So, you want to be a buyers’ agent? This always sounds like fun to people with a property obsession. The idea of helping others by sourcing and securing real estate on their behalf is thrilling, I admit. But becoming a buyers agent – or more importantly, a great buyers agent – takes more than simply having bought your own home at some stage.
Here’s some of the necessary certifications and personal traits for forging a career path in this growing industry.
Buying property means you are managing transactions that can run into the millions of dollars. While the barriers to entry are not formidable, there are important regulatory standards that must be met.
Licencing is essential. To operate as a buyers agents in your state, you need a sales registration at the very minimum.
I work in Queensland where a sales registration is gained via the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ). The course is concentrated and can be finished in a few days, but it’s no walk in the park. Expect to learn plenty about legislation, ethics, account management and a plethora of other industry elements.
This sales registration allows you to work as a buyers agent under the employ and guidance of an already established and licenced buyers agent.
Of course, many people want to open their own business. To achieve this, you’ll need a full real estate licence from your respective state’s REI. This is a principal’s licence, and the certification is the same as it is for operating a real estate sales agency.
Other learnings are helpful too, although they aren’t mandatory. Property-related studies are always useful, and practical experience is essential if you’re serious about success.
Another crucial consideration is public indemnity insurance. While not cheap, with annual policies running into the thousands of dollars, no professional should operate without this safety net in place.
Key personal traits
Having the right credentials might allow you to work as a buyers agents, but there are essential personal traits that will help you to excel in the role as well.
Patience, persistence and tenacity work in concert to take your service to a level of excellence.
It takes time to work through a client’s needs, wants and resources so you can come up with a list of the factors and features which define their ideal home.
Then you must be prepared to wade through hundreds of listings and opportunities. From checking through listing portals to working your agency networks – hours will be spent combing through the information.
Then there’s the challenges of negotiations, due diligence and the settlement process.
All these elements require a potent mix of patience, persistence and tenacity.
You must also be resilient. While seeking property, you will have roadblocks thrown up in your path… but you must maintain your drive. You will have clients who become exasperated by the process. There may be agents or owners who try and bully you in negotiations. Deals will fall over, and frustrations will mount.
Being able to brush past these barbs and keep on the path to success will have you and your client reaping the rewards.
Passion is also essential, and by that I mean for both property and people.
If you aren’t excited by open homes and analysing prices, rents and returns, there’s little chance you’ll last in this game.
Being a buyers agent is also all about helping people who are potentially making the biggest financial decision of their entire lives. You must have a passion for helping them succeed in their purchase. Your skills will deliver them value and satisfaction.
Passion will also help when things get intrusively busy. There will be a lot of time outside of normal work hours where you’ll be needed to wrap up a negotiation or put a client at ease. It comes with the game and a passion for the role is needed to keep these intrusions in perspective.
Integrity is another essential character trait. This Australian industry is still relatively young and small when it comes to buyers agents. Your reputation for acting with complete integrity is paramount. Destroy that through reckless decision making and you might as well do something else for a living.
Be crystal clear about your role which is representing your client’s interests. You are being commissioned by the buyer who is paying you a fee for your skills, not some middleman, developer or marketeer. You must act with honesty and veracity on behalf of your buyer.
Like all professionals, product knowledge is also key – and your product in this case is property.
You need a comprehensive understanding of the mechanics and practicalities surrounding real estate acquisition. Be capable of delivering expert advice on markets, property types, economic drivers and all other elements that will influence price, listing availability and conditions. The better you know your locality and property sectors, the more value you bring to your clients.
Finally, being a problem solver is essential. There are myriad challenges and hurdles that come up during a negotiation and settlement. Finding solutions to difficult problems ensures your client’s interests are protected and that the transaction can proceed with minimum risk and maximum outcome.
Becoming a great buyers agent requires commitment, but for those who fit the mould the results are hugely satisfying.