Are you in the market for a new home and considering hiring a buyer’s agent to guide you through the process? With the help of an experienced and dependable buyer’s agent, you can ensure that you make informed decisions and get the most out of your home buying experience.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide you with all the information you need to work effectively with a buyer’s agent. We’ll cover the role of a buyer’s agent, how to choose the right one for you, and offer reviews of some of Brisbane’s best buyer’s agents.
Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or an experienced property investor, this guide will provide you with valuable insights and tips to help you get the most out of your relationship with your buyer’s agent. Let’s dive in and start your journey to finding your dream home.
Table of Contents
What is a buyer's agent?
A buyer’s agent is a hired professional who works on behalf of the buyer. Their job is to help find, research and negotiate the right property.
They represent their client’s interests and, in this case, the buyer. They are very different to a real estate agent whose interests are allied with the seller.
Let’s get one thing straight.
A buyer’s agent is on the buyer’s side.
A real estate agent is on the seller’s side.
Let’s take a look at an example.
Tenille is looking at purchasing a home on the Gold Coast. Her buyer’s agent, Janine, is keeping watch of new listings and has found one perfect for her.
In this case, the buyer’s agent will negotiate on behalf of Tenille.
The property will go to auction, and the agent, Janine, will bid for her and ensure that all the correct steps are followed for her to get the best deal possible.
In other situations, buyers also hire an agent after they’ve found a home to then do the negotiating for them.
How do you know if a buyer’s agent is reputable?
We’ll get to that in a minute.
Benefits of using buyer’s agents
It’s estimated that only around 2.5% of property sales in Australia are through buyer’s agents.
For the most part, it’s because of agents like Frank Valentic, a previous judge on Channel 9’s popular TV show, The Block. In 2016 Frank was fined and suspended for 6 months after his company charged two customers $13,750 without providing services to justify the fee.
There are so many cowboys like this.
But don’t stress because using the strategies in this article will safeguard you against predators.
Despite the unfortunate actions of a few bad actors, there are numerous benefits to using a buyer’s agent when purchasing a home. One of the main advantages is the expertise that these professionals bring to the table. A good buyer’s agent will have a wealth of knowledge about the local real estate market and can help you navigate the complexities of buying a home, from finding the right property to negotiating the best deal.
Another advantage of using a buyer’s agent is that they act solely on behalf of the buyer, rather than the seller. This means that they are focused on getting the best possible outcome for their client, rather than trying to please both parties involved in the transaction. This can be especially important in a competitive real estate market where multiple buyers may be vying for the same property.
Using a buyer’s agent can also save you time and effort. Searching for the perfect home can be a time-consuming process, and having an agent on your side who can help you filter through listings and arrange viewings can be a huge help. Additionally, a buyer’s agent can handle negotiations and paperwork on your behalf, taking some of the stress out of the home buying process.
Finally, working with a buyer’s agent can be cost-effective in the long run. While there may be fees associated with using a buyer’s agent, they can often help you secure a better deal on a property, ultimately saving you money in the long run. They can also help you avoid costly mistakes that can arise from not having a thorough understanding of the real estate market.
Overall, while there may be some unscrupulous individuals in the buyer’s agent industry, the benefits of working with a reputable and knowledgeable professional far outweigh the risks. By following the strategies outlined in this article, you can ensure that you find the right buyer’s agent to help you navigate the home buying process and achieve your real estate goals.
Do you need a buyer’s agent?
This is a great question. A buyer’s agent isn’t for everyone, but here’s a list to know if one is right for you.
A buyer’s agent might be right for you if:
- You are time-poor due to many competing priorities, such as work, family, and other commitments.
- You need to buy quickly. You may have just sold your home and need to find another one as soon as possible, or you want to relocate for work.
- You don’t like to negotiate. Not everyone enjoys or is good at negotiating, and that’s where a buyer’s agent comes in.
- The property you’re looking to buy is unique or one of a kind. Unique properties can be difficult to negotiate, so a buyers agent can help you with that.
- You are an investor looking to make decisions based on data and numbers. The buyer’s agent will do all the necessary research about the financial feasibility of the property, saving you time and money.
- You’ve been looking for a long time. Sometimes you may end up getting desperate or frustrated, which is why you may need to hire someone who is professional and won’t make emotional decisions.
- You’re buying in a location you can’t quickly get to for inspections.
- You’re going to auction. A buyer’s agent can do the bidding for you and ensure you get the best deal.
While there are many other reasons for having a buyer’s agent. The main thing to understand is: why you’re looking for their help. Knowing this will enable you to get the most value out of their service.
Buyer’s agents vs. real estate agents: What’s the difference?
