It’s an age-old problem in real estate and one that often doesn’t receive enough attention. Property buyers continue to get the short end of the stick as agents treat them badly from the very beginning of the process. But this isn’t just a message to all the buyers because remember that an agent who treats buyers badly, will more often than not also treat sellers poorly.

It starts with the agent lying about the likely selling price of a property in an effort to lure in buyers. This is particularly apparent when the property is being auctioned as many agents will do or say anything to get a big crowd to turn up. Many of these buyers spend hundreds of dollars arranging inspection reports for a house they think is within their budget, only to be left heartbroken and disappointed when they find out the property was never in their price range.

Agents usually have such disregard for buyers’ emotions because they work for the sellers and agents know that if they have a good property for sale at a sensible price, there will always be buyers. With an abundance of interest, agents think they can get away with being rude to buyers, not returning phone calls and just having a complete lack of respect or compassion.

This lack of respect has become so widespread because not enough buyers are taking a stand. Most buyers don’t realise they can actually hire their own agent to help them go to battle with the sellers’ agent. This has become common practise in the US, but is only just starting to catch on here in Australia.

How does it work?

The buyers’ agent can do all the looking for the properties, saving buyers scores of frustrating hours, and, best of all, when it comes to negotiating the price of a property, the buyers can feel at ease knowing they have a professional to take care of it. When a seller’s agent is dealing with another agent, they tend to be on their best behaviour, after all, both agents know the tricks of the trade.

What do buyers’ agents charge?

Most buyers’ agents charge a fee for searching for properties (say, a couple of thousand dollars) and then they also charge a percentage of the price of the property (usually around one to two per cent). However, it doesn’t really make sense to pay a buyers’ agent a percentage of the price of a property because that means the more you pay for the property, the more the buyers’ agent will get paid. You are better off negotiating with the buyers’ agent to pay a percentage of the amount they save you (plus a fee for searching for properties). If handled correctly, the cost of a buyers’ agent can easily pay for itself because the buyers’ agent can often negotiate a better price than the buyers would have been able to negotiate on their own.

So, as a buyer, don’t feel like you have no options in the property game. It is possible for you to come out on top by doing your own research and taking initiative. And as a seller, take note of how your agent or potential agent treats buyers because this is probably how you will be treated as you continue on to sell your home.