Mind, Body, Sold

by Ben Handler

November 24, 2020

Ben Handler:

Welcome to the Buyer’s Agent Institute how. The purpose of the show is to bring awareness to buyer’s agents. Bring awareness around the career opportunities the sector is providing people. To bring awareness of the value that buyer’s agents are providing people who need help buying property.

Ben Handler:

Our goal of the show is to strip back and dive into the remarkable stories and journeys of buyer’s agents who are paving the way forward in one of the fastest-growing career sectors in real estate right now.

Ben Handler:

Our guest today is Elaine Davies. She’s from the UK. She’s from Wales. She’s got an awesome career background. It’s very diverse. She was a TV and radio presenter. She was a magazine columnist. She is an author. She recently published a book called Mind, Body, Sold. She’s published, I believe, four books. She’s also worked as a selling agent, and that was in Asia.

Ben Handler:

When she did go through a divorce, when she was back in Australia, she then got back into becoming a selling agent again. But then realized that the buyer was heavily misrepresented. There was a massive gap. The buyer needed more attention. So she became a buyer’s agent. She worked for a few firms. We actually worked together at my former company Cohen Handler. She’s awesome.

Ben Handler:

And now she’s recently started her own business, called New Road Property. And Elaine has a very strong purpose. I think it’s very deep. It’s really focused on empowering women. Helping women become more financially secure. Helping women understand how to get the money to work for them. And using the property as an investment vehicle to really achieve it.

Ben Handler:

I’m super excited to introduce Elaine. Welcome.

Elaine Davies:

Ben, thank you. What a beautiful introduction. You’re so gorgeous.

Ben Handler:

Thank you. There’s a lot there. We knew you’ve got a good background. It’s a deep background. So, did I nail it?

Elaine Davies:

You nailed it. There are no re-takes here.

Ben Handler:

Awesome. You’ve got the book there, Mind, Body, Sold.

Elaine Davies:

Yeah, I’ve got the book. So, you’re right. I wrote this because I really… You were a buyer’s agent, I’m a buyer’s agent, but not everybody wants to use a buyer’s agent. And maybe people live in small communities. So I gave away every single tip. Everything from the searching to the negotiating. It’s all in here. So for 30 bucks, people can have our experience.

Elaine Davies:

But I also delved into the mindset. Because a lot of times people don’t buy, not because they don’t know how to look, and not because they haven’t got the money, but there’s something in them. They’re in property mindset, or people around them are going, “Don’t do that. Come out for a cocktail. Don’t save that money.” They haven’t got goals. They haven’t got a vision. So I wrote that as well.

Elaine Davies:

And I’ve also written a little part about why women drew the wealth short straw and the circumstances around that. But, more importantly, what we can do about it.

Ben Handler:

It’s powerful, and I love the heading. I know I spoke to you last year about it. I read it, and it is very good. And you give away a lot. I always admire it when people actually give it all out. They’re not just giving a bit, as like a tickler.

Elaine Davies:

It’s not a lead magnet.

Ben Handler:

That ain’t a lead magnet. No, but I think you’ve got a lot of experience. As I said, you’ve worked as a selling agent overseas. You’ve worked as a selling agent, here in Sydney, for a long time. You’ve worked as a buyer’s agent. You’re running your own company now. You’ve also got life experience. You’ve been a writer. You are a writer. You’ve got a lot to bring to the table, right?

Ben Handler:

And I think, more importantly, what I feel connected with what you’re doing is… even though I’m not a female… is how you are connected with serving women.

Elaine Davies:

Yeah, that’s a good word.

Ben Handler:

Why are you so passionate about it?

Elaine Davies:

Oh, well, two reasons. Yeah, I’m glad you asked me that. There’s a really big picture, in that statistics are showing that the growing stats around homelessness is women, and it’s growing evermore.

Elaine Davies:

So, women coming out of divorces, or all kinds of reasons. But women are actually ending up on the streets. So that’s the big picture. I just want to be a tiny little cog, in helping that level down, and come back a bit. And that, I think, is a lot to do with mindset, and people [inaudible 00:03:57].

