A Passion for Property

Buyer's agent Rebecca Sims

After a career in property that has spanned nearly 20-years, shifting focus to helping home buyers was a natural progression for Rebecca Sims.

Rebecca started her real estate journey as a property manager, before spending a number of years working with developers and also in project marketing and sales management.

“When I left school, I started off in property management whilst studying at uni, and I ended up working for a developer and handled all of his property management.”

“From there I went over and worked in a project marketing company who also did property management and I headed up the investment division there and ended up turning their portfolio into something profitable and something sellable.”

“I ended up selling their portfolio for them with a great profit because we tidied it up. So through that, I think I learned a lot about property.”

After discovering first hand that there was no one out there helping buyers when she was looking to buy a number of properties of her own, Rebecca felt there might be an opportunity to pursue a career assisting buyers.

“I’ve always had in the back of my mind how much I would love to help buyers and put them into property.”

“Here on the Gold Coast there was nothing like that around and I think when I was looking myself for property personally, I found it really hard because I was such a busy professional, I had no-one to help me.”

Despite an extensive background working with investors and buying investment properties herself, Rebecca has found a passion for working with owner-occupiers.

“The majority of my purchases have been for owner-occupiers and I feel like at the moment that’s where the market is for me.”

“I do a lot work around northern New South Wales and that is because I am from that area. I’m actually from the Tweed Valley so I know the area very well. So when I get a client that wants to buy acreage or that rural lifestyle, I’m all over it. I love it so much.”

After starting her own business, Rebecca managed to build some momentum, but it was tough early on.

“I was fortunate at the beginning when I decided I was going to start the business.”

“I launched my website and the first broker that I met with, the very next day he sent me a client and that client was excellent. The client also referred business partners to me later down the track, so I was really fortunate in that regard. But after that one client, I struggled to get the next one.”

“I’m not going to sit here and say once you start it’s just smooth sailing, because that’s certainly not the case. You do have to keep going and there’s plenty of times where I thought this is just too hard. I’ve wanted to throw in the towel and all the rest of it – but every time I felt like that, within a matter of days something positive would come my way.”

Rebecca worked with Ben and BAI when she was establishing her business and the support network was incredibly beneficial.

“The course itself gives you a really great foundation for starting in this business, whether it be by yourself or going and working for somebody else. It’s something that you can constantly tap into.”

“But working with Ben himself, I just found him so supportive. He must spend all day talking to people. I think the thing is with him, and you can see it, is that he actually genuinely cares about the people that are coming through his business. He wants to genuinely see you succeed. So I think that’s really nice.”

Rebecca’s goal moving forward is to continue to grow her business organically and keep helping as many owner-occupiers as she can.

“In the future, I’d like the business to be bigger than what it is, but at the moment I’m after organic growth because I feel like that’s how I’m learning along the way as well.”

“In five years I just hope that it’s everything I hoped for and more. I’m enjoying what I’m doing at the moment, I really am. I love working in this area along the Coast and down into northern New South Wales especially so I want to keep doing that.”

Building Momentum

Buyer's Agent Michael Martin

Michael Martin started his property journey at a young age, but it has been a bumpy road to get to where he is today.

Michael wanted to use property to build wealth and set himself and his family up for the future. However, over his 20-year investing career has had both property wins and losses along the way.

“When I was 21, still living at home with my parents, I bought my first investment property. I was always a big saver so I had enough of a deposit to buy a property. So I just bought a property around the corner.”

“It was 160 grand. It was just a villa in a mixed suburb and that was getting $230 a week rent so it was cashflow positive. It was a good start.”

Instead of refinancing after the property increased in value, Michael made the unfortunate decision, to sell to help fund his PPOR. A mistake that he still regrets to this day. However, it taught him a valuable lesson, which was to never sell if you don’t have to.

From that point onward, he still wanted to keep investing and started to buy townhouses in and around Townsville.

“My wife and I purchased four houses in the outer Townsville area over a couple of years. Everything was ticking along nicely. The Townsville ones were all cashflow positive so it was all pretty good.”

