Who is the best Buyer’s Agent in Perth?
In fact, what makes a great Buyer’s Agent?
Whilst not as commonly used in Western Australia as they are in the Eastern States and overseas, the popularity of Buyers’ Agents has grown considerably in recent years.
Savvy investors and time-poor home buyers are slowly but surely embracing the value that a qualified Buyer’s Agent can provide. So, if you are looking for the best Buyer’s Agent in Perth, what are you looking for? We took the time to provide some insight into what we feel are the most valuable assets of a property acquisition specialist…
This is the single most important factor.
If you are not paying for the advice you receive, someone else is paying for it to be provided to you! Our industry is littered with sales people masquerading as ‘advisers’. A true adviser should be fee-for-service and should never receive any incentive or commission from a conflicting third party. If someone is selling a new apartment or house and land package, odds are they are working in the best interest of the seller (in most cases, the developer). The selling agent receives a large commission, the developer makes a profit and unfortunately, you fund BOTH.
Be aware of this fact and ask for full disclosure of any third party financial arrangements in writing.
A good communicator and educator
Most people engage a Buyer’s Agent because they recognise a lack of knowledge or skill in themselves, in one or more areas. Many of our clients at Capital Property Advisory are investors. Some are first time investors with a distinct lack of knowledge. Others are more experienced investors who perhaps have recognised some missteps in their past transactions. In most cases they have realised that a professional’s ability to identify a property that will outperform the market or provide a desirable subdivision or development outcome, is greater than their own. In other words, they are clever enough to “know what they don’t know”.
The role of the agent is not just to act on behalf of the client to create a better result, but also to educate the client, empowering them to make confident decisions through greater knowledge obtained from proven research methods and years of experience.
A strategic adviser who understands property finance and risk
All investments carry risk. Do you understand your appetite for investment risk? Is your significant other on the same page as you with his or her risk profile?
An independent adviser will ensure you understand the risks of investing in property, as opposed to just trying to sell you on the positives.
Our team conducts a comprehensive finance and risk profile assessment of a new client before we begin our acquisition process. This ensures we understand your current situation as well as your future plans and goals – positioning you for long term success.
A sound knowledge of both State and local planning policies
What is your knowledge of the State’s Residential Design Codes, or ‘R-Codes’? Do you know how to over-lay the various local planning policies to qualify a potential subdivision or development site and ensure you are in position to maximise your desired outcomes?
With the extensive re-zoning we have seen in recent years, it is important to note that not all potential subdivisions are created equal. Just because you can subdivide, it doesn’t mean you should, or that it will be profitable to do so. Just a few considerations that are often over-looked by investors include:
– What is the highest and best use of the site, and can you obtain the necessary finance to achieve this outcome? If you buy a six apartment site and only develop three townhouses, have you over-paid for the site?
– Where is the existing house positioned on the block? Can the house be retained and the land still subdivided? Does the local council allow battle-axe subdivision (i.e. house behind house) – some do not.
– Do you have a ‘due diligence’ period on your contract? Should you can engage someone during this period to complete a feature/contour site survey, subdivision drawings and a feasibility study? A small investment in these early stages can ensure you are making a sound investment and can minimise surprise costs down the road.
– Is the property in a bush fire prone area? If so, this can add significantly to your building costs for each new dwelling, reducing your profit or even creating a loss.
Plans for road-widening or further proposed rezoning (creating more supply) are just a couple of additional factors that can mean the difference between your success or failure as an investor or developer.
A ruthless negotiator (of price AND terms)
Especially in this current ‘buyer’s market’ (in Perth), your Buyer’s Agent can pay for themselves very quickly through understanding the motivations of the seller, how hard to push and most importantly, when to pull.
Nearly all offers we write for our buyers contain additional ‘special conditions’ that are designed to tip the balance of power in our favour. Quite often we will include a due diligence period in our offer to allow us to complete relevant inspections and additional research prior to committing fully to the purchase.
Our due diligence process is exhaustive and is designed to minimise risk by leaving no stone unturned. In the event that we uncover any significant issues through this period we have the power to renegotiate, or to walk away if we see fit.
An exclusive focus on fee-for-service, advice-based solutions
Remember, sales agents will offer you plenty of information when purchasing a property and while they are required to be fair to buyers, they are legally obliged to work in the seller’s best interest, and they do – whether you recognise it at the time, or not.
On the other hand, a buyer’s agent is working for you and can save you time and money while helping you find the property that best fits your personal circumstances. But what if your buyer’s agent is also a developer or is selling shares in a property syndicate? Or if they are a project marketer or a selling agent as well?
Always ask questions of your adviser to gain a complete understanding of their motives before taking action. Having many property or finance-related services ‘in-house’ is often pitched as convenient for you; however, it could also result in you being steered in a direction that is not 100% right for you.
Access to “off-market listings”
What is an “off-market” listing? This is industry jargon for a property that is either being sold by an owner privately or one that is listed with the selling agent but is yet to be marketed publicly; in most cases the latter.
The terms “off-market” or “distressed seller” can be great for a buyer who is ready and willing to act quickly. On occasion, the seller’s misfortune can be your gain. In situations like these, we always recommend that you complete your due diligence ahead of making your offer and make sure that the opportunity is actually priced below the market. Remember, Selling Agents are paid to get their seller the most amount of money for their property that they can. They can be clever in marketing something as off-market to create urgency and often an over-eager buyer from their internal database or an inexperienced Buyer’s Agent may rush to judgement and secure the property without realising it was never priced that well to begin with.
With that in mind, also note that around one third of our acquisitions are secured off-market and many have been bought well below current market value, so it certainly an option to consider.