When buying property – locals know best

When buying property – locals know best

If you have ever tried to buy property in another state or country, you will appreciate that it’s never as simple as it seems.

Not only do the conveyancing laws differ from state to state, but the fact that you cannot see the property in person means you need to rely on everything you see, read, or are told.

We are all guilty of viewing a property online and falling in love with the beautifully written description and the photos that show the best angles – buying into the dream is part of the sales process. But what happens when you act on what you have read and seen, and the reality falls a long way short of what you imagined?

It is always important to remember that a real estate agent acts for the Vendor – that is their job and they are paid to do it well. While they have to represent the property in an open and honest manner their job is to sell that property at the best price for their client. And, in the current market, where properties are selling as quickly as they are listed, many people are taking at face value what is shown online rather than engaging a local Buyers Agent who can act in their best interests, with a clear understanding of what they will and won’t accept and are ending up disappointed with their purchase.

It is important to note that not all transactions that are conducted from afar, without the help of a Buyers Agent end in tears, but a lot do.

I recently had an example where a couple from overseas engaged a Buyers Agent to find them a property in the Noosa Hinterland. The Buyers Agent was from Brisbane and not familiar with the area, or across recent house sales in the area. They presented a property to the client that I had previously seen and dismissed as not suitable for my client for a number of reasons, one of which was that the price expectation was too high – even in this very hot market.

They ended up purchasing this property for their client, paying significantly more than what the market is currently demanding. While I am sure their client will be happy they have secured a property in an area they were interested in, it is our responsibility as Buyers Agents to know intimately the market in which we work and to ensure we secure the right property for our client at the right price. We can’t be all things to all people and it’s better to be an expert in your local area than spreading yourself too thinly and potentially costing your client money.

So, what should you look for in a Buyer’s Agent?

  1. Engage a local – A local Buyers Agent who lives and works in the area you are considering purchasing in should be well informed and be able to demonstrate they know the area. Local knowledge about areas that are prone to flooding, proposed infrastructure, distance to schools, availability of public transport and levels of crime in the area are just some of the answers your Buyers Agent should be able to guide you on. Ask for case studies of recent sales and the approach they took in securing the property for the client. This is critical as local knowledge can make all the difference and ensure you are also paying the correct price for the property you are interested in.
  2. Connections – A good Buyers Agent will have established connections they have cultivated over many years. As a result, they will be trusted and will have access to property that is both off-market and pre-market which will give you an advantage in securing the property you are after.
  3. They understand investment purchasers – Not everyone is looking for a family home. Many of my clients are savvy investors looking for a property that will return a good yield. Does your Buyers Agent have their own property portfolio? What types of property are in it? Have they bought in the area they say they specialise in – and if not – why not? Are they able to provide timely advice as the property market changes?
  4. Honesty – This goes without saying but your Buyers Agent should let you know upfront if they cannot assist you. A Buyers Agent will generally only take on a client if they do not have another client looking for the property in the same location at the same price point. For example, I might have two clients looking for a property around the $2-$3million dollar mark – but one will be specifically looking for a home in the heart of Noosa where the other might be looking for up to ten acres in the Noosa Hinterland. I will never take on clients that will compete against each other for the same property. It simply isn’t the right thing to do.
  5. Thoroughness – A good Buyers Agent will want to know a LOT of information. In fact, the more information you give us the better the brief will be. Share as much as you can from the number of bedrooms, bathrooms and car spaces to your preference for the type of kitchen appliances you are after. Do you want a pool or a tennis court? What kind of outlook are you after? Are there specific streets that you want to purchase in? It is important for your Buyers Agent to also know what the deal breakers are. Some people are willing to renovate while others are not – you need to be clear on what you will and won’t accept. Similarly, be clear on what you may be prepared to negotiate on such as three bedrooms instead of four.
  6. Credentials – It is important to know you are dealing with a professional. Ask for reference and check their credentials and background to ensure they have the experience you are after. A Buyer Agent needs to be licenced and should also have insurance and should be willing to provide you with copies of these if requested. You can also check out their credentials via the Department of Fair Trading.

Engaging the Services of a qualified Buyers Agent should make the process of buying interstate a lot easier to navigate and should ensure you end up getting what you paid for, making the whole process as painless as possible.