What is a buyer’s agent and what benefits can they offer you as a homebuyer?
In very broad terms, buyer’s agents are licensed professionals who search, evaluate and negotiate the purchase of property on your behalf. Just like a real estate agent advocating for the seller, a buyer’s agent advocates for the buyer.
There are two types of services offered by buyer’s agents. The first type is a full service and involves the agent sourcing out potential properties according to your needs and negotiating the purchase of your chosen property, whether by private sale or auction. Choosing to get this full service from an agent may require you to pay either a flat fee or a percentage of the property purchase price.
The second type of service is a partial service and involves an agent simply attending an auction of your chosen property and bidding on your behalf.
So, why use a buyer’s agent? Firstly, using their connections, they can provide you with early exposure and wider access to a range of properties, some of which may not even be advertised, giving you an advantage over others in the market.
Secondly, they can save you time and money. Despite there being a wide availability of tools and data to assist you in making an informed choice when purchasing a home, the process of finding one that meets all your needs can still take up a lot of time, which is where having a professional doing the stressful work for you can be advantageous.
Thirdly, by using a buyer’s agent, you’re also investing know-how. Because they have a better understanding of the market and have the ability to identify up-and-coming areas, they will consider how to optimise your criteria based on their experience, helping you choose the right type of property that has good prospects of capital growth.
Lastly, having an objective professional to support you during the auction and negotiation process is one of the greater benefits of using a buyer’s agent. Not only are they expert negotiators, but they have extensive experience bidding at auction. They won’t let their decisions become clouded by emotion, and will make the right bids for you at the right time.
If you do decide to use a buyer’s agent, good places to start looking are industry associations or simply asking people you trust for recommendations, such as family members. When looking for a buyer’s agent, make sure they specialise in the areas you’re seeking to purchase in and enquire about their fees. You should ask them if they accept sales commission from vendors or developers to ensure that they aren’t working on behalf of other interests.