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Hiring a buyer's advocate - Everything you need to know

March 23, 2022
by
Rosemary Parsons

Looking to buy in an unfamiliar city? Or, maybe like many buyers, you find the real estate market daunting? 

There’s a good chance that hiring a buyer’s advocate can support you on your home buying journey. 

A buyer’s advocate can help take the stress out of finding and making the best deal on your new property.

In the following guide, we’ll look at the benefits of hiring a buyer’s advocate, the need for a buyer’s advocate in the current Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, and Sydney markets, and get to the bottom of how much buyer’s advocates really charge.



What is a buyer’s advocate?

Buyer's advocate advising clients about a house they're considering buying

Buyer’s advocates are more commonly known as a buyer’s agent, though these terms are interchangeable. They’re also called a home buyer’s agent, real estate buyer’s advocate, and property buyer’s advocate. 

Buyer’s advocates are licensed real estate professionals who act on the buyer’s behalf.

Put simply, buyer’s advocates are licensed real estate professionals who act on the buyer’s behalf. They take the legwork out of researching, evaluating, and negotiating property purchases.

Where real estate agents act in the seller’s interests, a buyer’s advocate represents the buyer. 

Is a buyer’s advocate worth it?

There are many benefits to hiring a buyer’s advocate, including: 

Finding and analysing properties, saving you time 

Buyer’s advocates specialise in identifying their clients’ ideal property and location. They can also pinpoint promising areas for capital growth and/or rental yield.

Navigating the complex buying process 

Buying property can be stressful. A survey of Aussie homeowners by Allianz found 55 per cent would rather stay in their current home than face buying a new one. This is where buyer’s advocates come in. They can manage the complexities of home buying as well as offer objective advice and support.

Giving you an edge in the competitive real estate market

Buyer’s advocates can access databases, information, and deals that aren’t always publicly available, including off-market property listings. This widens your potential pool of properties, backed by the most up-to-date property info.

Negotiating strong deals

Buyer’s advocates are experts at getting the best deal for you—and quickly. They can go to the vendor with a hard bargain driven by market knowledge, shortening the often back-and-forth negotiations. This could prevent others from snapping up your dream property!           

Bidding at auction on your behalf

Auctions can be overwhelming, especially for the inexperienced. Buyer’s advocates are licensed to bid for you, using seasoned professionalism to manoeuvre through the intense pressure and high emotions. More than anyone, they know when to hold or fold.     

Understanding and explaining the hidden costs of buying a house

Successful budgeting to buy a house requires you to know all about the hidden costs homebuyers face, such as government and legal fees. Buyer’s advocates can explain these costs and may even help you to minimise them.

Helping you avoid common mistakes

Property buyer’s advocates prevent rookie home buying errors as they know the issues to look for in a property or contract. They’ll also deal with any problems as they arise.

Supporting you buy and sell at the same time

Simultaneously buying and selling has its own unique hurdles. A buyer’s advocate can ease you through all of the additional challenges.

Supplying local knowledge when buying interstate. 

If you’re in Sydney and want to buy in Melbourne, a buyer’s advocate can find your new property without you setting foot over the border.

Now that you know more about what they do, let’s see why a buyer’s advocate may be particularly beneficial when buying into the Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, and Sydney markets.    

A buyer’s advocate can find your new property without you setting foot over the border.

Hiring a buyer's advocate in Melbourne

Melbourne faced a gruelling 2020-2021, with six lockdowns taking their toll. The McGrath Report 2022 notes Melbourne was the first east coast capital to experience falling home values due to Covid. But the city recovered remarkably in 2021, with median house prices rising +14.9 per cent by the end of September.  

Why should I consider hiring a buyer's advocate in Melbourne?

Hiring a buyer’s advocate in Melbourne is likely to give investors an advantage when analysing the complex market post-lockdowns. 

For instance, BuyerBuyers warns of a “weakness” in the Melbourne rental market that is likely to continue in 2022. Over-supply of units and declining rental prices means investors will need to consider property with, “a higher land value-to-asset ratio, reasonable strata fees … and a point of scarcity (such as a third bedroom, or protected views).”

A Melbourne buyer’s advocate who knows precisely what to look for can save you hours of research and potentially costly mistakes—especially for interstate investors.   

What things should I keep in mind?

Real estate market projections expect Melbourne dwelling prices to make modest gains in 2022. 

Hiring a Melbourne buyer’s advocate could help you to identify locations and properties likely to perform strongest over the long term.

