Whether it be a family home or an investment property, Prime Estate, a long-standing boutique property advocacy agency, assists Australians and those living overseas with the acquisition of Melbourne properties. We profile the firm as well as speak to Martine Chauvin and Founder, Christopher Teakle about the inner-workings of the company.
Founded in 2004 by Chris, and ably managed by Martine, Prime Estate have helped hundreds of first time home buyers, property investors and Australian expats secure the perfect Melbourne property. Prime Estate also provides dedicated property management services taking the stress out of managing properties and tenants. ‘The best property in the best location that best fits your objectives.’ This is buyer’s advocacy, Prime Estate’s promise.
What is a Buyer’s Advocate?
A buyer’s advocate, also known as a buyer’s agent, is someone who looks for and purchases property on a buyer’s behalf. Not to be confused with real estate agents, they have no connection with the seller or the agency representing them and therefore, they earn no commission on a property sale.
By law, a buyer’s agent cannot act for and accept a payment from both parties in the same transaction. This means a buyer’s advocate or agent acts exclusively for the buyer. They work on the buyer’s behalf in all aspects of the purchase, from searching, evaluation and negotiation through to the purchase of the property, as Martine explains.
“Throughout the company, we act exclusively for our clients and have no affiliation with real estate agents. Negotiations, purchasing, property management, we have got it covered. Our client’s objectives essentially become our mission. They are our priority.”
Furthermore, a buyer’s advocate’s market knowledge and negotiation skills helps property purchasers save significant time in locating the right property and securing it at the right price, ultimately, helping buyers to make more successful purchasing decisions.
Meeting a Client’s property buying objectives
First and foremost, it is worth considering that a buyer’s agent’s main objective is to make sure the client has secured the best property for their financial and lifestyle objectives. Buyers agents want their clients to return to them for the next property purchase. If their service and purchase leads to a positive financial outcome for a client, the client is going to entrust future investments to them.
If people are looking to purchase property, consider what they want to achieve with a property purchase. Does the client want to buy a bigger home for their growing family? Are they thinking of using the home as a rental property? Is it an interim step to meet a job opportunity or are they planning to re-sell it after a number of years? Their goals must be taken into consideration when searching for and buying property, something Chris is keen to emphasise.
“Fundamentally, we unlock the best properties Melbourne has to offer. As a Buyer’s Agent, we act solely on our client’s behalf, simplifying the process and providing strategic advice and market savvy to ensure that they get the best property that best fits their criteria and budget.”
Working with Prime Estate
With Prime Estate, it all starts with a consultation, and whenever possible, a coffee and a chat. They will establish the client’s goals and requirements including their budget, their preferred area and the types of property they are interested in. Once Chris and Martine have this information, they will then conduct a comprehensive search for properties that meet the criteria. Properties are also inspected on their behalf, saving precious valuable time and money.
In Australia, the search for the dream home can take more than six months on average, that’s a lot of weekends spent researching and going from one location to another, just to ascertain if a home fits a person’s lifestyle needs, budget, and most importantly, objectives.
In addition to the property search, buyer’s agents can also gain access to unlisted or of market properties, as they are usually contacted directly by agents of properties before these properties are listed on the market. Buyers can often get better outcomes from these off-market listings than in a competitive auction setting.
Evaluation and assessment will then follow, which includes a detailed report on the property. Where possible, they will also learn why the vendor is selling which can provide a negotiating edge. Prime Estate assess the capital growth potential of the area based on historical and future growth trends as well as economic indicators. Valuation then takes place which is based on the following factors: property history, comparable sales in the area, street; current rental yield figures, and historical capital growth of the property.
Once a property has been selected, an acquisition strategy is developed, including preauction offer, auction strategy or negotiation tactics for private sale/treaty properties. This is developed on a property by property basis and is not a one size fits all approach. “Our objective is to provide enough information to allow our clients to make a fully informed decision on the property in relation to price”. As buyer’s advocates, Prime Estate are skilled and experienced in all aspects of bidding, negotiation, contracts and the settlement process. They will bid on the client’s behalf at an auction and support or conduct the negotiation process to secure the property at the best possible price.
