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Bryce Holdaway

14/10/2016
Blog post by Bryce Holdaway

A day in the life of a Buyers Agent

So Buyers Agents are becoming more and more known in the marketplace for the role they play but what is it that they actually do when they are faced with a client who wants them to help them out?

Generally, a property has been identified or in some cases being presented from the client. And the first thing we got to do when we get that property is to see if it is being priced correctly. Because quite often, there is a number of things that are actually going on. For example, it might not be in a residential zone. It might be in a commercial zone which has an enormous impact on the price that the property can achieve. Equally, it may have varying title so it could have a standard, full green title or a torrens title which is the highest and best title. But what if it has a strata title or a stratum title? Or in some cases, a company title? All of these things really do affect the end price that the property is likely to get and then of course, in the bigger cities, we have that enormous challenge which is underquoting. So we got to see if the quote that is being reflected is going to be indicative of the price that is likely to be fetched on auction day or when negotiated in a private sale. As a buyers agent, that is the very first thing that we are doing. Just making sure that it has been priced correctly.

The second thing we do is we then have to look price comparables and find other properties within the vicinity that are a reasonable comparison for us to get an idea of what the price should be. So, first of all, we start from the land size in the same suburb to compare like with like. Then it comes down to architectural styles. Am I comparing a 1950s post-war house with a 1930s Californian Bungalow because the market has very difference expectation for those. What about the amount of house that we are getting on the land? This one over here might have a small house where else this one over here has a larger one. And then, of course, the quality of the renovation or the fit out internally. Is it original, in condition or someone put in a little of work into it to make it look better, more contemporary and more liveable. The flow of the floorplan between the two matters as well. Ultimately, I think residential real estate is like a fingerprint. No two are the same. It’s like if I buy BHP shares no.53, it’s no different than BHP shares no.72, they are exactly the same. But with real estate, even for apartments in the same block, they are not the same because they have different aspects and different look.

So it makes it very difficult to price real estate easily, but that’s essentially what we are doing. Applying some technical craft, some experience and some intuition to help us get that right.

Once I’ve done that, then I got to inspect that property physically and what I’m trying to do is get an understanding of the suburb as a whole, and work out where the A-grade street is, the B-grade and the C-grade. I know that location does 80% of the heavy-lifting, but I want to get into the better areas where people have more desire to live, largely the owner occupiers because they will help drive the price up for us. Once I’m in the suburb, I’ll start looking at the streetscape. As I’m standing at the front of the property, I want to see how that one compares in context to the other ones on the street. Am I on the higher side or the down side? I want to know if it’s a cut through street, I want to know if its tree lined or it’s pretty barren. These are the things that we are going to do to help us determine what we are going to buy. And then I want to have a look at the neighbours. If I’m looking at that property, what are my two neighbours and the one across the road is actually like? If they are not desirable, then I would probably see a steady flow of tenants moving in and out of the property versus people who are very house proud and look after their property. Which also means that my tenant is likely to want to stay in the property for much longer. And then, of course I walk into the property and I start inspecting the structure, what the rooms are like and that sort of stuff. So pricing correctly, doing some price comps and then the inspection of the property.

If I am satisfied at the point, I then go away and do some due diligence. I start with looking at the contract. That’s where I’ll find out what the title of the property really is. I’ll get a building and pest inspector to go out and check the property to make sure that this place isn’t going to be a money pit, full of maintenance for the investor moving forward. And I guess, I want to have a look also, at approvals to the neighbouring property. Are they selling because next door just got an approval to build a very big extension at the bag which will not only create a lot of noise for the next 12 months but will also create some overshadowing into the backyard for example. So these are the things that we want to uncover and make sure that we are not buying something that is potentially going to be a problem.

And the last thing I deal with, with a client is psychology. Doubt and fear. Most people would love to think that they can purchase a property like a robot. You know, it ticks all of the boxes, it’s often the most used term in real estate. But then, their mind, values and history combined with their fears and their doubts kick in, and they get remorse. And they think, “Well, maybe I shouldn’t. What if interest rates go up? What if I lose my job?” All of these things. So a Buyers Agent has to deal with all of that psychological stuff that comes from buying a very significant asset that most people only every do two or three times in their lifetime if they aren’t investing in property. So it’s an important decision that people need to make, and we need to be aware of that and provide enough EQ into the equation as well as the IQ that it takes to purchase the property.

My conclusion is being a buyers agent is sort of part-time technician and part-time psychologist. Ultimately at the end of the day, there is so much that goes on with what a buyers agent does but at the end of the day, it really does come down to one thing, and that’s helping a client to get to a position where they can say yes. If they can say yes, they can eventually move into their dream home and start to create memories, or if they are investors, they can buy property that would contribute to the family’s financial goals and ultimately provide them with some financial freedom going into the future.

So there you have it. A buyers agent is a really fun and exciting role to be a part of, but there is more to it than just bricks and mortar. The psychology, the human component and also bricks and mortar. I wouldn’t be anything else; I love being a buyers agent and I think it’s a very good way for people to make better decisions when buying real estate.

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