“Then the GFC hit and I lost my job because I was a futures broker. It took me a few months to get another job at a 30% / 40% pay cut as well. Townsville was hit hard by the GFC, a lot of the mines shut down so I lost a lot of tenants.”

“I’d feel sick every time I got a phone call from a Queensland number because I was thinking, what’s happened now?”

“We ended up selling the three in Townsville. We were quite lucky. We sold them for pretty much the same price as we bought them for so we didn’t actually make a loss. However, it’s just a massive opportunity cost because I think they were about 200 grand each. So 200 grand, if you bought over the majority of the country over that ten-year period, it would have gone close to double. So we missed out big time there.”

That experience was a key turning point in his life as Michael realised that he needed to improve his understanding of what makes a quality investment and what really drives property markets.

During the period where he was researching property, he learnt about buyers agents and felt that it was something he would like to do himself, given his journey in property.

“I discovered Ben and BAI and I thought this is something that I could actually do. I already found my passion for property and I thought with all the mistakes I’ve made, I haven’t exactly got success stories with my past investing, although I had all the right intentions, just poor execution.”

“I felt like there are some pretty valuable lessons that I could I pass on to potential clients and now that I’ve heavily researched properly, I’ve got some good lessons to pass on and can help clients not make the mistakes that I’ve made.”

“So I did Ben’s course and then I built up a heap of contacts within the industry. And now I’m ticking along nicely. My business has been going for almost a year so I got my first client in about June / July after getting the licence in March and I’ve been getting one client a month so far.”

Michael now focuses on helping clients find high-quality investment property from around Australia.

The BAI program and the support network were vital for Michael when he was getting his business off the ground and suggests that people new to the industry understand that it takes time to build a successful business.

“Don’t set your expectations too high when you’re starting out. That might come across in the wrong way because you should always have high expectations of what you want to achieve, but it can be a bit of an emotional rollercoaster.”

“For the first three months or so I was making heaps of phone calls, trying to build relationships with referral partners and putting stuff out on social media and I was getting absolutely nothing back.”

“But then the more you do it, you slowly start getting traction so it’s just being patient and have expectations of getting no business for the first three to six months and then the traction starts after that is what I’ve found. So lower your own expectations in the short-term and then the long-term results will come.”

Helping Clients and Buyer’s Agents

Buyer's agent Paul Mollica

Prior to starting out as a buyers agent, Paul Mollica had a long career helping others as a financial planner.

Over the years, the ability to help his clients achieve financial success through traditional superannuation investment strategies began to diminish and he realised he needed to help his clients do what he was already doing.

Paul had a 15-year record as a successful property investor and understood that property represented a better option for most people to build wealth.

“I spent the last 20 years as a financial planner and absolutely over time realised that it was failing consumers miserably. I thought there had to be a better way.

“I was starting to invest myself and see the benefits of that through leverage and the fact that you’ve got control over the asset, you can add sweat equity, you can manufacture improvements, all these sorts of things. I started talking to my clients about it and also looking at where my wealthier clients built or accumulated their wealth.“

“None of them accumulated it from the superannuation system or saving money, it was all through either business, buying and investing in property or inheriting property. So it was pretty easy to join the dots there.”

These days Paul operates, Wealthkey Property and uses a range of different strategies to assist investors to build wealth, including looking for positive cashflow opportunities outside of metro areas, adding value through renovation while also buying in blue-chip locations, if it suits the individual. Paul is also able to help project manage any properties that are using strategies such as a cosmetic renovation to provide a full end-to-end service.

Over the past few years, Paul has transitioned out of financial planning and into a full-time buyers agent. A move that was helped by his prior relationships with both clients and referral partners.

“I was operating the BA business part-time for the last six years and then last June I jumped out of planning completely and I only do property buying for clients now. I’ve got two staff, we’ve got acquisitions teams everywhere we need them nationally and it’s going really well.”

“With my financial knowledge both inside and outside of super and mortgage broking and also my contacts over the years. I’ve got a fairly healthy referral stream coming through.”

While his transition to fulltime buyers agent has been relatively smooth, Paul found that one of the areas that were lacking was data and research. After initially looking to outsource, he found that he needed to bring the process in-house to get the best result for his clients.