Elaine Davies:

Now, on a personal level, as you say I was on the TV, I was on many radio stations, including [inaudible 00:04:05], Qantas. I think I was writing about seven magazines. I was publishing authors. I was the Carrie Bickmore of Sydney. And I was running large. I was flying all over the world. I was working, even back then, on my computer.

Elaine Davies:

Then I got married, and within four years, I was a single mother of a two-year-old. Now if I hadn’t frittered that money away in my 20s and 30s, I would’ve been fine. But I was of the mindset then, and I don’t come from a family where we create money. I come from a family where you work hard. We’re grafters. That working-class thing. It’s week to week. And everything’s got to be hard.

Elaine Davies:

My own story, my life would be… I’ve caught up now, but when my marriage broke up, I was like, “Okay, what do we do now?” And it was quite tough for quite a number of years.

Elaine Davies:

Yeah, I’ve seen that story happen so many times, and it’s so easy just to save a little bit, and get an investment.

Ben Handler:

Yeah. It sounds easy, but a lot of people don’t do it.

Elaine Davies:

We just need to spend less and save more. My grandmother had four dresses in her… I think she had three dresses in her wardrobe. A day dress, a church dress and something else. But think how big the wardrobes were. They were just little wooden wardrobes.

Ben Handler:

I’m surprised about the women and the homelessness. I actually didn’t know that. That’s insightful. How are you finding women, in terms of them being receptive, to wanting to go on this journey? To really have the money working for them, and to really start building wealth themselves.

Elaine Davies:

I think a lot of them feel really relieved because a lot of them have said… women are really good savers. We run households, sometimes with six people. We’re juggling bills. There are mortgages, there are school fees going out. There are school notes going out. So women are actually very good managers of money.

Elaine Davies:

It’s the next step we don’t tend to take. For some reason… And I was talking to a very successful woman about this the other day. She said, “Oh, we’re a great team. I do the searching, and my husband does the buying.” And I said, “Oh, interesting. So you do the pretty bit at the beginning, and you hand over the finances?” She went, “Oh, yeah, I suppose so.”

Ben Handler:

Handballs it.

Elaine Davies:

Handballs it. “You do the negotiations. I don’t want to do that.” We’re really good negotiators, women. We are constantly negotiating all day, every day. We need to own that in a really deep and powerful level. And just step up and go, “Yeah, man, I’m going to create this life.”

Ben Handler:

I personally think that women, in my time that I was working specifically in the buyer’s agent space in my company, I actually think women are more suited for the role. I think the selling side is very alpha male. Dog eat dog. And I do… And I would see that… I know you’ve been a selling agent. I haven’t. But I would see it’d be hard for a lady on that side. Maybe that’s wrong, but that’s how I see it, unfortunately. But on the buy side, I think the women have the power. And I hope to see more women.

Elaine Davies:

Me too. It’d be great to see more women in the industry as a whole. But it’s interesting you were saying… Because I became a buyer’s agent because I didn’t like the way the buyers were being treated. And, while I’m in real estate and so are you, I think we’re pretty honest people. Our core is that we’re working for the particular clients we’re working for.

Elaine Davies:

And I remember, it happened to me a few times, a buyer would call me and say, because I’d built up such a good relationship, “Look, Elaine, I can go another 20, but don’t tell the vendor. Start at five.” Well, they’d already told the vendor. I was the vendor’s representative. So I’d file my nails all day, go for a coffee and come back, and go, “Really exciting news. We’ve got it for the 20. I couldn’t go to five, don’t worry about that. Really exciting, got it for the 20.” And I was a pretty level negotiator.

Elaine Davies:

Yeah, absolutely, people really need a buyer’s advocate, because you’re making money when you buy, not when you sell. You buy rubbish, it’s not going to come up above the medium, which is what we all want.

Elaine Davies:

So I would rather see people put their money into a buyer’s agent, than into a real estate agent.

