job over and over again.

[tags]new builds, Phoenix real estate, real estate negotiating[/tags]

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at


  • Thomas Johnson 10 years ago

    Jonathan- I would like to watch that Taylor Morrison agent explain to a cop, teacher, fireman who has elected Realtor representation why they will be charged 3% more than a colleague who has not elected representation. Maybe they think they can recoup from an unrepresented teacher, cop, fireman within the transaction or from the in- house mortgage an amount to the tune of about, say oh, 3%?

    If the public servant discount is given because they feel it will enhance the community, then why does denying that public servant proper representation matter?

    This is a local Phoenix phenomenon. I represented a teacher in a Taylor Morrison transaction, and my client received the public servant discount plus some extras that I was able to negotiate as well as a tax credit from an outside lender.

    Builder management in Phoenix will come around and really really like you as the 2008 wave of exploded ARM’s come on the market as 2 year old bona fide REO’s late this year.

  • Jonathan Dalton 10 years ago

    I think we would have gotten it, Thomas. What was striking was the different stance of the two agents. Yesterday’s clearly found my presence distainful, the other was happy to work with an agent who may be brining them a buyer.