Why You Should Think Outside The Box

by Ben Handler

July 28, 2020

Think Outside The Box

Trent Iverson:

So my, my first thoughts were, you know, going down that that sales path, however, you know, I mean, not all the time sales agents get a good rap. So, I guess there was this, this, emerging, phew, such as, buyer’s agents. And, I guess that’s how you and I came to meet. And, so yeah, I thought, look that, that, that fits with where I am from a, a business manager in terms of, working from an emotional level with people as opposed to purely sales, I guess. So, so that led me down the buyer’s agency track. But you know, as you know, we’ve become a bit of a hybrid from that. Now,

Ben Handler:

welcome to the buyer’s agent Institute show. The purpose of the show is to bring awareness to buyers agents to bring awareness around the career opportunities at the buyer’s agent sector provides people to bring a rareness around the value that buyers agents provide, people who need help buying property. Our goal with the show is stripped back and dive into stories about remarkable buyers agents who are paving the way forward in one of the fastest growing career sectors right now in real estate. Our guest today is Trent Iverson. He’s been running a property agent business for the last two years called Harris Iverson trends career, didn’t start in real estate. He’s got 20 years corporate experience working in sales and marketing. He then went down the entrepreneurial road and started a very successful pit management business. He exited out of that business recently and the last two years he’s been running Harris Iverson.

Ben Handler:

He’s got a very interesting business model and we’re going to dive into his story today. I’m really excited to introduce Trent. Welcome Trent. Thanks Ben. Thanks for having me. Good to see you again. Thank you so much. So you’ve got a very interesting business model, which we’re going to get to. However, I remember when we first spoke, you were looking to become a real estate agent and you ended up becoming a real estate agent and a buyer’s agent. Let’s talk about this hybrid model because I think what you’re doing is very interesting and I know some people have different perspectives and opinions around representing sellers and buyers, but I know you are doing it differently. EG, you’re not doing exactly in the same area. Do you want to maybe share a bit around how your muddles progressed?

Trent Iverson:

I guess, the buyer’s agency we’ve spoken in the past, the buyer’s agency business for me has come from, you know, my greatest successes have been my inner circle. My previous networks are particularly around the Eastern suburbs of Sydney, more on a, a residential owner, occupy sales perspective, over a period of time. I have a holiday property, up in the Hawkesbury district, and out of a, I guess of a need, of choice. There were very few real estate agents up there. People started to reach out to me and say, look, Hey, you know what, we love what you’re doing. We’re seeing the great testimonials that you’re getting. Can you help us on the sales side? So, so where there’s an opportunity, you know, we threw a little bit of fuel out edits and yeah, we’re, we’re making some great inroads up there.

Trent Iverson:

It’s amazing. So you buying property for you, you’re buying clients, you’re selling property for, you’re selling clients, obviously I’m assuming North of the Hawkesbury, cause you’ve, you’ve got a lot of demand there. And then those people that you’re selling for in the Hawkesbury, I’m assuming it would be turning into clients for your buyer’s agent business spot on. And, and I think this is where this mutation, of what we do, where we can actually quite effectively, work on both sides of the fence, but, pardon the pun, the, that we can actually have a very strong industry, outside of a traditional farm. We can have a very, very strong industry both on sales and buyer’s agents. And one thing that I think what  is really important to remember is sales professionals or real estate professionals is that buyers or sellers and sellers are buyers. And I think it’s our obligation to be able to serve those clients in whatever they want.

Trent Iverson:

Obviously we’ve got some, pretty tight regulation about representing both the buyer and seller, but we make that very, very distinct between the two. The two transactions question, if you, I know you’re buying a lot around the Eastern suburbs in the city, if someone called you up and said, I’m looking to sell my property, let’s just say in Paddington, and for those who are listening to this and aren’t from Sydney, that’s a suburb and the Eastern suburbs, would you sell their property? Firstly, I would ask them, well, who is that top agent in Paddington and why would you not choose to go with them? And nine times out of 10, it would be that they don’t have an established relationship with that, with that client where they’ve dealt with me in the past. They understand how I work. There’s trust there, which is very, very important.

Trent Iverson:

so I would first ask them who is that gun agent in there and why wouldn’t they want to lose with that person, whatever their reasons may be, whether it’d be trust.I would actually look at doing a vendor’s advocacy. So I would actually go into,perhaps a conjunction,with that at local agents. So I can actually be that vendor representation on that side, but that, that, that fee would actually come from the coach agent. I love that. And the vendor advocacy piece, I’m assuming you would do that purely because you’re buying around the Eastern suburbs of Sydney and you want to be known as

Ben Handler:

the buying expert, not the selling and buying car.

