28 Apr 2022

Buyer's agents coming of age in Australia's property industry

The buoyant property market of recent years which has experienced demand outstripping supply has seen a corresponding growth in the popularity of professional property advocates.

The growing trend was recognised this month when CEO of propertybuyer.com.au and immediate past president of the Real Estate Buyers Agents Association (REBAA), Rich Harvey, was selected as one of seven finalists in the National Telstra Awards in the “Progressing Australia” category (and winner of the NSW category).

In the US, half of all property transactions involve a buyer’s agent. While most people in Australia use a real estate (sales) agent when they want to list their own property, they tend to go it alone when buying a home.

The Telstra Business Awards are Australia’s premier business award program. They recognise and reward the innovation of Australia’s most outstanding small and medium businesses. A record number of 24,300 businesses applied for the awards this year.

Speaking after the award ceremony, Mr Harvey said his 20-year-old business was borne out of a desire to build a property portfolio and help others make wiser property decisions.

Harvey now has a team of 23 staff and buyers’ agents covering Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and other locations.

“Many people inherently distrust real estate agents and I saw a niche in the market to represent buyers,” says Harvey. “I love investing in property and helping people make good decisions around property.”

“Many buyers do not have the time to research the market thoroughly, compile a shortlist of suitable properties, evaluate options and then negotiate successfully with agents.

“As buyers’ agents we seek to re-address the balance of power that sales agents appear to hold over buyers and provide our clients with confidence and independent advice to support their purchasing decisions. Vendors are represented by sales agents – I wanted to level the playing field for buyers.”

REBAA is a not-for-profit organisation created to protect and serve homebuyers and investors across Australia. Established in the year 2000, it is the oldest and largest professional body representing independent buyer’s agents.

The association currently has 84 members nationally, up from 53 in 2014. To be a member, the operator has to be a buyer’s agent for two years; be a licensed real estate agency and not have properties listed for sale or be involved in direct selling.

According to the latest REBAA & Property Talk Australia (PTA) Buyer Barometer Survey, almost one third of buyers would engage an external buyer’s agent when purchasing a property.

REBAA president Cate Bakos said she was thrilled that this announcement shines a light on the growing role buyer’s agents are playing in the Australian property market.  

“There is tremendous scope for growth in the buyers’ agent industry as buyers realise the importance of getting property decisions right,” said Ms Bakos.