QBE predicts an +11 per cent rise, Westpac an +8 per cent rise, and ANZ a +7 per cent rise, while SQM posits a much more subdued -3 per cent to +2 per cent. 

However, BuyersBuyers suggests that these figures belong in the context of a “two-speed housing market” that emerged during the pandemic. The property experts explain that regional areas experienced greater median house price rises in 2021. For example, the Mornington Peninsula’s +27 per cent rise far outstripped the +13 per cent of Melbourne’s Outer East, which was the city’s highest area of property price growth.

Taking these factors into account, hiring a buyer’s advocate in Melbourne could help home buyers to identify locations and properties likely to perform strongest over the long term.

Who are the best buyer's agents in Melbourne?

We've narrowed down the best buyer's agents in Melbourne in 2022. Be sure to check out our guide to learn more.

Hiring a buyer's advocate in Brisbane and the Gold Coast

Brisbane and the Gold Coast are attractive markets for interstate buyers. SQM notes that Brisbane housing prices offer better value than Sydney and Melbourne, despite median dwelling prices rising +22 per cent in 2021.    

Why should I consider hiring a buyer's advocate in Brisbane and the Gold Coast?

A buyer’s advocate in Brisbane is likely to be acting on behalf of a NSW resident, as research from Domain shows 66 per cent of Queensland property enquiries come from its southern neighbour.

In fact, the most recent data on net internal migration from the ABS records Brisbane gaining a net +3300 people over the March 2021 quarter, the most of any capital. Many of these people came from NSW and Victoria.

The Gold Coast market is another tempting prospect for interstate buyers. The ABC reports that buyer’s advocates on the Gold Coast have been inundated with requests for virtual tours and even drone footage.

It’s easy to see why buyer’s advocates are so popular amongst interstate buyers. A buyer’s advocate in Brisbane or the Gold Coast can scout the market for you, saving you the hassle and expense of travel. 

What things should I keep in mind?

Brisbane is set to host the 2032 Brisbane Olympic Games. SQM predicts the city’s housing market will outperform other Australian capitals in the 10-year lead up.

The 2032 Brisbane Olympic Games and an influx of skilled workers could drive housing demand in Brisbane and Gold Coast.

An influx of skilled workers to fill new jobs may also drive demand for housing, making a buyer’s advocate invaluable when sourcing affordable homes in prime locations. 

Who are the best buyer's agents in Brisbane and the Gold Coast?

Want to know who's really worth hiring? Check out our two guides, the best buyer's agents in Brisbane in 2022 and the best buyer's agents in the Gold Coast in 2022.

Hiring a buyer's advocate in Sydney

Independent property expert Michael Yardney notes that Sydney is by far the most expensive capital city, with house prices climbing a further +25.5 per cent over 2021. He says 70 to 80 per cent auction clearance rates reflect a market with more buyers than sellers, which is a factor likely leading to even higher prices. 

Sydney has 70 to 80 per cent auction clearance rates.

Why should I consider hiring a buyer's advocate in Sydney?

CoreLogic data shows house prices rose +0.81 per cent through January 2022. 

Throughout 2022, QBE predicts an overall gain of +9 per cent, Westpac and ANZ both +6 per cent, and SQM +2 to +4 per cent.

While these increases may seem subdued compared to the numbers we saw in 2021, keep in mind that they are coming on top of already high prices. Michael Yardney warns there “are no bargains to be found” in the Sydney market, and in a year’s time any properties investors purchase “will look like a bargain.” 

Hiring a buyer’s advocate to negotiate this seller’s market is a way to find—and make— the best possible deal. Plus, considering that CoreLogic data records that there were 590 total auctions in Sydney just in the first week of February 2022, so an experienced bidder in your corner could make all the difference if your dream property goes under the hammer. 

What things should I keep in mind?

Michael Yardney says many good Sydney properties are for sale off-market. A buyer’s advocate in Sydney can access these sales, giving you a better chance of finding the property that ticks all your boxes.   

Who are the best buyer's agents in Sydney?

Our guide, the best buyer's agents in Sydney in 2022 puts a spotlight on the best buyer's agents in the city this year.

Buyer’s advocate fees: How much do they cost?

Wondering about buyer’s advocate costs? Buyer’s advocates’ fees are typically 1.5 to 3 per cent of the purchase price. There are some variables in estimating a buyer’s advocate cost. For example, some charge for consultations while others don’t. Some buyer’s advocates also offer payment plans, so it’s worth asking if these are available when budgeting for how much a buyer’s advocate costs. 

Buying property can be stressful, but having a buyer’s advocate on your side may be able to help you find your dream home sooner—and for less.

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