12 Aug 2016

Warning: "Free" buyer's agents for property investors

As Australia’s leading body of professional buyer’s agents, we always get concerned whenever we see mention of anyone advertising “free buyers agent services”. Red flags instantly start waving when words like “the seller pays the fee not the buyer” and “we will find your perfect investment property for free” appear on websites.

Buyer’s agents are licensed professionals who specialise in searching, locating, evaluating and negotiating the purchase of property on behalf of buyers. They do not sell real estate. They are engaged independently and paid for by the buyer to act on their behalf.

As a buyer you always need to ask if there is a vested interest in anything. Why are they wanting to act for you for free? Usually it’s because they want to buy developer stock or take their fee from the vendor – hardly exclusive or independent advice. Essentially, these “free buyers agents” are selling agents in disguise. They have a huge financial incentive to help you buy that property and that’s not necessarily in the investor’s best interest.

REBAA is Australia’s largest independent alliance of buyer’s agents who act on behalf of buyers in property transactions. The Association’s accredited buyer’s agent logo is synonymous with professionalism and best practice and its members are committed to stringent ethical standards. Each REBAA accredited agency must also carry professional indemnity insurance. REBAA accredited agencies across Australia display their accredited agency logos on their websites to help buyers clearly identify bonafide agents.

Don’t be lured by slick advertising and websites promising deals that are too good to be true. Remember the golden rule that “free advice is often more expensive than actually paying for the advice upfront” and always, always look for the logo.

For a list of accredited agencies in your local area visit www.rebaa.com.au.