If You’re Good Enough, You’re Old Enough

by Ben Handler

August 25, 2020

If You're Good Enough, You're Old Enough

Henry – James Single:

Oh look, I think I’ve been doing it for a while now. And, um, I’ve had the, you know, the, the awesome sort of experience of working with a lot of good operators like yourself and then are doing a little stint on, on the sales side as well. Um, worked with, you know, some great operators there like Rick [inaudible] and Patrick Cosgrave and a little stint at, um, it feels fans of Donnelley as well, which a lot of people would be familiar with. So that’s been of great use to me moving forward as a buyer’s agent, especially for the primary residence business, um, of the business. Um, so yeah, it’s, it’s been good.

Ben Handler:

Welcome to the Buyer’s Agent Institute Show. The purpose of the show is to bring awareness around the career opportunities that the buyer’s agent sector is providing to people who want to get into real estate to bring a rareness around the value that buyers, Aiden’s provide people who need help buying property. The goal of the show is to strip back and dive into the opportunities, the stories, the journeys of remarkable buyers agents who are paving the way forward. In one of the fastest growing career sectors in real estate in Australia right now. Our guest today is Henry single. Henry and I go way back. He has been working in real estate. Eight years is a young guy. He’s 25 and that’s when I started my business Cohen handler. However, he has a great story. He’s a country boy from Dani du. He started off at my former company Cohen handler where he was a buyer’s agent.

Ben Handler:

He then over time work to other companies and also transitioned into a real estate agent role. So he’s got a lot of experience working on the buyer’s side and the selling side. The most exciting news is Henry has now gone out on his own. He started his own buyer’s agent business for 2020 it’s called pivot advisory. Check him out. He is specializing in PPOR, so principal place of residence investment buying. He runs a borderless investment model, so he’s buying property across different States for investment purposes across Australia. Henry’s got a very strong work ethic. He’s already got a lot of clients already locked in, ready to go for 2020 today. I’d like to introduce Henry Single. Welcome Henry.

Henry – James Single:

Thanks for having me.

 

Ben Handler:

Made it so exciting that we’re sitting here now and I remember when we first worked with each other back in the Cohen Handler, the days and to see you now eight years later running your own business made it’s, it’s awesome.

Henry – James Single:

Well, yeah, it’s all because of you Ben. S

 

Ben Handler:

Oh, come on.

 

Henry – James Single:

No, but I really think and I actually feel that it’s inspiring seeing people like you who you get in the trenches, you learn the ropes earlier on, you’re 25 it’s a similar age. When I started my former business Cohen handler, and it’s just, it’s inspiring seeing entrepreneurs like yourself get out there and make it happen. But I don’t look at age as anything in terms of it. For someone who is 25 years old to have already worked in real estate eight years as a buyer’s agent, as a selling agent. So you’re understanding the, the psyche of how buyers work, how sellers work. You bought property in different States for clients for investment, you’ve done the PPOR like you’ve, you’ve gained a lot of I think, knowledge experience with which I think a lot of buyer’s agents who are potentially even age don’t have.

Yeah. Look, I think the, the, the time that I spent on the sales side was invaluable to me as, as a buyer’s agent and progressing and flourishing and becoming a more, um, mature agent just in the sense that there’s a lot of valuable insights to gain from being on the sales side, even if only for a short time. And it’s something now that I’m implementing into my new business, um, you know, to a prerequisite to getting a job there. Now pivot advisory that you have to have been on the sales side for a minimum of 12 months. Um, so, uh, I think it’s something that sort of sets us apart from a lot of the other buyer’s agents out there. I like that. I’m just curious. So you obviously said, you know, he learned a lot working on the sales side was instrumental, but part of your now hiring policy.

Ben Handler:

So part of your recruitment is people who’ve worked on the sales side. Why is that?

