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Expat investor: local or broad region buyer's agents?

Discussion in 'The Buying & Selling Process' started by Songo, 8th Aug, 2015.

  1. Songo

    Songo Active Member

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    Hi everyone I'm new to the forum and just getting started on the property investment journey. I have one IP already that was previously my ppor prior to moving o/s.

    With that in mind, jumping on a plane just to "look around" is simply not an option, and since I'm not highly knowledgable (yet) it seems better to work with a BA. I can see from reading the forums that many investors purchase interstate and since I am o/s I could potentially invest anywhere in Australia.

    So my question is, should I make a decision to invest in a particular market within my budget (300-500k. eg: Western Sydney, outer Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide or some recommended regional area eg: Geelong, Central coast, Gold Coast) and then search for local BA who knows that area, or work with a BA that obviously must be a larger firm and has multiple offices in different locations and can thus search more broadly from the outset?
     
  2. Pins

    Pins Well-Known Member

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    Do you have the time to invest in research your preferred areas? My preference would be a BA with specialisation and local knowledge but only if you have the time and knowledge to first choose the best location
     
  3. Rolf Latham

    Rolf Latham Inciteful (sic) Staff Member Business Plus Member

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    I would say much comes down to the individual you are dealing with .

    While a brand can certainly provide some comfort in minimum outcomes, if you have an idea of where you want to buy and why, a local specialist will do just as well, but you may need to choose more wisely.

    ta
    rolf
     
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  4. Be Developer

    Be Developer Property Developer Business Member

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    @Songo

    Narrowing down states and suburb will most likely to help you.

    Each state and suburb wil have its pros and cons with different growth figures.

    Perhaps, have a chat with some expirenced BA as a part of Due Diligence to get idea of different markets. Below are few recommendations,

    Qld
    Karen at zest property

    VIC
    @Lisa Parker- Buyers Agent

    NSW
    @Jacque @Propertunity

    Are exipernced (to say the least) and have reputation of helping fellow forum members.
     
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  5. Jamie Moore

    Jamie Moore MORTGAGE BROKER - AUSTRALIA WIDE Business Member

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    Personally - I'd hone in on a particular location and then commission a local BA.

    Some great BA's listed above.

    I'd also throw in Alan Fox from @Propertunity in the mix (Syd, Newcastle, Hunter)

    Cheers

    Jamie
     
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  6. MindMaster

    MindMaster Well-Known Member

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    Hi Songo, I'm an expat as well and have purchased IP's in Auss.

    A good way to go is do your research and narrow your area down to several suburbs in one city. You can then choose a BA who specializes in those areas and will be able to provide you with a better service.

    National BA companies maybe very good but personal experience has shown that independent BAs that focus on a specific area/set of areas will give you better value.

    Plenty of threads here and in the old sommersoft site on good BAs.
     
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  7. KDP

    KDP Well-Known Member

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    I've now bought 9 properties as an expat, all sight unseen. No BA needed, just a good network of fellow investors, inspectors and property managers to help with inspection.
     
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  8. Songo

    Songo Active Member

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    Thanks for the tips everyone. No question there is a definite theme there. I have started a list of BAs already.

    @KDP, would you care to share more about how you developed your network whilst living overseas or are you talking about a prior network that you maintained after moving overseas?
     
  9. KDP

    KDP Well-Known Member

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    Mainly from communicating with members on somersoft/here.
     
  10. SeafordSunshine

    SeafordSunshine Well-Known Member

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    A few questions you need to ask yourself Songo,
    how long to you intend to hold, how much spending are you comfortable with?
    What about tax
    Do you have a good property manager(in my opinion worth their weight in Gold)
    I hope this helps!
    good luck on your journey!
     
  11. Lisa Parker- Buyers Agent

    Lisa Parker- Buyers Agent Well-Known Member Business Member

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    Hi Songo,

    There are two ways for you to approach this,
    1) work out your investment strategy and where you can buy to execute that strategy, then hire a BA to do the work for you.
    2) Go to a BA who understands investment strategies and can then advise you on the areas where your strategy can be executed.


    I do both options for my clients. There is usually always a market somewhere in each state where you can execute your strategy within your budget and a good strategic BA will certainly let you know which areas will. They will also let you know up front which parts of your criteria are in conflict and guide you towards a strategy that will deliver the outcomes you need.

