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Investors divided on the benefits of buyer’s agents

Australian investors are divided about whether or not they would use a buyer’s agent, with many feeling they don’t represent good value for money, according to new research.

A survey conducted by buyer’s agency Unikorn Commercial Property found 44 per cent of Australians would use a buyer’s agent while the exact same figure would not.

Of those that would not use a buyer’s agent, 40 per cent said it was because they were too expensive or felt it was a waste of money.

Unikorn Commercial Property Director Helen Tarrant said the survey of 1000 Aussies, who had invested or who were looking to invest, showed people still believed myths about the industry.

Of those that wouldn’t use a buyer’s agent, one in six said it was because they felt buyer’s agents were sneaky or had ulterior motives.

“What’s really interesting is that the research found 80 per cent of buyers have and would enter the property market without any training or education,” she said.

“In the day and age of information, everyone feels like they can jump onto Google and learn how to buy a house or a commercial block. But for someone who’s actually been through the process, it’s rarely ever that simple.

“A good buyer’s agent manages every aspect of your property journey, including sourcing properties, going to inspections/auctions, managing contracts, liaising with banks, as well as continually educating you along the way. 

“However, the reason many Aussies may avoid exploring them, is because the industry has grown so much, and many agents out there are not providing such bespoke services.”

Helen Tarrant

Ms Tarrant said commercial property purchases were often complicated and more properties were sold off-market.

She said a good commercial buyer’s agent wouldn’t just find a property for a buyer but understand their short and long-term goals and plan their portfolio.

“A buyer’s agent has to be able to look at a commercial property and how it’s going to affect someone in their overall portfolio,” she said.

“They have to be able to look at whether this strategy for commercial is going to be better off for you.

“Our clients might come to me wanting a nine per cent yielding property and I’ll say, ‘here’s a nine per cent yielding property, but it’s in a mining town’. Then I lay out all of the risks and ask, ‘Do you want to go ahead?’ And they will say, ‘No’.

“You’re paying for that expertise to be able to design a portfolio for you so you can get that wealth creation.”

Aus Property Professionals Founder Lloyd Edge said a good residential buyer’s agent did more than just look for a property on real estate portals.

“With my clients, I look at what their long-term goals are,” he said.

“They might want to achieve some kind of financial independence in the future, they might want to work less and put the kids through private school. 

“We look at the best strategy to help them achieve their goals and what sort of properties will work for them. Then we determine if they need cash flow? Do they need growth? Should they do some renovations to add value?

“So it’s actually about setting that strategy and there’s a lot of value added upfront.”

Mr Edge said he also worked in conjunction with real estate agents and building those relationships could benefit both sides of a property transaction.

“I don’t work with any of my clients until they’re finance approved and the real estate agents I work with know that,” he said.

“They know I’ve got strong buyers.”

Mr Edge said it was possible for estate agents and buyer’s agents to work together to get the best result for each of their clients, including being linked in on off-market sales.

“Once you’ve done a few purchases with an agent they know to trust you and it does give you better opportunities for the future,” he said.

“As a real estate agent, once you build a relationship with a buyer’s agent, you might be able to sell 10, 20 or 30 properties to that buyer’s agent’s clients over time. 

“However one single buyer will only ever come and buy one property from you.”

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Deputy Editor at Elite Agent.