From Construction to Helping Buyers Achieve Success

Rob Panetta was always taught to put his money into the family home, pay it off and never branch out too far.

But he knew there was more that he could achieve in life if he built a property portfolio that could help set him up for the future.

Since purchasing his first property in 2015, he’s been able to grow a substantial portfolio after spending a lot of time learning about the market and getting educated.

“I come from a construction background and I wanted to find a way to not work with my body every day, but work with my mind,” Rob says.

“With my background, I felt that it would transition into property really well.”

He says with his understanding of the construction side and his experience, he knows what to look out for in properties and that also gives him a competitive advantage over others.

After finding success on his own, he decided he wanted to start helping others with their property journey and he established his business, Lux Buyers Agents, in Melbourne and helps owner-occupiers in Melbourne and investors right across the country.

“Typcailly we go down the route of finding established homes where you have the ability to add value and create equity so you can go again,” Rob explains.

“We like to be able to help our clients build a portfolio, not just buy a single home and forget about them.

“We want to provide ongoing support and help them to continually try and build so that they can eventually live off their portfolio when they’re coming into retirement.”

The business got off the ground quickly but Rob says that there have been challenges along the way.

“People coming into the industry might see other buyers agents doing well, but it really does take a lot of work day in and day out,” he says.

“You need to stay committed to the process and obviously keep that hustle going every single day.

“You’ve also got to make yourself available to clients and make sure you’re keeping them happy.

“And make sure that your standards are very high.”

Rob worked with the Buyers Agent Institute (BAI) and says that the course really helped him get his business off the ground.

“I think Ben’s course is one of the best I’ve ever done,” he explains.

“It absolutely goes into every single little detail that you would need to know to start your business and to keep it going.”

He says the ongoing mentoring also plays a huge role in the development of buyers agents and it’s critical to continue learning while you’re in the role.

Going forward, Rob is hoping to continue to grow his business and help more people.

“I want to build and scale my business, to become one of the leading buyer’s agents, in the industry,” he says.

“That’s obviously going to take a lot of hard work and you’re also going to need to get a lot of skilful people on board.

“You really do need a team to go to that next level.”

For other people looking to get into the industry, Rob suggests focusing on getting educated.

“You can’t just expect to come into the industry and buy a property tomorrow, he says.

“Clients are paying you really good money for your services, so you need to know what you’re talking about.

“Take the time to learn and then when you feel comfortable you can go and work for someone or go out on your own.”

From Business Owner to Buyer’s Advocate

After being involved in commercial property and running his own business for more than 12 years, a passion for high-end property made John O’Brien want to pursue a full-time career in real estate.

During the COVID-era, there was huge interest from people wanting to buy and relocate to Geelong, and John felt like that was the perfect time to move into a full-time role as a buyers advocate in his home time.

He set up his business, Henning Property and set out about helping both commercial and residential buyers purchase property around the Geelong area.

John currently helps residential buyers and investors purchase properties and works with a lot of high-income earners in the medical profession like doctors, surgeons and anaesthetists as well as other white-collar professionals.

While he was able to hit the ground running due to his experience in property and business, he says that like all businesses there are always going to be challenges.

“I’ve found the process really exhilarating,” he says.

“I’ve set myself a mantra of saying ‘yes’ to everything in terms of networking and meeting people and going out on a limb.”

John says one of the big advantages of working in an area like Geelong is that it is much like a large town and it allows you to really become a part of the community as a business owner.

When he was getting established he says he worked with the Buyers Agent Institute (BAI) and says it was an incredibly important part of his journey.

“I think Ben provides business in a box,” he explains.

“It’s been amazing for me to just have a blueprint to follow.

“I’ve got 12 years experience running my own business, but I think Ben provides a lot of those nuances that are specific to buyer’s advocacy.

“It’s been amazing to have that as a reference point and go through, from start to finish.”

He says the entire program and mentoring have been crucial to his self-development.

John is aiming to continue to grow his business and hopes to be the number one buyer’s agent in Geelong in the years ahead.

He’s also looking to expand his team so he’s able to serve the region in the best possible way.

John suggests that anyone looking to get involved in the industry needs to be prepared to get out there and put in the work.