Ben Handler:

It’s fascinating what you just shared, I’m not surprised, regarding how transparent buyers are with real estate agents. I think they forget that the selling agent works for the vendor.

Elaine Davies:

Selling agents, just by their nature, are friendly, even if they’re not behind closed doors. But a lot are. I’ve got nothing against selling agents. But they’re working for the vendor. And they just don’t know.

Ben Handler:

How was the shift? I know you’ve been a buyer’s agent for a while. This is not new to you. And real estate’s not new to you either. You’ve got a lot of experience. However, how was that shift when you moved? Because you would have moved from a selling agent to a buyer’s agent at a time when it was still not very recognized.

Elaine Davies:

I was kind of one of the first. Not real… There was another batch before me, but it wasn’t like it is today. I loved it straight away. Yeah. And the guy I was working for had… he’s a quite flashy guy around town. He had his Ferrari. Actually, it’s not that fun to get in and out of. They’re better on paper than they are. No, but apart from that, I loved it straight away. Looking at all these amazing properties. But not getting fooled by the smell of fresh coffee, and lights on inside, and all that. A lot of it is common sense, but you only know once you know.

Ben Handler:

It’s true, and you get fooled. A lot of buyers get fooled. They walk into a place, and they don’t judge the light correctly. They’ve gone at the wrong time of the day. They can do stupid things.

Ben Handler:

Let’s talk about New Road Property. So you’re based in the inner-West?

Elaine Davies:

Yes I am based in the inner-West, and inner-city.

Ben Handler:

Okay, inner-city. So you’re focusing on…

Elaine Davies:

Inner-West and East, which is why I chose to have my office in the city. Because I really know both just as well as each other.

Ben Handler:

And they’re good areas to service.

Elaine Davies:

They’re great, and I love them both.

Ben Handler:

Are you specializing primarily in owner-occ, investor, both?

Elaine Davies:

I’d say I’m 50, 50. It’s funny, I was just thinking about two of the last properties I bought. I bought a beautiful terrace house here in Surrey Hills for 2.3 million, and I bought an apartment… I can’t remember the name of the suburb now… for 850. But the apartment was for owner-occupiers, and the 2.3 million was for investors. And they could easily have been the other way around. So a good property is a good property.

Ben Handler:

What happened during COVID? Obviously, for all of us, it was a shock, it was quick, a lot of change. What did you notice, whether it was property or anything?

Elaine Davies:

Well, my garden’s looking good.

Ben Handler:

Your garden…

Elaine Davies:

It’s never looked so good. Obviously, for a while, we couldn’t take people out. But, in a way, I was busier, because we were really finding the off markets even more. And I found that one conversation was leading to another. I actually found real estate agents were more open to saying, “Look, I think there is a house coming up actually.”

Elaine Davies:

Because, suddenly, people just became more of enclosed society. That’s the wrong word. What am I trying to say? Just started working better together, I felt.

Ben Handler:

They were collaborating more.

Elaine Davies:

That’s the word. That’s the word, Ben.

Ben Handler:

Yeah, I felt that as well. I felt that.

Elaine Davies:

I think it was such a shock to the system for everybody. Because I was a person who was in denial. I was one of the last to go, “Okay, this is really serious.” I really found people quite helpful.

Elaine Davies:

So I’d be… As I say, speaking to one real estate, “Actually, there is a house coming up, that’s not me.” I’m like, “Okay.”

Ben Handler:

You’re being nice today.

Elaine Davies:

What’s going on? I like COVID.

Ben Handler:

Yeah, it seems like people became a bit more vulnerable, a bit more open.

Elaine Davies:

Yeah. Let’s hope that stays.

Ben Handler:

That’s what I’m praying for.

Elaine Davies:

Yeah, me too. It would be wonderful if the world stayed… It does feel like we’re all now against this big baddie out there, and the baddie’s the virus. And we’re all looking after each other.

Ben Handler:

Question. It might be a silly question. Are you only servicing women as clients? Or will you take on…

Elaine Davies:

No, I’m not ever turning away. You know, we turn away clients.

