The best buyer agents: how they work
We are often asked what a buyer agent is and what makes a good buyer agent. Here are our thoughts.
What is a buyer’s agent?
Buyer's agents are professionals that specialise in searching, evaluating and negotiating a property purchase on behalf of the buyer. They do not sell real estate and should be independent from financial advisors and developers. They act on the behalf of the purchaser rather than the vendor.
What do buyer's agents do?
It’s a dedicated strategic service of understanding the client’s needs (be it home buying or investment) and goings on in the market and sourcing the right property; and then negotiating that property, be it via an auction or through a private sale.
It is about getting the right property. Right in terms of meeting the criteria and at the right price – as cheaply as possible. But not really about a bargain hunter mentality. Good quality property will invariably come at a price. You want to pay a fair price and not over-pay.
In the case of investors, this is about finding property with a track record and propensity for capital growth. The buyer’s agent also helps select the property manager and set the rent.
What qualifications do you need to become a buyer's agent? What makes a good one?
You need a real estate licence whether it be a full one or an agent's representation licence.
It would be a good idea to come from a real estate background. Everyone in our office comes from different real estate backgrounds that complement each other. For example our office consists of former property managers, valuers, real estate agents and investors.
You need to be a trustworthy honest person. Having patience and communication is key.
Judgement – the ability to separate the good from the bad and to back your decision.
Persistence – working hard at finding solutions that will suit your client. Not giving up easily.
Confidence – which comes with practice – to negotiate with highly experienced and wily real estate agents and to make recommendations to clients, often about million-dollar-plus properties.
You need to be able to remain emotionally independent whilst supporting your client. Keep your own emotions in check whilst recognising this can be a very emotional process for clients. Whilst also appealing to the rational side of them when it comes to investor-related transactions.
What are the highlights of the job? (answered by Alastair)
For me being a buyer’s agent, the journey has been quite surprising. I went in with a preconceived notion that it was just for the wealthy but it isn’t. It is about buying for everyone from first home buyers to the wealthy. One of the highlights for me is helping someone get their first foot in the door knowing how hard it is to do so and how much it will impact their lives.
Being able to help people purchase some great assets that they may not have otherwise been able to purchase.
I love my job because I am not in the office all day and I get to meet people from all sectors of real estate and all different types of clients.
It is always nice to read at the end of the day a good testimonial from a satisfied client knowing you have changed their life and helped them build their dream.
Good to see the growth properties that we have purchased over the years
What are the difficulties of the job, Alastair?
Sometimes you need to act quickly in order to finalise a deal and with so many people involved this can be rather difficult.
People who are stuck on their preconceived ideas about what makes a good investment. The constant gloom and fears directed at property from some parts of the media.
Getting people to lose their preconception that the market is homogenous. Not every apartment or house is the same nor will grow the same!