“Ben can give you all the information, but as the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink,” he believes.

“It’s up to you.

“Really, if you’re not going to throw yourself into this and be 110 per cent committed, then you’ll only get out of it what you’re prepared to put in.”

“You need to be working on yourself every single day outside of your full-time job and networking and living and breathing it.”

“And remember that knowledge is power and you’ll supersede someone that’s got 10 years experience if you spend a year just learning every single day and being a sponge.”

From Renovator to Buyers Agent

After reading a book on positive cash flow properties back in 2003, Michelle Lewis was immediately hooked on the idea of making wise investment decisions.

When she was only 20, she purchased her first property and started to put her knowledge to work, renovating the rundown property that had 22 cats living in it and turning it into a home.

From that point she started to look at other ways she could grow her portfolio using positive cash flow.

“In 2012, I started getting serious about the idea of positive cash flow,” Michelle says.

“We were living in Newcastle at the time and did four deals there in two years as well as some renovations interstate.

“Over the years we’ve done a combination of deals where we would buy, renovate and flip and also buy, renovate and hold for that positive cash flow.”

With over a decade of experience herself and helping friends and family, Michelle decided she wanted to pursue her passion for property in a way that could help more people.

“People have been asking me to be a buyers agent for a long time and I guess I focused on family, so I had put it to the side,” she explains.

With her children getting older she had more time and felt that it was finally the right point to start helping more people.

Michelle established her business, Michelle Lewis Property in South Australia and immediately signed up four clients when she launched because of her reputation and extensive knowledge.

She is currently helping both investors and owner-occupier clients and sources properties right across the country, with a special interest in renovation projects.

Despite having found success quickly, Michelle says there have still been challenges.

“The challenges that are ongoing are always bringing clients in and also really educating them about what a buyers agent is,” she says.

“Some people don’t even know that we exist or what it is we do.”

Michelle worked with the Buyers Agent Institute (BAI) and says it was incredibly valuable when she was getting her business off the ground.

“I absolutely loved Ben’s course,” she says.

“I loved the entrepreneurial side of it.”

“I’m constantly learning, but building a business from the entrepreneurial side of things and actually having a BA business is very different to being a property investor.”

She says the course has also helped her improve her due diligence process with client purchases as well as adding to her overall knowledge base through the extra information and coaching from the guest speakers.

Going forward, Michelle hopes to bring on some more team members as she expands her business.

She’s also very passionate about helping people get into the property market who might have thought it was out of their reach.

Michelle says anyone who is starting their career as a buyers agent should be focused on getting out there and doing the things that have the largest impact.

“My advice would be to network, network, network,” she says.

“There’s no point being the world’s best-kept secret.”


Helping More Buyers

With a background in both residential and commercial property management, Daniel Brennan always knew just how powerful property could be as an asset class.

Around 10 years ago, Daniel and his wife Violeta, started investing in property and after achieving success themselves, felt they wanted to do more to help buyers and set out to build a business as a buyer’s agent.

“We wanted to open up our own business in WA,” Daniel says.

“We saw it as an opportunity to try and get into something different because buyers’ agents are relatively unknown here.”

He says when they purchased their first property, they didn’t have anyone helping them with the transaction and they probably paid more than they needed to.

“Years later when we came across the idea of a buyers agent, we decided we wanted to give it a crack,” he explains.

Daniel and Violeta established DV Buyers Agency based in Perth, and look to help all types of homebuyers and investors who want to purchase in WA.

“Our goal is really to make sure that the buyer is being represented at all points of a transaction and to make sure they’re going to achieve a good outcome out of that process,” he says.

Daniel said that he always knew he wanted to work for himself and getting established has taken time.

“We knew that there were going to be challenges,” he says.

“You’re starting from zero, and having to build those relationships was definitely challenging.

“There was a lot of hustling and just trying to reach out to as many people as possible.”

Daniel says that in time his client base began to grow and he also started receiving a lot of work from happy clients that he had helped.

“It’s really been about just building that momentum, every day, week and month,” he believes.

Daniel worked with the Buyers Agent Institute (BAI) when he was getting started and says it was critical to his early success.

