How to become a buyers agent in Victoria

The pathway to becoming a buyers agent is not as clear as you might hope. This is due to a number of factors. The rules are different in every state and territory and while the qualifications are almost the same across the country, how you gain experience will vary greatly depending on where you’re located. This article will take you through the steps so you’ll know how to become a buyers agent (or buyers advocate, as they’re commonly referred to) in Victoria.

Key takeaways: 

  • Getting qualified is step one, there are also specific buyers agent skills to be learnt. 
  • Gaining work experience will probably be the greatest challenge you’ll face. 
  • Successful buyers agents all have a multidisciplinary skillset.

Buyers Agent Qualifications

The process to become qualified to work as a buyers agent in Victoria is broken into three stages.

  1. You must complete the Agents Representative Course. This is the Certificate IV in Real Estate Practise (CPP41419) and the minimum requirement to work as an Assistant Agent under the supervision of a Licensee in Charge.
  2. Then you need to gain a minimum of 12 months full time work experience. So, if you choose to do this part time, like only working Saturdays, this could take you up to 5 years to achieve. 
  3. Then you’re eligible to complete a Diploma of Property (Agency Management) (CPP51122). This allows you to become a Licensee in Charge and run your own business.

In Victoria it’s important to know that you can’t rush the completion of these courses. You’ll also need to gain work experience, which we’ll cover below.

How to become a buyers agent in Victoria

Useful Career Pathways

Most people don’t leave school thinking that they’ll become a buyers agent. It’s usually a passion for property, often coupled with experience in an allied profession, that leads to this career choice.

Some career backgrounds are particularly useful, for example coming from being a valuer, a sales agent, a conveyancer, a mortgage broker, or even a building inspector.

There are both advantages and disadvantages in each of these career paths. Often the desire to become a buyers agent comes from knowing more about your field of expertise than the buyers agents you come across do. This can be extremely frustrating, but it can also blind you to everything you don’t know about buying property professionally.

For example:

ProfessionKnowsDoesn’t Know
ValuerHow to work out market valueHow to negotiate a deal
Sales AgentHow auctions workHow to work with a client for more than 4 weeks
Mortgage Broker When to be wary of valuation riskHow to work out the price to pay
ConveyancerHow to read a contract of saleHow to bid at auction
Building InspectorHow to avoid buying a money pitHow to interpret a strata report

We often see engineers making the career change to become a buyers agent and they bring with them strong analytical and process skills, which are very valuable in the role. They’ll also need to learn a wide variety of new skills, such as marketing, sales, property evaluation, client management and negotiation.

Work Experience

In Victoria you’ll also need to gain the equivalent of 12 months full time work experience as part of the process of qualifying to become a buyers advocate. 

This is easier said than done, as many buyers agencies are micro-businesses or sole traders, neither of which tend to employ trainees. If you’re located in Melbourne or Geelong, you will have a much greater chance of being employed in a buyers agency than you will if you live in a smaller regional town. 

If you find yourself in the predicament of needing to gain work experience and not being able to find an employer, you could explore the pathway of working as an assistant sales agent. In his way you would gain valuable insights into the other side of the buy/sell equation.

Ongoing Training

Once you’re qualified and working in the industry, you’ll soon realise that there is so much to learn that was not covered when you got your qualification. 

In Victoria you’ll need to complete additional training and acquire CPD Points every year if you are a member of the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV). 
But your ongoing learning should never stop there. A great buyers advocate is a lifelong learner. I encourage you to explore my Buyers Agent Mentoring Program and discover how you can learn the advanced skills you need to progress & succeed as a buyers agent.

Characteristics For Success

It’s often said that buying property professionally is both science and art and, as such, successful buyers agents need to be able to engage both the right and left side of their brains.

In my view, the non-negotiable traits are: critical thinking, consultative selling, relationship building, negotiation skills and integrity. Download my free eBook for a more comprehensive overview of the characteristics of success as a buyers agent.

If you’re wanting to work as a buyers advocate in Melbourne, you’ll also need to develop strong auction skills, since this city is often referred to as the “auction capital of Australia”.

Setting Up Your Own Business

If you decide to work for yourself, you’re going to need to upskill in the areas of business management, marketing and compliance, just to name a few. It’s for these reasons that I encourage people to learn and master buyers agency skills before embarking on running a business as well.

And it can be pretty lonely too, often with nobody to bounce ideas off and brainstorm the best ways to tackle the inevitable challenges. You might want to find yourself a mentor or coach to support you in your career journey.