And how to get around them!
The fees for a buyer's agent can be prohibitive to some, especially if the client needs the full service. My fee structure and service encourages my clients to choose - and pay for - only the services that they need. We sit down together and identify where they need the most help and go from there. Of course, a client's needs change over time and so the service is totally flexible.
Some buyers who use a buyer's agent feel that they may miss out on having an emotional connection with their home. The home may tick all the boxes, but lack that homely feel that is so important. I ensure that buyers personally inspect the property that they plan to call home, and I advise against buying any home that doesn't "feel" right. It's in a client's best interests to minimise the number of sales in their lifetime - selling property is costly - and I encourage clients to buy a home that can be their home for the foreseeable future.
Some buyer's agents structure their fees on a commission basis. This means that the client pays more for their buyer's agent as the purchase price increases, and so the buyer’s agent may be incentivised to have their client a higher price for the property. To my way of thinking, this is counter-intuitive. A buyer's agent should be helping their client to pay the lowest possible price, and so the buyer's agent's remuneration should not reflect otherwise. My fee structure is flat, with set fees for services provided. My clients know ahead of time exactly what they will spend on my service, and they have the flexibility to pick and choose according to their needs. I am not incentivised by a commission structure to have my clients pay more - rather, I am incentivised to provide excellent service so that my clients purchase more services :)
Some buyer’s agents "double dip", receiving payment both from their client AND from the real estate sales agent. This is illegal. A licensed, independent / exclusive buyer's agent only receives fees from one person (the buyer) and discloses any other fees and commissions earned to the client ahead of time in the Agency Agreement.
Sometimes clients are initially unsure of their needs and how to identify the types of properties or areas that are going to best meet their needs. A buyer's agent can't identify the right properties if the client isn't sure or can't communicate their needs, however, a good buyer's agent will sit with the client and provide information so that the client can better identify their needs.
Upfront payment can seem harsh to a client, however it ensures lower fees across the board for clients. Fixed fees that are known and paid ahead of time guarantee that the client will always know what their spend will be, with service expectations and standards discussed and agreed before any fees are paid. Upfront payment generally guarantees a lower spend - and this is best for clients.