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What to look for in a buyers agent

Date Posted: Nov, 2014

By Rich Harvey, CEO, propertybuyer.com.au

When in the market to make a first Australian property investment, buyers can tend to rush in and buy the first piece of real estate that catches their eye, missing out on better deals. 

However, those in the know will often engage the services of a buyers' agent. With careful planning, a wide range of off-market properties under their belt and strong negotiating tactics, they can carve out a fantastic deal for first-time buyers and experienced investors alike. And because they work specifically for you as the buyer, there's no conflict of interest like when you buy from a selling agent. 

But how do you choose the right buying agent? In a crowded market, it can be hard to pick the right one for your needs. Here are some key features to look for in a good buyers' agent. 

Licensed to sell

With so many agents looking to secure you as a client, it's important to know you are working with someone you can trust. Under the Property, Stock and Business Agents Act 2002 all agents have to hold an appropriate license to buy or sell property with consumers.

This means they have to act in your best interests and to your desires, as well as providing all the details you need about the property market and the particular piece of real estate you're looking at. Check the licensing on any agent you consider using – if they aren't licensed, this could jeopardise your investment plans.

Stepping up the standard

Being a member of the Real Estate Institute of NSW is another tick of approval for a buyers' agent – it means they're working with the industry to keep up great professional standards. This industry body also provides regular detailed real estate reports for members, further bolstering the library of knowledge that your buyers' agent should have about the local market. I currently serve as the Chairman of the Buyers Agents Chapter for the REINSW to help raise industry standards and lobby government for better policy.

They should also be a member of the Real Estate Buyers Agent Association of Australia – the peak body representing Buyers Agents.  Members of this group agree to follow a strict code of ethics and have to meet certain standards before being admitted to the Association.  I have been the State Representative of REBAA for several years.

Also, if your buyers agent is recommending investment property, they should be a member of the Property Investment Professionals Association – PIPA which provides specific accreditations for those advising buyers about investment property.

The proof in the pudding

While these are the important basics for choosing any agent to represent you, you'll often need to go a bit further to really get the most out of your property purchase. You can look to the accolades and awards given to an agency for a great indication of the prestige and quality of an agent

Making the right investment decision is a big step, and choosing the right agent is an important part of that decision. Look for the licenses, registration and the awards – a gold standard agent is more likely to net you a gold standard property. 

As Australia's most awarded buyers' agents, you could do a lot worse than giving Propertybuyer a call about your new investment.