I speak to many people each week or are looking for a buyers agent. Some just call for an informal chat through their requirements and the process, others come armed with a list of specific questions they have taken from various websites. Having worked in this industry for many years as a Brisbane buyers agent and Sunshine Coast buyers agent, here are my top tips for choosing a buyers agent, not necessarily in priority order!
Licensing and affiliations
A buyers agent should be licensed to operate in the specific state or territory in which you intend to purchase. This is non negotiable. You should also ask if your buyers agent has professional affiliations with the state based real estate body, in my state, the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) as well as the Real Estate Buyers Agents Association of Australia (REBAA). In order to have these affiliations your buyers agent would have to be licensed, have professional indemnity insurance and to abide by a code of conduct.
Location and knowledge of the market in which they operate
Local knowledge is very important when purchasing property, so I would want my buyers agent to be located in (live in, work in, play in) or near the location in which I will be purchasing. Really knowing a market, means working consistently and over a long period of time, not flying-in and flying-out casually. I would want to know my agent was an area specialist.
Ask your buyers agent about their specific experience as a buyers agent. ‘Industry experience’ doesn’t necessarily mean they have worked as a buyers agent for long, so ask specifics, ‘how long have you been a buyers agent?’, ‘How many properties have you purchased?’ ‘When was the last time you purchased a property in ‘Suburb name’?’ Everyone who has ever bought a house may think they can ‘have a go’ at buying for someone else, but purchasing property for a client, as a professional, takes skill, knowledge and experience. Ask for experience.
This is really important. A buyers agent and client relationship is a big relationship of trust. You need to know that your buyers agent has your best interests at the forefront of their mind, that you can speak freely and openly and that you are comfortable with them and both ‘on the same page’. If the relationship is strained or you don’t have a good rapport, the project will be difficult. It’s well worth speaking to any potential buyers agents on the phone to get a sense of who they are and how they communicate.
Different buyers agents have a different approach. Some are very prescriptive, they will tell you which suburbs you will buy in based on your criteria, they will inspect and put forward options and you will select one. The approach is specific and prescribed. Others are more collaborative, they will discuss the options with you and help you to determine the best approach, taking into account your input. The approach you feel comfortable with is up to you, but you should talk to the buyers agent to understand their approach and if it is what you expect and want.
Another important aspect of approach is ensuring….and to be honest, I can’t believe I should need to say this….but ensuring they will be physically inspecting the properties they put forward to you for purchase. Some agencies, particularly those working out of state, will sometimes purchase property for clients without actually ever inspecting the property themselves. Personally, I think this is deceitful, but sadly, it happens.
If you are looking for a Brisbane buyers agent or Sunshine Coast buyers agent then don’t hesitate to reach out and talk to us! We’d love to help.