The meaning of the word ‘transparent’ when it comes to advice can be described as ‘open, frank or candid’. Unfortunately, the case can not always be said for advice regarding property as it can be the opposite, meaning questionable or unclear. The rise in prominence of property experts in the past decade has been nothing short of phenomenal, especially the buyer’s agent sector. The true value of a buyers agent is that they work for and are paid by one person in a transaction, the buyer. They act independently of the seller, their agent or a developer/builder and the vast majority do just that. On the other side, if you were a seller you would expect your selling agent to be doing just the same and remaining arms-length from the buyer or their agent/representative.
With regard to the above, and how things ‘should happen’, it then seems inconceivable that buyers would be lured by selling agents or developer representatives offering a ‘Buyers Agent’ service for free or a very minimal cost. A truly independent buyers agent (advocate) will have no such ties and will charge a commensurate professional fee as the advice they are providing to their client is undeniably crucial when hard earned money is being outlayed on a property purchase. The increase in selling agents touting buyer’s agent services is certainly worrying as their independence is ‘questionable’ when their main aim is to sell property.
If buyers are wanting an advisor or advocate to represent them in searching for and negotiating a property on their behalf, they need to choose wisely. A key tip for doing this is to ask family, trusted friends or colleagues of their experiences if they have used such a service to buy property. Alternatively, you can turn to the industry body, the Real Estate Buyers Agents Association, where you will find a concentration of businesses who independently act for the buyer and have vowed to uphold the standards set by the association. Member businesses can be clearly identified as they are eligible to bare the logo ‘Accredited REBAA Member’ on their stationery and website.
Always ask your chosen advisor for proof of independence, including director relationships to ensure they are not considered a ‘double agent’ working for both sides of the transaction.