If you’re considering engaging a buyer’s agent, it’s important to look at what a good one will bring to the table. They’ll be your trusted advisor and play a key role in deciding which property you buy, and how much you ultimately pay for it. So how do you know if you’re engaging the right one for you? There’s five key factors to consider.
This is numero uno for a good reason. You’ll be spending a good deal of time with this person (in person, or via phone/email) and trust is paramount. It should ‘feel’ like a good fit. You need to be confident that you can be completely open with them, and feel they will be honest and transparent with you in return. It’s an important relationship that is founded on trust.
Your buyer’s agent should be keeping up with the latest in the industry. Best practice changes rapidly in the real estate sphere and new data and approaches will ensure their advice is relevant to the property market as it stands when you make your purchase. It helps protect you as the consumer from poor decision making - if their approach is outdated or work practices sloppy, you’ll be the one who pays the price. Look for someone who’s active in the market you’re seeking to buy in, and who is in touch with current trends.
It goes without saying that an experienced hand will know how to right the ship when things go awry. It’s not a matter if, but when as there are so many variables from beginning to end. Hairy situations crop up unexpectedly throughout the process and a wealth of knowledge on your side gives you peace of mind that the situation will be handled professionally and minimises the stress to you. Often, problems can be seen on the horizon and an experienced buyer’s agent will know how and when to act, to prevent the issue in the first place.
A good buyer’s agent will listen to you and seek to really understand your unique requirements. Listening carefully, and confirming their understanding, will give you the assurance that you’ve been heard and are on the same page. In an advisory role, it shouldn’t feel like a one-size-fits-all approach. Quite the opposite, in fact. A good buyer’s agent will be supportive, understanding, and make you feel that they care about your outcome.
Ah-ha! This can be a tricky one to find within the real estate industry. Often, there’s a history of past employment or relationships that aren’t at arm’s length. Someone’s married to a real estate agent, or used to work with an agent, or are part owners in a selling agency. Does this influence their work? How would you know? After all, it’s not something you can quantify. It’s difficult to avoid a bias, (whether that’s conscious or unconscious) but be aware that their level of independence and past relationships can work for/against you. Having established contacts is a great advantage to a buyer’s agent (if they’re positive ones), but avoiding a perceived bias means that you can rest assured their recommendations are made in your best interests, and yours alone. Likewise, a good buyer’s agent will be free from bias toward any particular property. If they come at you with potential properties before seeking to hear what your individual needs are, well that just doesn’t make sense. Ensure they are only paid by buyers as builders, developers and selling agents are always keen to make a sale and offer incentives for introducing a buyer. (By the way, it’s illegal to act for both the seller and the buyer). Look for independence and avoid any conflicts of interest.
Finding the right buyer’s agent is critical to making your purchase a smooth and enjoyable one. Get it wrong, and you’ll be regretting your decision in more ways than one. Property is expensive to buy (you know this) but consider the implications of trying to offload a poorly-purchased home down the track, and that sting will burn a hole in your wallet and your memory for some time. Ouch! Your future self will thank you for taking the time to consider who to take advice from before you move ahead.