Go local or use a ‘national’ Buyers Agent?
There is a growing trend with some buyers agencies at the moment to expand their services to include other states and territories. If they have a local office and staff in that state or are a franchise business with sufficient resources I have no problem with this. However, what I do have a problem with is those buyers agents who adopt a “fly-in fly-out” approach and search sporadically for their clients, despite being based in a completely different state.
Always use a locally-based and knowledgeable buyers agent! Why some clients hire interstate buyers agents to fly from one capital city to another (at the moment it seems to be popular from VIC and NSW to QLD) is honestly lost on me and devalues the search service… The constant contact you need with selling agents as a BA is something that is vastly underrated and valued by buyers- until you’re in the game you really don’t understand how important this ongoing contact and rapport is in staying on top of the listings, as well as learning about those coming up/or off market. It’s all about constant and systemised communication when saturating any market.
A perfect example this past month- I actually flew interstate to inspect a couple of personally-owned investment properties in Brisbane and decided to take a look at some houses whilst there (I can’t help myself, even when on a break )… one agent I know well told me that he sold a “corker” of a house last Thursday, after he listed it on Monday (pics/ad made it to the web on Wed) to a local buyer who jumped on it straight away. The price offered was fair (I would have paid more myself if I was in the market) the seller was happy but he had a string of disappointed would-be buyers when he cancelled the first open house for the Saturday, including TWO INTERSTATE BUYERS AGENTS… now had these BAs been local and on the ground, in constant contact with this agent (as opposed to only contacting him on an irregular basis and flying up every few weeks or so) would it have been a different story? One will never know, however I thought it was a timely reminder of the importance of “being on the ground constantly” in a local property market.
Interestingly, another agent (whom I didn’t know and never revealed myself to as a NSW BA) was boasting about the strength of the market and some record sales he made, to yet another interstate BA, who he said “was happy to pay over the asking price and very good prices they were too”…. all in all a tad concerning actually. It seems, upon further inquiry, that the particular BA in question had a practice of flying up on every 3rd or 4th weekend, inspecting Saturdays only and making offers the same day (sometimes for more than one client at a time) The agent was, needless to say, using this example as a way of ramping his own local market- after all, if interstate buyers are paying market+++ it’s a great way to create urgency for other local buyers.
The problem I see, with hiring an out-of-area BA to do a job for you, is the tempting incentive to get the job done sooner rather than later. Unless you’re paying a BA every time they jump on a plane for you (and it adds up) or a travelling levy (or similar add-on cost) it simply can’t always be viable for them to be on the ground sufficiently in order to provide a full service. I believe that the temptation by the BA to take the easier route and buy sooner (and therefore sometimes at a higher price) may compromise the outcome and the quality of service a client receives. One of our recent client searches took 11 weeks to secure a property, with some 40+ inspections spread over a 10 week period. This included every Saturday and midweek inspections. This was the 5th house we attempted to secure for a fair price (after missing out on 4 that went above our “fair market appraisals”) and there is no way we would have done this by jumping on a plane every weekend for 10 weeks…. it’s uneconomically viable.
Hiring a BA should entail careful research, backed up by genuine references and a solid local knowledge in the particular areas of focus. Speak to the actual BA who will be conducting your search (not just the office or LIC) – look for experience, accreditation, reputation and enthusiasm.