Hi. I am interested in buying my first investment property here in Australia and I am considering hiring a buyer's agent who charges a fixed fee (13k). Does anyone recommend using one or will I be better off doing everything myself? What's your experience?
I have had mixed review from clients. Some have had good success and some have had failure.
I think the key thing is to get sharp on what you want in terms of returns, pricing etc. Make sure if you are using a buyers agent they do a full demographic analysis so you can assess the investment.
Yes, I know a buyers agent that delivers great results. I think they are worth the money as many buyers get emotionally caught up in the buying process and end up paying too much/not walking away when they should.
$13k seems pretty expensive though. I thought the one I know charges about $8k for the full service.
As Andrew said, it's best to be very specific with what you are after.
As a Buyer's Agent myself who specialises in purchasing investment properties, I would be biased in saying that using a Buyer's Agent is certainly worth the fee...but you need to make sure you are getting value for the service. Good advice doesn't come free or cheap, especially when you are dealing with an asset purchase in the 100's of thousands of dollars.
A Buyer's Agent's fee is 'fee for service' and they should be saving you time in the process (take into account the hundred's of hours it might take you to buy somewhere on your own), they should negotiate better than the average buyer (saving you money off the purchase price) and they should also be presenting opportunties through their relationships with selling agents before the rest of the market sees them, giving you an unfair advantage. When a Buyer's Agent does their job well, it should save you money well in excess of the cost of the service.
I would highly recommend using a Buyer's Agent that is a member of both PIPA (Property Investment Professionals of Australia - http://pipa.asn.au/) and REBAA (Real Estate Buyers Agents Association - https://rebaa.com.au/) to ensure that they follow a code of conduct for best practice and put your best interests first.
An investment buyer's agent and/or investment advisor should ascertain your capacity to invest, your risk profile and your capacity to maintain the cash flow requirements of the proposed property purchase before recommending any properties.
Unfortunately I see too many buyers who invest into property without going through a thorough process first to understand the full picture and the cash flow ends up being higher than they were expecting. I also see a lot of buyers who purchase property from someone who has a vested interest in properties for sale, such as referral partners of builders/developers and project marketers and these properties are more than likely to be overpriced with commissions built in (which the buyer ultimately pays for). Please make sure that you are working with someone who will search ALL available opportunities specifically for you and is not trying to push you into something that may not be suitable, especially off-the-plan properties which in my opinion don't generally make for good investments.
The fee for a buyer's agent should depend on your purchase budget, so the 13k you have been quoted is subject to that and also the level of service they provide. Generally fees can range from 1 to 2.5% of the purchase budget. It is also recommended to get a fixed fee upfront so the buyer's agent is not incentivised to purchase a higher priced property.
In terms of DIY, many people do go through the process themselves and it can be successful, but location and lack of knowledge of the local market can sometimes make this very difficult. I would only recommend someone buys an investment property on their own if they have done thorough research and undertaken property investment education from a reputable organisation who don't have properties for sale.
I hope this helps, and please don't hesitate to reach out below if you have any further questions. Depending on your budget and purchase location I can help recommend someone to assist you.
STRAND Property Group