From Business Owner to Buyer’s Advocate

by Ben Handler

August 22, 2023

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.”

  • Blog
  • Career
  • Client Service
  • Education
  • Featured
  • Profiles
  • Property