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11 Questions to Ask a Buyers Agent Before You Hire Them

Questions Before You Hire a Buyers Agent

No matter what profession or industry you are in you’ve no doubt heard about the importance of hiring the best person for the job. In the workplace, more than ever, a great deal of effort is put into hiring the right person.

Why? Because a bad hire is costly, both in terms of time, money and success.

So why should it be any different when hiring a buyers agent? It’s not.

You need to treat it just like any interview process and ask all the right questions to make sure you are increasing your chances of getting the best person for the job.

Trusting someone to look after the most important financial decision of your life

Buying a property is one of the most important financial decisions you will ever make in your lifetime. So it goes without saying that if you are considering outsourcing the process of buying a property you want the best person on the case. It is most definitely not a decision you want to take lightly.

Engaging the services of a buyers agent will save you valuable time, reduce your stress and simplify the property buying process for you. But it’s not a free service and since you’re paying for the privilege you might as well hire the best. Right?

How to hire the best buyers agent in the business

Buyers agents come from wide and varied backgrounds and just like in any profession, there is a vast difference between those that are ok at what they do and those that excel in their field.

Being an exceptional buyers agent requires someone having the right mix of genuine passion for what they do, being a great communicator and standout negotiator and having extensive property knowledge and expertise.

So how do you go about hiring the best buyers agent in the business? Asking these eleven questions will help you weed out the good from the bad, side step the mediocre and zero in on the very best in the business.

1. Do you hold a Certificate of Registration or are you fully licenced?

It is important to note that a Certificate of Registration is the most basic entry-level requirement needed to work in the real estate industry. It requires someone to be appropriately supervised by a more experienced person who holds a full license.

If a buyers agent is being supervised ask to what level, but also consider whether you want someone new to the industry taking care of one of the most important financial decisions you will make in your lifetime.

TIP: If someone has been operating for a number of years and still hasn’t obtained their full licence it usually means one of a few things. They are skimping on the cost, baulking at undertaking extra training or just plain lazy. None of which is a good sign.

2. Are you a licenced exclusive buyers agent or does your licence allow you to sell property too?

If a buyers agent has a full real estate licence that means they can also sell property, which could pose a conflict of interest or suggest they are focused on other things.

An exclusive buyers agents licence actually restricts someone from selling property, which means they are 100% focused on serving the needs of buyers.

Don’t be afraid to ask for proof. You can check this on line yourself with the Department of Fair Trading, by individual and company name or call them on 13 32 20.

3. Does your company hold professional indemnity insurance?

It is compulsory for a licensee or a company operating as a buyers agency to hold current Professional Indemnity insurance.

The minimum amount required is $1,000,000. Don’t be afraid to ask for proof.

4. Are you a member of REBAA?

REBAA stands for Real Estate Buyers Agents Association of Australia.

The benefits of engaging a REBAA member are many, but primarily mean they have met strict admission criteria and are accountable to a professional Code of Conduct.

Don’t be afraid to ask for proof of membership or search on line yourself.

5. Have you ever owned property yourself?

If a prospective buyers agent answers no consider whether you want them acting on your behalf to carry out one of the most important financial decisions you will make in your lifetime.

Even if they answer yes, ask a few more questions that might gauge their experience buying in different market cycles.

6. Have you ever been a property investor?

Again, if someone answers no and you are buying as an investor, consider whether you really want them taking care of one of the most important financial decisions you will make in your lifetime.

After all, how well equipped will they be to advise you on purchasing property as an investor if they have never been one themselves?

7. Are you an ex real estate selling agent?

If the reason you are considering engaging a buyers agent is due to your frustration dealing with selling agents, then you might want to know that a good number of buyers agents are ex-selling agents.

Whilst this shouldn’t preclude them from consideration, look for signs of the behaviours you were frustrated by. Do they talk a lot, seem to say all the right things, but really aren’t saying anything at all? Beware of sales waffle.

8. Do you have a professional background in property?

Consider whether you want someone who was working in recruitment, in a retail store or as a receptionist a few months back taking care of one of the most important financial decisions of your life.

While there is absolutely nothing wrong with those professions, the best buyers agents in the business will have a long and established career working with property.

9. How will I know you will act in my best interests?

Ask this question then pause. Let them speak for a few minutes un-interrupted. Reflect on what they have said then ask a few questions in return. Focus on how they would negotiate the best price for you (remember someone who is an ex-selling agent may be geared to negotiate up not down) and whether they get paid incentives if they refer you to a third party such as a broker, solicitor etc.. (this is a good test of how truly independent they are).

TIP: Watch out for sales waffle and unrealistic promises and guarantees. If that’s all you hear, run a mile.

10. Why should I engage your services instead of another buyers agent?

Listen to how well they describe what they will do for you and exactly how they are different from their peers.

The size of the firm shouldn’t really matter, whether it’s a single operator or firm of 30, it’s more about the person who will be working on your brief. Beware of larger firms who might hand-off behind the scenes and use less experienced staff to work on your brief.

Watch out for waffle here and whether they actually answer the question.

11. Can I speak to some of your past clients?

If they say no or look nervous you should seriously consider why.

So long as past clients have consented to their number being given out, most people will not mind being contacted and having a few questions asked of them.

If you or someone you know is thinking about hiring a Sydney buyers agent contact us for a no obligation consultation. What have you got to lose?

Shelley Horton is the founder of Sydney based exclusive buyers agency Albion Avenue. With a 20 year career honing her skills in every aspect of the property industry Shelley knows what makes a property worth buying and how to get the best deal.

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