In New Zealand, most houses are sold by one real estate agent who works for the seller. Even though this agent has to be fair to everyone, they mainly look out for the seller’s interests. That’s where a buyer’s agent comes in. We’re joined by Alex Vincent Martelli who is a buyer’s agent from Martelli & Co
The complexities of the real estate market can make the process of buying a property overwhelming. This leads us to the question: should you consider using a buyer’s agent? To gain insights, we tuned into a podcast featuring Alex, an expert in property buying. Here’s what we learned:
A strong professional support system matters
Alex emphasises the indispensable value of having a circle of professionals when you’re in the process of buying property. She has forged strong relationships with lawyers who offer pragmatic guidance on contractual details. Lawyers can sift through the legal jargon to highlight points that truly matter, giving you peace of mind. Financial advisors and brokers also play a key role in helping you navigate through mortgage plans and wealth management.
Takeaway: A buyer’s agent usually has a network of such professionals, making it easier for you to assemble a reliable team.
The role of due diligence
Alex emphasises the need for due diligence because not all properties are the same, even if they look similar in pictures or cost about the same. For example, why did one house sell for $950,000 and another for $1 million? There could be many factors at play—like the condition of the home, the quality of the local schools, or even something like noisy train tracks nearby.
Takeaway: Buyer’s agents specialise in due diligence. They are trained to examine properties in detail, ensuring that you avoid common pitfalls and costly mistakes.
Unpacking the real value of a property
According to Alex, it’s crucial to look beyond the advertised figures for local comparable sales. She warns that every street has its unique value propositions and shortcomings, and this granularity often escapes the untrained eye.
Takeaway: A buyer’s agent provides an objective, third-party viewpoint and can critically assess the real value of a property, giving you an upper hand in negotiations.
Speed and choice of location
Alex mentions the importance of speed, especially in a hot market. Being able to make quick decisions can be the difference between securing your dream property and missing out. Additionally, she advises buyers to invest in stable locations rather than being swayed by ‘up-and-coming’ areas that might experience price fluctuations.
Takeaway: Buyer’s agents have real-time market knowledge which can be vital for making quick yet informed decisions. They can also guide you toward established neighbourhoods that match your risk profile.
Navigating market fluctuations
Alex candidly talks about the market’s volatility and how it resulted in losses for those who invested at peak times. She recommends aligning your property investment with your risk profile to prevent such setbacks.
Takeaway: A seasoned buyer’s agent keeps an eye on market trends, helping you make informed decisions that align with your financial capacity and risk tolerance.
The unique New Zealand context
For those looking to buy in New Zealand, Alex discusses the specific challenges, including a variety of construction styles and materials, like monolithic cladding and untreated timber. She also mentions that the local laws and auction-based buying process can be confusing for newcomers, especially those from Europe and the U.S.
Takeaway: A local buyer’s agent can provide indispensable advice tailored to New Zealand’s unique property landscape, making your buying process much smoother.
The largest investment for most people is property, making it all the more important to seek professional advice. So, should you use a buyer’s agent? Given the expert advice, speed, and objectivity they bring to the table, the answer appears to be a resounding yes.
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