“There was no-one out there that could provide that data and research service. You’ve got get the real-time data but you’ve also got to have eyes and ears on the ground as well and someone to translate that data otherwise you might as well just go and buy a property investor magazine.”

“Because of this problem I started my own service called Right House Research, cherry-picking perfect properties for investors and that’s an exclusive research service for other buyer’s agents. If we can continue to help a number of those every month as well, I think we’re doing a good thing for the buyer’s agent community and for consumers in general.”

Going forward, Paul’s goal is to continue to grow the business, while also adding value to the buyer’s agent community.

“If we can continue to help 50 to 70 families a year to make well-informed buying decisions and if I can put possibly one or two buyer’s agents on under our licence and help and grow Right House, then I think that will benefit a lot of people.”

Buying Blue Chip

Buyer's Agent Jack Henderson

In a short space of time, Jack Henderson has quickly established himself as one of the country’s leading buyers agents through his business Henderson Advocacy.

Jack started his journey in property investment at a very young age, purchasing his first investment as an 18-year-old. In just a few years, he had managed to build himself a multimillion-dollar property portfolio, centred around some of Sydney’s most sought after postcodes.

After leaving school at an early age and starting out in the workforce, Jack was able to save a deposit and start his property journey earlier than most.

“I left school at 15 and then went and worked as a labourer in the construction industry and I didn’t really have a lot to spend my money on so money started piling up in the bank.”

“After I turned 18 I had a sizeable deposit and my parents guided me and said, you’ve got this money sitting in the bank, maybe you should go buy a property with it because then you’ve essentially bought the most expensive thing in your life and you’re only 18.”

With his success as an investor gaining him a lot of attention and his passion for property, it was a natural progression for him to make the move towards helping others achieve success as a buyers agent. When he was starting out he looked to mentors for guidance and that led him to consider a career in property.

“One of the biggest things was one of my mentors, Chris Gray, he’s got a buyer’s agency called Your Empire and I was inspired by him and what he did. He generated a lot of wealth through it so I thought, “Let’s go down this avenue or let’s go at least explore it.”

“Then, as I was starting to progress in my investing journey, I had a lot of people ask me how I did it and what I did and asking for advice. So I thought, “Well, people are obviously interested in how I’m doing things so why not monetise it?”

Throughout his career as both an investor and now buyers agent, Jack has always focused on buying the best property he can afford, always looking to blue-chip locations.

“My investing philosophy is always very blue-chip. It’s buying in areas with a lot of scarcity, areas with people that have very high incomes and there’s a lot of affluence attached to where they live because obviously affluence and high incomes then generate growth and people paying premiums for properties.”

“As a buyers agent, we still use the same principles, but it’s really going to come down to the individual and how much money they have to work with and we tailor something specifically for them.”

“For myself, I’m generally buying two-bedroom apartments in beach-side locations in the eastern side of Sydney or Newcastle, in boutique buildings with great sunlight and lots of scarcity to them.”

“As I continue to progress to where I am now as a more sophisticated investor with a higher income, I’m starting to get into semis and homes – because I can afford the cashflow. Yields are lower, but they are more lucrative from a growth perspective and then also having the ability to develop down the track.”

When Jack started as a buyers agent, he began working with another firm to learn the business, before eventually starting his own company.

“I joined a firm when I first got into the industry and stayed with them for a little while but quickly outgrew them from a performance perspective and then also a culture perspective.”

“Now I’ve since started my own agency called Henderson Advocacy and it’s just learning every single day. We’re growing very quickly, we’re doing great things and it’s all very exciting.”

Since he started his journey as a buyers agent, Jack has worked closely with the BAI and it’s a relationship that has continued to this day.

“I began working with Ben in the early stages there’s a lot you learn from the course and there’s a lot you learn from Ben’s experience. If someone’s got 10 or 15 years’ experience, there’s a lot of their mistakes you can learn from.”

“I learned a lot from the course and then I went an extra step and went into the mastermind and I’ve been in that from day one. Ben’s now an advisor for our business so he’s continually helping us through his experience in terms of what we should do and what he did and did wrong and how we can learn from that.”

