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.
They do not sell real estate.
Buyer’s agents specialise in searching out, locating and negotiating the purchase of property on behalf of a buyer.
Whereas real estate agents primarily represent the seller of the property, a buyer’s agent (like it says on the tin), looks after you, the buyer.
A buyer’s agent generally offers two types of services:
1. The full service sees them search out properties meeting their client’s criteria and negotiate the purchase of the property ultimately 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.
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 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.
Their fees may be tax deductible if you’re buying an investment property.
Investors should note that the cost of using a buyer’s advocate is generally tax-deductible when purchasing an investment property.
Early and wide access
Some buyer’s agents have access to a wider range of properties that you may ordinarily be exposed to (some may not even be advertised).
They will utilise 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, shortlisting efforts and stress.
Your weekends are freed up to attend inspections and focus only on the properties with a great chance of ticking your boxes.
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 agents who specialise in investment properties can help you source the right type of property in locations with good prospects for capital growth.
They understand market indicators 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 – lessening 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 it helps to have someone objective to represent your needs in the heat of the moment.
It helps to have someone with the confidence, emotional detachment and tactics representing you at auction.
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 often below that which they are willing to pay, while saving people precious time and emotional distress.
You can also ask 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 area’s 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 not only acting in your interests.