Is a buyer's advocate really worth it?
It’s week eight of The Block 2015 and the contestants have just come off the back of the gruelling kitchen week. Enter dining room and foyer week, and not only do the contestants have to polish off two rooms (including an octagonal-shaped foyer, no less) in one week, but they also had to ensure that their entire apartments were in shiny top-notch condition to prepare for the buyer’s jury inspection.
Faced with arctic winds and leaking ceilings, Mother Nature has thrown the renovators yet another curveball to obstruct their build progress and their morale.
The feedback from the buyer’s agents, also known as "buyer's agents", could potentially forecast the bidding activity and buyer interest for each apartment come auction day. While the advocates claimed that they may already some interested buyers for certain apartments, for others, they had reservations about whether or not they’ll have any registered buyers on the day, suggesting that some contestants have not considered their target market.
Why use a buyer’s advocate?
As many of us don’t have the know-how or time to scout for a property and negotiate its sale, the services of a buyer’s advocate through the buying and negotiating process can be helpful.
A buyer’s advocate assesses and negotiates the purchase of a property on behalf of a buyer, and are often found bidding on behalf of registered buyers at auctions.
Shelly Craft shows the buyer's advocates's Frank Valentic and Nicole Jacobs
as well as editor of Domain Alice Stolz, Dean and Shay's kitchen.
Buyer’s agents can access a diverse range of properties that you may otherwise not be exposed to. For instance, they may be able to source properties that are not yet on the market, which may put you ahead of other competing buyers. They can leverage their industry contacts and knowledge to marry you with properties that meet your needs.
When it comes to investment properties, a buyer’s agent can help you find properties with strong capital growth potential. They know how to interpret market factors and source growth suburbs that will meet your investment strategy and needs.
Bidding and negotiating skills
A fundamental role of the buyer’s advocate is to represent the buyer during the purchasing process. As attending an auction can be intimidating due to the fast-paced nature of bidding (consider the flamboyant and tongue-rolling auctioneers), many buyers like to have an agent represent them to ensure that they don’t overbid on the day or get caught up in the "heat of the moment".
When should you use a buyer’s advocate?
Utilising the services of a buyer’s advocate is a great strategy for both homeowners and investors alike. Not only can you benefit from the extensive network and knowledge of a buyer’s agent, but you can also save yourself time and stress involved in purchasing a property.
If you’re purchasing an investment interstate, or overseas, it’s a good idea to have a buyer’s agent on your side to inspect the property on your behalf. By using the services of a buyer’s advocate, you can benefit from the involvement of an objective party, and also save yourself time and money associated with travelling to assess the property yourself.
Results from the buyer’s advocate’s inspection
Shelly took buyer's advocates- Frank Valentic and Nicole Jacobs- as well as editor of Domain, Alice Stolz- for a tour through the Blocktagon apartments. The buyer’s jury did not hold back in voicing their opinions when it came to what they thought the contestants had done well, and what they had “royally stuffed up.”
Winners of the buyer’s jury prize, Suzi and Voni, could not have pocketed the $20,000 worth of Push Controls home automation technology at a better time. Prior to the win, the team had just $20,000 to complete their entire apartment as their budget remained in a gridlock- with no more support from Mitre10.
While Suzi and Voni were over the moon to be crowned the buyer’s choice this week, they had already purchased their home automation technology. However, they were able to strike a deal with Kingi and the number-crunching Caro.
|Kingi and Caro||
Final score: 23/30
|As they entered the master bedroom, Alice was shocked by the concrete bed head, “I’m not quite sure if it works in the middle of the room… but it's pretty novel. I’m not quite sure if buyers will know where to go when it's in a place like this”, she said. Despite this, Alice thought the study, powder room and laundry were all hits.
For the living room, both Alice and Frank agreed that there was some “dead space” and they were concerned that Kingi and Caro had not taken advantage of the view, as Frank recommended that they change the orientation before buyers come through for inspection.
Frank felt that the contestants had struck a good balance between appealing to trendy and conservative buyers. However, he felt that in the master bedroom, Kingi and Caro were narrowing their buyers more towards the trendy: “I’m not sure my buyers will like that bedhead to be honest... compared to some of the other bedrooms that had that luxurious feeling...it might polarise a few buyers”, he said.