“It’s a very, very lucrative and rewarding relationship for sure.”

In the coming years, Jack is looking to continue to grow his rapidly expanding business and also focus on other areas of property.

“Over the next 12 months, the goal is to generate over two and a half million worth of revenue while having a sizable team that are all on the same page and are all high achievers.”

“In the next 5 to 10 years the goal is to diversify out of just buying property and get into developing and doing joint ventures with people and just to keep growing.”

“Growth is the keyword for the next 10 to 15 years ”

Educating Buyers

Buyer's Agent John Comino

Coming from a career as an accountant, John Comino knew that property investing was his ticket out of the rat race.

During the time he worked as an accountant, John and his wife were able to build a significant property portfolio and in the process learn what it takes to become a successful investor.

“The process of buying for myself turned out to be an opportunity to develop a passion for something, but also to make a lot of mistakes and to find out what worked.”

“That turned into a real understanding of property cycles and property selection and the financing behind property. From there, people started coming to me to either bid on their behalf or just give an opinion on properties that they wanted to buy.”

After finding personal success in property, John then wanted to use it as an opportunity to build his own business.

“I became a buyer’s agent towards the end of 2017, beginning of 2018 and there were two drivers at the time. One was to own my own business. A part of that concept of planning my escape, but one was just financial independence and running my own business.”

“The second reason was to explore the skill that I had in sort of choosing properties and putting deals together.”

As a buyers agent, John focuses on finding off-market properties while educating everyone he helps.

“I’m always conscious that there are three reasons that people come to BAs. One is to save time, two is to educate and to help make better purchasing decisions and then the third one is to purchase off-market properties.”

“With that in mind, my strategy as a buyer’s agent is to be more of an educator than a head kicker because I don’t have a background in sales so that can be a double-edged sword, but I do focus on the soft skills of sort of educating the clients.”

“The second thing is that I do try to target off-market properties because I never want to get into the conversation around ‘I could have done it myself’, which is always a risk, as a buyer’s agent.”

Having started his career after the property cycle peaked in Sydney, John had to navigate a tricky time while launching his own business.

“I started at the end of ‘17, beginning of ’18, which was a really tough time in the property market. I think it dropped, 15% in 2018.”

“I got very lucky in that one of my very first clients was actually an ASX listed media company who wanted a very substantial property at the time. So even though the market was sort of languishing, I was able to put together a fairly large deal and that was really helpful.”

“That was very good for my brand and that was good for my experience and obviously good for cashflow. But it’s a difficult sort of deal to repeat so they don’t come along very often, but that was one of my first deals.”

John used a number of approaches to help get his business off the ground in the early days.

“It’s been tough to get established, but I focused on three things. One was thought leadership and articles and podcasts. I was writing articles fairly prolifically. I do it a bit less now, but lots of articles and lots of podcasts.”

“The second thing I did to get established was networking and meeting people and trying to meet new people every week. That’s an excellent way to do it. And the third thing is that I do and did invest in a lot of social media at the time because you don’t want to be the best buyer’s agent that no one’s heard of.”

For John, one of the hardest parts of working with buyers was trying to educate them on cycles and when to buy.

“Buyers buy in sellers’ markets, not in buyers’ markets, which is sort of strange – they should be buying in these dips, but human psychology is that they don’t.

“When property was on sale, buyers weren’t interested in property and now that it’s hot again, the buyers come back in. I used to try to fight that and my articles were all about being a contrarian. I don’t worry so much about that now. I just accept that that’s how people are wired and so I don’t fight the tide on that one.”

In a bid to build momentum in his business John worked with the BAI and it was instrumental in learning how to grow his client base.

“I started as a buyer’s agent before I did the Buyer’s Agent Institute so the institute was really helpful for me because it covers everything from scripts and dialogues to mindset and time management.”

“Because I got in very fresh, I didn’t really know where to start. So for me, the most important part of the Buyer’s Agent Institute were scripts and dialogues and also scripts about how to convert prospects into clients.”

“The other big thing that the Buyer’s Agent Institute helped me with was understanding the value that I provide to the referral partners.”

