What Is a Buyer’s Advocate?
Buying your first home is a milestone event, and is easily one of the defining moments of any person’s life. If you’ve decided to take this giant leap, it’s only natural that your feelings of pride and excitement are mixed with equal parts fear and nervousness.
As a first-time buyer, you’ll have to deal with things that wouldn’t have even crossed your mind as a renter. It’s because of this that so many first-time buyers end up making poor financial decisions, overpaying for homes that don’t end up meeting their expectations.
This is where a buyer’s advocate may come in handy. Not sure exactly what that is? Well, you’re not alone. Below, we’ll go over the responsibilities of a buyer’s advocate and how they can help new home buyers.
What does a buyer’s advocate do?
A buyer’s advocate is a real estate professional that can be hired by potential homebuyers to research, evaluate and negotiate the purchase of a property on your behalf. While real estate agents work for the seller and will try to get the best price possible for their clients, a buyer’s advocate works for you, the buyer.
They’ll be able to advise you on the value of a home, its resale potential and much more. They also have access to valuable information that isn’t readily available to the general public, such as data regarding the local property market and off-market properties that haven’t yet been advertised. You’ll need to work closely with your chosen buyer’s advocate to establish what you’re looking for in a home, and they’ll then be able to create a shortlist for you of potential properties that meet your criteria.
Your buyer’s advocate is also able to bid on a property on your behalf at its auction, and many buyers use them for this service and this service only.
How to choose a buyer’s advocate
Choosing the right buyer’s advocate will depend on the type of service you want from them. If you only want them to bid for you at the auction that’s one thing, but trusting them to help with the entire process of looking for and purchasing a home is another.
We recommend talking to various buyer’s agents before making your final decision. Here are some questions you should consider asking them:
- Are they a licensed estate agent? If so, how long have they been a licensed estate agent?
- How long have they worked as a buyer’s agent?
- How many clients have they successfully helped buy a property?
- How much experience do they have with first-time buyers?
- Do they exclusively work for buyers, or do they act for sellers as well?
- How much experience do they have bidding at auctions?
- What is their policy when working for two clients at the same time who have a similar criteria for their home?
- What type of industry connections do they have?
- How often and through what means will they provide progress updates?
- What will their commission be? Are there any upfront fees?
- What will I be charged if you are unsuccessful in finding a suitable property for me?
- Can I terminate your services if I am not satisfied?
Why use a buyer’s advocate
While using a buyer’s advocate isn’t a necessity, there are many benefits to doing so. This includes:
- Saving time: A buyer’s advocate will put in the hard yards searching for your dream home with the help of the criteria given to them by you. Rather than wasting hours browsing online listings and visiting open homes that end up being a bust, you’ll only be presented with homes that perfectly suit your needs and wants.
- Access off-market properties: As we mentioned earlier, buyer’s advocates often have access to off-market listings that have yet to be advertised online. This opens you up to less competitive, harder-to-find homes that you might have otherwise missed.
- Potentially save money: Buyer’s advocates are skilled negotiators and will work their hardest to get you the best price possible on a home. They also will be able to stop you from overpaying for a property and being ripped off.
- Bidding assistance: Bidding at an auction for the first time can be highly intimidating, with its fast-paced, high-pressure environment often getting the best in people. While this can often lead to overbidding, buyer’s advocates are experienced bidders and may also have some tricks up their sleeves to beat the competition.
- Objectivity: It can be easy to get emotionally attached to certain homes and end up overpaying, a buyer’s advocate has no emotional investment in these homes. This means that they can objectively provide you with the best financial advice possible and see things through the eyes of a professional.