Buyer's Agent Checklist - The Top Ten Questions To Ask
Once you have a shortlist of potential buyer’s agents, ask each of them a set of questions to narrow the field even further. Treat this as though you’re interviewing someone for a job. Below are our top 10 questions to ask a prospective buyer's agent:
1. How much experience do you have?
Considering this will be the largest purchase you will make in life, your buyer’s agent should have a minimum of 5 – 10 years of experience to ensure that they have the skills and expertise to identify good investment opportunities and execute the purchase. After all, you get what you pay for!
2. Are you an exclusive buyer’s agent, or do you also sell property?
This question will help you identify whether there is a potential conflict of interest. The last thing you want to do is employ someone who says they are a buyers agent that is also a selling agent, whichever way you look at it, there is a direct conflict of interest.
3. Do you or your company hold professional indemnity insurance?
It’s a legal requirement for all buyer’s agents or agencies to have a minimum of $1 million in Professional Indemnity insurance, which will help protect you in the event that they are negligent in there duties. If they don’t carry PI don’t employ them.
4. What previous purchases have you made and what experience do you have in my preferred location and/or price range?
Can they walk the walk? Ask about examples of previous buys in the locations on your hit list, as proof of local knowledge. The worst thing you can do is employ an agent from Sydney or Melbourne to buy you a property in Brisbane.
5. How extensive is your network of contacts?
Real estate is all about who you know, and a well-connected buyer’s agent could help you snap up properties before they even hit the market.
6. Are you a member of REBAA?
The Real Estate Buyers Agents Association of Australia (REBAA) has strict admission criteria and all members are accountable to a professional code of conduct. They also have in house (Association) training available to them.
7. What is your fee structure?
This one is a no-brainer. Ask exactly how much the agent charges, and check that amount against the industry standard for buyer’s agent commissions and fees. Standard is between 1%-3% of property value/price depending on the service.
8. Do you own any property yourself?
Do you really want to entrust one of the most important financial decisions of your life to someone without any personal experience? You want someone with ‘skin in the game’.
9. Why should I use your services over another buyer’s agent?
This is an opportunity for agents to convince you that they are able to offer you something their peers can’t. Keep an ear out for empty sales-speak and unrealistic promises. You will recognise who is genuine and who is trying to sell you something.
10. Can I talk to some of your previous clients?
First-hand testimonials will give you unfiltered insight into whether the buyer’s agent can truly deliver. Alarm bells should start ringing if this request is declined. These days social media provides a very public platform for both good and bad reviews of a business. Make sure you satisfy yourself what you read, either way, is true.
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