In this article:
Is it worth getting a buyer's agent? Find out what benefits they bring to the table when you're in the market for a property.
If there's ever a good time to have a buyers' agent by your side, it's when you feel uncertain and confused. Buying a property can be a stressful experience, even without COVID-19. Throw incomparable property market changes into the mix – virtual tours, online auctions, a softening market – and now there are even more challenges for buyers to navigate.
A buyers' agent, who acts on behalf of buyers, can be a valuable support to help you search for and secure a property. Here's what they can help with:
- Research: Once the buyers' agent knows your purchasing criteria, they will conduct research to match you with suitable properties. Their research should cover historical databases and predictive reports, showing real-time suburb analysis and local sales data. For investment properties, their research and analytical analysis should provide you with information on essential drivers like employment opportunities and population and infrastructure growth.
- Investment guidance: If you're just starting as an investor and you're unsure which direction to take, a buyers' agent can help to craft a personalised portfolio strategy.
- Property inspections: A buyers' agent saves you the time-consuming job of endless inspections until you find the homes that meet your requirements. They will come to you with a shortlist of properties they have pre-inspected on your behalf based on your budget, preferred location and other specifications.
- Unlisted properties: Buyers' agents have access to private and silent listings, which means you can see properties that may not be advertised for sale publicly.
- Evaluation: Once you've settled on your desired property, the buyers' agent will appraise its market value and use their local market knowledge to provide objective advice about its worth.
- Negotiation: Their experience in negotiating with sales agents and their understanding of the property's current market value may help you secure a better deal in a private sale or if you're the highest bidder when an auction passes in. Buyer's agents are adept at identifying signs that the property can be bagged at a reasonable price, such as when a vendor is eager for a quick sale.
- Auction bidding: If you're nervous about bidding at auction, a buyers' agent can bid on your behalf. They can also negotiate prior to auction to help you secure the property before it goes under the hammer. As they won't have your emotional attachment to the home, they can help you keep a level head and avoid over-paying.
- Settlement: If you don't have the time to deal with solicitors, strata managers, building inspectors, property managers, valuers and all the other parties required for a smooth settlement, a buyer's agent can take this off your hands.
Most buyers' agents offer a 'full service', where they assist with all stages of the buying process, or you can choose options, such as help with auction bidding. Their services are usually charged out as a fixed fee or a percentage of the purchase price (commonly around 2% plus GST
As with any professional you pick to help with your buying journey, it's vital to be careful when selecting a buyers' agent. Ask about their recent purchases and be sure they have at least a few years experience in the location you're looking to buy into. Check their credentials, including appropriate licensing and registration with the Office of Fair Trading in your state.
Be wary of real estate agents who offer their own buyers' agents as you won't know if the agent is acting in your best interests. The REBAA
is the only national body representing buyers' agents, so they are a good starting point for finding a professional accredited agent in your area.