Ben Handler:

Of course.

Elaine Davies:

The funny thing is, I don’t tend to work with many single guys. So I work with couples a lot. And we have a good laugh with that. Because I like to separate them. So I have this thing… Giving away a few of my tips now. But I get them to fill in separate briefs, the husband and the wife. No peaking. Because that, straight away, gives me a clue into what’s stopping them buying, what’s one of the things.

Ben Handler:

That’s smart.

Elaine Davies:

Because a lot of people, again, they don’t know what they don’t know. Hopefully, they love each other. So one is saying, “Oh, if you found a great house up there, I would live there.” And vice-versa. But really deep down, they’re not going to. They’re not going to move suburbs. Or they’re not going to live in an apartment. There’s something there that is fundamentally a stop, and they can go looking for a property for two years.

Ben Handler:

So, hypothetically… I’m sure you’ve been through this. You get two client profile forms back, quite different. Do you then, “Is this intervention now guys?”

Elaine Davies:

Yep, it’s intervention nos.

Ben Handler:

And, “Unless we come to a mutual agreement, we’re not moving forward.”

Elaine Davies:

Oh, we always come to a mutual agreement.

Ben Handler:

Who budges first? Male, female?

Elaine Davies:

Okay, let me think of it. [inaudible 00:13:08] So that was the male. No, I’d say half and half. A lot of it is just pointing it out. It’s not a gender thing. It’s more personality dominant, or whatever.

Elaine Davies:

One couple had been together for 30 years, and she was the one that called me. And she was like, “He’s getting on my nerves.” “Now”, I said, “We need to talk.” So they came in, hardly talking to each other, and their story was, “We are in the car on Saturday.” She would say to him, “Stop the car.” And he’d say, “Fine.” And she’d get out and slam the door.

Elaine Davies:

And what I realized was, she had put, “They wanted to buy in the next three months”, and he said, “No rush.” But she was the one that felt under pressure. So I said, “This is really interesting. What it’s telling me is, his communication with you is just showing you stuff. He’s just going, ‘What about this one? What about this one?’ He’s not actually… Not everyone he shows you, he wants to buy. He’s just trying to have a conversation.” And they walked out of my office holding hands.

Ben Handler:

Wow! I’m sure… Is that a rare outcome?

Elaine Davies:

Well, it’s usually… Holding hands, yeah. But, no, there’s usually a joy or a breakthrough. So sometimes they’re just exhausted, and they’re like, “Okay, get it.” And we get it.

Ben Handler:

What’s happening for New Road this year? Obviously, this year’s been a crazy year for everyone?

Elaine Davies:

Yeah.

Ben Handler:

Is it just business as usual? Obviously, you’ve got your course coming out. Is there anything different coming?

Elaine Davies:

I don’t think this is the year for me to change anything on New Road Property. It is business as usual. But I’m very excited about my course because as I say, it’s… and a lot of it is around understanding the real estate agent, and what they do, and what they say, and how to look at the property negotiations. So, I’m really excited.

Elaine Davies:

And I’m going to jump into a Facebook group and be part of it. To build a community around that. But it’s going to be business as usual because I love it. I love it. What’s to change, you know?

Ben Handler:

You don’t… In real estate, we don’t need to change a lot.

Elaine Davies:

We don’t. I’ve kind of arrived.

Ben Handler:

A lot of the old stuff really works. So social media, there’s some new stuff, nuances, that you can do, but a lot of the old stuff still works. And I think a lot of people are trying, I feel, with where we are now in 2020, to use technology to get somewhere quicker. A lot quicker. And take short-cuts. But what we do in real estate, I believe, it’s the old stuff that works.

Elaine Davies:

You can’t outsource relationships. You can’t say to somebody else, “Make this call. Read this thing.” You’ve got to be in front of people and talking, and luckily I quite like that.

Ben Handler:

You can’t outsource relationships. That’s what is going to be the title for this discussion. That is one thing that cannot get outsourced.

