Why a buyer’s agent is your secret weapon in a booming property market

As Australia’s property market reaches new heights, it’s making things more complex for property buyers. But a buyer’s agent could the ally you need.

Buying property isn’t a simple task at the best of times – there are many risks, factors and financial decisions to consider. And in today’s market, matters are even more challenging with huge competition for properties and rising prices. That’s why engaging with a buyer’s agent could be the key to your property success.

Cate Bakos, a highly esteemed buyer’s agent, author of Successful Property Investment, and President of Real Estate Buyers Agents Association of Australia told Bushy Martin on the Get Invested podcast that many property buyers are not aware of the full power that buyer’s agent can bring to the process, for both home owners and investors.

“We’re not just restricted to one type of service. I might have someone call me about bidding for them on the weekend because they’re going skiing or they’re away or they don’t want to bid. Or, I might have someone contact me about appraising property so that they know how much they should be paying. And then I’ll have someone contacting me about their potential property portfolio and wanting advice on where to get started,” Cate said.

“So, it can be an end-to-end, all-inclusive strategy, search, negotiation, bidding, settlement kind of process, or it can be bits and pieces. It’s really up to the buyer’s agent to determine what their offering is and what they’re restricted to.”

But more importantly, a buyer’s agent will bring you security in your decision by ensuring there are no unexpected surprises with the property or that you don’t hit any road bumps on the journey.

“The real benefit in having a buyer’s agent is not making a mistake. That’s the most important and significant part of it. And I use the John West principle. If you remember the saying on the ad, ‘it’s the fish that John West rejects that makes John West the best’. And property has to be considered like John West fish. I say no to so many properties. I reject so many. It’s the ones that make the cut that are good investments,” Cate said.

“Even if it’s an owner occupier purchase and I followed the brief and looked at all of the criteria and delivered the right product, it’s the invisibles that we have to be aware of as well. If something has a big dirty easement running through it, or it’s the wrong zone, if there’s something that could change the face of the buying experience for the purchaser, whether it means their finance can’t go through or they purchase a property at the cost of an absolute bomb because something was missed – they’re all epic fails. And so many buyers don’t know how to spot an invisible epic fail. And that’s what we bring to the table, and it’s a very heavy weight on my shoulders and any other buyer’s agent shoulders because our job is to protect the client and to spot the red flags, even the invisible ones.

“And then lastly, if it’s an investment purchase and I can find something that will outperform an alternative decision even by half a per cent per annum over the long term, that will stack up.”

Cate also emphasised that these sorts of benefits are certainly worth the costs of a buyer’s agent.

“You can imagine how many people I have who gasp at the fee and don’t see the value, and it’s obviously up to us to educate them or to share what our role is in the process. But when it comes to buyers trying to negotiate with sales agents, I wholeheartedly agree [that we can help],” she said.

“For me, I can find out what sort of competition we’re facing, what the likely reserve is, what the agent genuinely thought the property was worth when they appraised it, which comparable sale they feel is the most representative of being comparable, how many bidders will put up their hand on the day. The agent has all of that information and I can generally get it out of the agent. And it’s not about talking in code or extracting information they’re not prepared to share. It’s about asking them the right questions in the right order and building that trust. And that’s where I see rookie buyers making an absolute mess of it.”

It’s one thing to know you need a buyer’s agent, the next question is who to hire. Besides their knowledge and reputation, Cate said comfort and trust is also necessary.

“Obviously credentials and experience are important. You need to see that it’s genuine, they’re qualified, they’re licenced, they’ve got insurance, all of those checkbox things. But the most important thing is how you feel about talking to them, like really talking to them,” she said.

“If you’re comfortable enough with them that you can challenge them and that they can challenge you and the trust is high and that authenticity is high, then you’re already on the right path.

“And there are some great buyer’s agents that don’t get along with every single client. Obviously, I don’t get every single person I get in front of, but the ones that do want to go with me, I want them to feel that they can have a conversation or ask me to explain why I’ve made a recommendation, ask me to be accountable, and that’s okay. And I also want to know with them that I can tell them something they don’t want to hear, and they know that it’s because I just want a great result for them.

“So trust and the ability to have an open and frank conversation is really paramount. If you’re feeling bullied or lined up or intimidated or silenced by your buyer’s agent, you’ve got the wrong buyer’s agent.”

Listen to the full interview here.

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