Of late there has been much hype in the media with Buyer Agents and BA firms being closely aligned ( cross owned) with real estate sales offices – NOT A GOOD THING ! but apparently not illegal ? as yet.  As well as Buyer Agents starting up businesses with nothing but a certificate of real estate and no prior knowledge of the industry, sometimes even including “never having bought their own home” as a bare minimum.

In the following paragraphs I am going to give some tips on what to look out for when you are searching for a buyers agent,  now that you should already know what A GOOD BUYERS AGENT does and how they can assist their clients to

  1. Save time & provide confidence
  2. Save money and access A grade property that might have been unobtainable prior
  3. Provide some kind of anonymity in the purchase process.

A Buyers Agent is not a role, that is in a traditional real estate sales office or tied to one. I always see confusion with this, as some sales offices call their junior staff “buyer specialists” or “Buyer concierges” – this is NOT the same.  Licensed Buyer Agents are a whole different business working within the similar industry.  Buyer Advocates/ Buyer Agencies have no affiliation or cross ownership with any real estate sales office.  They are fully independent, with a bias to the Purchaser only and they are paid a fee for this service to assist the purchaser in all aspects of purchasing a property.  Again, no way connected to the sales agency selling the property.

Yes, a sales agent and their sales office (traditional real estate office), can help you to find a property to buy – but as it will only be property that they themselves have for sale ( or their office lists ) , hence there will always be a type of conflict of interest as they are being paid by the seller.  So almost always they won’t be worried about getting you a great deal or the best conditions as they work for the property owner who is the one ultimately paying their commission/fee ( that’s why sales agents help you to buy for free !) .

There is no problem with this as it has always been the traditional way to seek out property but as time went on some more discerning buyers wanted a service independent to this to get the edge and they know they will have to pay for it to get the advice and direction that was bias to them – the purchaser.

If you want to find the ideal property and need assistance to do this, that is why you get an independent service like a buyers agent ( as their bias is to you – the purchaser) they charge you a service as they will search across “all” agents stock ( either on or off market) in all different sales offices and online to find you a property that suits your needs. They do not earn money from the seller or the sales agent as the buyer pays them direct.

My five tips for ensuring you get the best buyers agent, that is certain to be working for you and actually has your back with not only experience but no conflicting interests.

  1. Make sure they are have a “Class 1” real estate licence ( you can check this via department of fair trading ) as some buyers agents have just completed the one week “certificate of real estate”.
  2. Ensure they have actually worked in the property industry prior, either as a former real estate agent / conveyancer / developer, even a mortgage broker. It will be very hard for your buyers agent to navigate the sales process and deal with real estate agents, conveyancers etc.  If they have never spent some time in the industry on the other side of the fence. It assists them to know the rules of the game and the pitfalls as well as giving them the inside edge.  If they have come fresh to the industry after renovating a few homes – well, what use will they be to you, that is an amateur!
  3. Have they at least bought their own home ?? or investment property and what is their negotiation skills like.   So many times I have heard of fresh new members coming into the industry by being enticed by training organisations and academies that give them a two week course to become a Buyers Agent – BUT these people don’t even own their own home or have never negotiated on their own to buy an investment property??? I don’t have to spell it out but surely this would be some kind of red flag!
  4. Don’t believe the “Flashy”… There are a few Buyers agents out there right now claiming to have multi-million dollar portfolios and or 100’s of investment properties, they drive high end leased cars and seem to have come out of nowhere. I find one of the common advertisements or remarks that these dodgy types promote is “ 150%++++ returns”  for property purchased in areas all over Australia or all around the state. I once heard of even 400% – well they could prove me wrong but if it sounds too good to be true “ it generally is too good to be true”
  5. Go with an expert concentrating on a distinct locale.  I deal with just three regions close by each other. The central Coast / Port Stephens & Newcastle – Hunter Valley and these are the areas I have good knowledge of and can manage well.

However, there are a lot of financial planners or investment specialists hiding behind the “buyers agent” tag … and dealing with the whole state or whole country for that matter.  For example if they are promoting finding you an investment property that is a house and land package or a new unit or townhouse/ unit development anywhere in the State or Australia – then you have to wonder what their skill is and what kind of kick backs they are getting from the developer / Builders for continuing to put their clients in these varied areas and similar stock.  A Buyers agent should be an expert in a particular area or region not throwing darts all over Australia to see what hits a bullseye.

Chad Dunn is a Licenced Buyers Agent with 23 years’ experience in the real estate industry. Chad is a Licenced class 1 real estate agent who previously owned and operated his own real estate sales offices and Financial Planning offices before moving across to the other side to become a well known Buyers Agent in the Newcastle – Port Stephens – Hunter Valley regions. Chad Dunn Property Buyers is not affiliated or owned by any Real estate sales or finance businesses, and he prides himself on being very independent.

Find out more at chaddunn.com.au or email chad@chaddunn.com.au  to arrange a confidential chat over coffee or a phone call to find out more about his service if you are considering buying in the areas he covers.