Elaine Davies:

No, anything can pretty much get outsourced, but that relationship… One of the things I really dislike, is when there’s almost I feel like a con when you are signed up by one buyer’s agent, and then you sign, and you go, “Actually, it’s not me you’re working with. It’s this other person.” And there’s been no transparency through that. That really irks me when I hear that. And it happens in a few industries, it’s not just ours.

Ben Handler:

Can I ask you, why do you really feel you can’t outsource relationships? Because a lot of things, we can outsource now. Everything’s basically outsourced.

Elaine Davies:

Because it’s so personal. It’s my relationship. I can possibly introduce somebody into there, back into my relationship, but then I’m… obviously I’m in… not in [inaudible 00:16:27], but then they would recreate their own relationship. And that’s different. That’s an introduction and a warm… But if you… You know people hire people to do what they call cold calling, or warm calling. “Call this person, and see if they want to work with me again?” It’s like, “No, that’s the one thing, that is the relationship.”

Ben Handler:

Relationships for real estate is… some people say it’s more important than property.

Elaine Davies:

Well, that’s ironic. I’m glad you brought that up, because I’m a people person. It’s my clients I’m passionate about. I know all about property. I know a good one. I know how to negotiate. But it’s the clients that I’m passionate about.

Ben Handler:

Are you very [inaudible 00:17:06] with who you take on?

Elaine Davies:

Yes, from experience.

Ben Handler:

Is that because would you say you’ve taken on the wrong client?

Elaine Davies:

Yeah, in the past. They’ve always bought, but I think if you buy… And this is any business, and actually any part of life. If you take on somebody that you just know is not going to be quite right, or are going to be draining on you for some reason, you’re actually sabotaging meeting the next great person that you would’ve met. The next great client that you would’ve met. And as I say, this is relationships as well. Because you’re exhausted, and your time’s all caught up here in this negative area. Whereas you should be out there, attracting the people you want.

Ben Handler:

No, you’re right. You’re spending your time more productively doing other things. Talking about, I guess, utilizing time, do you feel like your meetings, when you’re getting in front of people, they’re specifically in that time coming to you, experiencing similar problems? A lot of your clients that you decide that you want to work with, typically more time-poor, typically sick of real estate agents? Do you find there’s a commonality, or is it all very different?

Elaine Davies:

No, no, no, there’s a commonality. I think there are five basic things, isn’t there? And one of them is confusion in the household. Confusion between the partners. And I think that’s missed a lot. People don’t delve into that. But, absolutely, time-poor.

Elaine Davies:

As I say, I have a lot of time for real estate agents. I’m not here to say they do a bad job, because they do a good job for the vendor. But, yeah, buyers get very fed up of real estate agents. But they don’t understand that underquoting is a way in Sydney. It’s quote it low, watch it grow, quote it high, watch it die. We are all trained for underquoting in Sydney. If somebody quotes it at the right price, people are going to then add another 10%. In a way, they can’t win. So people have to understand under quoting is the norm. 10% is normal. It can be 25%.

Ben Handler:

Yeah, and you’d know that from being on the sell side?

Elaine Davies:

Oh, I know it from being a buyer’s agent, because that’s the one thing I never listen to with a real estate agent, is what they’re actually quoting. That’s white noise. You have to do your research, and find your comparables, and go, “It sits in these properties.”

Ben Handler:

And that’s why people engage us, as buyer’s agents. They will especially engage people like yourself who actually understand this. You can see through it all.

Ben Handler:

The story you shared earlier was interesting, about the buyer who would, when you were a selling agent, reveal everything to you. A lot of these buyers have got no idea what they’re doing.

Elaine Davies:

No, because they don’t come across… We’re in this every single day. And I say this to buyers, “The good real estate agents are having training every Tuesday morning for two or three hours. Dialogue. They’re role-playing.” Whereas a buyer will walk into the real estate agent’s lair, really, once every seven years.

