What is a buyer’s advocate?

A buyer's advocate helps property purchasers in making a good decision.
A buyer’s advocate helps property purchasers in making a good decision.

Most people have heard of real estate agents, but you may not know about buyers advocates, Melbourne being the city with the most use of buyer’s advocates in Australia.

Let’s start by defining real estate agents. An estate agent facilitates the selling of property. Typically, someone who wishes to sell a house will approach an agent, who handles the marketing campaign and organises the sale, whether privately or through auction.

A buyer’s advocate, known variously as a property advocate or buyer’s agent, helps a property purchaser through the process. Unlike an estate agent, the advocate is hired by the person buying the property.

An advocate is paid by the property purchaser, which is typically a small percentage of the sale price once the client purchases a property.

Buyer’s agents are particularly valued in cities with high priced real estate, with Melbourne being a noted example. A buyer can often save money by engaging the services of an advocate, whose extensive real estate experience means that they know the property’s true value.

The advocate will assist the buyer throughout the purchase process. The journey for a buyer might look like this:

Timothy wishes to purchase a family home. He has narrowed down his search to a few suburbs. He engages the services of a property advocate, who sits down with him to work out what kind of house will be most appropriate. They work with his budget and together they decide to look for four bedroom houses with minimal maintenance under one million dollars. The agent takes a few days to search for houses, and provides Timothy with a short-list which includes some properties not being sold through traditional channels, and he decides on one. The advocate then approaches the estate agent and negotiates on Timothy’s behalf, securing the property. They also recommend a lawyer to him to take care of the paperwork.

So there you have it. Now you know about buyers advocacy in Melbourne and beyond.