1. Does this person or agency receive kick-backs or incentives from third parties such as developers, builders or real estate agents in connection with their services?
If a Buyer’s Agent receives a monetary benefit or kickback because they have referred a specific property to you, it may indicate you are being given biased advice which may not be beneficial to you.
2. How connected is this person or agency within the local real estate community, and are they liked amongst their industry peers?
If a Buyer’s Agent doesn’t have a close-knit established local contact base of real estate agents and industry associates, you need to beware. If they’re not well-connected, you will miss out on off-market opportunities and their negotiation powers will be limited.
3. Is this Buyer’s Agent a true independent?
Some Buyer’s Agents have been known to “double dip” when it comes to receiving commissions from both you and the selling agent. This is highly unethical. A reputable Buyer’s Agent will work for you and only you. They won’t be partnered exclusively with other selling agents in order to “push their properties” onto you for kick-backs and incentives. If they are receiving a financial incentive, they will tell you about it (provide full disclosure) beforehand.
4. Will you be working with One Agent, exclusively throughout the process, or will you be passed to others in the agency?
Some buyers prefer to work with just one, lead agent. If this is You, be sure to ask who you will be allocated to within the team. You don’t want to be passed off to a less-experienced team member if you thought you were signing up with the head honcho. No one likes to be downgraded, and it will likely affect your overall result.
5. How long has the agency been established and do they specialise in areas where you want to buy?
Always partner with a Buyer’s Agent who specialises in the areas where you want to buy. Sadly, the barrier to entry for real estate agents and Buyer’s Agents is low. This means that almost anyone can obtain a real estate license that allows them to represent clients in property transactions. You need to be mindful that experience coupled with contacts counts for everything in this industry. If you want a great result, don’t partner with an industry newbie and be cautious of appointing an agent that doesn’t specialise in the areas where you want to buy. They won’t have the connections you need to access behind-the-scenes properties or the experience to negotiate strategically.
And then there’s the google and social media stalk…
I suggest performing a google search on your potential Buyer’s Agent, reading their online reviews and checking their social media accounts. Who is this person when they’re off-the-clock and do you feel you can trust them with what is possibly one of the largest financial and emotional decisions of your life?