Who are these mystical creatures? And how can they help you if you’re buying property?
Buyer’s agents, also known as buyer’s advocates, are licensed professionals that specialise in searching, evaluating and negotiating the purchase of property on behalf of the buyer.
Unlike real estate agents who primarily represent the seller of the property, a buyer’s agent (like it says on the tin), looks after you, the buyer.
What does a buyer’s agent do?
A buyer’s agent generally offers two types of services:
1. A full service that sees them search out properties that meet their client’s criteria and negotiate the purchase of the property chosen, whether by private sale or auction. They may look for one specific property, or an entire portfolio, depending on your needs.
2. Buyers may also engage buyer’s agents purely to bid for them at the auction of a property they have found for themselves.
How much does it cost?
Some buyer’s agents charge an engagement fee before they begin the search for a home. Users of the full service can expect to pay either a flat fee, or a percentage of the property purchase price.
Using a buyer’s agent to bid at auction, meanwhile, carries a lower fee, as there’s much less time involved.
Investors should note that the cost of using a buyer’s advocate is generally tax-deductible when purchasing an investment property.
Why use a buyer’s agent?
Early and wide access
Some buyer’s agents have access to a wider range of properties than you might ordinarily be exposed to (some may not even be advertised).
They will leverage their network to connect you with focused opportunities, often ahead of others in the market.
Having a professional seek out a property that meets your needs can save you countless hours spent shortlisting efforts and eliminate a lot stress.
Your weekends would be freed up to attend inspections and focus only on properties that meet all your criteria.
Though there’s an increasing array of tools and data out there to help you make an informed choice when buying, it still takes valuable time, and if you can outsource that work to someone working in your interest, why not?
Buyer’s advocates who specialise in investment properties can help you source the right type of property in locations with good prospects for capital growth.
They understand the market and won’t just work from your requirements, but will consider how to optimise your shortlist based on their experience.
This can save you time, money and stress in the long run – reducing your chances of making an ill-informed investment decision.
Bidding and negotiating
One of the most popular reasons people use a buyer’s advocate is to support them during the auction and negotiation process.
Bidding at auction can be an intimidating, emotionally daunting business and so it can help to have someone objective to represent your needs in the heat of the moment.
Buyer’s advocates implicitly understand the process, including the tricks of the trade, and bring to auctions the confidence, emotional detachment and tactics necessary for a successful bid.
Many insist they can net their clients a purchase price below that which they are willing to pay, while saving people precious time and emotional distress.
Still sitting on the fence? Here are five reasons why you should use a buyer’s agent.
How do you find a buyer’s agent?
Start by asking friends, family or others you trust if they have one they can recommend. Word of mouth is a great way to track down an agent with a good reputation. Just make sure they work in the areas you’re looking at buying in.
Ask your prospective agent if they accept sales commission from vendors or developers. This isn’t common, but it’s important to know if they are acting on behalf of interest other than your own.