When the property market is hot, buyers look for an edge and one very logical edge is to get a buyer’s agent on their side. It’s understandable and, in many cases, a great idea. But not always… So, you may well ask, how do I find a good buyer’s agent?
I’ve long been an advocate for the use of buyer’s agents. I am one, after all. But when people pay for an expert to give them advice, they expect that the expert knows more than they do. There’s a problem, though: a lot of these buyer’s agents aren’t experts. In fact, the barrier to entry to become a buyer’s agent has been far too low for far too long.
Qualifications & ethics
There is always an influx of new people joining the property industry when the market booms and over the last couple of years, we have seen a proliferation of new buyers agents. It’s been so noticeable that sales agents have been commenting about the quality of their work. Sales agents are even starting to say that some buyer’s agents are unethical! Now, how does that work? Real estate agents, right? One of the least trusted professions in this country and they’re casting a shadow of doubt over buyer’s agents? This is happening because they’re seeing first hand what can happen to consumers if their buyer’s agent doesn’t really care about them.
How can you tell if they care enough?
Agents who don’t really care about their clients are very transactional. They’re all about getting deals done. They’re about getting money into their own bank accounts. Now, this sort of buyer’s agent doesn’t care what price you pay. They don’t care what sort of asset you are buying. They don’t care if it’s even the right property for you. They don’t care about any of that “fluffy” stuff.
From a buyer’s perspective, of course, that might seem compelling in a highly competitive property market. It might be tempting to go with such a buyer’s agent because you just want to buy something, right? But when the dust settles, when FOMO has left the building, when the market calms down, when prices even start falling, and they will… you are going to be the one stuck with that property.
When a sales agent says to me, “when I have two buyer’s agents who don’t give a damn about their clients fighting over something, I say to my vendors, ‘sit back, relax and enjoy the ride’”, you’ve got to be worried.
How do I find a good buyer’s agent?
So, how do you go about it if you want to use a buyer’s agent? Well, you have to learn to pick the good from the bad. Now, that’s not as easy as it might sound, because the worst culprits are often very, very good at selling their services. They’re very, very good at convincing you that they’re the answer to your problems. And they also tend to be good marketers. Incredibly, my research suggests that they actually charge the most! This is indeed worrying if the best salespeople in the buyer’s agent space charge the most, often have limited experience and care the least about your outcomes.
So, one question you can ask to start to try to sort the wheat from the chaff is, how often do you recommend the client not buy a property? That will get you some interesting answers.
This is a conversation I’d love to encourage you to join. We need to be talking more about truth, transparency and trust in the property industry. Reach out to me on Facebook or Linked In and leave a comment.