05 Oct 2018

When a selling agent turns buyer's agent

When Luke Assigal started his real estate career as a selling agent, he recognised the gaping need for buyers to have independent representation. Why should vendors be the only ones to have professional help to sell their property while buyers were forced to go it alone? It didn’t seem fair. When Luke discovered a new career as a buyer’s advocate, it was the perfect fit. We talked to one of our newest REBAA members about what he enjoys most about his job:

Q: Tell us a little about your business, Parley Property Advisory?

A: We are a boutique property advisory firm based in Melbourne specialising in helping frustrated and overwhelmed home buyers make more informed decisions when buying their home.

Q: You started your career as a selling agent. Why did you decide to become a buyer’s agent?

A: When I was a selling agent I loved real estate though not so much the sales side of it. At times I was too honest with the buyer which hampered my vendor who I was supposed to be working for. I witnessed how some agents were treating buyers in the industry and felt that buyers didn’t have adequate representation. Prior to working in real estate I worked in a more consultative role which I enjoyed and when I found buyers advocacy, it felt like the perfect fit.

Q: Do you think selling agencies can offer legitimate buyer’s agent services?

A: No, as I believe it is a conflict of interest for the selling agent. Simply put the selling agent gets paid by the seller and the buyers agent gets paid by the buyer so if the selling agent is offering both services how can the buyer or seller trust that the agent is working in their best interests.

Q: Do you think consumers understand the difference between an independent buyer’s agent and a selling agency with ‘buyer’s agents’ working within it?

A: I don’t think they do. It is a ‘grey’ area for a lot of people and I believe it comes down to awareness in Australia about what is a buyers agent (or advocate) and how they can add value to the buyer. The more education we can offer to the market the better as the consumer will then be able to identify the difference. I always tell clients to ask the advocate three questions;
– How is the advocate getting paid?
– Are they independent?
– Do they sell properties?
This generally unmasks any unethical buyer advocates or selling agents.

5. Where do you see the future of the industry headed in Australia?
I see buyers advocacy growing and becoming mainstream. With people becoming more time poor and the property market becoming more complex there is an increasing need for the services of a buyers advocate. I would also like to see more legislation for buying and selling agents. You need to be qualified to work in the finance industry so I strongly believe that the real estate follows suit to uphold the integrity of our industry.

6. What do you enjoy most about what you do?
Seeing the smiles and relief on our clients faces when we save them money on their purchase or find them their dream home. It is an amazing feeling.