Henry – James Single:

I haven’t listed the selling, I just, I’m just curious to understand why that is. So I think it’s just, it feeds into our negotiation strategy or certainly feeds into my negotiation strategy and this is something that’s not, um, confined to the ACE and suburb did something that’s universal across any sort of real estate transaction in Australia and something that I’ve used time and time again, but it’s more, it’s kind of, it’s like when a real estate agent says a certain thing to you. I think back to when I was a sales agent and I think, okay, when I’d say that to buyers, I’d be trying to evoke this reaction or steer them in this direction. So it’s just really valuable information that you can then use to benefit the client essentially. So I just think we’re really well placed, having experienced as sales agents to um, you know, to now better service our clients as buyer’s agents. Yeah, it makes sense. I mean, it’s invaluable. I think the, the way your conversations would be structured dealing with real estate agents, I mean, yeah,

Ben Handler:

You know, how they talk used to be one and as you’ve got a team of buyer’s agents who are on that side, I mean it’s,

Henry – James Single:

it’s effectively, it’s going to help your clients get better outcomes. Yeah, exactly right. And I think having banners, sales agent, it helps you, um, understand their process a lot more. Um, and I think that the biggest piece of advice for any, um, buyer’s agent going out there now that I could give to them would be just, um, have respect for, for real estate agents because without them, essentially our, our job wouldn’t exist. So I think that’s something that I learned being on the sales side, how you come across as a buyer’s agent. And it’s something that I’ve then subsequently worked on and it’s been really effective for me. Um, I think it’s maybe one of the, our biggest, our strongest points is, is our, our relationships with the agents. Um, so yeah, it’s been, it’s been pivotal for, uh, for our business. You mentioned the word respect for agents or respect and that resonates because you, we need to have respect as a buyer’s agent.

Henry – James Single:

You know, respect means when you go to an open for inspection and you leave, you call them and give feedback. Right. Did you have buyers agents coming through your properties? He didn’t call you back. Yeah, exactly right. And I think um, there’s a temptation sometimes to buyer’s agents to, to paint them themselves as good and, and the real estate agent is as able, which is just not necessarily the case. Everyone’s got a job to do. We’re representing two different sides of the transaction. So it’s just something I really noticed when I was a sales agent, the way some buyer’s agents would come across and it just doesn’t, it didn’t really resonate or gel with me well at the time. So it’s something when I flipped back to the buyer side as something I was really implemented in my business. Yeah. I remember when you were working at back in the Cohen handler days and you, there was a time where you were focusing in the Western Sydney cause we’re buying a lot of investment properties there and I thought it was incredible how you able to go into a new market because you’re not from there.

Um, and really learn about a new market, not just learn market intelligence on properties but also new real estate agent relationships. Starting to build a network there. I guess starting your business now, do you feel like you’re having to learn new areas? I know you’re opening up the doors to buy investment properties in different areas. Do you feel like you’re going through an educational process now about learning about new areas or are you keeping it super tight in areas that you’re familiar with? I think there’s things that you can take away from transactions that are universally applicable, but what you’re talking about in terms of going into a new area, I think, uh, the key thing there is just to be super, super hungry for, for new information.

 

Ben Handler:

And again, just looping back around to the real estate agents, they’re a fantastic source of, um, you know, what are the best streets? What are the best areas, um, why is this property not perform or sold for less than, than, you know, a comparable property on the same street. So I think, again, you’ve just got to, um, you know, really use our relationship with, with real estate agents and it’s, it’s, um, you know, there are some of the friendliest people in the world so they’re not difficult to get along with and they’re not difficult to chat to. So, you know, I think we’re so lucky to, to speak to some of the friendliest, happiest people in the world every day. It’s great. And you know, I obviously you’ve been doing this show for a while now, speaking to a lot of buyer’s agents. And it’s interesting talking to you because your placing, which I think is incredible, such a strong emphasis on real estate agents and the relationships and I, it’s at, that’s what we need.

Henry – James Single:

They, I mean, they don’t need us. They’ve got buyers coming through their door. We happen to be representing some of the buyers but they don’t need us mean. We actually need them a lot of the time. And it’s great how you talk about the word respect and just the importance of, you know, establishing and nurturing realization relationships. Absolutely. I think without, uh, you, you know, you don’t get access to off-market listings as much, um, you don’t get in the in the door before it’s been, um, you know, before it’s been officially signed or you don’t get the tip off about something that’s coming up unless you have those strong relationships with those agents. So it’s just so important. How do you notice, and maybe is there anything you’ve noticed like starting back at the Cohen handler days when, let’s just say there weren’t that many buyer’s agents in Australia, especially in Sydney and new South Wales, and hearing about maybe dealing with potential clients around what they thought of buyer’s agents.

Ben Handler:

How would add value? Have you noticed a shift from let’s say seven years ago, eight years ago or five whenever the time is till now around the demand and the need for buyer’s agents?