Trent Iverson:

Is that correct? Correct. Excellent. Absolutely. You’re also doing property management. Yeah. So, so the property management was another,on,for, for our business. And,I’m very much a, I’ve read a fabulous book,by John Warrillow a few years back,called built to sell. It’s a fantastic book. I recommend all your listeners read it and it, and it talks about building a business that is repeatable and it’s scalable with a buyer’s agency or traditional buyer’s agency business. We have a transaction,and then that client moves on. Hopefully they become great fans and they keep buying and buying, buying with us, but quite often they’re buying investment properties so it doesn’t make sense for us if they’re buying an investment property that we can offer property management service. Again, it just keeps it in the, in that very tight, very trusted circle of my business and you know, property management is one of those things that in in tough times, if you’ve got a rent roll that you’re building, it’s great for cash flow for your business. It’s amazing how your

Ben Handler:

models transpired since we met two years ago. You know, you’ve, you’ve went down and originally you were going to niche in the buying agent space and it’s, you know, you’ve the, the flow of life. You then went to the Hawks breaches, obviously visit your place there and then there was demand for you to sell properties there. So you moved there. Then as you said, the property management’s another addition. It’s amazing how your businesses evolve.

Trent Iverson:

Yeah, look, it’s interesting. We do look back two years ago when we first met and, you know, I was steadfast. I know I’m going to buy a property on the Northern beaches for owner occupies. That was going to be my market. But, look, I, I think, I think if you’re rigid, particularly in that first, first 12 months of your business, if you’re too rigid and you don’t, you know, see, these little shiny objects are flickering in the background and not all of them are great. but I think if there’s an opportunity, I think we should throw a little bit of fuel at that. if the opportunity grows legs, we’ll give it a little bit more and, and so, so for, for me, my business will always be about seeking these opportunities that maximize the value in the transaction for my clients. And I think that’s very, very important. I heard in the grapevine that you did a Cracker commercial

Ben Handler:

deal. I was, I was hearing, you know, 15 20% discount is do you want…

Trent Iverson:

yeah, yeah. Look, look, commercial is something that, that, that we’re probably in the last six months, we’re really starting to invest a bit of time in the commercial space. I guess relatively new for us, but our clients, particularly here in the Eastern suburbs, we’ve found that their property portfolios on a residential level, and investment level, is fairly saturated. So they’re now, looking for opportunities and we’re working with their accountants and financial planners to look for some opportunities in the commercial space. So we had this one client back in about June or July this year. Very, very specific client wanted a very, very specific location. yeah. And were able to source this, this location was actually right next door to where they’re currently trading. And yeah, we, we went in, we went in hard there and, and we’ve got a great deal, was around about 20% off, off list price.

Trent Iverson:

So, as you can imagine that they’d be pretty, pretty happy with that. And you know, then the farm use this that comes from that, is great commercial transactions obviously very different to to Resi. It is. Is that something you think you’ll start? Definitely, definitely that. Yeah. That that’s something, well and truly in our 2020 business plan ,I think there’s less emotion involved, as, as you know, but for us comes down to that trust thing that if I’ve got a, a circle of clients there who are now ready to move into the commercial space, I mean, it’s just a great synergy. It’s a great transition for them and it’s something that we’re going to be investing a lot in.

Ben Handler:

You’ve built and sold businesses. You’re obviously a successful entrepreneur offs. I remember it’s just speaking to you over the years, you, you’ve got a large business hat on and you’ve got a, a thirst to learn, which I’ve always admired. Have you looked back like since starting the buyer’s agent business and going into this space, have you looked back thinking, what have I done or has it always been, I’m just committed to this, I’m committed to this look.

Trent Iverson:

another great book that I’m reading, and again, everyone should read it is the entrepreneurial rollercoaster. I don’t know if you’ve read it, but it’s fantastic. And, and it, it, it talks about, this journey that we go on and, and where, where we think we’re going to be when we start out to the journey along the way is very, very different. So, so did I, two years ago when you and I spoke think that we will be bolting on the, these various parts of the business? No, you know, because it was all new to me, but I guess from that entrepreneurial and you know, my previous, previous experience in the pet management business, you just have to constantly, constantly look for these opportunities. And yeah, I think where I am now and where we are going to be in 12 months times. Yeah. Pretty exciting stuff.

Ben Handler:

You won. I mean I think with any business, not you one. But yeah, every year is a challenge. There’s, as you said, the emotion, the entrepreneurial rollercoaster. It’s always volatile. It’s like a yoga up and down. And I be good, good to talk about some of the challenges and new one because I mean you want of any business is tough and you’re in a new sector, new industry, new business and you’re on your own. Like most buyer’s agents are starting a business. You haven’t got a team straight away unless you join a company. Cause I know you are looking to join a company. And what were some key challenges in that in that first year?

