FAQs

Why should I use a buyer’s agent when I could do it myself?

You will save yourself money, time and stress when you engage a professional buyer’s agent to help you with your next property purchase. You will be empowered with the knowledge you need to make an informed decision about the value of a property without all of the sales “hype” often associated with property purchases – we protect you from making an emotional decision. You will have the benefit of our extensive research and analysis into past sales and comparable market data, and will be protected from paying too much. You may also gain access to properties not yet advertised, otherwise known as “silent listings”. Investors will gain access to our wide network of excellent investment opportunities and also get the inside knowledge of the best areas to invest. As property investors ourselves we understand the strict criteria required to buy high performing properties. Our case studies describe the ways we have been able to add value to our many clients. Most of our increasing client base stems from glowing referrals given by clients who have been impressed with the value and service we provide.

What is the difference between a buyer’s agent and a selling agent?

The key difference between a buyer’s agent and a traditional selling agent is who they represent. A buyer’s agent works exclusively for the buyer, whereas the selling agent works for the vendor (seller). An important question to ask a buyers’ agent is whether they are truly “exclusive” or “independent”. If they accept sales commission from vendors or developers then they cannot be classified as “independent” as they are acting in the interests of the seller. Only deal with a licensed buyer’s agent. You can check licences at the public register at  http://www.reaa.govt.nz/registry/search. Our organisation licencee number is 10046217. Only use one that is a recognised member of the Real Estate Agents Authority. A buyer’s agent aims to secure the property for the lowest price and best conditions possible for you, the buyer. The selling agent wants to get the highest price and best conditions for the vendor (seller). Erskine + Owen will give you the best service, time and attention that you need to make an informed property choice. You are working with professionals, who will find your next property faster, and at a better price.

Do I have to be “rich and famous” to be able to afford the fees charged by a buyer’s agent?

No. We typically save our clients far more than our fee in the transaction by negotiating well. We assist property buyers of all budgets,saving you money by doing extensive research and analysis, looking at comparable sales and market data, and by negotiating hard to secure the best price, terms and conditions possible. You will make an informed choice and will be confident that you have bought well, whatever your budget. It’s a small investment to make when you consider the savings you will make on your property purchase.

What suburbs do you cover? Do you specialise in any particular areas?

For investors, residential and commercial, we source investment property New Zealand-wide. We are constantly researching and reviewing the market for “property hot spots” and look for areas that have consistently performed well for capital growth and rental return, or have significant potential for capital growth due to infrastructure and population drivers. Becoming a client of Erskine + Owen means you can tap into our knowledge bank of current information, and gain access to the best investment opportunities as they arise.

If I engage the services of Erskine + Owen, will you guarantee to find me a property?

Yes – as long as your buyers brief is realistic. We guarantee to give you personal and professional service, and a detailed analysis on each property we evaluate, based on your specific criteria. At our initial meeting, we will listen carefully to find out your exact requirements. if your property brief is unrealistic we will advise you before you engage us. You will also need to have your finances ready, or to be pre-approved for a loan before the search can begin. Once these have been established, we’ll give you an estimated time frame for sourcing your property. We work with you in partnership to help you achieve your goals quickly and efficiently.

Am I getting value for money when I engage your services?

Yes!  We regularly save clients far more than the fee we charge, through our understanding of the property market and our skilled negotiation techniques. We offer a fixed fee service. The advantage of the fixed fee structure is that you only pay the same fee regardless of the price of the property. There are three key areas you will get great value for money by engaging Erskine + Owen:

1. Saving Time Reduce the time spent searching.  You will need to look at between 50 to 100 properties to get a true understanding of the market.  Most buyers take between 6 to 12 months (or more) to buy.  We can cut down the process to less than 60 days. You don’t need to lose leisure and family time due to searching and attending inspections on weekends. And you don’t need to waste time at work calling real estate agents.

2. Saving Money Don’t risk making an emotional decision and paying too much.  Negotiating is an art, and we know the tricks of the trade to secure a property at the lowest possible price. Leverage your knowledge by tapping into ours. We encourage you to get a professional, independent registered valuation done, so you have confidence to pay the right price.

3. Saving Stress Remove the stress and pressure of dealing with real estate agents in your search. Get the upper hand with a buyer’s agent by your side.  Remove the frustration of being constantly outbid at auction.  With Erskine + Owen you can buy with confidence, knowing you are getting totally independent advice.

Are buyers’ agents fees tax deductible?

If you are purchasing a property for investment purposes, the cost of using a buyer’s agent is generally not deductible as an expense. Check with your accountant to see if the fee would be tax deductible in your case. Unfortunately you cannot claim the fee as a tax deduction if the property is purchased to live in.

Is there any limit to the number of properties you will present to me before I make a purchasing decision?