“Ben built his own business from basically nothing and the course is really a shortcut,” he says.

“He’s outlined everything he did wrong at the start, so it really helps us build our own businesses through his learnings, and not make the same mistakes he did.”

Daniel says he also loves the community aspect and the fact that there are so many experts that you can learn from across a variety of different areas of business and property.

Looking forward, Daniel says he hopes to continue to build on the strong start he’s had to his business career.

“We aren’t trying to be the biggest agency around,” he says.

“We just want to be known as one of the best and most reliable and most trusted.”

He says he is hoping to continue to expand his team and upgrade to a new office, so they have the capacity to help more buyers.

“While we might expand down the track, we want to be known as Perth specialists,” he explains.

Daniel says that anyone wanting to take on a career as a buyers agent needs to be fully committed.

“You’ve got to be one hundred per cent,” he says.

“While you can start part-time if you really want to grow the business and be successful, you’ve really got to put in all your time and effort, because it takes time to build those relationships and get that momentum going.

“You’ve got to be hungry, you’ve got to chase leads and chase business, but most of all you’ve got to achieve the best outcome for your clients.”

He said he hopes to see more buyers agents coming online in the years ahead.

“The more buyers agents that are coming into the space the better for everyone, because it means that buyers are getting looked after,” he says.

Overcoming Challenges on the Road to Success

Adrian Trimboli always had a passion for real estate since his Italian mother convinced him to buy his first investment property when he was just a teenager.

While he was able to achieve success in property investing after a rocky start, building a career in property took some time and he faced some challenges along the way.

Adrian realised that he wanted to pursue property as a career but ended up working for a company that encouraged investors to buy a lot of off-the-plan property.

He quickly realised that he didn’t believe in what the company was doing and felt he could do a better job on his own.

So Adrian and his business partner Frank set out to start their own buyer’s agency, that aimed to help investors purchase the best investment-grade properties they could find from all around the country.

Adrian and Frank established Fresh Start Advisory which today focuses on buying established properties in high-growth, high-yield locations with the ability to add value.

They’ve also been able to build a team and have got a large number of loyal clients but their journey hasn’t been quick or easy.

“There have been challenges throughout,” Adrian says.

“We probably didn’t even sign a client for the first 12 months when we were getting started, and only a few in the next year.”

“We’ve had challenges, but we’ve passed most of them now, but I’m sure there will always be more as we go along.”

Adrian worked with the Buyers Agent Institute(BAI) when he was getting the business established and he said it was critical to his success.

“Within the first six months of getting started, we felt that business coaching would be something that would really work well for us,” he explains.

After working with some other coaches early on, Adrian says that Ben Handler was able to help provide incredible guidance on how to grow a high-quality business.

”Ben was able to show us how to grow with the help of marketing and sales, but he also knows how to build an awesome company,” he says.

“He’s just been the perfect balance for us.”

Adrian says their company has lofty goals and one day wants to be known as Australia’s best buyers agency.

He says that for people wanting to come into the industry, they need to understand that the process is going to take time.

“Don’t think that you’re going to be coming into the industry next week and just start buying property,” he believes.

“You need to be prepared to change every aspect of your life, because while it’s buying property it’s a business, and you need to be proficient in everything that business entails including marketing, sales and fulfilment.

“It’s not going to be easy, but at the same time on the other side of that is that every single day I wake up to my passion.

“It’s a dream come true, but it’s literally blood, sweat and tears.”

Adrian says sometimes he just feels very fortunate to be where he is today.

“It’s all been just hard work and grit and an ability to see a vision and just keep pushing for it,” he says.

“If you were to tell us five years ago, we’d be running a team of 11 people and getting results better than most other people in the industry, we would have laughed at you.”

“There’s always going to be self-doubt, but if we can do it, anyone in the world can actually do it.

“I truly believe that.”

Property In His DNA

Rodney Reinsma has been buying property and investing for the past 19 years, but it wasn’t until he realised he could do more to help other home buyers achieve the same sort of success that he was able to find, that he decided he could turn his passion into a career.

“Property’s always been in my DNA, but being a selling agent, property manager or a developer, just didn’t resonate with me,” Rodney says.

