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.”