“If you go to, a mortgage broker or a real estate agent, you don’t want to just ask them for a favour – “Hey, come and help. Send me some referrals.” What you want to do is create a transaction of mutual value for them rather than simply asking a favour.”

Going forward, John wants to continue to grow his business, through more effective practices that depend less on him.

“In the next five to ten years I want to focus on systematising the process more and scaling up so that it’s not so dependent on me.”

“That’s one of the things about the buyer’s agent business, it is very personalised and it’s very much about my brand as John. I want to sort of get away from that towards a more scalable model.”

For anyone considering a career as a buyers agent, John notes that it is a people business.

“The main thing is that being a buyer’s agent’s about people, not about property.”

“A lot of people get into the buying business because they love property, but if you simply love property, it might not be the right thing for you because as a buyer’s agent you deal in the peoples’ wealth, their frailties, their insecurities, their fear of debt and their fear to take action.”

“It’s not about the properties, it’s about the people.”

Helping Buyers

Buyer's Agent Darren Piper

Darren Piper has been running his buyers agency, Universal Buyers Agents for 4.5 half years and in that time has seen both his business and the industry grow significantly.

With a passion for property and a significant investment portfolio under his belt, Darren saw the opportunity to help on the buy-side and made to move to start his own business.

“I’d owned a couple of investment properties prior to getting into real estate as a profession myself. I was working in the mines previously before getting into real estate and then decided to make the jump.”

“I was a selling agent for myself for two years in and around Brisbane and then started Universal about four and a half years ago.”

When Darren was operating as a selling agent, buyers agents were few and far between, but he saw an opportunity.

“When I was on the selling side, I’d bump into or come across other buyer’s agents from time to time, but it was a very rare thing. And knowing it’s large in the US and it’s very much a niche part of the real estate sector, my belief on it was it was only going to grow.”

“So it was more of a strategic decision more than anything, coupled with wanting to have my own business.”

With his business, Darren focuses on helping all types of property buyers.

“Back when I started the business, a lot of other buyer’s agencies were focusing on one type of buyer or one buyer profile if you will, whether it was owner-occupiers or just investment.”

“My opinion back then, I still haven’t changed to this day, that if you’re a buyer and you need assistance for whatever reason, whether it’s being time poor, frustration with the agents or lack of choice or whatever it may be, I want to help you. So I really went into it from the get-go with very open arms if you will.”

When Darren initially set up his business, the biggest issues for him was educating buyers.

“The biggest challenge that we faced back then and it’s certainly changed now is that it’s an awareness and education.”

“A lot of people don’t know that buyer’s agents exist and then they sort of look at it and go, “Well, 99% of the buyer pool in the country buy themselves, why would I pay you a fee to do it?” But that’s changing given that there is more education and more awareness now.”

Darren decided to work with BAI to help improve the processes in his business.

“Working with Ben has been an absolute game-changer for me in a couple of ways. I was already established and was already trading for probably three years prior to engaging in Ben’s course and furthering that relationship in a mentor and sort of business coach capacity.”

“I knew of Ben for quite some time, obviously with his involvement with Cohen Handler. And then over time I’ve just built a stronger and stronger relationship with him and it’s made a huge impact on my business from an accountability point of view – dialogue, structure, recruiting.”

“He’s just across every segment of the buyer’s agent space. I mean, he’s been there and done it so I’d never not use him as a business coach.”

Going forward Darren wants to continue to grow his business while focusing on quality.

“My view has always been quality over quantity and I think that’s something that somewhat lacks in real estate in general.”

“There’s a lot of agents or agencies out there that get bums on seats from a recruitment point of view simply for the public perception that they’re bigger than they are. That’s certainly not our approach.”

“We’re about quality agents and quality team members rather than just building a team for the sake of it. So recruitment’s a big focus for me at the moment – adding more people to the team, which is certainly well underway.”

“But really just to be the absolute best that we can possibly be and dominate the Brisbane Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast market.”

For those looking at a career as a BA, Darren suggests getting the right people around you and know what you’re looking to achieve.

