One thing I find really frustrating as a buyers’ agent are the other buyers’ agents who act dishonestly and discredit our practice.
I’m talking about those so-called buyers’ agents who steer buyers towards a new apartment or house development on behalf of a developer. Upon sale they receive a healthy sum in the back pocket from the developer and leave you with a poor investment choice.
Other dodgy so-called agents who call themselves buyers’ agents may not charge the buyer a fee. But this is when the alarm bells should be screaming because the agent must be paid somehow, if not by the buyer, then by who? In this scenario they should be honest and tell buyers they’re simply a selling agent representing a developer.
More and more selling agents are masquerading as buyers’ agents or buyer managers these days so be careful not to let that line be blurred if you’re after independent advice.
Fortunately there are plenty of honest buyers’ agents with buyers’ interests only at heart. If you’ve done your homework thoroughly you’ll find one who will help you get ahead on your property investing, particularly helpful if you’re time-poor, geographically challenged, or want to get the best value for your dollar with the greatest potential of return or capital growth.
It helps to know there is a professional body to go to – the Real Estate Buyers’ Agents Association of Australia – where you can find a listing of credible buyers’ agents Australia-wide and learn some useful tips on finding a goodie.
So how should you qualify a buyers’ agent before you start talking strategy and sending one out on the property hunt?
Well it’s your lucky day because now I’ll let you in on the questions to ask a potential buyers’ agent candidate, to determine if he or she is genuinely only working for you.
1/ Is the buyers’ agent appointed in writing to represent you? In Queensland this written appointment form is called POA form 6, there are standard government forms for each state. Also check if they’re members of the Real Estate Buyers’ Agents Association and the Real Estate Institute in their state.
2/ What fees do they charge? For genuinely independent advice you should pay a fee, this could be a flat rate or commission. Otherwise be suspicious of their motive.
3/ Check their website. If it features properties for sale, or sales pitch-style articles about a particular development then be cautious.
4/ Do they have current professional indemnity insurance?
5/ How much experience do they have as a specialist buyers’ agent? This means time being paid fees by buyers only, not sellers. Do they thoroughly understand the market conditions and real estate transaction process?
6/ Can they provide testimonials and referee contact details?
Well that should give you a good start to finding a genuine buyers’ agent. Good luck on your buying mission!
Zoran Solano, Senior Buyers Agent @ Hot Property Buyers Agency