Location, location, location
Ask any buyer’s advocate, real estate agent, or experienced property investor, and they’ll say these are the three most important factors to consider when buying a home: location, location, location. Sounds simple enough, right? Not for first time home buyers and even savvy investors are unlikely to have their fingers on the pulse of every location. However, while location often tops the list, there are several other factors that all come into play to make a great buying decision. Lifestyle needs, strong capital growth, proximity to retail, schools and transport, government investment in the area, likelihood of strong tenancy, rental yield and more. A person’s buying objectives and how much they are willing to (or can) invest, will have a direct impact too on the location they can buy in as suburbs have different median price points.
These are the many considerations a Buyer’s Advocate must account for when finding their client the right property, in the right location, at the right price. Dedicated to meeting a client’s property goals, Chris and Martine live and breathe the Melbourne property market – which at the moment is hot, hot, hot! They know the intricacies of the area, the best locations for market growth potential, comparative suburbs for the budget and importantly, they know a good deal when they see one.
When home buyers and property investors work with Prime Estate, they work directly with the Directors Chris, and Martine, whose passion for property and 13 years of experience in the market have earned them a reputation for being two of the most successful, respected and dynamic buyer’s advocates in the Melbourne property market. This is a significant difference because it is the agent’s direct expertise and motivation which that person is tapping into.
Stress-free property management
For many investors, managing properties and tenants can be stressful and time-consuming. Managing a property entails looking for suitable tenants, ensuring the property is in pristine condition, ensuring rent is paid on time and rental rate increases are made in a timely manner, processing administrative documents, and making sure that council, water rates and insurance are all paid for.
To add to this, potential legislation changes are expected in the state of Victoria, that can significantly change tenantlandlord relationships. The changing rental demographics has prompted the state government to review the property and renting laws. Previously, private rental was considered a short-term arrangement eventually leading to home ownership or a move to social housing.
But now, one-third of renters are considered long-term, having rented continuously for more than 10 years. These renters include older people on fixed incomes and families with children, for whom stability is critical.
Some of the potential changes to legislation include longterm leases of up to 10 years, extending the eviction period to 182 days, and allowing for non-structural modifications to be made to the property without the landlord’s consent. For landlords, this can make effective property management even more difficult.
Prime Estate can take the stress out of managing properties and tenants, especially during this time of change, with their dedicated property management services. Their team of professionals understands and listens to the requirements of both investors and tenants, and are committed to building personal relationships that help deliver the best possible results. With an extensive portfolio of properties and multiresidential tenancies under their management, Prime Estate knows this business well, as Martine is keen to highlight.
“The changes in regulations mean that the way property management is conducted should also evolve in order to remain effective. We continue to innovate, enhance and improve our systems and processes to ensure we stay ahead of the pack and provide the best possible service to our clients”.
Dedicated to their client’s property success
Ultimately, moving forward this boutique Melbourne specific business remains as committed as ever to providing their clients a comprehensive, expert service, from searching for the best property in the best possible location through to stress-free property management. For property buyers, especially those living outside of Australia, knowing they have a professional on their side working on the best outcome for their investment can make a world of a difference.
For Prime Estate, Martine comments on the fact that being able to provide this powerful dual service of buyer’s advocacy and property management is a testament to their passion for property, their commitment to excellent service, and their genuine desire to be able to help their clients achieve success in this market.
“It is incredibly rewarding when our clients tell us how much they love their new home or how their investment has worked so well for them, and that is why we love what we do and why we keep doing it. Seeing our clients thrive, seeing them succeed, it is amazing.”
As experts in Melbourne’s property market and with decades of experience, Prime Estate knows how to deliver results. Their services are tailored to meet the varied objectives of their range of clients that include first time home buyers, Melbourne investors, Australian ex-pats living overseas, finance professionals, accountants, and property developers. Whatever the client’s property objectives are, Prime Estate’s services are designed to give them the best chance at property success.
For a copy of article as featured in the APAC Magazine, December 2017 please click on the Download button below.
Category: Property Management
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