The Real Estate Institute of New South Wales (REINSW) has warned agents against claiming to be a ‘buyer’s agent’ unless they deal exclusively with buyers.
Although REINSW has said they are an important service provider, the area needs to be clearly defined.
“It’s obvious there exists a need for a service to assist time-poor and inexperienced homebuyers and investors in the market,” REINSW said in a statement.
“Buyer’s agents operate independently and work solely with buyers to search, locate and negotiate the purchase property on their behalf.”
This means a residential sales agency that offers services which include liaison with buyers should be careful not to incorrectly label staff as ‘buyer’s agents’.
Licensed buyer’s agent and House Search Australia Director Jacque Parker said some residential sales agencies could be misleading consumers by using the ‘buyer’s agent’ title in describing the role of some staff.
“Though the concept of agents assisting buyers certainly isn’t new, there are still many consumers who are not aware that there are agents out there who represent buyers exclusively and work very differently to residential sales agents,” Ms Parker said.
“It is important to differentiate here between exclusive buyer’s agents and ‘buyer’s assistants’ or sales staff employed by the seller’s agency to look after buyers and liaise with them during the sales process.”
Ms Parker said labelling staff as buyer’s agents within a selling agency can lead to confusion and if buyers are led to believe that such ‘buyer’s assistants’ are providing the same service as an exclusive buyer’s agent.
According to the REINSW best practice guidelines, a buyer’s agent must be completely independent of vendors and selling agents, not list or sell any property, not demand or receive referral fees for referring a buyer, not represent any buyer where a conflict of interest is likely to arise and only accept fees or commissions from buyers.
Under the guidelines, they also cannot operate out of a selling agent’s office.