“When I first discovered what a buyers agent was, I was like, ‘this is me to a tee’.”

Since that eye-opening discovery, Rodney put his full attention into pursuing his vision and went about getting licensed and establishing his own business.

He transitioned out of his previous career and set up FNQ Buyers Agents, based out of Cairns in Queensland.

Throughout his journey as an investor, Rodney always focused on buying the best quality properties with the most upside potential and believes in a buy-and-hold approach, which is something he now does for his clients.

“From my perspective, I always try and work with my client’s budget and where we could purchase the right investment grade property for their budget in the right area,” he explains.

“We deep dive into locations that can meet their needs and budget criteria.”

After finding success in far north Queensland, Rodney then set up a second business, Gold Coast Buyer’s Agents to focus on helping clients in South East Queensland.

“We only buy in our backyard,” he says.

“We think fundamentally, if you’re going to add some real value to your clients, you need to have eyes and ears on the ground with a team in that area.”

While Rodney has been able to get his two businesses off the ground successfully, his journey hasn’t been without its challenges.

He says that many new buyers agents come into the industry, without ever having run a business before.

“My background was managing large businesses and teams so I had a bit of an advantage there,” he believes.

“But the first six months was quite challenging in the respect of building your brand, building your persona and who you are in the industry.

“Particularly in Cairns, the first six months were really just educating the local agents and meeting with purchasing partners in the area and educating them on what a buyers agent is.

“Fundamentally, the further away you are from Sydney and Melbourne, the less common buyers agents are.”

Rodney worked with the Buyers Agent Institute (BAI) when he was getting started and says the program was instrumental in helping him start out in the right way.

“I don’t know how people would start without it,” he believes.

“If I’m honest, I think you would be in a dire situation early on in the piece and probably throw it all in if you’re not from within the industry or have worked under another buyers agent.”

Looking forward, Rodney hopes to continue to grow his business and expand Australia-wide.

He says he also wants to help educate other buyers agents and also assist them with lead generation.

For new buyers agents hoping to break into the industry, Rodney suggests that you focus on getting educated first.

“Get educated and focus on finding your niche as soon as possible,” he says.

“I think everyone starts out with a broad net, but the key really is to be a subject matter expert and to add genuine value.”


Helping Families and Investors Buy Property

The idea of renting was something that Emma Maynard was never really comfortable with, so from a young age she was passionate about property and buying her own home.

When she was 20 she was able to get started and purchase her first property and from that point, she has continued to grow her property portfolio as well as renovate and flip properties and even purchase acreage.

After moving to Singapore with her husband’s work, she ended up reconnecting with an old friend who was working as a buyers agent, which made her realise that it might be a way she could pursue her passion and use her skills in property.

“I don’t think I knew that there was such a thing as a buyers agent prior to speaking with her so that planted the seed that certainly grew,” Emma says.

Based on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Emma was able to get registered and set up her business, Maynard Property Group, and started helping families and investors who were looking to buy in the area.

“A lot of my clients are local families, and for a lot of them, finding what they’re looking for is really difficult,” she explains.

She says that she’s been helping a lot of downsizers who are looking for beachside apartments, families seeking acreage of family homes, as well as people who are wanting to find good homes with the ability to renovate.

Emma joined the Buyers Agent Institute (BAI) when she was first getting established and said it was critical to her early success.

“It was pretty integral to getting me established,” she believes.

“We’re given guidance on how to set up the business, what certifications are required and how to become a buyers agent.”

She said most real estate training is targeted towards sales agents and doesn’t offer any help to buyers agents, which is why BAI is so unique.

“The Buyers Agent Institute has really stepped in and helped us learn the skills that are required from a buyers agent perspective,” she says.

Emma says that while she’s been able to successfully get her business off the ground and build momentum, the process hasn’t been without its challenges.

“It’s been challenging because it’s such a big learning curve,” she explains.

“Everything you do from setting up your bank accounts to making sure you’re compliant.”

She says she has had plenty of guidance along the way from other buyers agents who have done it themselves which is particularly important if you’ve never run your own business before.

Going forward, Emma is looking to build on her early success and expand her client base.

