Enlisting the help of a buyer’s advocate can make your property buying process a walk in the park. They take care of everything – from house hunting, right up to bidding on auction day. Using a buyer’s advocate can help relieve stress you may encounter during your home buying journey and assist if you’re time-poor.
Here’s everything you need to know about buyer’s advocates and whether hiring one is right for you.
What is a buyer’s advocate and what do they do?
It’s common for people to get confused between a buyer’s advocate and a vendor’s advocate. While they’re both involved in the real estate process, they’re different. Buyer’s agents, also known as buyer’s advocates, are licensed professionals that specialise in searching, evaluating, and negotiating the purchase of property on behalf of the buyer.
1Group Property Advisory Director, Julian Muldoon says, “Buyer’s advocates complete all aspects of the researching, search, due diligence, inspections, auctions, negotiations and property buying. They also coordinate legal building inspections, town planning and trade-based conversations.”
There are different levels of service a buyer’s advocate can provide. Either a full service, where the agent works with the buyer throughout the whole buying process, including scouting out properties for the buyer; or as an advocate to bid for them on auction day. Some tasks buyer’s advocates conduct include:
- Searching for properties that match your brief (both off-market and listed)
- Conducting inspections on your behalf – this comes in handy if you’re looking for property interstate or internationally
- Reviewing properties you’ve found and providing feedback and advice
- Negotiating with real estate agents on your behalf
- Providing you with insights into the property market and areas in which you’re looking to purchase
- Assisting you to find the best place to match your needs
- Bidding at auction on your behalf
While they have a sound knowledge of the real estate industry, they don’t work for real estate agents – they work for you, the buyer. Buyer’s advocates have the experience and knowledge to work at negotiating with real estate agents about prices and off-market properties which might be of interest to you.
Pros and cons in enlisting the help of a buyer’s advocate
Using a buyer’s advocate is something you should research before pulling the trigger. There are a few pros and cons you need to consider as well. Some major benefits of using a buyers’ advocate include:
- Saving you time by eliminating properties that don’t match your brief
- Bringing you a sound knowledge of the market
- Getting early access to a range of properties
- Helping you understand which property would be a good investment
- Taking the stress out of bidding and negotiation
- Being where you can’t (searching for properties in different states or countries)
- Being ‘in the know’ and having access to a wide range of contacts in the industry
Julian talks about the benefits of having a buyer’s advocate by saying, “An independent professional, who is highly trained and experienced in navigating the property market and paid only by you, can be a great ally. They make sure no listing is missed, both off and pre-market, and protect you by mitigating risk in avoiding the wrong properties or paying too much.”
Essentially, buyer’s advocates are working for you while you are still working for yourself.
Some of the challenges of using a buyer’s advocate can include:
- The fee can seem expensive if you haven’t done your research into what’s involved
- If you don’t find someone who suits you, you may experience a clash in communication
- You may find the buyer’s advocate doesn’t provide enough value to justify the fee
- It may take time to find someone reliable whom you trust with this important process
“Some things to also be wary of include conjunction fee arrangements, a limited scope with no support team, inexperienced valuers and those who are only experienced in one region,” Julian says.
Who should use a buyer’s advocate?
Hiring a buyer’s advocate isn’t essential for everyone buying a house, however, there are certainly some situations where a buyer would benefit from hiring one. Many people choose to hire a buyer’s advocate if they’re purchasing an investment property to add to their portfolio. They may also choose to use one if they are wishing to purchase property in a different state or country and can’t physically get out to inspect it themselves.
Buyer’s advocates are also a good choice for those who find themselves getting too emotionally attached to properties during their home buying journey. As they are a neutral party, a buyer’s advocate will help you see the house for what it truly is, which can be helpful if you’ve gotten caught up emotionally in a property that might not be the right fit for you.
“Buyer’s advocates are great for those who want to mitigate risk and optimise margins in one of life’s biggest and most expensive decisions,” Julian says.
Whether you choose to enlist the help of a buyer’s advocate or not, it’s important to conduct your own research to see whether they’re the right fit for you. Ask around for other people’s experiences – both positive and negative – and make sure the companies you’re searching online have a positive, trustworthy reputation. One thing to remember is if something seems too good to be true, it probably is, so use your discretion when researching and only enlist the help of one if you think they’ll be the best fit for your needs.
Purchasing a house is a big milestone in anyone’s life – whether it’s an investment property, your first home or your next home. Having the help of a buyer’s advocate can take the stress out of the process and provide you with quality insights into the property market, as well as a non-biased view if you can find the right person. If you need advice on whether a buyer’s advocate is in your best interests, reach out to a member of our team today.