On the other hand, the buyer’s agent is working for the buyer. Their focus is to help the seller find the best property at the lowest price possible. Buyers agents are paid in different ways, as we will cover below, but unlike real estate agents, they are not paid a commission by the vendor or seller.
Why Hire a Buyer’s Agent?
A buyer’s agent can be a huge help when applying for specific types of properties. This includes off-market properties and distressed sales.
Buying a property that isn’t listed on the market could save you a lot of money as the sellers won’t have to pay a real estate agent or advertising fees.
Side note – an off-market property is a property that’s currently not for sale. It is typically sold directly from seller to buyer without the intervention of a real estate agent.
A friend of mine was looking to buy their dream home and had been looking for over two years to no avail. What they were after was specific, and they never seemed to find properties that met their criteria in the few suburbs they wanted to live in.
So instead of going in alone, they decided to seek the guidance of a buyer’s agent who specialises in buying properties off the market. Within 8 weeks, the deal was closed and settled.
They were over the moon because they had found a home that met their specific need at a great price, and all the hard work was done for them!
It is very hard work for a buyer’s agent to find a property off-market. Uncovering these types of homes requires local knowledge, door knocking, letterbox drops, and engaging in the local community.
So to see if your buyer’s agent can help with off-market properties, ask the following questions:
- What strategies have you used in the past to obtain off-the-market properties
- What would your game plan be for my property?
- Can you show me your track record in buying off-market properties?
Distressed sales are as rare as hen’s teeth. These types of transactions are where a great buyer’s agent will shine.
A distressed sale can be defined as a property that is sold in an urgent manner.
The seller typically sells at a loss due to time constraints. These constraints vary from repossession to divorce.
Because of the general nature, it’s not uncommon for these types of properties to need a bit of a freshen-up (generally a new carpet and a fresh lick of paint).
When I was working for a bank years ago, I had a client who bought a distressed property.
The sellers were going through a divorce. The owners had been told they needed to sell or their lender would do it for them.
Because of this, my client got such a bargain that the bank’s valuation came in 13% higher than the price he purchased. This is considered significant, and for this to happen is extraordinarily uncommon as the bank valuations are notoriously overly conservative.
To reap the benefits of a distress sale, a great buyers agent will have contacts in three key areas;
- Will / Estate
The buyer’s agent’s contacts may vary, but some include solicitors, real estate agents, executors and bankers, to name a few.
So before choosing your buyers agent, ask them the following questions:
- Do you specialise in Distressed Sales?
- What contacts do you have in this arena?
- Can you please show me recent case studies?
- What is your process for securing a deal for a distressed sale?
How much do buyer’s agents cost?
You’re probably wondering how these agents make money.
Well, a buyer’s agent is independent and shouldn’t receive a benefit from the sale of the property or any partners involved in the transaction. So that means no money from developers, real estate agents, mortgage brokers, solicitors and banks.
You pay the agent to provide advice and to represent your best interests. So if they are getting payments from any of these, there will be a conflict of interest.
Before choosing a buyer’s agent, it’s best to ask if they’ll receive any incentive outside your payment.
Note: incentives may not always be monetary. Some examples include holidays, education, marketing, and staffing.
Before moving forward, you will need to clarify if your agent receives an outside incentive or kickback. And whether or not they are obliged to disclose this to you.
How much is a buyer’s agent fee?
Generally, buyer’s agents have two ways they’ll charge for their services; either a fixed fee or a percentage of the purchase price.
- Fixed fee charges range from $1,000 to $15,000, depending on how much of the process they help you with. So if you only ask them to help with the negotiation, you can expect to be on the lower end of the scale.
- The percentage of the purchase price ranges from 1 – 3% of the purchase price. In some ways, this method is counterproductive to your relationship with a buyer’s agent because the more you spend, the more they earn.
How to get the most out of your buyer’s agent?
Rather than paying a fixed fee or commission based on the purchase price, flip the script and negotiate based on the amount they save you.
For example, if the property you want to buy is listed on RealEstate.com.au for $700,000 and your buyer’s agent was able to secure it for $625,000, you’d pay based on the difference between the two.
In this case, you’d pay a percentage of the $75,000 (which was saved). Typically this ranges from 15% to 25% of the savings, depending on your price rate.
So, in this case – the buyer’s agent would be paid between $11,250 to $18,750. This creates an incentive for the buyer’s agent to work in your best interest and get rewarded accordingly!
Tips to use when choosing a buyer’s agent
In this section, we will show you our favourite tips for finding a buyer’s agent.
In most cases, all you need to get started is a shortlist of agents that people have used to find one that is suitable for you.