 

Henry – James Single:
Undoubtably I think when I, when I first started with you at, at Cohen handler, um, the biggest sort of challenge that we faced was actually educating the client on what a buyer’s agent is and how they operate, how they charge. Whereas now over the last, you know, eight years that I’ve been doing this, um, I’ve noticed a big shift away from that and more now towards, okay, we know what a buyer’s agent is, we know roughly what the benefits are. Um, you know, let’s get going. So it’s a lot easier I think to, to get business now as opposed to to when I originally started. And I think obviously matured a lot as an agent since then as well, which, which feeds into that also.

 

But yeah, there’s been a big, big consumer shift over the last eight years. Do you think because they’re more educated in the, in what we do and the value we provide or do you think it’s just because they may be just want to outsource more now just with the speed of technology around the other parts of their lives? Like, you know, you want to get food, you go buy, you want to get laundry called laundry, laundry up, everything’s the tip of finger. Now, what, what do you think of the key drivers as to why really they’re more receptive to buyer’s agents now? I think everyone’s situation’s unique and, and you know, you can provide value as a buyer’s agent in different ways to different customers. And I think it’s important to remain flexible in that. In that sense, I don’t think, um, you know, we have lots of different ways of charging, some creative ways of charging, um, and some creative levels of service.

 

So I think, I don’t think it’s ever right to put one way of doing business forward to the consumer. Um, you know, it’s nice to, uh, leave it up to them as to how they, um, what to work with you. So I think, um, yeah, it’s, it’s important to remain flexible in that sense. Yeah. Nice. So starting a business is never easy and I’ve started quite a few. And even when you’re running a successful business, it’s always challenging. Like with just life itself, there’s always challenges. What are you going to do anything differently this year, now that you’re running your own business? Like is your morning routine changing? Is is anything that you are going to put effort in, in making a difference in now that you’re effectively out on your own running your own show? Yeah, so an interesting thing that I’ve done is I’ve sort of split my business into two silos.

Ben Handler:

I think it’s really important, especially when you’re dealing with property. It’s the, it’s the largest financial attraction, uh, personal financial transaction that the most people will make in their entire, so I think it’s important to deal with the specialist. So I think the primary residence side of the business and the investor side of the business are two separate clientele and there’s two separate dialogues around it and sort of two separate needs and wants from those consumers. So I’ve split my business into, into two silos. They fall under the same banner, um, but there’s just experts in both fields that are going to service the clients, um, while servicing the clients. So, um, I think that’s really important as it’s something that we’ve, we’ve done differently to how we’ve operated in the past. Yeah. Nice. So the focus for pivot advisory this year, do you think, if you were to look at, if you were to look forward and, and then see all the transactions you’ve done for your clients, let’s say, let’s just pretend we’re December 20 now, 30 Christmas again, would you, would you think that the majority of your transactions are investment or PPOR?

Henry – James Single:

So I’m a very goal orientated person, so I’ve got a really clear idea of exactly what the splits are going to be between primary residence and investors. And I’ve got sort of the first 12 months and beyond mapped out in terms of like financial forecasting and what I need to break even. So I’ve never really felt more prepared for, for anything. But yeah, to give you a little bit of an insight, um, the, the goal of this year is for 40 investor transactions and 30 primary residence transactions. So nice. Um, which is a little bit on top of of what we did last year, but not too much of a stretch that it’s unattainable. It’s great. And that’s one of the, I mean you’ve been in the game eight years so it’s not like you’re fresh, but some are some of my students who are really experienced at buying property who are going out on their own.

Ben Handler:

I mean they’re new to running a business. They’re also new to begin being a buyer’s agent. I mean it’s just amazing to see you like come out of the Gates, you’re clear on your forecasting on your goals and I’m sure you will nail your goal of 70 transactions in the year. I mean, it’s just awesome to see someone at your age get out there, run your own business. And really, I mean it’s, it can be a very profitable business that we run, right? Absolutely. Like if you’re not going hard on paid media, you got your business partner referrals. Like I know you do. You’ve got your mortgage brokers, your financial planners, accountants, real estate agents, et cetera. Going, it can be a really, I think, low overhead, high profit business. Absolutely. I have to totally agree with you. And it’s just something that has proved itself year and year time and time again over the last eight years.

