What Is a Buyer's Agent? 8 Q’s to Ask Before Engaging in One
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What Is a Buyers Agent & 8 Q’s to Ask Before You Engage One in the Gold Coast

BY TONY COUGHRAN  —  8 MIN READ

Anyone can buy a property. But you don’t want just anyone to help you buy a property. You want the best… So, what is a buyer’s agent, and how do you choose the right one for you?

Firstly, smart move. Working with a professional to secure your first home or investment property is one of the wisest decisions you’ve made so far – your sanity and bank balance will thank you for it later.

Who do you use? Who can you trust? Who’s going to get you the most desirable result? This is one of the first crucial decisions you’ll make along the road to purchasing an investment property because who you decide to work with now will greatly affect the outcome.

If you’re anything like us – you want the most experienced guy (or gal) in your corner when making big financial moves like this. But what does being the most experienced even mean?

Well, the guy that’s just quit his job at the ice cream shop has probably only purchased a handful of properties in his life and is faking it till he makes it; he probably isn’t your guy.

Nor is the big wig with a team of experts that ‘specialise’ in Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Sydney and (anywhere you want to buy, really). We work hard to keep a handle on the Gold Coast region (all 125,000+ homes and 6,000+ selling agents), so anyone who claims to be a ‘specialist’ in all areas is more than likely a jack of all, master of none.

Anyone can ‘say’ they’re a good buyer’s agent and that they’ve had [x] years in the industry, but sometimes the results from those self-proclaimed savvy real estate agents just don’t stack up.

What about the questionable independence of the investment specialists that carry a handful of pre-vetted ‘premium investment stock’ and claim to be the leading agency or #1 agency – according to who? I want to cry every time I see ‘professionals’ promote that they are Real Estate Agents of the Year (if only they really knew how hard it is to win these awards).

Stop it! we’ve seen it all, and really:

Integrity. Is. Everything.

Table of contents

TAKE A LOOK AT HOMES WE BOUGHT

Anyone with a week to get their license and someone else’s chequebook can be a buyer’s agent, right? But does that get them the same results as 20 years of experience, thousands of inspections, and hundreds of negotiations?

If you’ve done your research, and we hope you have and shopped around – you’ve probably got 5 or 6 emails sitting in your inbox from various buyer’s agents by now, all saying a pretty similar thing.

“Book your FREE Strategy Consultation” or “It’s great to hear you’re considering investing in….” I know, I know. Are sounds familiar, doesn’t it?


The No-Bull Approach

Marketing spiels and glossy brochures aside, here are 8 questions you should be asking before you decide which Home Buyers Agent is the right fit for you.

01. How qualified are they?

Know that the property industry isn’t regulated, which means you can become a buyers agent after doing a 4-day real estate licensing course – in my opinion, this doesn’t make you appropriately qualified to give property advice. It just means you know how to fill out the paperwork.

There is a lot of fly-by-nighter, and unsuccessful selling agents turned buyers agents thinking they can make a quick buck. They might front as the most affordable option, but they could end up costing you thousands in the long run.

Pro-Tip: Watch out for the selling agents ‘assistants’ who call themselves ‘Buyers Agents’ (clever little things). They may be quite helpful and run you around looking at the property, but at the end of the day, they’re still a sales assistant (generally with little to no experience), and their job is to convince you to buy whatever it is their agency is selling.

Wondering where we fit in? Here’s the low down on Tony Coughran and the team at Gold Coast Property Advisors:

Tony isn’t just an appraiser. If you’ve ever had your house valued, you know that most valuers are very charismatic. One thing is to know how much something is worth (and seeing as he has specialised in the Gold Coast for almost his entire career, Tony knows a lot about Gold Coast property).

But it’s a whole different ball game to be able to negotiate and buy an investment property because you are persistent and know a lot.

It’s a skill set that can’t be taught in a classroom, and that can only come from getting knocked back, learning from it and then getting back out there and trying again.

