Who Owns The Buyers?

In the industry we often hear the expression from estate agents “my buyer”.  This may lead one to conclude that agents have ownership, or exclusive access to certain buyers.  Is this really true and, if so, how should that impact on your decision of which agency you will list your property with?

Whilst some agents would like to believe that they have their own buyers, the reality is that buyers follow houses.  Even if a buyer would prefer to work with a certain agent because they have built a relationship with them, if their preferred agent isn’t able to show them a listing that they really want to see, then the buyer will contact the listing agent directly.

It’s not that a buyer is disloyal – it’s simply a fact that buyers will contact the agent who can show them a listing they would consider purchasing.  And that’s exactly how things should be.

At any point in time there is an existing pool of buyers in the market looking for a certain kind of property.  These buyers do not belong to any agent or agency – they are independent and will hunt for the property that meets their needs.  The only exception to this is where a buyer signs a written Buyer Mandate with a specific agency – but this is extremely rare and generally not in the interests of the buyer.

That being the fact, with whom should a seller list their property in order to access that existing pool of buyers?  If the buyers don’t belong to a specific agent or agency, then how do you reach them?

Quite simply, the buyer pool is accessed by the estate agency that markets your property most effectively to that buyer pool.  The better the marketing, the more buyers will see your property in a positive light and respond.

In order to do this an effective marketing plan would include marketing in a wide range of marketing mediums to attract a wider buyer pool.  They would also ensure that your property is showcased at its’ absolute best – thus appealing to the emotions of buyers and ensuring that your property stands out in the crowd.

Without this marketing you simply won’t benefit from strong enquiry and will usually end up selling for less than market value.  However, where a strong marketing plan is executed resulting in strong buyer interest – maximum buyer competition is achieved.

Where an estate agency markets effectively they generally don’t have to sit back and wait for other real estate companies to introduce buyers to their listings.  The buyers contact the listing agent directly.  That’s empowers the listing agent to negotiate directly with the buyer, maximizing the buyer competition, and getting the buyer to make their strongest offer.

When this happens the seller sells for the highest market value on the day.  It’s what every seller deserves – and it’s entirely dependent on their agents’ ability to market to the widest pool of buyers.


Steve Caradoc-Davies
Principal, Harcourts Platinum

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