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Buyers’ agents make sense now more than ever - May 2020

By Rich Harvey, CEO & Founder, propertybuyer.com.au

Well, this year isn’t panning out as most of us thought, is it?

It’s been a strange few months and those Australians currently in the market for a new home or investment property are finding themselves in uncharted waters.

The market data tells us that prices haven’t slipped that much and in fact rose modestly in most capital cities. This indicates that buying activity is still strong. We also know that listings are disappearing because sellers are nervous.

So, if you’re buying now, there’s less to choose from, it’s tricky to actually inspect a property, and the competition remains tough.

Now, more than ever, buyers’ agents are especially worth their weight in gold.


It’s all about access

If you’ve tried to inspect a property lately, you’ll know how challenging it can be to set foot in the door. Any door. Restrictions on the real estate industry, designed to stop the spread of coronavirus, mean that open inspections and auctions became a thing of the past.

They’re easing soon but it’s still tricky to actually get to see a place (some vendors and tenants are reluctant to let strangers through the door for fear of Covid-19 infection). And on the flipside of that, some people are understandably unsure if they really want to go into an enclosed room with several other people.

A buyers' agent has contacts and relationships within the real estate industry and can arrange access that someone on their own might not be able to secure. Private, personal and above all else, safe.

But that’s not the only access that a buyers' agent can provide at the moment.

One of the things that my clients value the most when we start working together is the access I have to a number of off-market deals.

That is, properties that never make it to the real estate listings websites that’s most people peruse when they’re looking for a property to buy.

Lots of deals exchanged without ever having an open for inspection, a glossy marketing campaign and lots of publicity. There are a number of reasons why. The seller might value privacy and want to avoid a song and dance. It might be a distressed sale or a deceased estate. It could be that the home is the subject of a divorce settlement.

Or it might just be that the vendor doesn’t want people traipsing through their home for several weeks.

Whatever the reason, accessing off-market deals is a dream for buyers. It’s especially the case with quality properties – there’s less competition given it’s not on the open market.

At the moment, we know that listing volumes are shrinking because of the uncertainty of coronavirus. Vendors that don’t need to sell are sitting on their hands while they wait to see where the chips fall.

That means, there isn’t a lot out there and so finding the property you want and need can be tricky. Reduced stock means the pool of buyers are forced to fight over what’s there, and so getting a deal done on your own can be tricky.

Buyers' agents have a wealth of inside knowledge and strong connections to be able to source off-market deals for their clients.

And that’s not even the best part.


Your own personal negotiator

The other thing my clients love about me is that I take care of the entire process for them, from sourcing potential properties through to getting the deal done.

And smack bang in the middle of that process is the dreaded negotiation.

If you’ve bought before, you’ll know how stressful, tedious and annoying negotiating the purchase of a property can be. There’s mind games. There’s a lot of smoke and mirrors. You often don’t know where you stand. You never really know if you’re paying too much.

A buyers' agent removes this uncertainty by going in to bat for you, armed with years of experience, an incredible knowledge of what the local market has done, is doing now and is likely to do, and an ability to see through the BS.

That’s all especially valuable right now, when agents are working hard to keep their vendors happy and calm. It’s also a great leg up in a market that’s volatile and likely to remain so for a while longer.


A light house in a storm

Things are uncertain right now.

There’s a lot of volatility and probably more to come, so it’s natural to feel nervous. But that’s the other quality a buyers' agent brings to the table. A little more certainty.

No one can predict when the crisis will ease, what consequences there might be and how long it takes to walk the path back to normal life. But at least on the property side of things, a buyers' agent has insight into market movements, a suburbs long-term prospects, economic drivers like demographic changes, gentrification and development, and much more.

For those wanting to secure a new home or an investment property, that insight is extremely valuable. It means that you’re not having to juggle that wider uncertainty with a lack of surety about what it all could mean for real estate.

Yes, at times like these the experience and networks of buyers’ agents come to the fore, providing two things that are in short supply right now – confidence and certainty.


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