What do buyer's agents do for real estate buyers?

What do buyer's agents do for real estate buyers?
What do buyer's agents do for real estate buyers?

It was hard not to miss the unflappable buyers' agents lining the front (and or back) row when The Block Gatwick apartments went to auction last month.

All five of the renovated St Kilda apartments sold in the televised finale were purchased through buyers’ agents this year, just like last time at Elsternwick. 

Buyers’ agents are licensed professionals who specialise in searching, locating, evaluating and negotiating the purchase of property on behalf of buyers.

They do not sell real estate, although many buyers’ agents were previously real estate agents.

They are engaged independently and paid for by the buyer to act on their behalf perhaps because they don't have the time for the required research, calculation, and consideration.

There were times during the auctions when there was an obvious tense showdown between the auctioneer and the buyers' agents.

Both were doing their job, adding to the televised excitement. There was even a brief suggestion of collusive bidding.

Egos were there on display, as auctioneer and buyers’ agents battled to triumph. 

There was the strategic decision by one auctioneer not to accept opening bids which were above reserve because he thought the apartment was worth much more.

The auctioneer then aggressively declined, at certain stages, to take small incremental bids despite having confirmed the apartment was on the market.

All those threatening "final" bid calls didn't have the normal impact because the auctioneer was dealing with hardened professionals, not susceptible emotional buyers.

The virtual absence of genuine buyers from the crowd from Block auctions meant the typical auction anxiety was limited to the contestants on the couch.

The buyers' agents were mostly playing it deadpan.

Buyers’ agents typically represent buyers, although The Block has roped them into helping the contestant understand buyer desire.

When the buyer's advocates joined the series, many speculated that the move was intended to help prevent a repeat of the Richmond season's dismal auction results.

These buyers' agents enjoy huge publicity during the series and then again on auction day.

One of the key aspects of using an independent buyers’ agent ought to be their ability to evaluate a property’s pros and cons objectively.

They’re not supposed to get emotional about the purchase like buyers do.

They can assist buyers retain their privacy.

Buyers’ agents can be a good idea for the simple fact that most people don’t buy a home or investment property on a regular basis.

A buyers’ agent is in the market every day, so their skills are well-honed and well placed to advise clients on how to buy the right property at the right price.

They also can source off-market properties before the public marketing campaigns.

When it comes to fees, there is no industry standard however the general rule of thumb is a around 2% commission plus GST on the purchase price. 

Some buyers’ agents choose to charge a fixed fee. 

It can depend how much of the service buyers seek. 

Word of mouth recommendation is a good way to start the selection. And in the same way vendors would interview a few estate agents before engaging one to sell their home, buyers should interview a few buyers’ agents.

This enables buyers to compare their services, knowledge and fees and find the right one.

This article first appeared in The Daily Telegraph. 

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of Australia's most respected property journalists, having been at the top of the game since the early 1980s. Jonathan co-founded the property industry website Property Observer and has written for national and international publications.

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