This story was shared by a friend of mine who bought a new home in Lakewood Ranch, Florida a few years ago.

How I saved over $5000 in 30 minutes, when I bought my last home.

This is a quick story about how I learned an important lesson when buying a new home, and how it saved me over $5000 with one phone call.

The year was 2016, I was living near the beach renting an apartment and had decided it made more sense financially for me to purchase my own home. Mortgage interest rates were favorable and rent prices were rising.

I drove around my area and found an ideal new community with beautiful new homes, a resort-style swimming pool, a grand clubhouse, tennis courts, pickleball and 8 different golf courses within 5 miles.

I decided to look through the model homes in this community and found one that was perfect for me. Everything was new, the appliances, the bathrooms, the kitchen cabinets, the paint and tile floors. It was so much nicer than the apartment I was living in and paying rent.

So I walked into the sales center and met Lisa, the sales associate, and sat down with her and asked for some more information.

Lisa was very nice, extremely informative, and gave me all the information I requested with no high-pressure sales pitches. She told me I could call her any time if I had questions and that she would follow-up in a few days.

I got in my car, drove back to the beach, and started looking through all the information.

The next day while I was at work I was eating lunch with several coworkers and asked them if they had ever bought a new home. I told them what I had over the weekend and asked for advice.

My coworker Aaron immediately asked me whether I was working with a real estate agent or not. I told him I hadn’t contacted a real estate agent because I had just looked at the model  homes the day before and spoke with the salesperson at the community sales center.

Aaron told me it might be a good idea to consider calling a real estate agent and using one in the process to negotiate on my behalf. Aaron explained he and his wife had just purchased a new home two years prior, and told me his real estate agent negotiated over $7000 in discounts, upgrades and reduced fees with the builder.

Pam, another coworker told me her story. She bought a new home five years ago and also used a real estate agent. She told me think of it this way. “You want someone with experience who has a network of people who know the ins and outs of a new community and the amount of money in discounts and incentives the builder is willing to include to sell a new home, otherwise you are negotiating in the blind.”

I thought about it on my drive home that afternoon. Both Aaron and Pam gave me referrals for real estate agents they had experiences with and were satisfied using. It wasn’t going to cost me anything out of my pocket. So what did I have to lose?

I contacted John, one of the real estate agents Aaron gave me, and asked him, “what do you know about this community and are there any incentives or discounts the builder is currently willing to include if I buy new house?” 

John told me he had sold two new homes in that community in the last six months there were several incentives the builder was willing to include at the time of those sales.

He said, “Let me make a few calls to other agents I know who have sold property in that community in the last month and I’ll call the sales center and speak with the sales rep.”

John called me back within 30 minutes. He told me the incentives the builder included six months ago were no longer being advertised, but if we asked to have them included there was a good chance the builder would include them.  Two other agents he spoke with just sold new homes in the past week and the incentives were included.

John and I visited the community the following weekend and spoke to Lisa at the sales center. When we left the sales center, John had negotiated upgraded appliances, upgraded trim and kitchen cabinets which Lisa never offered or told me about the week before when I spoke with her.  These upgrades were worth over $2,500.

John also negotiated the builder pay for additional fees related to closing costs, insurance and appraisals which would save me another $3000 in costs and an additional 6 months in warranty time.

Fast forward 60 days and I was pulling up into the driveway of my new home, happy and satisfied I saved so much money, just by making that one phone call to John.

If you have any questions about The Isles at Lakewood Ranch, new homes for sale in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, or Sarasota Florida real estate, please feel free to contact me at 941-225-8806 or my email

About the author – Ken O’Brien is a licensed Florida real estate agent in Sarasota, Florida with the July 2021 real estate brokerage. He and his team focus on delivering the best services in the Sarasota, Florida and Lakewood Ranch, Florida real estate markets.

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