The first thing to clear up is the common misconception that a buyer’s agent is the same as a real estate agent.
A real estate agent has a contract with the seller of a property. Therefore they have the seller’s best interests at heart.
A buyer’s agent, by contrast, acts on behalf of the buyer, not the seller. And in doing so, they level the playing field in an industry that was previously heavily weighted in favour of the vendor.
Buyer’s agents have been around for a long time. They first emerged in the U.S in the 1990s and have since become commonplace in places like London and Hong Kong.
But here in Australia, they are a relatively new commodity and one that a lot of people are not yet conversant with.
So, to help you better understand what a buyer’s agent does, and what they can do for you, we thought we’d put together a comprehensive guide.
We call it ‘THE BUYER’S GUIDE TO BUYER’S AGENTS.’
SO WHAT EXACTLY DOES A BUYER’S AGENT DO?
Buyer’s agents are licensed and regulated real estate professionals who act on behalf of the property buyer. Their purpose is to research, find and negotiate a property that is perfect for you, their client.
To this end, they will take care of every aspect of the buying process, including all those bits you hate like having to attend multiple inspections, go to auctions or oversee contracts.
A buyer’s agent starts by finding out your specific property needs. What your budget is, what kind of house you are looking for, what areas you are considering, what your requirements are, (i.e family house, proximity to schools, big garden, pet friendly, swimming pool etc).
Next they do targeted research to find you a selection of best fit property solutions. Properties that not only match your requirements as closely as possible, but also offer strong capital gains growth and rental yield.
Most buyer’s agents come from a real estate background and so have strong links with the industry. That means they can find off-market or pre-market opportunities that you would otherwise never hear of.
A huge part of property buying is due diligence. Being aware of a range of issues that may affect that property and impose restrictions or obligations on you, if you buy it. A good buyer’s agent will take care of this for you and ensure that, when that gavel falls, you don’t find yourself the crestfallen owner of a lemon.
A buyer’s agent will also be able to negotiate best price, terms and conditions and formulate a strategy to ensure you’re not losing time in a fast-moving market.
Basically, a buyer’s agent has the experience to save you money, save you time and save you months (sometimes even longer) of stress.
SHARK REPELLENT. OR WHY YOU SHOULD USE A BUYER’S AGENT
The real estate sector is full of sharks. Unscrupulous people looking to make a buck at the expense of buyer interest. Not only that, but the industry is still largely unregulated, meaning that people who are patently unqualified can still give investment advice and promote properties.
A buyer’s agent acts as a kind of shark repellent. They have usually been around the property game a long time and know the tricks, the cheats and the pitfalls and how to avoid them. They are committed to working on your behalf and will move heaven and earth to ensure your next property doesn’t end up costing you an arm and a leg.
So if you are time poor, or lack knowledge of the property sector, a buyer’s agent can be invaluable.
In addition, a buyer’s agent can help massively with many of the arduous aspects of finding a new house, leaving you relatively stress free and unencumbered.
WHAT’S THE COST OF USING A BUYER’S AGENT?
A more accurate question would be what is the cost of not using a buyer’s agent?
Doing your own property hunting is time consuming, exhausting, stressful and potentially fraught with peril. A wrong move could literally cost you thousands.
But for many years Australians had no choice as there were no other options.
But now all that is changed and there are expert buyer’s agents to guide you through the tricky waters and manage every aspect of the business. And the good news is, they won’t take a huge bite out of your funds.
Most agents generally charge a small upfront fee and a commission of 1-3% on the final purchase price. Whilst others put a cap on their commission or charge a flat fee.
But always shop around before you choose your buyer’s agent, check their credentials and ensure they are licensed, experienced and only taking remuneration from the buyer.
ARE BUYER’S AGENTS A GOOD IDEA FOR FIRST TIME BUYERS?
Maybe you’ve set yourself an urgent deadline to enter the property market. Or maybe you just can’t stomach the months of research or sacrificing countless weekends to inspections.
Whatever the reason, a buyer’s agent can help first time buyers by providing:
A good understanding of the different markets at a micro-level.
The ability to step in and ask the right questions to help secure a better dealer for the buyer.
Access to off-market or pre-market deals through their extensive contacts.
Knowledge & experience:
Years of experience in every facet of the real estate market. That means they are never caught off guard.
Sometimes first time buyers can get too attached to a particular property and lose sight of the overall value. But a buyer’s agent can provide clear-sightedness and help to keep them grounded.
ARE THERE GOOD BUYER’S AGENTS IN VICTORIA?
Yes there are. Victoria is home to a number of very good buyer’s agents who enjoy REIV (Real Estate Institute of Victoria) or REBAA (Real Estate Buyers Agents Association of Australia) accreditation. Find one that feels like a good fit and deals with the areas you are thinking of living in.
IT’S A BUYER’S MARKET. (IF YOU USE A BUYER’S AGENT.)
This year has seen lower interest rates and fewer investors, and this has led to a rise in first home buyers seeking assistance. And as property prices continue to rise, the importance of having an expert to research, navigate and negotiate cannot be overestimated.
MASTER ADVOCATES – THE MASTERS OF PROPERTY BUYING.
Master Advocates are a Melbourne-based, REBAA (Real Estate Buyers Agents Association of Australia) approved buyers advocates, primarily servicing the northern and western suburbs of Melbourne.
We specialise in buyers advocacy, vendors advocacy, property management, property portfolio review and property advisory.
Our aim is to offer you easy, affordable and comprehensive services that take all the stress out of property hunting and ensure your dream house doesn’t end up becoming a nightmare.
We have been in the Melbourne real estate business for over 20 years and have the experience, knowledge and negotiating nous to ensure you never get anything less than the best property at the best price.
So if you’re looking to buy a property, contact us and we’ll do all the heavy lifting for you. Locate suitable properties, attend inspections, do due diligence, handle negotiating and contracts, even do the bidding at auctions.
In fact, we’ll take care of everything and ensure that your next move ends up being as safe as houses.