The Buyer’s Agent industry in the Australian property market is one that is new and emerging. Many people haven’t even heard of a Buyer’s Agent or know they exist, let alone understand how Buyer’s Agents help Buyers in the buying process and at the same time, add immense value for people looking to buy their first home or buy an investment property. Using a Buyer’s Agency can enhance a buyer’s overall buying experience provided the buyer chooses the right Buyer’s Advocate for them.
Because this is such a new space in real estate, it is important buyers understand how to assess a Buyer’s Agent based on their experience.
Buyers should look for the following when appointing a Buyer’s Agent to represent them in a purchase transaction.
At least eight (8) years property experience, buying property in the local Brisbane real estate market. This is typically a sufficient amount of time for the Buyer’s Agent to have seen a complete property cycle. A Buyer’s Agent who is unfamiliar with the local area or a newbie to property will not be the best choice if you want a great result.
The Buyer’s Agent should live locally in the Brisbane area. Nothing beats local knowledge from a local themselves. Out of area Buyer’s Agents don’t have local intimate on the ground knowledge which can be helpful to buyers.
The Buyer’s Agent should have prior experience working in the real estate industry. Ideally, the Buyer’s Agent will have previously worked as a selling agent so they understand and can relate to how selling agents operate. Being able to “work-in” with selling agents is a must when it comes to representing buyers in property purchases because this is how a Buyer’s Agent can put their client in a strong position when negotiating a purchase.
The Buyer’s Agent should have a single focus area. If a Buyer’s Agent is spreading themselves too thin and claiming to represent buyers in multiple areas, this can have a diluted affect on the client’s purchase and overall experience. It is incredibly difficult for a Buyer’s Agent to service Brisbane, The Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast and other areas intimately. Buyer’s Agents who focus on one specific area produce better results for their clients if the target property falls within that region.
2. Ask For The Buyer’s Agent’s Credentials.
Buyer’s Agents in Brisbane MUST hold a full Real Estate Agent’s License and be registered with the office of fair trading Queensland in order to be able to legally act on behalf of a client in a property transaction. Buyers should ask to see the Buyer’s Agent’s real estate license and check the expiry. You can also run a search for licensed and registered real estate agents at the office of fair trading Queensland website.
3. Find Out About The Buyer’s Agent’s Past Clients.
It is always a good idea for buyers to ask about the Buyer’s Agent’s past clients and the experience they had with the Buyer’s Agent. Buyers should never be afraid to ask to be put in touch with previous clients who have worked with the Buyer’s Agent so they can learn about that buyer’s experience first hand. If the Buyer’s Agent refuses or is reluctant to put a potential client in touch with a past client, you should be skeptical. Finding out about the experiences of past clients is also a good way for new clients to determine whether the Buyer’s Agent is in fact a good fit for them. Remember, raving fans trump awards when it comes to real estate and property professionals. Buyers should be wary of Buyer’s Agent who boast about winning awards because most of the time, these awards are in-house, self-nominated and are not based on actual client experiences.
4. Ask About The Buyer’s Agent’s Recent Results.
Buyers should ask Buyer’s Agents to produce examples of recent results they have achieved for clients who have worked with them. These results could include how the Buyer’s Agent saved the client money, secured a property in a multiple offer situation, or how the Buyer’s Agent was able to pinpoint the best property for the client. If the Buyer’s Agent cannot demonstrate real results, it may be a red flag this Buyer’s Agent will not be able to provide value for their respective fee.
5. Prepare A List Of Questions To Ask.
Buyers should come prepared with a list of questions relevant to their personal situation when approaching a Buyer’s Agent they are looking to engage. Your list of questions should be centred around what you want to achieve from the engagement and the type of experience you want to take away from the process. What is the reason you are appointing a Buyer’s Agent to represent you and how does the process work? For example, if you are looking to engage a Buyer’s Agent because you want more leverage into the market and want to be given access to off-market properties, you should ask the Buyer’s Agent about their local network and how connected they are to local Brisbane real estate agents. You could ask how the Buyer’s Agent sources property other than via the usual online channels or portals. Perhaps you need reassurance that you will be given a money back guarantee if you feel the Buyer’s Agent hasn’t lived up to your expectations or produced the desired result? Keep in mind that genuine and ethical Buyer’s Agent typically offer a money back guarantee on their service. Other good questions to ask are: 1) How long have you been buying property in the Brisbane property market? 2) Do you work within a team or are you a solo operator? 3) What is your average purchase price of the properties you are buying? 4) What areas of Brisbane do you focus on? 5) Do you buy all over Brisbane or just in certain suburbs?