02. What industry associations do they have?

Are they a member of the REIQ – Real Estate Institute of Queensland? Are they a member of REBAA – Real Estate Buyers Agents Association, which is the national buyer’s agents association?

Not all industry associations have a very high entry point. Fill in the forms, pay your fees, and you’re in the club. So, although there are many associations out there, if they’re not a member of the two above, I’d be asking why.

WORK WITH A SALES MENTOR

We’re a member of all of the above plus:

Given that Tony is a Certified Property Valuer, he’s a fellow of the Australian Property Institute [API] and of course, he’s been a registered Valuer on the Valuers Registration Board of Queensland [VRB] since the year 2000 (that’s 20 actual years valuing residential property day in day out in South East Queensland).

03. What tertiary qualifications do they have?

It’s not the letters behind one’s name – it’s time they’ve spent learning their area of expertise. Like you wouldn’t see a surgeon that didn’t have formal qualifications, I wouldn’t trust my hard-earned cash using a buyer’s agent that wasn’t formally trained.

As long as it’s property-related – need I say more?

Pro-Tip: With so many new companies getting into the advice business, be wary of any buyer’s advocate who has been in the real estate business for a while but just got their valuer certification.

 During his career, Tony has given prices for thousands of homes on the Gold Coast. Because he has done so many valuations, he has a competitive edge when he talks to smart selling agents about the right prices to pay for a property.

The team at Gold Coast Property Advisors have attained the following qualifications:

Tony graduated with a Bachelor of Business Degree specialising in Property Studies in 1997.

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04. How long have they been in the industry?

I don’t mean how long they have been a buyer’s agent, although that’s a good starting point – and we all have to start somewhere. But how deep is their knowledge of the real estate property market? How many times have they tried, failed and then tried again? How long have they been refining their negotiation skills? Nothing like running on the board…

Every day is a new day, and the industry is always changing. But the property is a long-term game, so I wouldn’t trust my money with a real estate agent with less than 10 years of experience buying property.

Our Gold Coast Property Advisors team have a combined 30+ years in the industry.

Meet our team and read their stories.

05. Do they have the skills and expertise to deliver what they promise?

The proof is in past performance. Ask if you can talk to some of their past and present clients. Ask for some real examples of what they have purchased in the past and how it has performed.

In the last 5 years alone, we’ve transacted over $350 million in property, so it’s fair to say we know a thing or two about buying investment property on the Gold Coast.

No two property transactions are ever the same. Home-buyers briefs vary, as do their budgets, but this just gives you an idea of the kinds of results we’re striving for, for our clients. You can read more about our clients, and we’d be more than happy to put you in touch directly for a chat with any of them too.

While we’re here – here are a few examples of how working with us has paid off for our clients.

Take the Lett’s family, for example; last year (at the time of writing this), they called over the moon that they had just had their place re-valued with the bank (we secured it for them before it hit the market just over 3 years ago). 

It had increased from their purchase price of $700,000 to a tidy $1,000,000 (full disclosure they had done about $60k worth of renovations to tidy the property up). They’ve since sold the property for a tidy $1,155,000 – that’s a return of $450,000 over a 6-year period.

The Morrison’s, who we’ve helped buy 4 properties now, had one of their properties, which was purchased in 2015 for $650k and in 2018 valued at $950k. We’ve just secured them their 5th property, which is a commercial premise for their business to operate out of.

06. Do they specialise in the area you’re looking to buy in?

Or do they claim to specialise everywhere? This is such a biggie that is so often overlooked. We only service the Gold Coast, which is around 125,000 homes, and I would question how someone even specialises in the whole of Brisbane, let alone all of South East Queensland.

Be wary too. Many Southern firms have seen the value Queensland is offering and is‘ basing’ teams in Queensland (they might fly in once a month) to service investors that want to purchase here. 

