Should you use a buyer’s agent for your next (or first) purchase? We look at the pro’s and con’s.

When you’re looking to buying a new home or an investment property, it’s understandable that you want to be involved: you want to inspect the property, check out the floor plans, take note of all your options, imagine yourself in that place…and perhaps you want to be the one negotiating the price. However, in this day and age, not everyone has the time, patience or know-how to do all of this, and do it well. As markets in Australia heat up again, it is simply becoming increasingly difficult and time-consuming to find a suitable property either as a home or an investment. So should you consider using a buyer’s agent? Let’s look at the pro’s and con’s.

What is a buyer’s agent?

A buyer’s agent is someone you hire to research and negotiate the purchase of a property on your behalf. A registered real estate professional, they represent the interests of you, the buyer, in a real estate transaction (as opposed to a seller’s agent, who represents the interests of a seller). This is the key point for whether to use a buyer’s agent. They act for you and you alone, as opposed to a traditional agent who is acting for the seller. Whilst they may seem to be helpful and even guide you, listing agents on a home or a project act for the owner or developer, so they must act in their interests and not yours.

Generally buyer’s agents are paid by commission or a negotiated fee, and will help you navigate the buying process from start to finish. For this reason they are best retained at the beginning of your search as it will generally not cost any more to have then do all the work for you from when you are initially searching for a property through to signing the contract and even settlement and hand over.

How would a buyer’s agent help me?

First and foremost, using a buyer’s agent means that you have access to the vast experience and networks of a real estate agent. These people deal with the industry day in and out, and so they have a good idea of which projects represent the best value, which developers will go above and beyond on their projects with customisations (especially important when buying off-the-plan), and of course, which ones you will get the best deal with. If you are looking for a home, they have the huge advantage of already having visited hundreds of projects so they can fast track your search to introduce you to just the projects or properties that actually match your requirements.

buyer's agent
Your chosen buyer’s agent works with you to ensure you get exactly what you want when buying property

There is no doubt that one of the big appeals of using a buyer’s agents is that they will get you a better deal. But does this actually happen?

If you choose the right buyer’s agent, yes! The real estate industry is an opaque marketplace at best. With auction campaigns, constant underquoting and many unscrupulous operators, it is very easy to pay too much, let alone actually getting a good deal. A good buyer’s agent has their ear to the ground so to speak. They should know what ‘deals’ are around, what this developer gave to that client to get the deal over the line. Knowling which developer to approach, with what kind of deal, literally can save you thousands or (probably just as common) get you thousands (think free furniture packages, each car park or free legals etc).

If you’re time-poor, a buyer’s agent is also very appealing. They’ll take out all the work involved with researching, and give you the options that suit your list of “must-haves” and “wants”. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t do your own research: working with the buyer’s agent will help point them in the right direction. If you need something within a certain time frame or you just don’t have the time right now due to work, kids or life in general, they can handle all the nuances for you.

How do I pick a buyer’s agent?

There are three main questions you should ask any buyers agent before you sign an agreement with them:

  1. Are you licensed as a buyer’s agent?
  2. What’s your experience in the geographic area/type of property that I want to buy?
  3. Can you provide recent client references?

These questions will ensure that you choose an agent that is licensed (and therefore legal), one that has experience and knowledge that will help you, and what other buyers have thought about their work for them.

If you want to take all the guesswork out, PropertyMash has selected the best buyer’s agents in Brisbane, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast and Canberra. We can put you in contact with buyer’s agents who have the experience and knowledge to help you buy what you’re looking for, and that we personally trust and have vetted. Fill out the enquiry form below and we’ll connect you with the best agent for your needs.

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Written: 29 November 2019

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