House hunters should conduct their own research, rather than rely solely on the sales data provided by selling agents, according to an industry body that represents buyer’s agents. The Real Estate Buyers Agents Association of Australia says it is important to compare similar properties using well-known sources such as RP Data and Australian Property Monitors. Association spokesperson Byron Rose says buyers should not simply depend on the selling agent’s recommendation on comparable price information. “Many times real estate agents will quote a price for a property that has sold in the same suburb but the price does not take into account specifics such as bedrooms, bathrooms, parking, apartment and land size that can have an enormous impact on the asking price,” he says. “Similarly a property can be advertised as a four-bedroom home, but in reality it might be three bedrooms and a study.” Mr Rose says the difference between a comparable and a fair market price could be tens of thousands of dollars, meaning buyers should examine properties themselves to ascertain like for like. “In an environment where values are escalating weekly, it’s a potential minefield for buyers who feel under pressure to buy,” he says. “Buyers need to ensure that when they are presented with comparables, they are comparing apples with apples and that they are in the same price pocket for that particular location. “A buyers agent can help analyse the data quickly using the best valuation tools available and guide buyers through the property maze with minimum stress.” The Real Estate Buyer’s Agents Association of Australia began in 2000 to raise the profile of buyer’s agents nationally and to establish guidelines for their professional conduct.

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