I'm no expert but having worked at a lending institution for over 2 years and by going through a Home Buyers Class that spanned 12 hours of lectures and presentations about buying an existing home or having one built, I feel as though I can offer some sound advice.
To start, it's a shame that a lot more people don't spend a little time and $$$ in educating themselves as you are. It's invaluable. Buyers are willing to spend 100, 200, or more THOUSAND dollars, probably once in their life, and they won't spend a couple of thousand dollars on a home inspector, a lawyer, or even a buyer/agent. (On my philosophical soapbox now ...) If you don't need a lawyer to look over your paperwork at closing, then why does the bank do it all the time!? And they're in the business of lending $$$ for home buyers. They shouldn't need one, right? (Yeah, right!) Why does FHA have the homes they may loan money on so tightly inspected BEFORE they approve a loan? In both cases, when it comes to the bank and the FHA, they're having their interests protected! Not yours! And so should you, the homebuyer, have your interests covered. You can't convince me otherwise unless you're a homebuyer that's a lawyer and a home inspector and a lender. If I had $1.00 for every person that came to me and said they'd wished they'd had an attorney look over their paperwork or a home inspector look at the house before they bought, or shopped around for a mortgage, I'd be kicking sand in the Carribean right now. OK. Now to answer your question, Jo Mark.
If it's not too late, before you sign anything, spend a few hundred $$$ and have the home inspected. Make sure the home inspector isn't some former used car salesman or widget maker. They should be ASHI-approved and have backgrounds in things like General Contracting, Engineering, etc.. I'm speaking of the person they send to your house; NOT just the background of the company they work for! Ask your friends for references but still check their backgrounds. The most extremely professional inspectors should be able to give you an immediate report on-site. Not a report 3 days later. They should go up on the roof, into the attic, and under the crawlspace. I don't care if the house is new or not. Get your own inspector! And, they should give you lots of paperwork how a live eats, sleeps, and breaths. (like a binder's worth of paperwork!) It's OK if they give you price estimates on repairs BUT if they offer to do the work or refer someone, that's a conflict of interest. ASHI-approved inspectors have a code of ethics. The way I see your position now is it's still NOT too late. Enough on that. If it's not too late, get a lawyer to look at the paperwork. Get your own lawyer to look at the paperwork. And get someone who's done a few closing on new homes too. Remember, if you have a problem with something in your new home, you'll have to retain a lawyer for, perhaps, thousands of $$$! If you establish a relationship with a lawyer now AND ask them, "What if I have a problem down the road?", kind-a questions, you'll see if they'll support you and what fees they'll charge, IF ANY, they'll charge. Go ask a lawyer what it would cost you to have them send a simple letter to your builder like, "If you don't landscape Jo Mark's lot by June 30th, 1998, we'll sue!". If you think it's only $50, you're mistaken! In short, get a real estate closing attorney now and ask the "what-if" questions now and pay the $$$ now! The way I see your position now is it's NEVER too late.
I'm not sure about 'broker/agent'. I know what you're describing but I know them as buyer-brokers. This is a person who is hired by a BUYER, AND has NO interest in the seller's side of things because YOU'RE paying them. If they have a seller's side interest, it's a conflict of interest. (bells and whistles should go off now.) (lawsuit). Anyway, the duties of a buyer-broker are pretty much the same duties you would perform yourself when it comes to buying a home. Like locate the home of your dreams (by shopping around for you based on your home criteria), secure financing (by finding a few lenders with different lending plans that fit your loan criteria), setting up closing (by working with you and the seller for a 'good' time to close), etc., etc.. They should also be recommending a home inspector (even for a new home), an attorney (or at least the +'s and -'s of having one or not having one), etc., etc.. In short, they should be acting on your behalf as if they were you! Now, you said your 'broker/agent' has backed off since you, basically, agreed to the purchase. I'm a bit nervous. It sounds like this agent is NOT just working for you. A buyer-broker is one that is paid by the BUYER; not the seller or via the sale of the home. If you're not paying him/her, do something! Either light a fire under their but or get someone else. They should be acting as if they were you. If you are paying for their services, I'm gonna hope that you already had your new home inspected, an attorney retained, and financing secured, and you're simply in a true 'lul' in the process. If what I stated is NOT the case, again, do something! I've said a lot. E-mail me directly if you have any more questions (and you should). I'm not an attorney, a realtor, a financier, a builder, or a home inspector. I'm just an educated consumer.
Again, e-mail me directly if you need more questions answered.