I asked my clients to share their view on what it was like for them to work with me as their buyer's agent, compared with their previous experience of buying property alone. Here's what they had to say:
We're a couple with a growing family. We bought our first place together - a two-bedroom unit - 4 years ago. Now that we're expecting our second child, we need a larger home. This has also meant moving to a different part of Sydney. We wanted to live in a good area, a safe area, but we weren't sure where would be good for us. We also didn't know the market very well, having been out of it for some time now.
We remember what we went through buying our unit - we both felt really frustrated and at times just really despondent. Now we have our toddler and a new baby on the way, we didn't want to go through all that hassle again.
We had lots of questions this time around, because we wanted a home we wouldn't need to move from for a while. We had questions like: How can we know that the area we're choosing is a good area for us as a family? What are the crime rates? What facilities are available for us, like health, education and also transport? We didn't want to have to deal with agents - that was a real struggle last time. What should we expect to pay in general for what we're after, and more specifically, for the property we decide we want to buy? We had loads of other questions; these are just a few.
We met with a couple of buyer's agents before we made our choice. It came down to the philosophy of our buyer's agent and their willingness to work with us on our plan and goal.
What we loved about having a buyer's agent this time around was having our Saturdays free for us and our family. We work hard during the week, and when the weekend comes, we just want to unwind and relax, not having to follow an inspection schedule, find parking, queue up for inspections and then rush on to the next one.
Once the properties were pre-qualified and inspected, we had a look too - but these were only a handful of properties that we knew - and our buyer's agent knew - would suit us well. And they did! After leaving a property, we would have a discussion about what we liked and didn’t like about the property, and more importantly, our plan for moving forward - you know, when you sell your home, your agent tells you about all the buyers and how they plan to negotiate with them to get the best deal - well, this is in reverse. Our agent talked with us about the selling agent, about the vendor, the property, the reports and contract and so on - and together, we devised our own plan of attack. We never felt alone.
Yes, there was a cost for this service. That said, the small fee pales in comparison to the time we saved, the hassle and heartache we saved, and the expert service we received. We paid a great price for our home - less than what the vendor was asking, and more importantly, we didn't buy a couple of other properties we had been interested in - and may have otherwise bought - and later regretted.