Working with an experienced and licenced buyer’s agent can give you the inside edge when buying in a competitive market like Sydney – but there are some red flags to look out for to ensure you don’t get burnt.
Agents who are new and green; who aren't licenced; and who don’t act with 100 per cent transparency should be treated with caution, said Rich Harvey, manager director and buyer’s agent at Sydney-based propertybuyer.
He also warned buyers to be wary of “pseudo buyer’s agents” who may be acting in the interests of a developer, rather than the property buyer.
“There can be a misconception about whether buyer’s agents are they really on your side, because there are some ‘pseudo’ buyer’s agents out there, who are effectively sales agents acting as buyers agents from time to time,” he said.
“It can really confuse the consumer about what a true buyer’s agent is, which is somebody who leverages research, relationships and expertise to find you a property that exactly suits your needs.”
Experience counts for a lot, he added; “If you’re working with a brand new buyer’s agent who has just opened up shop, then how do they know what to do and look for? I’d suggest they have to have a minimum of two years’ experience in the area you’re looking to buy in,” he said.
“Also, look at their reputation: Google their name and see if anything pops up, such as if they have written any articles. This gives you a good understanding of their reputation in the industry.”
It’s also important that buyers check to see if your buyer’s agent is a member of the Real Estate Buyers Agents Association of Australia (REBAA). Harvey serves as the President of REBAA, and said members are bound to act with professional standards and a strict code of conduct.
To become a member, agents have to go through a stringent process and adhere to a strict code of conduct. They don’t accept kickbacks, only work for the buyer, and agree to act solely in your interests.
“Ultimately, you want someone who’s open and honest, who shows they’re willing to pull up their socks, roll up their sleeves and leave no stone unturned to get you what you need,” he said.
There are many other misconceptions about buyer’s agents out there, Harvey added, including that “buyer’s agents will only get you bargains”.
“Some people think that you only get the distressed sales, and only off market deals. Yes, as your buyer’s agent we build relationships and we can attempt to get those things – but overall we aim to deliver according to your needs,” he said.
“We help our clients to create a brief and from that, we pinpoint the specific area where the client should buy. We help provide clarity on what their strategy should be and where they should be looking.”
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