What clients want in a buyer or vendor advocate

Do you want to know if you tick the boxes when it comes to what clients want in a buyer or vendor advocate?

What are your chances of success if switching from selling, to buying or vendor advocacy?

Being your own boss in the Property Advocacy sector offers some fantastic rewards. Helping clients to secure a fantastic outcome is enormously rewarding.

And it can give you the freedom to work flexibility and earn more money while enjoying more independence and better work life balance.

It is not for everyone however, because you will need to learn how to be an Advocate, while starting a business from scratch. As such, there are elements of this role to carefully consider before you jump the fence.

I have witnessed many selling agents over the years mistakenly think it is easy to become an advocate. This is often due to their overconfidence or  limited understanding of what the role actually entails. Here are some points to consider if you are thinking of starting out on your own, or transitioning to buyer or vendor advocacy.

Consumers are research and tech savvy. They want to know about what services you offer, what your fees are and what makes you stand out from the crowd. And it’s getting very crowded! Sadly, there are many who have no actual real estate experience, yet misleadingly call themselves ‘expert’ buyers’ agents. Failing to understand that skill and real estate experience leads to ‘expertise’,  is a critical mistake on their behalf.

Here are some of the qualities and criteria that consumers want when engaging a buyer or vendor advocate.

What is your WHY?

Consumers often look for a values alignment when engaging a Property Advocate.

What is it that is driving you to become an Advocate? It can make an enormous difference when you can share your story with your clients. For me it was about advising and protecting consumers from making poor buying and selling decisions. I personally had made several costly errors by taking advice from those who didn’t represent my interests as a buyer (i.e. the selling agent). And when it came to sell my property, I didn’t know who to believe or trust, as everyone’s sales pitch was so slick!

I am passionate about buyers being equally represented in the buying process. My passion was so strong that I started a petition in 2015 to stop underquoting in Victoria, and it worked! It has also flowed into Vendor Advocacy. Demand arose from many buyer clients wanting help with selling their property.   I’ve dealt with hundreds of selling agents over the years, and I have witnessed the good, the bad and the ugly! So, my desire to protect clients when selling was a natural progression. This is why I refer to myself as a Property Advocate, and not just a Buyers Advocate.

Why are you passionate about becoming a buyer, vendor or property advocate? What life and professional experience do you have that will  demonstrate your expertise? It is valuable for you to be able to articulate that to your clients. Client’s don’t want to work with inexperienced advocates or those whose only interest is making money.

So share with them your WHY, so they have insight into why they may choose to work with you.

What proven experience and qualifications do you have?

It is important to consumers that you are professional and have proven knowledge, insight, and expertise. You may even have a niche that is your area of expertise – commercial, residential – investment or home buyers or rural. Your expertise is often built up over time in the industry, or a closely related industry such as property valuing.

Property is an asset class, so any extra qualifications you have in addition to being a Licensed Estate Agent can only be of benefit to you and your clients.

Being formally qualified as a Licensed Valuer, having a Property Diploma or Degree, being an Accredited Property Investment Advisor or a Qualified Property Investment Advisor, will enable you to provide more qualified and holistic advocacy and guidance to clients. This is a bonus, rather than solely relying on the numbers of years you have worked in the industry. Those years in themselves hold value, however there is something to be said for having additional professional property qualifications.

Some of these qualifications will also teach you how to work consultatively with your clients. After all, you will often have to develop investment or home buying strategy briefs for your clients. When assessing property, these skills will come in handy.

Its best to not expect clients to hand you a perfectly considered brief on a platter, that you can magically fulfil. If only it were that easy!

Membership of professional industry associations

It is important be become a member of your State industry associations. Clients want peace of mind knowing their Advocate is keeping up to date with changes to Legislation, via ongoing professional training.

By becoming a member of your local REI , you will keep you up with the legislative updates to the industry real estate. Covid19 is driving many current changes that you will need to stay abreast of. By becoming a member of REBAA (Real Estate Buyers Agents Association) you will be provided with guidelines for the professional conduct of real estate buyer’s advocates. You’ll also benefit from having access to training and other significant member benefits.  REBAA guidelines ensure that its members are insured and hold the relevant Licenses for each State.

Industry profile and reputation

This is meaningful to clients. Established independent Advocates who have longevity in the business (like me) have developed their profile and reputation often over many years. They haven’t relied on slick marketing tactics to mask a lack of skill or experience. This has been achieved through means such as publishing a book, being an industry thought leader or developing a media profile. If you can’t match that, then seriously consider operating under someone’s brand who can. It will make a massive difference to the income you can generate, meaning you’ll  immediately benefit from their personal efforts and investment.

Effectively, it means you wont waste valuable time and money trying to reinvent the wheel.

Value delivery and price

To succeed in property advocacy, you need real estate sales experience and a track record of success stories.

You’ll need a clearly articulated and transparent process as to how you work with clients. You be able to explain your service offering clearly and demonstrate your value, otherwise why would a client engage you if they think they can do it themselves ?

There are plenty of people who think that it’s easy to buy property.  Technically it is. However your role is to demonstrate the many benefits you will provide to them, should they engage your services. So what is your USP?

There are always clients who price shop and want to pay as little as possible when engaging an Advocate. They may request a discount, however you have a better chance of securing a client against cheaper competition when demonstrating value for your services.  I often have instances where my fee is higher than a cheaper (often inexperienced) competitor. Yet, the client’s still engage my services, for the reasons highlighted above.  And they have been thrilled with their outcome!

In summary

  • Know your why
  • Articulate your proven experience and additional qualifications
  • Reference industry associations where you are a member
  • Highlight your profile and reputation
  • Illustrate the value you deliver to your prospects
  • Work for an established firm or under the ongoing mentorship of an operating Advocate

Click  Property Advocacy  for more information on our agent business opportunities

Miriam Sandkuhler, CEO Property Mavens and Property Mavens Franchising, Industry Thought Leader.

“Property Mavens is a multi-award winning and industry recognised Property Advocacy agency, dedicated to providing our clients with independent and unbiased evidence-based advice.”