What is a Buyers Agent and why would I need one?

Using a Real Estate Agent to buy property

A real estate agent can assist you in purchasing a property. Real estate agents who act for the buyer of land, also known as a 'buyer's agent', can offer a number of services ranging from acquiring property searches, appraising, dealing with vendor agents, negotiating a sale price, bidding at auction, arranging property inspection reports and general property advisory. You can decide what level of service you require from your buyer's agent.

A buyer's agent is required to hold a real estate agents licence or have a Certificate of Registration and work under the direction of a licensed real estate agent. I am a Class 1 Licensed Real Estate Agent and my NSW licence number is 20022583.

Many people expect, when buying property, that the selling agent will look after you as the buyer.  While of course it's in their best interests to maintain a good relationship with you as a buyer, they work exclusively for the seller. The vendor (or seller) pays them to achieve the best sale price in the shortest time possible. 

Without a Buyers Agent, you're on your own.  It's you against the property professional, with nobody on your side to support you and make sure you get the best deal possible. 

By engaging a Buyers Agent you're levelling up the field and more often than not, you'll save the cost of the Buyers Agent's fee against the property purchase.  

Benefits of Using a Buyers Agent

As defined on the Fairtrading NSW website, A buyer's agent can help you:

Find, assess and shortlist properties meeting your search criteria
Research properties to determine a fair price
Inspect a property
Evaluate and negotiate a price on your behalf
Bid at auction
Follow up until the sale is finalised and liaise with related parties during the process
Provide objective information, advice and support
Access databases and information not readily available to the public, including increased access to properties off market
Assist with property manager selection
Eliminate stress by having one representative looking after your needs, rather than dealing with several different selling agents.

A Buyers Agent should never be paid by both the vendor and the purchaser. That's the beauty of a truly independent Buyers Agent. Being paid by the purchaser for buying services and therefore not having a relationship with any particular agent or property, allows the Buyers Agent to provide an absolutely transparent service. I am paid by you as the purchaser, so I work only for you. The vendor's position is irrelevant to me and my only goal is to find your ideal property at the best possible price and conditions.

Does your Buyers Agent live and breathe property?

Have they lived and worked in the local area their whole life?

Are they involved in the local community, school P&C, sports groups and volunteering?

Are they as comfortable in a rural paddock as a fancy coffee shop?

Do they have varied and extensive property experience?

Selecting a Buyers Agent

When considering which buyer's agent to use, consider these questions:

Are they a licensed real estate agent, and if so how long have they been licensed for?  I have been licensed since 2012 and completed my Certificate of Registration in 1998.

Do they exclusively represent only the buyer in the property purchasing transaction? Yes, absolutely.

What experience do they have in property research and negotiating prices?  Many years and many purchases.

What fees are they charging and will there be fees or charges if they don’t find you a property you like?  Fixed fees are listed here.  I don't believe in charging on a percentage basis as then it would be counter productive for me to get you the best purchase price possible.  You pay a fixed fee, as agreed, regardless of the purchase price.  A deposit is payable when you initially engage me, with the balance due at exchange.  This will be clearly set out in our Agency Agreement.

What are the terms and conditions of the agreement, and if you are not happy with their performance how can you terminate the agreement?  Your deposit is refundable if you change your mind within 7 days.  You can terminate our agreement at any time thereafter but your deposit is forfeited.

How is she/he different from other buyer’s agents? I have 20+ years experience in the Real Estate Industry.  I have carried out most roles within a successful Real Estate Agency, with many years as a Property Manager.  I have a strong focus on the performance of your investment regardless of whether it's your family home or a rental property.

Do they have a large network of contacts with selling agents?  Yes, both in the Highlands and beyond.

How often will they give you feedback?  As often as you expect.  We'll set our communication expectations right at the start so we are both clear on the best method and timing of communication.  

Do they have professional indemnity insurance? (Under licensing laws, they must hold this insurance) Yes, you can request a copy if required.

Do they receive any rebates, discounts, commissions or other benefits from third parties or service providers they may refer you to? No, none at all. 

Buyers Agency Agreements

When you appoint a buyer’s agent you will need to sign a buyers’ agency agreement which sets out the services they will provide and the terms and conditions of the agreement.

Do not sign the agency agreement before you understand what it means for you in terms of costs and what the agent is committing to do for you. If there is anything you don’t understand, contact Fair Trading or your solicitor.  Of course, if anything is not clear, please let me know and I will do my best to explain in simple terms.

Commissions, fees and expenses

Buyer’s agents may charge a fixed fee or a percentage of purchase price. You can negotiate this price as it is not set by law.  As explained above, I do not believe that a percentage model is in your best interests and charge a pre-agreed fixed price for my services.