Since the turn of the century, Australia and New Zealand have seen the ever-increasing rise of buyer’s agents in cities across both countries.
One of the main factors in their emergence of the industry in the same form that was so widespread in the United States in the last quarter of the 20th century is people’s ever-increasing work schedules and busy lives. With less and less time available to spend on searching for properties a gap in the market appeared and buyer’s agents moved in and are thriving.
Buyer’s agents represent the whole spectrum of clients from first-time homebuyers to experienced property investors with portfolios.
We take a look at what’s behind the growth of the industry by understanding what they do behind the scenes and what they have access to that the average homebuyer knows nothing about. For many property buyers who have used a buyer’s agent, they simply wouldn’t think of buying a property again without one.
People who turn to buyer’s agents usually all have one thing in common, they are struggling to secure a property or find the time to do so. Even if they have a sizeable budget they are right to be wary of overpaying for the property, or a typical situation is a husband and wife who have differing tastes, so this is where the agent comes in.
Of course, we are all familiar with real estate agents that represent the seller, so to some, this is a relatively new concept, but what a buyer’s agent does is very much level the playing field for the buyer with skillful price negotiations and knowledge of their local market and their local price points.
Buyers Agents v Real Estate Agents
Are they enemies?
Many people assume they would be, but it is far from the truth. Of course, they drive a hard bargain in negotiations for their client, but at the end of it, it’s a win/win if they work together on new properties hitting the market. If they strike a good bond, then both agents can just cut to the chase to shave months off what can be a laborious process for a buyer going it alone.
Why use a Buyer’s Agent?
An agent has a skill-set and access to information that a normal homebuyer couldn’t possibly:
- Market Insights – They know what areas are suitable for both location and investment for the long-term. They know where the market is headed in that area to give you options on not just your ideal property but in an area that will see appreciation also.
- Price Points – They know their local market inside-out and will be able to tell you immediately if a property is overpriced or indeed under-priced. Their job is to ensure they hit the right price point and that you do not overpay on your investment.
- A Skilled Negotiator – They know how to get what they want, and not just at the right price but on the correct terms, they deal with all the negotiating process on your behalf, so you are not subject to any hard bargaining from the other side.
- In addition to this, they are knowledgeable auction traders too, auctions can be a daunting and harrowing experience for the average person, but with a buyer’s agent by your side, you will stand a much better chance if they feel the auction is worth it.
- Legalities – They give you peace of mind by offering assistance to you from A-Z with all legal documentation until the keys are in your hand.
- No Up-front fees – A buyer’s agent does not act in the same capacity as a lawyer. Nearly all known buyers’ agents operate on a best-efforts-basis so it is in their best interests to get you the property you desire if the client wants to remunerate the agent in a different way than commission only, then an exemption is drawn up, but the rule-of-thumb is commission only within the industry.
- Data-based Properties – They have lists of properties that are categorized, once you have had your initial interview where the buyer’s agent will ask you a series of in-depth questions to ascertain exactly what kind of properties fit the bill, they can be lined up for viewing straight away.
They will already have inspected the properties and hold supporting documentation from the owner’s such as fire certification, building licenses, pest reports and details on any defects.
Here is where a buyer’s agent can really earn their stripes and give you an unparalleled advantage that you can only get through them. Due to their local connections, they can inform you of properties that are either on the market but are not public knowledge or properties that are due to list on the market imminently.
There can be more than one reason that a property is for sale but not public knowledge especially if the owner is a public figure or celebrity for example, who prefers a private sale or do not want people to see inside their homes.
In other cases it is purely down to their connections and relationships with real estate agents who to save time on both sides will share information about a property that is due to list on the market in the coming weeks. This is an ideal opportunity if this property fits your profile to make a quick purchase as the law of averages dictates if you are the first through the door, it’s easier to buy a property when the seller has no other offer to consider, isn’t it?
Local Connections Post-Sale
Often overlooked but equally as valuable is assistance. This can be a factor especially if you are purchasing a home in an unfamiliar area. A buyer’s agent will be able to recommend various people and services to you such as:
- Builders & Contractors
They can even tell you where the best Italian restaurant is in town. Bear in mind; if you’re a satisfied client, then you will soon be on their books as a testimony and referral for the next potential client looking to buy through them in the area.
As always before you hire anyone, even if you are not paying an upfront fee, look for previous sales and references to ensure your agent has experience in their field. You can also check with their regulatory body for more information. In the busy and ever-changing property world, it is more important than ever to have professional advice, with a buyer’s agent by your side you will have peace of mind that there will be no nasty surprises once the keys are in your hand and you open that front door for the first time.
Author Bio: Jessica Wicks is an avid blogger who likes adventure holidays and food critiquing in Sydney. She likes to blog about the property market and subjects relating to it, is associated with NSW South Coast Buyers Agency who are a regulated buyer’s agent.