As a result it’s not surprising that I am often asked the question “What is the difference between a buyers’ agent and a real estate agent; aren’t they the same thing?”
Curiously the answer lies somewhere in between, but the simplest definition in layman’s terms is:
- A buyer’s agent is a licensed real estate agent who acts exclusively for the buyer in real estate transactions. His or her duty is to negotiate the best or lowest possible price for a property while acting in the best interest of the client.
- Real estate agents (known as the listing or selling agents) act exclusively for the seller of a property. His or her duty is to negotiate the highest possible price for a property while acting in the best interest of the client.
It is important to note that real estate agents (selling agents) in New South Wales charge a commission on the sale of a property to their sellers, and buyers’ agents charge a separate fee for the successful purchase of a property to their client, the buyer. Each is bound by their respective ethical and fiduciary industry regulations, and there is no conflict of interest.
Most buyers’ agents previously worked the “other side of the coin” as real estate agents, so clearly they know the tricks of the trade. In most cases they have also worked in specific suburbs and areas for many years. The relationship between the two is symbiotic (of mutual benefit) and results in a win-win outcome for all stakeholders involved in real estate transactions.
Successful buyers’ agents have close working relationships with a large number of real estate agents whom they have known and dealt with personally over a long period of time. They are constantly in touch with them in the search process for their clients.
Do you remember your natural science classes and the bit about the bees and the flowers and how they help each other? In this case the different agents dance to a constant tango of communication involving “I’ve got a buyer to $1 million, what have you got for me?”, and “Just listed a beauty and it’s a perfect match for your buyer”.
At the end of the day the buyers’ agent who has great connections in the industry and the real estate agent who works closely with them are both going to benefit in favour of their respective clients.
I have to admit that I prefer to work with real estate agents I know personally. This is especially important when negotiations begin on a purchase because it cuts out a lot of BS and so called “killer tactics”.
I’ve been there, done that, and just want the best possible deal for my client!
Tim Mansfield is founder and principal of Sydney-based buyers' agency PrimePropertyBuyer.
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