Henry – James Single:

For me it’s um, you know, it’s, it can be a really lucrative business. Yeah. But you’ve got to work hard like with anything, right? Yeah. You’ve got to work hard, but it does provide flexibility. Absolutely. Yeah. It can. I think it can be a lot of things to you. It, it can be something that you grow as, as you’d be well aware into, you know, an eight or nine figure business or it can be something that provides, um, uh, you know, different lifestyle for you, but it’s still a quite a lucrative income. I think it’s just more what, what you wanted to be, um, if that makes sense. Yeah. Agreed. And so you’re obviously country. Boy, did you have any plans of buying re like regional or getting into any, into any of those style of country towns down the track or you saw, I’ve got some, a few properties myself.

Ben Handler:

Um, one of them is in a regional location, not too far away from, from home. So we went in there a couple of years ago now and it’s, it’s been a good investment for us, but yeah. Excellent. That’s awesome. So is it just yourself or if you’ve got other team members already? So I’ve got myself as the owner of the business, um, and then I’ve got three staff working with me at the moment. I’m believable kicking off 20, 20 new business, 25, three staff working with you. And if are they BAS or are they just support roles or, so one Helen’s more of a standalone BA. Uh, and then I’ve got Oscar who’s, who’s growing into, uh, a Bay, uh, he’s just sort of doing a lot of sourcing and, and that sort of, um, nature of the business for me at the moment. And then I’ve got like a, a part time sort of research associate who knew he, I know he, that’s nice.

And so any other plans this year as part of your growth plan to get more staff and you’re just gonna keep it as it is? I think I look at, I’d like to add one or two more staff by the end of the year, but I want to be able to support them in the, in the correct way, uh, and, and sorta help them get business and give them business. So I’m going to do it when the, when the time’s right. Not when, not for the sake of, of adding staff. So, yeah. Nice. And, um, I mean I’m, I’m a bit out of touch with, with ma, I mean market pricing and all that stuff. At the moment I’m not running a buyer’s agent specific business. However, I’ve, I’ve heard around Sydney that in some areas the prices are like back in 2017 are you seeing that or is that a bit of nonsense?

Henry – James Single:

Uh, I think so. It’s hard just to, um, to paint Sydney with such a broad brush. Um, there’s so many different sub markets and you know, they, they, uh, react and, um, they react in different ways to market forces. So I think places like the Eastern suburbs, um, even within that and within this and suburbs at different submarkets as well. Um, but I think certainly some areas of have been hit a lot harder than others. Um, I always sort of use, uh, Alexandria and, and uh, botany is a bit of a, a poster by, of oversupply, which I think was, was hit reasonably hard in the, in the last sort of, in the most recent downturn, um, by places like double Bay in Bellevue Hill where um, supplies tight, they’re not really making many more apartments. I think they’re, they’re always, um, seem reasonably resilient to those external market forces.

Ben Handler:

Yeah. And the places like double Bay, I’m assuming Bellevue Hill or pots point or wherever where stock is tied, I’m assuming that’s where your agent relationships come handy for off markets, pre markets, all that stuff. Right? Yeah, exactly right. We’ve turned our focus, uh, in the last couple of years more towards the beaches. Um, so like Bondai down to Maroubra, I think it’s a good price point. The clientele down there, um, you know, uh, a nice and always really grateful for the, the work that you do. So, um, that’s been transformational for, for our business, the primary residence arm. Anyway, so let’s talk about quickly primary residence. What, what’s, uh, is there an average time frame that your from sign up, the signup of the client to exchange that you have any data on, around what the time is taking you to, to buy? Yeah, so that’s something that we, we track pretty closely just to get an idea of, um, you know exactly how, how profitable is a certain brief is, which I think is something to, it’s something that’s important to monitor as a business.

Henry – James Single:

Um, so where typically sort of four to six weeks, um, which is a little bit shorter I think than, than some of the, the other guys out there. But I think it’s kind of like the old saying, you know, the harder you work, the luckier you get. So the harder you work, the more properties you can produce, the more opportunities you can walk the client through. And then that in turn makes it easy for them to make a decision at the end of the process. If you’ve been able to show them 30 options, it’s really, um, it makes it a lot easier for them to make that all important commitment to, to that property there. Yeah. Unbelievable. And I mean that’s quick in, in, in a very good way. I mean, if I was a potential client of yours, I mean I remember back in the days a lot of the clients we spoke to were looking at minimum three to four months, some a year, some two years who you are, you know, buying in less than two months per which, which is great.

Ben Handler:

And what about investment? Have you got any data on how long it’s taken you to, to nail brace for your investor clients? Usually about three to five weeks.