Ben Handler:

Yeah, that’s a good point. Walking into their playground, and I think they’ve got something up on that real estate agent.

Elaine Davies:

Absolutely. And real estate agents know how to build the relationship that I was talking about. They know how to do that. And again, I talk about that in the book. In fact, the auction, I depicted that as Game of Thrones. So I don’t know if you’re a Game of Thrones… But, of course, the buyers are the Norths, the Starks. Lannisters are the real estate agents, and Little Finger is the auctioneer.

Ben Handler:

Oh, I like it.

Elaine Davies:

No alliance to anyone.

Ben Handler:

Buyers get bullied by the auctioneers.

Elaine Davies:

That’s right.

Ben Handler:

Bid against themselves. Real estate agents also put a lot of pressure on buyers. It’s an interesting part. We’ve got a lot to talk about. And we’ve got to, unfortunately, finish up.

Elaine Davies:

Can I just say one more thing about COVID?

Ben Handler:

Yes.

Elaine Davies:

I’ve really enjoyed the way that buyers have been bidding from home because that has given them power. They’re not being whispered at, or having a real estate… the very loud and successful auctioneer do that. They’ve actually been sitting in their own lounge room. And I think, “Long may that last.”

Ben Handler:

Auction Now.

Elaine Davies:

Auction Now.

Ben Handler:

Damien Cooley. Did you use that platform?

Elaine Davies:

No, I was thinking of AuctionWORKS, David Scholes.

Ben Handler:

Oh, I haven’t used that. They’re all effectively doing the same thing. I thought that was an interesting transition and move. I’m curious to know whether it’s going to play out.

Elaine Davies:

Yeah, I do worry that people drink though, because you can’t sign. It’s illegal. I always say to people, “Never settle your nerves with a drink.”

Ben Handler:

I didn’t think of that. There, you could see some silly bidding. I didn’t think of that. If people are drinking, or-

Elaine Davies:

They’re at home. That’s the only thing I worry about.

Ben Handler:

Nervous. Where’s the best place for people to find you?

Elaine Davies:

My website is newroadproperty.com. And then on Instagram, I’m elaine.davies.inc., I-N-C. I’m Elaine Davies on Facebook. And LinkdIn. I’m on LinkdIn. I spend a lot of time on LinkdIn. That’s where I hang.

Ben Handler:

It’s the professional hangout.

Elaine Davies:

Oh, I’m so professional.

Ben Handler:

I’ve noticed on social media, you have a new energy about you. It’s like it’s the new version. Elaine is out here to do something impactful now. I notice that, so I’m sure people who are watching and looking at social media… Because I’ve seen the old Elaine, which is great, but there’s a new energy.

Elaine Davies:

Thank you Ben.

Ben Handler:

So I’m really excited to see where you’re going to go.

Elaine Davies:

Thank you Ben.

Ben Handler:

I always love chatting. Good energy.

Elaine Davies:

Love chatting to you.

Ben Handler:

Personality. No surprise you’re in the people business, real estate. And I think this book is really gold. So I appreciate it. Thank you.

Elaine Davies:

Thank you.

Ben Handler:

For everyone listening, you can check out Elaine’s book, Mind, Body, Sold. I read that last year. She does give away a lot in that book. So if you’re a buyer, read it. If you’re a buyer’s agent, read it. If you’re a real estate agent, whatever you do in real estate, I would read it. There’s a lot of good information. Check out Elaine on her website.

Ben Handler:

I used to work with Elaine. Elaine’s super impressive. She brings a lot to the table. She’s an incredible human being, number one. And she’s doing this new business, I believe, with a lot of purposes. Different energy she’s bringing to the table. And she’s got a lot of experience, working on the sell side, and the buy-side.

Ben Handler:

When I used to recruit buyer’s agents, I always used to look for buyer’s agents who had worked on the sell side, because they understand the mentality of both sides. So if you’re a buyer, check out Elaine as well, because she brings a lot to the table for Sydney, for inner-city, inner-West and the Eastern suburbs. See you next week.

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