She says that for other people who are thinking about a career as a buyers agent, you need to love the work you’ll be doing.

“I think as long as you’re able to put in the hard yards, and get out there and do the work then you should think about it,” she believes.

“If you’re passionate about property then go for it.”

“If you’re not a people person, then I think you would find it difficult because you’re constantly managing clients’ expectations and negotiating with real estate agents, so there are a lot of people skills required.”

Helping Others With Small-Scale Developments

Richard Williams has had a long and successful career as a property investor and developer throughout his career in the Air Force.

After purchasing his first property in 2002, he saw the potential that small-scale developments could have and started looking at opportunities all around the country. His first development got derailed by the GFC, but he was committed to making the process work for him so he could ultimately set himself up for the future.

He eventually went on to purchase properties all around the country in places like Newcastle, Adelaide, Queensland and Perth and complete numerous small development projects like duplexes.

After a lot of success, he eventually started looking at different ways he could help others succeed in property as well.

“I’ve always liked and enjoyed property and small developments,” Richard says.

“I did a few little duplex and small property developments up around Newcastle early on and I always liked that value add side of things.

“As I was looking for the deals anyway for myself, and when I hit that financial lending wall, I knew that there were still nice little deals out there for mum and dad investors.”

He eventually established, Brickport, with the goal of helping others achieve success in property, with a focus on finding value add opportunities, like developments, all around the country.

Richard has also been sharing his love of property by providing education and networking to property investors and developers for over five years and runs regular property development workshops in Sydney, which has helped get his business off the ground.

Richard also trained as an explosives engineer while in the Air Force and that’s something he feels has helped him when it comes to small-scale developments, because of how much you need to focus on mitigating risks.

He worked with the Buyers Agent Institute (BAI) to help get the business established and said it was key to helping him change his thinking around what his goals needed to be.

“I think BAI is great, especially the mindset stuff,” he says.

“When I got into property more than 10 years ago, I always saw myself as an employee.

“But it’s like, well, no, actually, what’s the next step? How do I build a business?

“How do I bring people into that and bring myself out of the business and actually have something of value?

“The mindset material with Adrian, in particular, is particularly useful on that.”

He said that it was also great to be able to speak with more established buyers agents who were able to give him some insights on why you need to be patient and understand that it takes time to build a business, especially in real estate when it can take up to 12 months to convert a lead into a client.

“Getting that exposure to people in the industry that have been in it for a number of years is really good,” he explains.

Richard says that while he is now continuing to build momentum with his business, it’s important for others who want to pursue a career as a buyers agent to take a long-term perspective.

“I think just get started and start small and build your processes up,” he believes.

“Build your network up because you will underestimate the amount of time it takes to build meaningful connections with clients.

“But know you can do it.

“Just keep moving forwards, just pick one thing and, and keep doing it.”

He also suggests to start building trust with future clients right away.

“Get out there and just be seen to be taking action,” he says.

“Get out there to open homes, build relationships with agents, sort your processes out, start to become an expert in something.”

From Engineer to Development Site Expert

As a structural engineer, Rumana Khan always had a passion for property and construction, but it wasn’t until she had a family that she realised that she wanted to actively pursue her dream of building her own family home that she knew she needed to make a change.

Rumana says that when her first child was six months old, she was looking for a property for their family but was having trouble finding anything because of how competitive it was and really wished she had the help of someone who could bring her off-market opportunities with less competition.

That inspired her to become a buyers agent so she could use her skillset to help others.

With her engineering background, she often helped friends and family, build, renovate and design their own homes.

However, she ultimately discovered that it was possible to help buyers find properties as well.

“My husband said, you are always helping people with their designs for their homes and doing renovation projects,” Rumana says.

“You’ve got the structural and technical know-how to advise people on development projects or even just normal homes and how to renovate them properly.”

After leaving her corporate career, Rumana established her business, Primepod Property Consultants in Melbourne, and now helps owner-occupiers, investors and developers secure high-quality properties.

She says 60 per cent of what she does is helping large developers locate sites which could be worth upward of $50 million.

While also helping smaller investors, with securing sites and undertaking small-scale developments and renovations, as well as owner-occupiers who need a place to live in.

