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  • Writer's pictureMariel Megan Ross

How does a realtor fit into the new home construction process (and ... what’s the cost)?

Also learn about our *free* New Home Package - perfect if you're building a home!

Mariel Megan Ross, Focus Real Estate & Sterling Ranch Roundup

I’m occasionally asked why someone would hire a real estate broker to help with building a new home, whether in Sterling Ranch or any other community. Everyone is familiar with real estate brokers assisting with home resales, both on the sell side and buy side. But how does a broker fit into the new build process? And just as important, what’s the cost?

To answer the second question first, hiring a realtor to assist you with the construction of your new home costs you absolutely nothing. Like a typical resale transaction, the seller - which in this case is the Sterling Ranch builder you go with - pays a commission to your realtor when your new home is completed. If you build without a realtor, your builder will keep the commission for itself (and builders won't reduce the home price if a buyer is unrepresented – the buyer still pays the same amount for their new home).

So if you hire a broker, you’ll have a “free” professional potentially project manage you through every step of the new build process, regardless of whether you’re building a Lennar, Parkwood, Taylor Morrison, Wonderland, or any other home. Your builder bears the cost of your realtor, not you. Quite the deal, if you ask me!

A good broker who specializes in new homes, and specifically in the relevant builders you’re interested in (every builder in Sterling Ranch is different!), can help you in so many ways. How many ways? Well, I'd like to introduce you to Focus Real Estate's Sterling Ranch Roundup New Construction Home Package. This is what a full-service, white glove real estate brokerage with significant new home expertise can provide to you - at no cost to you, since we're paid by the builder directly.

Sterling Ranch Roundup New Construction Home Package (all included, at no cost)*

1. Projected "all-in" budget for your new home

2. Builder, lot selection, construction, and design center, fit, and finish consultations

3. 3D Matterport digital model of your home

4. One free predrywall inspection by a professional inspector with new home expertise

5. Regular on-site photographs/videos of your home during construction

6. Full-service realtor services to close on the purchase of your home

7. On-demand legal services provided by Focus' in-house real estate attorney, if needed

Whew, I know that's a lot! I thought it might be helpful at this point to walk through the services Focus has provided to hundreds of new home builders in Denver, and the services I'd love to provide to you!

Reviewing Available Options

One of my favorite parts of my job is meeting new clients, reviewing their home criteria, getting a feel for their tastes, and helping them narrow down the list of potential builders and homes that will work for them (if they haven't already) - and their budget. I’m "vendor agnostic" when it comes to builders so to speak, so I’m incentivized to help find the right fit for you. In other words, I don't want to, and have no reason to, push you toward a builder that isn't a perfect fit for you.

After we narrow down the list, we’ll do a walk-through of the models and any available resales, and I’ll answer any questions about customization options. For example, Parkwood is semi-custom, which means you can move walls, add windows, reconfigure rooms, add custom millwork, and SO much more. Wonderland, CalAtlantic, Richmond, Brookfield, and Taylor Morrison do not let you move walls, but their design center processes can be daunting (ever try to match kitchen counters, floors, appliances, and wall colors sight unseen?), and customization is possible across the board. Lennar includes many items that are usually upgrades in homes, but you still have the opportunity to upgrade other key items.

Lot Review & Selection

One of the more challenging aspects of building is selecting a lot. When reviewing lots, I’ll often break out my drone and show you what the views will look like from the 2nd floor. You’d be surprised what you can, and sometimes can’t, see!


Once we’ve narrowed down your options, I’ll provide you an estimated budget. I include lot premiums, upgrades, design center selections, and any lender incentives. I have a thing for data and spreadsheets and love this part of the process!

Keep in mind builders are often only able to provide rough estimates for upgrades and design center selections given the fluidity of supply chains, unpredictability of future pricing, labor availability months out, and so on. I lean on my extensive upgrade and design center experience (I feel like I’m at the design center every week!) to help get you as precise an estimated "all-in" budget as possible. If nothing else, you'll have the builder's estimate and my estimate, which always helps my buyers triangulate what the real final cost could be.

Be sure to check out this article as well: What will a new construction home *really* cost you?

The Contract

All of Sterling Ranch's builders use their own purchase contracts. Unfortunately, buyers normally can’t change/redline builder contracts, but there are ways to work within their contracts. I’ll help talk you through the contract high points and help you get comfortable with the deadlines, financial commitments, and so on. Luckily, Focus Real Estate has a real estate attorney on staff, so you get a little extra free legal help if you have any questions, too.

Be sure to check out this article as well: 7 things to know about new home builder contracts

Design Center

Depending on which builder you select, you may have 1 design center appointment or up to 5. It can be overwhelming, but it shouldn’t be! Having a professional by your side at these appointments means you can bounce ideas off of me, ask what I’ve seen in other clients' homes, have me present alternative options (especially to work within your budget), and help you balance your personal preferences with what will help hold resale value.

Be sure to check out this Roundup article as well: My 3 best tips for the design center


Sterling Ranch’s builders inspect your home at each step during the building process, which is extremely helpful, but keep in mind the inspections are understandably permit and builder-oriented. I work with a professional inspector who provides you an independent, third party inspection report at the pre-drywall stage of construction. I have many stories of issues our inspector found that the builder wasn’t even aware of, and honestly the builder was glad we discovered them before they were dry walled over!


You’ll have a few opportunities to officially walk through your new home. The first is the pre-construction meeting where you’ll meet with the superintendent (or equivalent) and talk through what will happen with your new build. This is usually done once excavation has started or is complete.

Next is the pre-drywall walk. This is an opportunity to see what’s behind the walls of your home, reposition outlets and lights if needed, and – perhaps most importantly - take photos and video of what’s behind the walls so you don’t accidentally put a nail through the duct work in the future!

Last is the welcome and orientation walk through. During this walk, you’ll mark any imperfections you want repaired prior to closing on your home.

We participate in your walk-throughs with you. We provide an extra set of eyes, plus our professional experience walking through and inspecting new-builds many, many times.

Be sure to check out this article as well: My 4 best tips for your pre-drywall walk

Issue Resolution

In general, builders’ agents understandably work directly for and represent their builders at the end of the day. I love working with Sterling Ranch's builders' agents - they're great across the board! But I have a unique role. I represent you and am here to look out for your interests alone, which means I can push for the best resolution possible when an issue arises.

I Would Love to Help You!

If you couldn’t tell, I love building new homes in Sterling Ranch. Contact me any time at I would be happy to provide references, and yes, I even built my own home – that’s how much I like the process!

*The Sterling Ranch Roundup New Construction Home Package is subject to change at any time for any reason. Focus Real Estate, Mariel Ross, and the Sterling Ranch Roundup make no representations, warranties, or guarantees as to the accuracy or completeness of information, data, and content provided. All numbers and budgets are estimated and should not be relied upon. Legal services can be declined for any reason. Additional charges may apply depending on the specific transaction. Focus Real Estate, Mariel Ross, and the Sterling Ranch Roundup assume no liability in connection with this website and the content provided.

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