“Have clear direction, have the right mentors and people around you and if you’re not willing to go it on your own because it’s not for everyone, get the right mentorship or work for a company that can provide the right career path for you.”

“Because it is a really exciting career in itself and there’s a lot of flexibility with work hours and you can certainly enjoy the fruits of your labour. And I think from a job satisfaction point of view, you certainly get more out of acting for the buyer than you do the seller.”

From Selling to Buying

Buyer's Agents Sue & Simon Scott

After purchasing her first property as a 19-year-old, Sue Scott has gone on to build a large property portfolio that spans the globe.

Sue has been involved in the industry in various capacities for many years and now works with her son Simon, at Scott Properties Group based out of Queensland.

“I bought my first property when I was 19 in England and then invested in other properties until I came back to Australia in 2006.”

“I started the process over again by buying properties that were not always in the high-end areas that looked to be good opportunities moving forward, so it wasn’t for any instant capital gain, but they had good rental potential.”

“Simon bought his first property in the UK when he was 22 and he had a similar path. We’ve been buying and selling, in Australia for the last 14 years.”

Sue has worked as both a selling agent and buyers agent but liked helping people as opposed to the marketing side of sales.

“I was a selling agent in Noosa for many years and when Simon got his licence, he sat on it for quite a while not sure what we were going to do because I actually did not want to go back into the selling arena. I’d had enough of putting boards up.”

“Simon’s background is slightly different. Simon is an award-winning architect in the UK and an award-winning building designer here in Australia.”

“After we thought it over we said, “How about a buyer’s agency?” Because up here in Queensland generally there’s very little education as to what a buyer’s agent was.”

With Simon also having a background in architecture, Scott Properties Group is able to help both investors and owner-occupiers, and especially those looking to build or renovate.

“As a buyer’s agent, we nurture our clients as if they’re our friends in the end, especially owner-occupiers because it’s a very, very different strategy to an investment property.”

“We’re kind of like a more of a one-stop-shop that’s for people who want to buy. So that’s quite an important part of our business as well. It’s not just a buyer’s agency and negotiating it’s also having someone who can actually advise them on all manner of different things and also building.”

“A lot of our clients who are investing come to us because they know that we’ve got a critical eye on the actual building itself, especially if it needs renovating.”

Sue and Simon decided to work with the BAI to improve their all-round skills and build a network of other buyers agents across the country.

“We upskilled with Ben, which was great to be part of that and we’ve made some really good connections within that group as well.”

“It wasn’t so much how to run the business because we’re already entrepreneurs and business people, it was more tapping into his knowledge and to better understand the difference between being a selling agent and a buying agent. Because why reinvent the wheel?”

“No-one knows it all. So to have a mentor who has been through it from day one through to current times is worth everything quite frankly, we thought to be honest because it stops us from doing things that we probably didn’t need to do.”

Sue hopes to keep growing the business over the next five years but wants to retain the personal, boutique business model to better serve her clients.

“We will always be a boutique business. We don’t want to have hundreds of clients. It’s not how we want to be. We want to keep boutique, we want to be about the people that regardless of what they want to purchase, we’re going to be there and we’re going to control it ourselves.”

Giving People Honest Advice

Buyer's Agent Ben Plohl

After 15 years as a property investor, Ben Plohl has built up an extensive understanding of what a great investment looks like.

Ben started buying property at 18 years old and built up his portfolio across the course of his working life. After working as both a chartered account and CFO, Ben made the transition into a full-time property, in a bid to follow his passion and help others.

“As soon as I turned 18 I went out and bought my first property and from there I really developed a passion for property.”

“Over a long period of time I was able to build up a pretty large property portfolio and towards the end of the corporate career I didn’t need to have that corporate lifestyle anymore, I had a young family, I decided to make the transition into a buyer’s agent.”

Having worked with buyer’s agents throughout his own investment journey, Ben understood the benefits and felt he would be a good fit both personally and also given his background in business.

Ben’s business, BFP Property Buyers, focuses on the Sydney area for owner-occupiers given his in-depth knowledge of the area but also helps investors identify properties in all locations.

“We do both owner-occupier and investments. For owner-occupier perspective, we target Sydney, predominantly around the Hills district, Lower North and Upper North Shore, the Eastern Suburbs and the Inner West of Sydney.”

