Buyers Agents or Buyers helpers?
With the niche industry of buyers agents growing in Australia over the last 15 years, it’s obvious that there exists a service to assist time-poor and inexperienced home buyers and investors in the market. Whilst the concept certainly isn’t new there are still many consumers who aren’t aware that there are agents out there who represent the buyer solely and work in their best interests to search, locate and negotiate property on their behalf, for a fee.
Confusion has arisen recently, however, with some selling agencies claiming to include “buyers agents” on their staff. However, it is really important to differentiate here between exclusive buyers agents and “buyer assistants” ie: sales staff employed by the sellers agency to look after buyers and liaise with them during the sales process. Labelling staff “buyers agents” within a selling agency can lead to confusion and misrepresentation, if buyers are led to believe that such buyers helpers are providing the same service as an exclusive buyers’ agent, as they clearly are not. Such buyers assistants are there to liaise with buyers on behalf of the selling agent, help out where required and make the selling agents job a little easier, and it is vital to ensure that buyers are aware this is the case. They are representing the vendor and vendors agent at all times, as they are employed by one real estate agency to assist with their listings only.
Perhaps the best solution is for sales agencies to be more careful in their staff labelling, to both avoid possible misrepresentation and confusion for consumers. Whilst other countries such as the US have dual agents within their agencies (buyers agents who derive a commission from the selling agent for effecting a sale) Australia’s real estate industry does not operate the same way. Buyers agents operate independently, offering a service and charging their clients a fee for acting in their best interests.
Be more aware, next time you see a “buyers agent” operating to help you for free, within a selling agency, that they are certainly no advocate for the buyer, but instead representing and being paid by the seller.