No, however we will qualify every property against your criteria before we present the property to you.  This way, we save you valuable time in the property search. Our buyer’s agency agreement has an initial period of 90 days. We fully expect to deliver a great result for you well within this time frame.

How soon do I need to make up my mind on whether to buy?

For investment properties we negotiate a conditional contract and guarantee the price will be at, or below the registered value, before we present it to you. It will be presented with photos, video walkthrough and key information. Should you wish to proceed, we then prepare the Erskine + Owen analysis on the property and concurrently initiate due diligence on your behalf – managing this whole process. You are required to view, either physically or via video within 48 hours. For homes and businesses we present properties that fit the criteria before we begin negotiation. Home buying is an emotional decision and the property needs to feel right as well as fitting the Profile Brief. A business premise is similar.

Do you ever represent the vendor in selling a property?

We never sell property or accept sales commission from vendors, developers or their agents. This is what sets Erskine + Owen apart. We work exclusively in our clients’ best interest to find a property that meets their needs. We have no vested interest to sell property. In sourcing brand new properties for clients, Erskine + Owen is often able to reduce the purchase price by the standard sales commission and then negotiate even further discounts for our buyers. Where a client is planning to sell their home we can provide assistance with selecting the best local agent, and negotiating the best terms for the marketing strategy.  This service is called “Vendor Advocacy”.

Do you offer any guarantees with your service?

We guarantee not to waste your valuable time sourcing inappropriate properties. We will deflect all the stress and detail, and save you months of endless searching. We will spend time with you up front so that we clearly understand your needs, and will target the search based on agreed preferences. With our help, you will save time, money, and stress on your next property purchase. You will gain access to more properties, be better informed about comparable sales, the true value of a property and capital growth projections for the area, and you will make a more informed decision. When you decide on the right property, we will negotiate for you.  You will be able to make a rational decision about price without the stress and pressure of dealing with real estate agents or having to negotiate.

How can I know I am not paying too much for a property?

We conduct extensive due diligence for our clients on recent sales, and have access to a comprehensive database of past sales. We inspect each property and discuss the positives and negatives of each shortlisted property. Using this information, together with our own expert opinion on the state of the market, provides our clients with the assurance they are not overpaying. We also always recommend clients obtain a registered valuation from a bank respected valuer.

What happens if I change my mind on an area or a type of property once I engage you? Do I have to pay another engagement fee?

We will always be working in your best interests and realise that your ideas about the type of property you want may change. When we meet initially to discuss your “buyers brief”, we will work hard to ensure that your wish list is achievable, and also realistic, so the likelihood of changing your mind is reduced. However, if you change the initial brief significantly, there may be a review of the fee. We will work with you to make sure you are completely happy with your next property purchase, even if you change your mind.

What if I find (or buy) a property myself after I have engaged your services for the full search?

We work in partnership with our clients. It is only natural for many people to still keep an eye on the property market, even while we are looking for you. If you do happen to identify a property that we haven’t seen, then just let us know and we can provide a full appraisal. Once Erskine + Owen is engaged to find (or negotiate) a property, full fees are payable, even if you find a property (or negotiate) on your own. With our help, you will make a more informed choice, and won’t be swayed by emotional marketing – so you will save yourself money anyway.  One of the requirements of working with us is that you communicate openly and honestly with us at all times.

Does a buyer’s agent need to have a real estate background?

Alan Henderson and Lisa Phillips, Directors of Erskine + Owen, have the expertise, knowledge and real estate background to deliver what they promise. Alan & Lisa are property investors themselves.  If you are looking for a buyer’s agent team with exceptional commercial and property qualifications, that understand property investment analysis, market trends, and can think creatively and intuitively, then the Erskine + Owen team is your smart choice. Read our case studies and you will be impressed by the results – not only with investors, but also home buyers and corporate clients.

I live and work overseas.  How can you service my needs from this distance?

We regularly assist overseas buyers and expats, communicating via phone, email or skype. We are aware of the time differences and will often call an overseas client very late at night or early morning. Once the “buying profile” is established and you have provided evidence of finance approval, the search begins. The only difference is that you may not get the chance to physically inspect the property, although this is encouraged. We can provide you with extensive market analysis, as well as digital photos and virtual tours of the property and its location. All features of the property, both good and bad, will be communicated, so you can make a fully informed decision. We regularly purchase properties for overseas clients that do not inspect the property prior to purchase. We take extra care to make sure all appropriate inspections are completed thoroughly.

Do you have professional indemnity insurance?

We have professional indemnity insurance to $1 million.

What is your Disputes Resolution Procedure?

PDF: Complaints and Dispute Resolution Procedure

Are you a member of a professional industry association?

Yes. Erskine + Owen is a member of the following organisations: Real Estate Agents Authority REINZ

How do I get started?

Contact us or call us on +64 9 377 6463.  We look forward to helping you build your property portfolio.

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