For the kitchen, Frank could envisage some of his buyers within the space: “I can see my buyers sitting on that stool over there, entertaining their friends and just having a ball here”, he said. He also commented that he believes he might have an interested buyer ready to go.
|Andrew and Whitney||
Final score: 17.5/30
|The feedback for Andrew and Whitney’s apartment this week was enough to send the couple into meltdown (yet again).
For the master bedroom, the buyer’s agents were disappointed as it was unpolished: ““It just doesn’t look finished.. they’ve obviously run out of time or money, or both”, Frank said.
Nicole was deflated as she felt that Andrew and Whitney have failed to consider their future buyer: “I’m so disappointed because this is a Melbourne couple but they just don’t have seem to have understood the market...the only consistent thing we have going in this apartment at the moment is this mess”, she said.
Into the living room, and Frank was pleased that the space wasn’t being used as a storage facility and he thought the room was well orientated as it leveraged the impact from the city views.
On the flip side, both Frank and Alice agreed that the apartment didn’t have that luxury feel or consistency “I think they’ve got a lot of soul searching to do”, Alice said.
To increase buyer interest for the apartment, Alice recommended that Andrew and Whitney add some "wow" factor and fix the consistency throughout the apartment. If they don’t, Nicole warned that she may not have any registered bidders for them on auction day.
|Suzi and Vonnie||
Final score: 25/30
|It seems that Suzi and Voni’s glamour apartment was well received by the buyer’s advocates, who said that the apartment had warmth and different textures throughout.
“They’ve really gone up the dial on this level, haven’t they? I love it, I think it feels like a New York City kind of apartment, it feels very luxurious and very well considered- particularly this walk-in robe”, Alice said.
For the kitchen, Frank described it as an “entertainer’s paradise” and felt that high-end buyers will appreciate the luxury feel of the room.
Suzi and Voni were awarded the buyer’s jury prize of $20,000 worth of home automation from Push Controls to add some extra buyer appeal for their apartment come auction day.
|Luke and Ebony||
Total score: 20.5/30
|The feedback from the buyer’s panel was mixed for Luke and Ebony, as the judges felt that the pair still need to delete any remaining remnant of art/deco.
Enter the living room and Alice thought the layout could have been used better to maximise the view, “I think it could open up to the windows more and enjoy that light that’s coming in all the time”, she said.
Nicole agreed that the orientation could have been better planned, as she said: “I think that is the hero out there and that’s what’s going to sell this apartment.”
For the kitchen, Frank felt it was on par with the competing kitchens in the apartment and that it “ticked a lot of boxes” in terms of space and storage. However, he felt that Luke and Ebony need to boost their sense of luxury in the kitchen: “Buyers are looking for luxury, like integrated fridges and butler’s pantries so if you don’t have one, they might favour other apartments”, he said.
Nicole admitted that there were a few “hit and misses” throughout their apartment, but that the brother-and-sister duo should focus on improving the consistency throughout
|Dean and Shay||
Final score: 22/30
|For Dean and Shay, scoring the penthouse has been both a blessing and a curse, however the buyer’s panel felt that the apartment was “penthouse-worthy.”
The master bedroom was Alice’s favourite of all the master suites as she felt it evoked a sense of calm and sophistication, “This is the sort of room I would expect on The Block… I think they’ve really hit the nail on the head with it”, she said.
With regard to the bathroom, Frank felt it had “wow factor” and that it was “just more ticks for our buyers, really”.
Enter the kitchen, and Alice felt it was “elegant, workable and approachable”, and she thought the view from the kitchen was spectacular. Frank was particularly impressed with the butler’s pantry, “This is what my buyer’s will be asking for.. they’ll be excited when they see that”, he said.
Both Nicole and Frank think that they have some buyers for Dean and Shay’s apartment and they expect that the buyers will be bidding against each other at auction.
The next episode of The Block 2015 airs tonight, Tuesday October 27, at 7:30pm on Nine.