6. Ask About The Buyer’s Agent’s Fees.
Finding out Buyer’s Agent fees is crucial. Many Buyer’s Agents charge a commission as well as an upfront fee and it is important buyers are clear on what the fees are and when they are payable. Some Buyer’s Agents charge a fixed fee as opposed to a commission rate. Buyers should ask about the differences between the two and in particular, why the Buyer’s Agent charges the way they do. Remember, you are looking to appoint a Professional, so don’t simply appoint a Buyer’s Agent because they have the lowest fee. This can be a sign that their service is not as comprehensive, or the Buyer’s Agent is not as skilled or confident as you may think. Be sure you are comparing apples with apples and not apples to oranges. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. This is true when it comes to working with Buyer’s Agents in Brisbane, and as explained above, a professional Buyer’s Agent should offer a written money back guarantee on their service.
7. Find Out If The Buyer’s Agent Receives Financial Incentives Or Kick-Backs.
A Buyer’s Agent who receives financial incentives or kick backs from third parties MUST disclose these to you upfront before you sign. Buyers need to ask this question because it can determine how independent and unbiased the Buyer’s Agent really is. If a Buyer’s Agent is receiving an incentive or a kick-back from another party (especially a builder, a developer or another real estate agent), this Buyer’s Agent may not be working in the Buyer’s sole interest. This is a huge red flag for buyers who are looking for unbiased independent property advice. The last thing you want is for a Buyer’s Agent to be recommending a property to you because they will receive a financial incentive from the property developer, builder or real estate agent.
8. Find Out About How The Buyer’s Agent Goes About The Buying Process.
Buying property is a complex task. A good Buyer’s Agent will be able to explain the process they move through to buy the right property for you at the right price. Better yet, the Buyer’s Agent you choose should have a written outline of their entire process and how they go about delivering their service to you as a buyer and client. You should ask to receive this document before you commit to them. You should also ask the Buyer’s Agent if they are part of a team or if they work independently. In some cases, larger Buyer’s Agency firms redirect clients to less experienced staff for certain parts of the buying process and you may in fact be working with several people within a team, rather than just the Buyer’s Agent themselves. If you are the type of person who doesn’t want to be redirected to less skilled or lower ranking staff within a firm and you prefer to work one on one, you may need to rethink which Buyer’s Agent is best for you. The Buyer’s Agent should be able to demonstrate to you in a step by step format how the buying process is managed on their end and what value they are adding to your purchase at each phase in the process.
9. Ask About The Buyer’s Agent’s Local Network.
Great Buyer’s Agents are well connected locally. Not only are they connected, but they are also RESPECTED within the local industry and amongst the Brisbane real estate community as a whole. You should do what you can to find out about the Buyer’s Agent’s local reputation in the industry. If selling agents don’t want to deal with a certain Buyer’s Agent or do business with them, you will undoubtedly miss out on seeing certain properties. A good Buyer’s Agent will have many local connections who respect the way they do business, and be in a position to put you in front of more properties than what the average buyer will see. Well-connected Buyer’s Agents often receive the very best properties first and can get their clients in the door as a priority over other buyers. They are also privy to off-market properties and secret listings. A great Buyer’s Agent is a connected Buyer’s Agent.
10. Research The Buyer’s Agent’s Online Reviews In Brisbane.
Here’s where our friend Google plays a role in helping to select the best Buyer’s Agent in Brisbane. Do a Google search on the Buyer’s Agent you are looking to appoint and check their online reviews. Be sure to dig a little deeper and see if you can find any negative reviews or negative feedback online. When reading online reviews, be on the lookout for genuine reviews as opposed to friends and family of the Buyer’s Agent who have simply posted a 5 star review to boost the online reputation of the Buyer’s Agent. The Buyer’s Agent will usually have client reviews or testimonials on their website. Buyers should inspect these carefully and ask the Buyer’s Agent to put them in touch with at least three (3) of the clients who have reviewed the Buyer’s Agent online to check they are in fact authentic reviews.
11. Ask Why You Should Use Them Instead Of A Competitor.
This is a great question for buyers to ask. A good Buyer’s Agent will be able to promptly explain to you their unique value and how they differ from other Buyer’s Agents in the market. If their fee is higher, ask them to justify it in a way that gives you confidence they will deliver the result you are looking to achieve with your purchase. Make sure you ask this question in person or over the phone so you can gauge the Buyer’s Agent’s tone of voice and authenticity in what they are telling you. Emailed replies to this question can be manufactured to suit and will be difficult to determine how genuine the Buyer’s Agent is when it comes to their service offering. You will be easily able to spot a great Buyer’s Agent because you will get a sense they are in it to help the clients and not just for the fee.