“Because of my background in structural engineering, I work very closely with builders, developers, and investors, because we have products that give you higher returns on your investment,” she explains.

“And that’s another thing that I really want to help people with because everyone is struggling financially.

“We all need that extra passive income to have a better life.

“It’s not enough to just buy a home, it’s about buying one and then maybe two more to have enough passive income to actually spend that time with your children and not have to worry about work, just to make ends meet with mortgage payments.”

Rumana says the first few years of getting established have gone well and she has put a big emphasis on building referral partners.

She says working with the Buyers Agent Institute (BAI) was instrumental to her success and having a group of people around her going through the same journey played a big part in her success to date.

“I think Ben has got a really great motivational aura around him, and that’s why I ended up doing the course,” she explains.

“I met some amazing people through the BAI and I think it’s great how they’ve grown as well.”

Rumana says her business continues to grow rapidly and she has a large network already in place.

“I’ve already expanded across 20 countries, and that’s leveraging about 80,000 odd agents with the way I’ve structured my business,” she says.

“And I’d really like to focus on some key country partners where I’ve already established some really quality high net worth referral partner clientele.

“Even my marketing and branding, it’s all about being a global buyers agent.

“I don’t limit myself to just Melbourne, and that’s how I’ve always wanted it to be.”

Rumana says she also wants to help buyers agents get more recognition for what they do and how they help people.

“For me, it’s not just about growing my business, but also to help make buyers agents in general, more recognised and respected in the industry.”

Empowering People in Property

After a successful career in marketing and communications, Jullie Bebbington knew that she wanted to pursue a career in property, however, she knew real estate sales wasn’t for her.

After helping a buyers agency brand their business, she realised that working with buyers and helping them achieve their financial goals was where she saw her future.

“I had the pleasure of branding a local buyer’s agency as part of my previous career,” Julie says.

“It made me realise that becoming a buyer’s agent could be a viable path for me.”

Having started to buy property herself many years ago, she lost it in a messy divorce. So she’s seen first-hand what can happen when you don’t have good advice in relation to property. As a result, Julie is a big advocate for women buying property, and having access to affordable advice and guidance.

However, with her new partner also working in commercial real estate, Julie made the strategic decision to pursue a new career as a buyer’s agent.

Ultimately she set up Bebbington Advocates which offers a boutique buying agent service helping people who are upsizing, downsizing, relocating or investing in property.

She is currently focused on helping a range of residential buyers secure properties and also works with commercial buyers.

Currently, Julie is also involved in a significant commercial land acquisition project for an international development group bringing a major tourism product to SE Queensland.

“My role focuses on site sourcing, research, and stakeholder engagement with local, state and federal government bodies and private sector advisors,” she explains.

“It’s an exciting opportunity that allows me to combine my marketing, communications and property experience.”

Julie’s focus is buying in blue chip suburbs and targeting growth suburbs.

“While I do work with investors seeking rental income or capital appreciation, owner-occupiers can also implement strategies to make informed decisions and maximise the benefits of their property purchase through good asset and location selection,” she says

Her focus is the inner north and the north western suburbs of Brisbane as well as the Sunshine Coast.

Julie says being able to work with Ben Handler provided her with a solid foundation to tackle the business side of things and gave her a clearer understanding of how to help buyers.

“The course gave me the necessary knowledge and guidance to navigate the industry more effectively,” she says.

“The real estate industry is constantly changing, and I’m fascinated with how it operates.

“You are always learning.

“It also introduced me to a network of like-minded individuals who have been invaluable in my journey.”

Looking ahead, Julie is continuing to look at ways to grow her business and grow her property portfolio.

She wants to help women who are looking to purchase property who might not have a support network around them.

“I am honoured to work with women going through separations or divorces, guiding them through the complexities of the property market during what can be a very vulnerable time, and helping them make property-related decisions with someone who genuinely cares about their wellbeing,” she says.

“My goal is to empower these women to make informed decisions and regain control over their lives.”

Julie’s past challenges have made her stronger, wiser and more focused on making smart property decisions for her personally, while also helping her clients do the same. The future looks bright.

Check out her website here –