“From an investment perspective, we don’t have a bias to any particular location. Our location analysis and selection are based on a scientific data approach where we look at the economics behind certain markets and understand what’s going on at a sort of micro-level to then give our clients the advice around where to invest in in order to meet their specific goals. At the moment we invest in just over four different states across the country.”

BFP Property Buyers started at the beginning of 2019 and has grown quickly. Initially, Ben reached out to the BAI to help him get the business started on the right foot.

“Having run businesses in the past and big teams, I think going into your own small solo-operator business is always daunting in a new industry.”

“With Ben’s help and his course, it was a way to give me comfort in having a crack at it and ever since I started it’s been great. He’s a good guy.”

Going forward Ben is looking to continue to grow his business while focusing on helping people.

“Setting up a business is always great – the financial benefits are always great. But for me personally, it’s just helping people – giving them honest advice about helping them make better decisions when acquiring their largest asset that they most likely will buy in their lifetime. So that’s really important.”

“It’s important for me to be giving them independent representation in making smart decisions and not overpaying for property.”

For those looking at a career as a buyers agent, Ben suggest people give it a crack.

“I think it’s important that you have a good, thorough understanding of property. I think that’s really important. Having good interpersonal skills, being able to understand or extract information from your client to really give them valuable advice around what they might need and what they might not need.

“But ultimately it’s just if you’ve got the confidence then have a crack. I think the industry’s still in its infancy and there are opportunities for everyone.”

Maintaining High Standards

Buyer's Agent Matt sharp

Matt Sharp has had a passion for property for as long as he can remember.

When he turned 18, he set about saving for his first property and in the process started to learn everything he could about what drives property prices.

It took him six years to buy that first property, but since that point has gone on to build a substantial property portfolio and in the process has helped many people get started on their own property journey.

“Property is my passion and is something that I just love. I just enjoy all aspects, whether it be the data research, inspecting the property, or seeing how I could potentially develop or add value and then sharing that with other people.”

After finding a level of success personally, Matt wanted to expand what he was doing and felt that going down the path of becoming a buyer’s agent and helping and educating others was the right fit for him.

“The biggest thing for me early on what that, for every one positive story around property investing I heard, there were ten horror stories.”

“Not many people were having good experiences investing in property and unfortunately a couple of years ago there weren’t too many people out there giving good property investment advice.”

Matt is located on the Central Coast, an area that is doing exceptionally well at the moment and somewhere that he personally feels is a great place to be investing. His personal investment philosophy is a highly risk-averse one.

“In terms of the properties that we buy, I don’t buy anything brand new. Everything is existing, in areas that offer very low risk, low stock, low vacancy rates.”

“I’m a very, very low-risk investor personally and probably even more of a low-risk investor professionally when I’m advising people because obviously, I want to make sure that I’m eliminating every single pitfall possible.”.

While Matt had great success as an investor, getting his business up and running took time and plenty of perseverance.

“I’ve been operating for about 18 months now and to start with because I was on the Central Coast, the service wasn’t well known, so initially I just spent a lot of time just spreading the message that there was a buyer’s agent here on the central coast and sharing the message of what it was that I offered.”

“But getting clients just started from my inner circle or my established network of friends and other professionals or referral partners that I already had existing relationships with and those who sort of trusted me enough to refer some people to me and then obviously had some really good outcomes for people.”

“Then it just sorts of snowballed and snowballed from there. Now I get my clients from multiple referrals mainly because I’ve been fortunate enough to have some good outcomes and then people obviously trust you and then it just builds from there.”

Matt went through the BAI program and he feels it really helped him get where he wanted to go.

“Initially I didn’t really know how to get from A to Z. That’s what the BAI course does – it gives you a framework on how to run a successful buyer’s agency.”

“That help for me was tremendous and it just gave me the blueprint to be able to build my business and then how to run my business as well. So it taught me a lot.”

“I was never in real estate sales or anything like that, never wanted to be, never will be. I didn’t have a real estate background as such but leveraging my own personal experience and knowledge as well as the information that Ben shares in the BAI course combined, that can be quite powerful.”