How to hire the right buyer’s agent:
For you to get the best outcome from a buyer’s agent, there are a few things you can check.
- Check the buyer’s agent licences. If they are in Queensland, they should be a fully licensed real estate agent with a minimum of two years of experience as a buyer’s agent.
- Be able to show you a history of buying properties. Aim for a minimum of 2 purchases per month.
- Have great reviews on Google Reviews, their website and other websites. You can even ask to speak to their previous clients for an honest review.
When it comes to choosing a great buyer’s agent, the proof is in the pudding.
Look at your agent’s results and see what they have sold. That means looking at the sale price, the time on the market, and so on.
Where can I find a buyers agent?
Start by knowing what you want out of the agent and where they’ll fit in your buying journey. From there, be specific with your search. Your buyer’s agent should know what you want — the more detail you give them, the better.
Like most industries across Australia, each state has its own requirements. For example, in Queensland, a full real estate licence is needed. However, in New South Wales, only a restricted buyer’s agent real estate licence is needed.
Ideally, your buyer’s agent will also be a member of industry bodies like the Real Estate Buyers Agents Association of Australia, the Property Investment Industry Association and the Australian Property Institute. These bodies set standards and codes of conduct for members to adhere to and abide by.
Search for a buyer’s agent here.
Buyer’s Agent Checklist
So you’ve found a few buyer’s agents that look like they might be the right fit. Now it’s time to ask them some questions to see if they align with what you’re looking for:
- How long have you worked as a buyer’s agent in the industry? (aim for 5 to 10 years, ideally.)
- Do you sell property, too, or are you just a buyer’s agent? This question is essential to ensure they aren’t also trying to sell properties, which would create a conflict of interest.
- What is your previous purchase portfolio? Ask for 10 examples to prove local knowledge. What about earlier purchases around your price range?
- Do you have professional indemnity insurance? Buyer’s agents are required to have a minimum of $1 million in protection in case something goes wrong.
- How big is your network of contacts? A buyer’s agent with a great list of contacts can help you find properties before they’re advertised.
- Do you own any properties yourself? Your buyer’s agent having their own property portfolio will help you to be able to see their track record and financial decisions.
- Are you part of the Real Estate Buyers Agents Association of Australia? Members have to follow strict criteria and are held accountable under a code of conduct, which protects you from rogue agents…
- What is your fee structure? What are the agent fees? Compare their fees to industry standards.
- How are your services different to other agents, and why should I choose you?
- Can I chat with some of your other past clients? If they say no, this is an issue.
Best buyers agent Brisbane reviews
Now that you have all the knowledge needed to hire a buyer’s agent, it’s time to decide on the professional services you will hire.
Let’s take a look at some buyer’s agents around Brisbane and what people are saying about them.
We recommend PMC Property buyers agents based on our customer feedback:
- P (07) 3367 0126
- M 0435 807 759
Company & Location
(from their website)
We are a local boutique Buyers Agent service with the benefit of having a Licenced Builder, Qualified Property Investment Advisor (QPIA®), an experienced Property Manager on our team – all working together for the benefit of our clients.
Investing in property for more than 23 years and developing property for more than 8 years.
Advice on which suburbs to target and negotiating contracts
PMC Property Buyers – Brisbane
Our passion is property, but even more so, to see clients who want to purchase property go into the transaction with open eyes, an understanding of the process and have someone assist them to ensure the best possible outcome that meets their unique goals.
Industry experience and qualifications including; valuations, Master of Project Management, qualified property investment advisors (QPIA), commercial and residential asset management.
Took the stress out of the situation
Does all the inspections, checks and negotiating the final price.
Prosper Group will source both on the market and off-market properties, negotiate the price and terms, conduct due diligence and handle the transaction management of the purchase.
Prosper Group provides specialised residential property services tailored to the needs of home buyers and investors. Since 2005, Prosper Group has built a strong portfolio of satisfied clients.
Expertise and wisdom
Great service throughout the negotiation process
Our final advice is to have an open and honest conversation with your potential buyer’s agent before committing. This will help ensure that you’re both on the same page and can work towards a mutual goal with an outcome in your best interest.
Understand specifically where they fit in your journey and link their commission to your savings to give you the highest chance of success.
So, that is the secret to getting the best value for money with a buyer’s agent.
Next steps and getting your home loan.
Are you ready to start your homebuying journey?
Our team at Hunter Galloway is here to help you buy a home in Australia. Unlike other mortgage brokers who are just one-person operations, we have an entire team of experts dedicated to helping make your home loan journey as simple as possible.
If you want to get started, please give us a call on 1300 088 065 or book a free assessment online to see how we can help.