The difference between a buyer and seller’s agent
For many years the uptake of buyer’s agents in Western Australia trailed behind the eastern states, but today many WA homebuyers and investors wouldn’t think of buying a property without a buyer’s agent at their side.
With buyer’s agents becoming more prominent in Perth real estate, it can sometimes be confusing to know how the buyer’s agent’s role differs to that of a traditional real estate agent.
So, exactly is the difference between a seller and buyer’s agent?
Who works for whom?
Firstly, selling agents have their names on the signboard and are hired by a homeowner to navigate the sales process, including achieve a sale on the best terms possible. They must always act in the seller’s best interests, though they need to be fair to buyers too.
A buyer’s agent is hired by a home buyer to help them navigate through the buying process. They act for the purchaser, looking to assist them find and buy the home.
A buyer’s agent covers all the bases through the process to ensure the property is purchased in a fair and reasonable manner, achieving the best possible outcome for the buyer. Their duty is to serve the buyer’s best interests and this means putting the buyer first.
The good and the bad
The selling agent will present the property in the best possible light to buyers, because it’s their job to do so as the owner’s sales representative. So, they will choose the most flattering photos and descriptions. It’s not the selling agent’s job to point out the negatives to the prospective buyer, unless of course it is something serious.
The buyer’s agent is engaged in giving you an unbiased and professional recommendation for every property they present. They should point out the positives and negatives, so you can make an informed choice knowing the good and the bad.
- Listing vs whole market
The seller’s agent’s job is generally to sell their listings as they are employed by homeowners to make a successful sale or they may also present other agent’s properties.
Your buyer’s agent is not committed to any one property and is free to search anywhere in the market – including properties advertised with agents, private sales and off-market properties. Their only objective is to find the best property for you.
Despite us being in the digital age, real estate documents can still be complex to the new eye. The selling agent must explain the documents to buyers and help you get though the buying process, but they are not obliged to help you choose the best options for your offer.
Sometimes a selling agent may discourage a buyer from making a low offer or including certain conditions in their offer, because they are representing the seller.
Knowing their way through the paperwork, strata regulations, the Joint Form of General Conditions and the Real Estate and Business Agent’s Act, your buyer’s agent can navigate through and help you not only understand it, but make the best selections for your needs and not just accept what’s put on the table.
A buyer’s agent can present a low offer if they feel it is worthwhile, and they can include conditions that are favourable to the buyer instead of the seller.
Negotiation is key
When an unrepresented buyer works directly with a selling agent, usually the odds are stacked in the seller’s favour. This is simply because the agent is a professional who negotiates property deals on a daily basis and knows the tricks of the trade, with their goal trying to achieve the best price for the seller.
Buyer’s agents on the other hand, operate on an even footing with selling agents. Both are real estate professionals negotiating property deals regularly and are practiced in the art. This helps your buyer’s agent works to get the property on your terms and at the best price possible.
In fact, buyer’s agents have an advantage in negotiating because they are truly not tied to any property and can walk away and take you to another property of your choice at any time.
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