The use of buyers’ agents has blossomed over the years in Australia, but it’s still regarded as a relatively small part of the real estate sector compared to other countries.
You could say buyers’ agents have become an on”-trend vocation” in these parts but there are good ones and there are not-so-good ones out there.
In fact, many people have been lured into the industry with promises of making big bucks while having a cruisy, casual lifestyle – I wish!
Like any industry, though, there are big differences between the experience, qualifications, and ethics of the people working on the buying side of a real estate transaction.
Fundamentally, a buyers’ agent can add enormous value to property buyers by saving time and money as well as reducing stress and avoiding costly mistakes.
Most buyers’ agents claim to all do the same thing and produce the same results for their clients but that is rarely the case.
So, how do you cut through all the BS to find a good property investment buyers’ agent?
Following these six attributes is a very good start.
1. Licencing and accreditation
One of the easiest things to check is the professional credentials of a buyers’ agent.
Are they are licenced to operate as an individual and/or a company in the state or territory where you intend to purchase?
Do they have accreditation to the relevant industry bodies? In the property investment space, that means are they members of the Real Estate Buyers Association Australia (REBAA) and the Property Investment Professionals of Australia (PIPA)?
Property investment buyers’ agent specialists should also be a Qualified Property Investment Adviser (QPIA), which you can check on the PIPA website.
2. Truly independent
The most professional buyers’ agents are truly independent. That is, they only represent the buyer in property transactions and never sell property.
They also don’t take any commissions or kickbacks from sales agents or developers.
Buyers’ agent services are paid for by you, the buyer, so if someone is offering their services for “free” then is a red flag because someone will be paying them – it’s just not you!
You should run a mile because there is no such thing as a free lunch, is there?
3. Experience counts
Like any professional service, experience matters, which means that the best way for a buyers’ agent to learn how to put together good deals is by doing deals.
Look to understand how long the BA has been operating for, and understand how many deals they have personally put together.
Never trust your hard-earned money or financial future with a wet behind the ears, L-plater. Ask for experience!
4. Significant area knowledge
Property investment buyers’ agents have significant knowledge about the areas where they purchase for clients.
They have achieved this via a significant number of previous purchases as well as a deep local agent networks.
The best buyers’ agents also purchase in specific locations over a period time, because they have identified areas ripe for future capital growth.
They are not experts everywhere, and nor should they be, because they follow a tailored approach for their clients rather than a cookie-cutter one.
I don’t subscribe to buyers’ agents who adopt an “Australia-wide” service because it’s simply not possible to be an expert everywhere and some markets are not, and will never be, investment grade.
If someone offers a nation-wide approach, what are you really paying for here? Someone to pick a random property off realestate.com.au? You can do that yourself!
5. Proven client results
An experienced buyers’ agent should be able to show you examples of how they have created equity for clients over their career.
If they can’t, or won’t, that speaks volumes about their lack of experience and their lack of success, too!
Ask to speak directly to a few of their clients to validate the outcomes and the services they provide.
A professional buyers’ agent is also happy to share previous client results, just as happy clients always happy to share their experience with others as well.
6. Personal property portfolio
Does your property investment buyer’s agent practice what they preach?
If they are passionate about property investment, they will have a successful property portfolio themselves.
Always look for a buyers’ agent that has built a sustainable portfolio over time and held through various cycles. – not just bought a handful of cheap properties in the latest cycle.
They must be able to demonstrate how they created their own personal wealth over this time and show they follow the same investment strategy personally that they offer their clients.
It’s kind of like you want your personal trainer to look fit, don’t you? Why would you place trust in someone who hasn’t achieved the same results that you are seeking for yourself?