Experienced property investors Lisa and Brian Happ reveal the ins and outs of working with buyer’s agents.
The right buyer’s agent can make a significant impact on in a property investor’s journey, according to Lisa and Brian.
The duo have build a $7M+ property portfolio over a 20 year period while working full-time.
Now, they’re applying their expertise to support other investors through the buying process via their own buyer’s agency, Personalised Property Professionals.
On Property Hub’s Get Invested podcast with KnowHow’s Bushy Martin, Lisa and Brian talked about the ins and outs of buying property with expert support.
Should you engage with a buyer’s agent?
Brian and Lisa said the choice for investors to ‘go DIY’ or engage a buyer’s agent comes down to your own strengths, experiences, support network and restrictions.
But there’s no right or wrong, yes or no answer.
“I think there are different options out there that are all valid. If you have the education, the time, the willingness, and you know what you doing, then do it yourself, definitely. I think it’s the right thing,” Lisa said.
“If you are time poor or if you aren’t sure what you’re doing, then this is one of the biggest investments that you’re going to be making in your life, and if it’s the wrong one, you could be really upside down with your whole investment portfolio. So that’s when you need to find someone or get educated.
“So it’s really important to have a look at what your background skills are and where you’re trying to go as well. If you have the time and confidence, that’s great. We’ve bought quite a few without a buyer’s agent ourselves, but when we were in our early stages, we did use a buyer’s agent and we learnt from that experience on what not to do and what should be done as well. So we’ve been there, done that in both ways.”
What are the dangers for property investors?
When engaging professional support, investors need to ensure that their advisers, agents and consultants are looking out for their best interests and not their own.
“I see red flags with a one-stop shop (property firm). It’s in our opinion that these are something everyone should avoid,” Brian said.
“Whilst it might be convenient and they promise the world served on a platter, there is a conflict of interest. Whose interests are they looking after? It’s probably not yours. It’s that they’re working for a single company and you get moved from the buyer’s agent to the solicitor, to the accountant, to the conveyancer and back to the financial adviser. They’re all on the same payroll.
“If we’ve got a team that’s working with one of our clients, I don’t want the whole team agreeing with everything. It’s absolutely against the customer’s interest. If we’re working with a customer and the financial advisor or their accountant challenges something, we need to either be able to justify what we’re doing. And it ultimately comes down to the client’s decision with what we’re presenting, and if the accountant or one of their other people in the team don’t think it’s a good deal, that’s ok. So if they’re all independent, they’re not on the same payroll. They’re going to be giving you the advice that you want.”
What should you look for in a buyer’s agent?
Education and experience
The best buyer’s agents are those who build on their education and experiences.
“I think there’s some absolutely brilliant buyer’s agents out there, and they’re doing such a good job for the clients. But then again, you’ve got the total opposite who aren’t wanting to understand the full situation of the person, the strategy, the goal, and all they’re trying to do is get the money,” Lisa said.
“In other words, all they’re wanting to do is get people off the books as quickly as possible. They do a slick marketing campaign to bring a lot of clients in, but they don’t have the knowledge and skill on how to find the property for the clients. So they’re basically just going, whatever matches, that’s all it is, and off you go.
“So it just shows the buyer’s agents who are doing the right thing, who have educated themselves and completed the buyer’s agent course, and are enjoying education constantly, and who are networking also with the real estate agents to make sure that we come out with a win-win situation. They’re the people that you want as a buyer’s agent, who work both sides and just make sure that everyone is honest.”
A strong rapport
Finding a buyer’s agent who is willing to build a strong rapport and connection with you is key.
“It’s about care, it’s about investment. It’s about getting to know your client, getting to understand them, building that relationship, and it not being a quick sale,” Brian said.
“A great buyer’s agent is consistently there on beck and call almost each step of the way, communicating with the client, getting the best results, presenting a property to them and going, okay, we’re not recommending that you buy this one, but what is it that you do or don’t like about this so that we can better build the brief and really understand what it is that they’re liking.
“So it’s sitting there finding that right one and understanding them well enough about what to present, but also having a dialogue with them and really sort of building that rapport so that you actually know what they want.”