So What Does A Buyers Agent Do

Posted on Friday, August 23 2013

What Exactly is a “Buyers Agent”?


Quite simply, agents work for the people who pay them, so licensed buyers agents are paid by buyers who purchase properties from them. This is quite a different model from most real estate practice in New Zealand, where it is the seller who pays commission to the agent.

The onus on a licensed buyers agent is actually much greater than just “working” for their buyer. They have a legal and ethical obligation to always act in the best interests of their client. In legal terms this relationship is described as “fiduciary”, which means that the agent has a relationship of utmost good faith with their clients, much like that of a doctor or lawyer.

In New Zealand, licenses to act on behalf of others in the negotiation, acquisition or sale of property are granted by the Real Estate Agents Authority (REAA). This follows a course of study and regulatory checks.

A question I am frequently asked is “What is the difference between a licensed buyers agent and a property finder?”. The difference is a legal one. It’s a bit like driving a car with or without a license. You can do either, but only one is legal.

A Licensed Buyers Agent has a LEGAL right to act on behalf of buyers. Licensed salespeople are part of a professional body to which they can be held accountable, and as such have responsibilites and rules they must adhere to.
Property Finders have no recognised education, are unregulated, and since the introduction of the Real Estate Agents Act 2008, their activity has been deemed illegal. Anyone can call themselves a “property finder”.
Recently the REAA has started prosecuting property finders/traders, and are now stating they will do the same to agents who work with them.

Okay, enough of the heavy stuff! Now let me explain how buyers agents work, or rather how I work, as we buyers agents are a fairly new breed…

Buyers Agent – How it Works:

• We get to know each other! Skype or face-to-face are my preference. I can then see if I can help build your property investment portfolio…and you can check me out too!
• You will need to ensure you have pre-arranged finance. Of course if you need help with a broker or banker referral, we can help.
• Next we both sign a Purchase Authority, which authorises me to act as your buyers agent. This one page document also reminds you, as the buyer, of your obligations to have a lawyer advise you throughout the process, and also of your due diligence requirements.
• Now for a more detailed consultation where your specific criteria are discussed. I’ll also check to make sure you’re being advised by professionals, such as a lawyer and accountant, and can help with recommendations if needed.
• Next we start to present you with potential deals. There’s absolutely no pressure to purchase any deals you are presented with!
• Once the right property comes along, there is usually a short time frame (up to 5 days), so we can assist with your due diligence, such as registered valuations, rental appraisals, building inspections etc.
• We will both sign a Deed of Assignment. This basically transfers the purchasing rights of a property we have under contract, to yourself. This deed is conditional, so you will need to send it to your lawyer as well.
• If all goes well and you want to go ahead, lawyers from all parties are notified. This is also when the buyers agency fee is payable.
• Then huge congratulations are in order! Now crack open a bottle of something lovely!

The above is a very brief overview and this process is a flexible one.
For more information please visit the FAQs page on my website:

…Or contact me directly if you’d like to talk about how I can help you:


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Expert's Bio

Maree Tassell

Hi I'd love to help you in your wealth creation journey by sourcing great investment deals for you. As a licensed buyers agent I have no restrictions on what I am able to help you with. I can source properties just for you, bid on your behalf at auctions or assist you with your own property negotiations. Just tell me what you want! A good portion of my clients are based out of NZ and I provide a great service to offshore investors who need someone to go the extra mile for them. My working style is personal, approachable and "straight up", which is why I have the privilege of forming lasting relationships with repeat clients. ...Please see for yourself what my clients have to say here: I divide my time between two homes, in Rotorua & Auckland, and specialise in both those markets. I've been working with investors for over six years now and until recently was the president of the Rotorua Property Investors Association. I look forward to meeting some of you... Kind regards Maree Tassell - Buyers Agent. Licensed Salesperson. REAA 2008

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