by Tracie Hocart
Residential Property Solutions
Buying a home or investment property can be hard work in your own suburb let alone in a suburb somewhere on the other side of the world. When buying property, usually the most expensive purchase in your lifetime, talking to a professional is important. Not just the real estate agent on the closest corner, who has many listings he/she is being paid a commission (by the seller) to sell. But have you ever thought about using a professional Buyers Agent? Or have you even heard of a Buyers Agent before?
Buyers Agents – sometime known as Buyers Advocates, Home Finders, Property Finders or Real Estate Brokers – are a relatively new profession in Australia (10-15 years here). Damien Hocart, Managing Director of Residential Property Solutions says, “In the US, figures indicate between 50-75% of buyers use a Buyers Agent when purchasing property. Why not, when the role of a Buyers Agent is to act only for the buyer, and to negotiate the best price and contract conditions for them?”“Most Buyers Agents specialise in a particular market segment, for example residential property, and a specific geographical area, where they have developed a strong knowledge over many years of following the property market and recording information”, he said, “This is obviously very helpful in getting the upper hand in negotiations and ensuring buyers are aware of the best locations and types of homes that can provide them with good capital growth prospects.”
“We all know how hard it is to locate the right property. What usually starts off as an exciting search soon loses its gloss after the Real Estate Agent, that you thought understood what you were after, shows you a property that is way above your budget and really not at all what you were imagining your family living in.”
“Spending your weekends, or holidays, leafing through the newspaper, property brochures and trawling the internet is not always as much fun as you think it will be. Especially when the properties look like they have just appeared in the latest edition of Home Beautiful. Funnily enough when you head off to check them out, and get the real view, they look very different. That’s where a using a Buyers Agent could be a real advantage for some. A Buyers Agent will give you the real picture”, Damien said.
Another role of the Buyers Agent is to help save the buyer time, money and stress. They gather any information from you and compose a brief, which basically gives them all the details that are important to you in a property. They will then go away and search using their own database (information they have gathered about property for sale through Real Estate Agents, Private Sales and Silent listings), talking to relevant Real Estate Agents to get information on their new to market and other suitable listings, and any property they pick up using their alert system via their own website (professional Buyers Agents do not list these properties and are totally independent of the selling property).
Once they have a selection of suitable property short listed for you, they can then inspect, provide appraisal reports and recommendations on which is the best buy and why. From there they can handle negotiations with the selling agent, to ensure the price you pay is the lowest possible price and with the best contract terms. They can arrange any service providers needed prior to settlement (eg. pest inspections) and are also able to help the deal through to settlement by liaising with solicitors, financiers etc. This is ideal for anyone living overseas and trying to find a home ready to move into when they arrive in the country, or soon after.
Buyers Agents usually offer a range of services and buyers can choose to use a Complete Search and Buy Service (search to settlement), or a service that assists them only in the area they need help. Some of the individual services on offer might include Sourcing Lists (a list of suitable properties that fit the buyers brief), negotiation services, auction bidding services, property appraisal and inspection reports, consulting and specialist advice.
Although it is a reasonably new area, Buyers Agents are another form of professional outsourcing that we all do to make our lives easier these days. We have all come to the realisation that you can’t always have all the knowledge needed to make sound buying choices. When looking to enlist a Buyers Agent in Australia there are a couple of things you should look for. Firstly Buyers Agents need to have a Full Real Estate Licence and be registered with the Office of Fair Trading, they should be completely independent of the selling property (ie. have no property listings where they are paid a commission to sell), they should have expertise and years of knowledge in the geographical area and market segment they are working in, an excellent understanding of property values and up to date professional memberships in the property industry.
The real beauty of the Buyers Agent or Buyers Advocate is that they help keep the real estate industry in line and buyers in the driver seat.
About the author: Tracie Hocart has lived and worked on the Gold Coast for the past 8 years, and in Brisbane 11 years prior to that, with her husband Damien (a Certified Practicing Valuer) and young family. Tracie and Damien own and operate Residential Property Solutions.