5 things you might not know about real estate agents
When you are purchasing a property, you will speak to a lot of agents, but did you know the agent isn't working for you? Find out how a buyer's agent can help you navigate the home buying journey and find you the right property.
1 – Real estate agents work for the seller
When you are house-hunting you’ll speak to a lot of agents and it’s easy to think they want to help you find your dream home. The agent isn’t working for you though. They represent the vendor, and their job is to get the best price they can by creating as much interest in the property as possible. Sure, the best ones will make you think they have your interests at heart but never forget they want to sell the property at the best price not help you get a bargain.
2 – Real estate agents are expert marketers as well as great salespeople
So, when it comes to selling your home, this is the real value of an agent – knowing how to best prepare and promote your home to the right people to create the competition between buyers that will help realise the best price. A good agent will know their market inside and out and will be able to give you the advice you need to make the many decisions you’ll need to make leading up to the sale.
3 – The only income an agent gets is their commission on the sale
Contrary to popular belief, agents don’t usually make money from the marketing of the property – advertising, styling, photography and the like. Agents are only paid the agreed commission or fee you negotiate with them when the property is sold and settles. If they do have some other source of income linked to the sale of your property then this must be disclosed to you as the vendor.
4 - Real estate agents must work within the law (quite a few of them!)
Real Estate agents must be licenced and registered with the Business Licensing Authority (BLA). Their conduct and businesses are also regulated through 5 Legislative acts, with the main one being the Estate Agents Act (1980). Breaching any of these Acts leaves them liable for penalties, and potential loss of licence. There are some handy online sources of information regarding real estate agent regulation – you can visit Consumer Affairs Victoria or the Business Licensing Authority.
5 – If you want someone to help you buy, you need a Buyer’s Agent
If you want someone to help you buy a property (rather than sell one) you need to talk to a Buyer’s Agent or Buyers Advocate. Advocates work for you and can help you find the right property, negotiate with the estate agents and represent you to bid at auction. Buyer’s agents or advocates should be independent, a licensed real estate agent and be able to provide referrals from other buyers that have purchased properties similar to those that you are in the market for.
If you're planning on buying a home talk to our personal lending consultants. Get in touch by calling us on 13 63 73 or book a time with a mobile lending manager to find out how our first home buyer lending products are tailored to meet your needs.