“If you have your right morals and ethics and if you know your stuff, it can be very powerful.”

Going forward, Matt is looking to continue to grow his business while maintaining high standards.

“As clichéd as it sounds, I really want the buyer’s agent profession to have high standards and for people to look at us and our profession with a viewpoint that we add tremendous value and service because we all know what a real estate agent is and how people perceive them.”

“I really want to make sure that people look at my business in a completely different light.”

Matt suggests if you think a buyers agent sounds like the career for you, give it a go.

“There’s been a lot of late nights, there’s been a lot of early mornings, there’s been a lot of ups and downs, but for me personally it was probably the best thing that I did.”

“If you have a fire in the belly or if you have an itch that you feel as though you should be doing this, I would say give it a go because that’s what I did.”

From Funds Manager to Property Expert

Over the span of his working life, Vaibhav Rastogi, also referred to as ‘Rasti’, has learnt how to manage money and investments in both property and financial markets.

With a degree in Architecture and an MBA in Finance, behind him, Vaibhav after working in IT embarked on a career in Funds Management, where he managed over $2 billion of client funds. However, he realised that his passion was best served in helping individuals achieve wealth, rather than those that already have money.

As a successful property investor himself, he felt that helping people achieve success in property by becoming a buyers agent was the right fit for him.

“Eventually, I realised that my value system is more congruent to helping people on the ground level as compared to multiplying money for those who already have it.”

“Property investing is one of the most common, most trusted way of building wealth as we have seen throughout humankind, but at the same time, not everyone makes property investment a success. Property investing is simple but successful property investing is not that simple.”

“That’s where I started using my architecture skills of evaluating a property and its design, investing as a vehicle and understanding it’s not just about capital growth and cash flow, but also about the risk that people tend to overlook in all the excitement.”

Vaibhav had built a personal property portfolio of 15 properties, and his goal is to help others achieve the same or better level of success.

“When I looked back, I realised that I started my property investing journey when I didn’t have much in my pocket, and now, I’m sitting on decent equity – this is exactly what I want to do for my prospective clients.”

“I had been unofficially helping my friends and family, but the whole reason that I wanted to start a business around it is so that I could reach out and help other people beyond my social circle.”

Given his success as an investor, Vaibhav already had a network of people around him that were interested in using his services as a buyer’s agent, which made the transition easier for him.

“Lots of people around me were actually waiting for me to start a business so they could approach me, so the pipeline was already there.”

“The business is going great so far. I run workshops on a monthly basis, where I outline my portfolio approach, referred to as Get Rare Model, and how I built my own portfolio without taking too much risk.”

“Calling myself a professional buyer’s agent has also given me a lot of leverage when I talk to the selling agents as well because they know that I’m actually representing not just only one client, but maybe a handful of clients in one go. Apparently helping me establish the relationship rather one considered as a transaction.”

Despite having a solid background as a successful property investor, Vaibhav decided to reach out to the BAI to gain a better understanding of running the business side of a buyer’s agency as well as to see how others built their businesses.

“Ben and his team at BAI do an amazing job as for me, coming from the corporate world where it was all about teamwork and working together, when I started on my own I realised that I’m all by myself.”

“BAI with their guidance, coaching and mentorship, has given us a network of other fellow buyer’s agents and it’s easy to visualise what a business can potentially look like in, twelve months or even five years.”

Vaibhav’s main focus is working with property investors and given his background and personal success, that was always going to be a good fit. One of the core components of Vaibhav’s methodology is centred around managing risk across an entire property portfolio. In much the same way a share investor looks to diversify, Vaibhav believes having a portfolio approach to both risk and growth is vital. Having worked in research advisory for Financial Planners, he appreciates how essential it is to get the solution client-centric and holistic.

For those people looking to start a career as a buyer’s agent, he feels that passion for property is vital.

“It is such a big responsibility and one has to take it very seriously because clients are giving you the responsibility of buying their property, which is one of the biggest investments they are ever going to make.”

“Buyers Agents also have to have a passion for the people because it’s just not about the properties, but also about the people.“