The stories of buyer’s agents’ buying sight unseen are pretty S.C.A.R.Y. Buyers agents flying in to buy properties on behalf of their clients are no different than you flying in to secure a property – agents who sell real estate know they can demand a premium, and they’re getting it.

Where do we specialise?

On the Gold Coast, of course, we’re a qualified property investment advisor team!

From the Coolangatta in the South to Pimpama in the North and as far West as Mount Tamborine – the Gold Coast is our home. It’s where we know and love.

Want to know which suburbs love to buy property on the Gold Coast? In the South, we love the likes of Palm Beach, Burleigh Heads, Miami, Mermaid Beach and Broadbeach.

 Heading further North, we’ve purchased plenty of homes in Southport, Runaway Bay, Paradise Point, Sanctuary Cove and Hope Island.

To the West, we love areas around Robina, Mudgeeraba, Tallai and Currumbin Valley. We’ve shared more on our pick of the Gold Coast’s suburbs here…

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07. How established are their networks?

This, too, comes back to the location. A good Gold Coast buyer agent won’t just have an intimate knowledge of the local real estate market. He’ll have a deep connection with a large majority of selling agents, which will open you up to more opportunities just coming onto the real estate market.

We get calls all day long from selling agents asking if we have any qualified buyers that might have a brief that fits with a property they are about to list. Selling agents love working with a Buyers Agent – it’s a less complicated sale for them, and they don’t have to support the home buyer and their seller.

We’re always putting our best foot forward and being proactive, so when we start working with a new client, we also take their brief out to our 1000+ database of selling agencies to open up the conversation and uncover anything new coming onto the market.

1 in 4 properties we purchase are secured off-market

On-market, pre-market, off-market – we’ve spent years forging deep connections with the best-selling agencies on the Gold Coast. If there’s a chance it’s for sale and fits your brief, we’ll be the first to know about it before it hits the open market.

1 in 4 properties we purchase are secured off-market

On-market, pre-market, off-market – we’ve spent years forging deep connections with the best-selling agencies on the Gold Coast. If there’s a chance it’s for sale and fits your brief, we’ll be the first to know about it before it hits the open market.

08. What do Buyers Agents charge?

A truly independent buyers agent will always charge you a fee for service, which means a selling agent’s PA that calls themselves a buyers agent probably isn’t working in your best interest. Nor is a selling agent doubling as a buyer’s agent and in conjunction with another agent, so you don’t have to pay a fee.

Remember, you get what you pay for, so the cheapest option today might be the one that ends up costing you the most in years to come.

We’re fiercely independent, which can only mean that we charge a fee for service.

Like your favourite pair of boardies, your brief is unique, and one size never fits all. Our approach and buying process allow for this and are tailored to suit your specific needs and butt size.      

We don’t have a stock-standard fee structure. And we’re not cheap, BUT we do offer immense value, and our fees won’t be beaten for the same service.

So what’s the investment?

We charge a fixed fee ranging from 1-2 per cent of the purchase price with a retainer fee payable upfront and the balance on successful purchase. Our full service starts at a base rate of $12,000.


Curious how it all works? Want to know how you can get the Buyers Advantage?

Download our complete guide, and we’ll walk you through our expertise, approach, process, and packages so that you can ultimately decide if partnering with a qualified professional (that’s us!) is for you.

Where to next?

If you’re just starting out on this journey, keep your ears to the ground and that spring in your step and remember to always go with your gut. If it doesn’t feel right, it’s probably not right, and there are plenty more fish in the sea.

→  If you want honest property purchase insights;

→ If you understand the value of professional advice;

→ If you appreciate a transparent buying process with an experienced professional; AND

→ You’re looking for an experienced buyer agent specialising in the Gold Coast.

Then we may just be the perfect fit for you. And that’s what it’s all about – finding someone you can trust.


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Here’s a little clip we made that dives into what it means to us to be helping people make big decisions for their life + livelihood.
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