Jacque Parker from Real Estate Buyers Association tells us how to find the best real estate agent to bid for you at auction and what you should be aware of.
Kevin: There once was a time when if you went to an auction and you wanted someone to bid for you, it would be quite normal for you to ask a real estate agent who may, in fact, also be working for the seller. But when you think about it, it really doesn’t make a lot of sense, does it?
We’re seeing the emergence of buyer’s agents around Australia, too. They even now have their own association, which is called the Real Estate Buyers Association of Australia. President of that organization is Jacque Parker who is also a buyer’s agent and works with House Search Australia.
Jacque, thank you for your time.
Jacque: Pleasure, Kevin, as always.
Kevin: It doesn’t make a lot of sense to have a seller’s agent who is working for the seller to actually bid for you at an auction. I guess it’s a bit like asking a crocodile if it’s time to go for a swim.
Jacque: I don’t know about that analogy, but definitely, buyers need to be aware that vendor’s agents – obviously – have a conflict of interest when it comes to representing buyers at auction, because they are paid by the vendor and they have a fiduciary responsibility to their sellers.
Kevin: It is a bit of a conflict of interest, but what if you have a seller’s agent who wasn’t actually working for the seller? Is that a little bit different, Jacque?
Jacque: If you have a real estate agent who is licensed appropriately and they’re acting for the buyer, they still should have an agreement in place with that buyer as they’re acting in a capacity as a buyer’s agent in that circumstance.
One would hope that they would have an agreement for even just auction bidding and have paid them a fee for doing so. It is very clear to me that even though real estate agents can act for buyers, they do need to be representing the buyer fairly, and the only way that that can happen is via a transaction and a fee accruing.
Kevin: Is there an agreement covering just the activities that a buyer’s agent would put in? Is that like an appointment to act?
Jacque: Most definitely, yes. With our clients – as with most buyer’s agents – we would have a written agreement drawn up as well as a written authority to bid form, which stipulates the maximum bid that the buyers are willing to go to on the form. That is signed off by the client, the buyer, and also the buyer’s agent.
Kevin: Do you normally get one of those agreements unique to each property, or can you get one that takes you across a number of properties just through a negotiation, Jacque?
Jacque: It does depend on how many times the buyer’s agent has worked for a particular client. If he has a client – for example – who is a one-off, you still need a written agreement, but you can vary the terms of the agreement to cover so many auctions. It really is up to the individual’s buyer’s agent and client.
Kevin: I said at the start of this chat that the number of buyer’s agents around Australia is growing. Is it growing stronger in any state over any other state?
Jacque: I can’t say for sure with the numbers, although looking at the membership within REBA – the Real Estate Buyer’s Agents Association – since I have been president, in the last two and a half years, the numbers have increased by more than 100%. Our membership base has grown, so it is very clear to us that the buying public is seeking representation definitely more than they were even two or three years ago.
Kevin: Does a buyer’s agent have to be a member of your association or any association?
Jacque: No, they don’t. Just like any industry, they don’t need to be a member, but it certainly helps if you are going to be looking for someone to act on your behalf that they are a member of an organization that has accreditation in place like ours and also to make sure that the buyer’s agent is experienced – they’ve been around for a while and they know what they’re doing.
Kevin: Being a member of your organization, does that offer the buyer any special privileges or any special protection?
Jacque: Yes, it does, Kevin. All of our buyer’s agents within REBA are appropriately insured. They are also fully licensed, and they have to have a minimum experience in the field of two years. That provides, I think, some comfort to buyers knowing that they’re dealing with someone with experience and with the right credentials.
Kevin: A couple of important things have come out of this chat with Jacque. One is the fact that if you want someone to bid for you at auction, make sure that they are a registered buyer’s agent and more particularly, make sure they are a member of an association like the Real Estate Buyer’s Association of Australia.
My guest has been Jacque Parker. She is the president of that organization, also from House Search Australia.
Jacque, thank you so much for your time.
Jacque: My pleasure, Kevin.