 

Henry – James Single:
Yeah, it’s the same thing again, it’s a, I think it’s about just showing the client a lot of opportunities, um, and that makes it easy for them to make a decision. But yeah, about three to five weeks is where we’re assuming out at the moment. And, I mean, I ask a different buyer’s agents this question, but I’m just curious to get your feedback on this.

 

Ben Handler:

A lot of the potential clients that you get in front of you want to call them prospects or whatever we labeled them as, why is there, why is there a common thread as to why they’re coming to you that you see? Like is it predominantly time poor? Is it maybe they’ve had a tough time with real estate as they are looking for more access to stock?

Is there like a common theme that you notice or is it pretty spread out? I think, uh, yeah, it’s uh, it’s pretty spread out.

 

Henry – James Single:

Um, it’s all just as unique as, as their own sorta their own story. They might’ve had a, you know, a situation recently where they missed out on auction, uh, at auction or they might’ve been, um, you know, looking for six months while the wife was on maternity leave and she’s gone back to work and they can no longer juggle it all. Um, so there’s any number of reasons. But yeah, I think getting access to stocks important because there is a lot that that trades off market. Um, and you know, if you’re spending two or $3 million, not by any stretch of the imagination is it is a pocket chain. So I think naturally people want to make an informed decision when they’re spending that amount of money. And a huge part of that is, is having access to every single option that’s available to you. It’s, it’s, it’s, it’s a big one.

And I think, um, it’s interesting just to see the, the direction that some buyer’s agents are going now with this national also investment style of model. I’m seeing a lot of that happening where buyer’s agents are identifying whether it’s just one state or whether it’s a few different States to diversification and they’re really, uh, finding key suburbs in these geographic States. And then they’re looking to really purchase properties for their investor clients. With this kind of like borderless model, what do you like, what are your thoughts on that?

Ben Handler:

I think it’s, it’s, uh, it’s amazing and such a key part of our business. And from a, an onboarding point of view with a prospect or as you say, whatever label, um, you know, people want to give them, I think it’s, it’s, uh, you know, it’s, it’s very easy from a business perspective to onboard those people because the, the ability for them to go and do it themselves is somewhat limited. Uh, it’s very difficult to, to buy in your local market, let alone buy nationally. Uh, but if you want to get access to the best investment markets and the best, uh, investment opportunities, I think you do need to take her a national approach. Otherwise you’re missing out.

 

Henry – James Single:

Yeah. And just, it’s just more options for the client.

 

Ben Handler:
Correct. That’s what it comes down to. So last question, you around in your own now I’m just curious like what advice do you, you know, I’m passionate about seeing people transform Korea. I came from a corporate role. I was an employee, got out of that program, started my own business and started many businesses after that. But a lot of people get caught in the employee grind. Right. I’m like, what is your, what would be your advice to people who are kind of, you know, even guys your age or whatever, who, who was, who was stuck doing work that they don’t like, um, they’re not really connected with around having the courage to maybe look at something else where they can take more control of their life.

Henry – James Single:

I think probably the biggest piece of advice I pass on to those people and to, to put it quite bluntly, is you’re not a tree. Just get up and move. If, if you’re not happy and you’re not satisfied in your work, you spend so much time at work over your entire life. If, if it’s not satisfying for you, then just hop up and move. I love it. Short, sharp to the point. I think that’s a lot of, I’ve posted them on Instagram about that before. I love it. Before we finish up, where can people find you? Uh, so they can contact us. So on a our one 300 number, which is on 304 Oh two four two four a or you can just reach out to me via email, which is just Henry at pivot, pb.com. That AAU awesome having you made. It’s, it’s, it’s great to, to be sitting here with you while you’re running your own business. I love seeing people run their own businesses made and get out there and do their own thing made. So congratulations. Thank you van. Thanks having

Ben Handler:

before we, um, finish up. You know, it’s for me, as I just mentioned, just sitting here with Henry who is now running his own business. I love seeing that. I love seeing people take ownership control of their life so they can actually control what they want to do. They’re not at the flick of the switch destined by someone else. I say this and we’re downsizing now. Off you go. So please check out Henry where he directed you to. Henry’s been doing this for a long time. He’s worked as he said, a selling agent and a buyer’s agent and he’s bought property himself. He specializes in different States, not just within New South Wales for investment purposes. He’s specializing in PPOR within Sydney, I’m assuming, within the inner city. So check out Henry. Inspiring story. See you next time.

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