What is a Buyers Agent and should you use one?

Buyer's agent with couple

What's the difference between a Real Estate Agent and a Buyers Agent?

A real estate agent represents the seller in a transaction, while a buyers agent represents the buyer. This means that the real estate agent has a responsibility to the seller to get them the best price possible. The buyers agent is working for you and their goal is to find you a property that fits your budget and preferences.

What does a Buyers Agent do?

Work with you to determine the right kind of property for you

A buyers agent will help you with every step of the buying process, from finding a property to getting the best deal. They'll work with you to find properties that fit your needs and budget, arrange showings, negotiate on your behalf, and more. Home buyers often have a number of specific needs and requirements, from location all the way down to desired size or rental yield potentials. Once you've specified your needs, a buyers agent can search out homes that fit those specifications.

Help you get early property access

Well-connected buyers agent will likely have access to pre-market or off-market properties through their network of real estate agents. It means you can avoid competition and get the chance to secure the property before it's listed for sale.

Negotiate with a seller

If you're interested in a particular property, the buyers agent will carry out extensive due diligence for you and give their thoughts about current market value, so that when it comes time to negotiate you won't be caught off guard and pay close to the top range and potentially spend over your intended budget.

Act on your behalf at an auction

If you want to avoid the stress of auctions or can't attend the auction, a buyers agent can do all that work for you. They will have the necessary skills and experience to stay within your budget and will remove the emotional element from the bidding process

How much does a Buyers Agent cost?

Some agents charge a fixed fee, others a percentage of the purchase price (generally ranging around 1%-3%) and some also require an up front retainer when you first engage them.

You can save money by hiring a buyers agent to do specific parts of the buying process only. For instance, if you engage them at auction or negotiate with vendors on your behalf then they may charge less than what it would cost for whole engagement because only certain tasks are being done in this one-time situation.

No matter what type of agreement is in place there should always be transparency about how much money will change hands at closing day.

How do I choose a Buyers Agent?

There are three main things to consider when choosing a buyers agent:

Independence

Ensure there are no conflicts of interest. All buyers agents must declare if they receive commission from real estate agents or any other third parties.

Licencing

Make sure your agent is fully licenced with the correct qualifications in the respective state. For example, in Victoria, a buyers agent must complete a Certificate IV which takes about eight weeks to complete, according to the Real Estate Institute of Victoria. You can check if your buyers agent is registered (for those in Victoria) here.

Fees

Be sure to understand the buyers agent fee structure and to clarify when money is to be exchanged.

What are some questions I can ask a prospective Buyers Agent?

You want to make sure you find the agent that is right for you so make sure you ask the right questions.

  • How many years of experience do you have and are you licenced?
  • Do you have good knowledge of the suburbs I am considering?
  • What is your searching and buying process?
  • Do you have a list of recent purchases?
  • What is your network like and do you have access to off market properties?
  • Can you confirm you do not receive commission from other sources from properties you recommend to me?

Buying property is an exciting but certainly an exhausting process. Getting the help from a buyers agent can take the load off. Be sure to do your own research and take the time to find the right agent. If you're still undecided about whether a buyers agent is right for you, let us help you explore in the meantime.

Happy property hunting,

the Proppy team