    Many buyers come to me with a result in mind, but their criteria for a property is at odds with that outcome. It saves a lot of time to get this sorted from the get go. Many of the members here can help guide you with this aspect or a good BA will.


    You can certainly do the job without a BA too, it really just depends if you want property acquisition a part of your zone of genius or if you want to be a more passive accumulator of property.

    I invite you to check out my website to see if I would be a good fit for you Songo.

    Alternatively, if you would like to learn how to DIY, I am opening up some services for people to learn how to do this too. There will be more info on my website in the coming days.



    Thanks for the tag @Be Developer

    Much appreciated.
     
  12. Jacque

    Jacque Buyers Agent and Bookworm, Sydney Business Member

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    Always use a locally based and knowledgeable BA!! Why some clients hire interstate BAs to fly from one capital city to another (at the moment it seems to be a real trend from VIC and NSW to QLD) is honestly lost on me... unless they fly regularly (and it would need to be at least weekly) have solid past experience/residency/investment knowledge in the area or it's a regional area they're familiar with (as let's face it, not many regional towns have BAs on the ground). Also the constant contact you need with selling agents as a BA is something that is vastly underrated and valued by buyers- until you're in the game you really don't understand how important this ongoing contact and rapport is in staying on top of the listings, as well as learning about those coming up/or off market. It's all about constant and systemised communication when saturating any market.

    Perfect example this past weekend- I actually flew interstate to inspect a couple of personal IPs and decided to take a look at some properties whilst there (can't help myself, even when on a break :D)... one agent I know well told me that he sold a "corker" of a house last Thursday, after he listed it on Monday (pics/ad made it to the web on Wed) to a local buyer who jumped on it straight away. Price offered was fair (I would have paid more myself if I was in the market :)) the seller was happy but he had a string of disappointed would-be buyers when he cancelled the first open house for the Saturday, including TWO INTERSTATE BUYERS AGENTS... now had these BAs been local and on the ground, in constant contact with this agent (as opposed to only contacting him on an irregular basis and flying up every few weeks or so) would it have been a different story? One will never know, however I thought it was a timely reminder of the importance of "being on the ground constantly" in a local property market.

    Interestingly, another agent (whom I didn't know and never revealed myself to as a NSW BA) was boasting about the strength of the market and some record sales he made, to yet another interstate BA, who he said "was happy to pay over the asking price and very good prices they were too".... all in all a tad concerning actually. It seems, upon further inquiry, that the particular BA in question had a practice of flying up on every 3rd or 4th weekend, inspecting Sat only and making offers the same day (sometimes for more than one client at a time) The agent was, needless to say, using this example as a way of ramping his own local market- after all, if interstate buyers are paying market+++ it's a great way to create urgency for other buyers.

    The problem I see, with hiring out-of-area BAs to do a job for you, is the tempting incentive to get the job done sooner rather than later. Unless you're paying a BA every time they jump on a plane for you (and it adds up!) or a travelling levy (or similar add-on cost) it simply can't always be viable for them to be on the ground sufficiently in order to provide a full service. I believe that the temptation by the BA to take the easier route and buy sooner (and therefore sometimes at a higher price) may compromise the outcome and the quality of service a client receives. One of our recent client searches took 11 weeks to secure a property, with some 40+ inspections spread over a 10 week period. This included every Saturday and midweek inspections. This was the 5th house we attempted to secure for a fair price (after missing out on 4 that went above our "fair market appraisals") and there is no way we would have done this by jumping on a plane every weekend for 10 weeks.... it's uneconomically viable.

    Apologies for the rant but at the moment I am getting very frustrated with the stories I am hearing about interstate BAs. Hiring a BA should entail careful research, backed up by genuine references and a solid local knowledge in the particular areas of focus. Speak to the actual BA who will be conducting your search (not just the office or LIC) - look for experience, accreditation, reputation and enthusiasm. Good luck!:)
     
  13. Jacque

    Jacque Buyers Agent and Bookworm, Sydney Business Member

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    Very true Rolf and if you're not comfortable with the BA who'll actually be looking after your brief then look elsewhere. It's vital that they're a good fit, not just geographically but for what you're trying to achieve.