Trent Iverson:

Cashflow, number one. and I think, you know, a lot of buyer’s agents out there will be, we’ll be looking at that. but I think, I think remaining focused at the same time looking for opportunities 12 months down the track. So, so I was very focused as, as you know, laser focused on, on my buyer’s agents business. However, seeing these other opportunities come along as you go, don’t ignore them. And I think, I think that was one of those challenges in that first year. There were these other opportunities presented themselves to me, but I was too focused on that one goal as opposed to taking the blinkers off and have a look what is coming around you because your network particularly will provide opportunities that perhaps you would not have seen. and don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid to give them a go because it will all work out.

Trent Iverson:

Yeah, it’s so true and you’ve, you’re right, you’ve got to look at opportunities as they come to us, assess the viability of them, do they shoot, is there a good return, what’s the time involved, et cetera. And then if it makes sense, you jump in. Right. And that’s what you’ve done. Correct. And I think that’s really, really important that a look at, I, I talked to a lot of the other [inaudible] students and, and they’re doing exceptional things and, you know, some have gone on a journey of purely investment and doing extremely well. Others are doing very, very well in residential. But for, for me, my mind doesn’t stop as you say. You have this big, big entrepreneurial head. And for me, yes, my journey has been diversification, and delivering a offering to my clients that that basically keeps them in the loop.

Trent Iverson:

I love it. And you’ve been very successful buying property, correct yourself and obviously I’m assuming that that was a catalyst as to why you decided to explore this space. Is that fair to say? 100%. Yeah, a hundred percent. So, my first property I bought 1996, I was 10. I wasn’t only just born in yes. And yeah, interesting. That was out of Sydney. That was up in, in Nelson Bay. But every single property that I’ve bought, I haven’t gone down an investor path. I’ve always been owner arc, but I’m fairly fairly, Footloose and fancy free so I can sell that property and move on to the next. So I look for, very unique properties generally, in blue chip suburbs, with unique assets such as views potential. and so look over the years, I think I’m probably up to about property number 12 now.

Trent Iverson:

the last property I bought as you made reference to is up on the Hawkesbury river. and with that, I’ve got three separate titles in one row on the water. So that kind of gives me, you know, a little bit of opportunity, you know, two, three years down the path to, to, to develop that. So starting to digress yesterday, last night you sent me a photo from the Hawkesbury of the fires. It’s disappointing. It’s, it’s, it’s really sad, obviously hearing about insane. The qual is and all the other animals. And I know you’re an animal enthusiast. Are you concerned around the fires hitting where you are? Cause you have to evacuate. All right, great. Great. So yeah, look, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s life. You know, it’s, it’s one of those things, but, dealing with some of our sales clients coming down there, because we obviously get a lot of people coming out of the greatest city market.

Trent Iverson:

We’re only an hour out of Sydney and they are obviously concerned about, the fires and looking at it is one of those things. Our one client who’s recently a, a sales client, she lives in Tara Mara and she had a fire, you know, 300 meters from, from her front door. So I think, look with Sydney, we are surrounded by national parks as beautiful as they are, but they, they are volatile. But look, our RFS guys, champions and they keep us all pretty safe up there. Yeah. Nice. I just wanted to obviously check in. I hadn’t spoken to someone who was that close from being affected and had been evacuated. Yeah. 2020 plans for the business. Good plans. Yeah, very good plans. Our biggest one for us, I wrote a piece, only last week about, a portion of my, inner sphere, a notorious after being lifetime renters.

Trent Iverson:

So I think the, there’s a, there’s an opportunity for me there to start introducing the rent first model. and I know that’s a bit of a buzz word, at the moment, but there’s an opportunity there for this demographic to be able to access property, still have their lifestyle, here in the city, which they don’t want to give up. So that’s going to be a major focus for us that that rent vesting investing property outside of, of dominant markets like Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, looking for opportunities where the cost of access is relatively low, what hits their pocket is relatively low. So we might be looking at cash neutral cash positive properties, but then the other market that we’re going to be focusing on heavily is commercial commercial in our Eastern suburbs view. So I think commercials, I mean the, the, the investment market is obviously a lot of opportunity just where rates are and sentiments great again and timing’s good.

Trent Iverson:

But I think the converse commercials have big space. Commercial is a big space and where as as you know, that that first 12 months for me, I pretty much exhausted my inner sphere here in the Eastern suburbs. So it made me have to be a little bit creative. What we do with that market. You know, if we’re a little bit saturated in terms of residential investment, we have to get a little bit creative and start working with their financial advisors. We worked with their accountants and we start putting a strategy together for some acquisition, the commercial, and I think it’s going to be a big, big space buyers, agents. It’s something that, that there’s not a lot of us doing at this stage. and it makes perfect sense. You know, it’s, it’s a, it’s a high financial, high risk transaction. I think people need representation in that.

Trent Iverson:

I agree. And obviously moving into 2020 so this rent versus, it seems like it’s more of a national style of investment model that you guys are looking at. Correct. Yeah, I think it’s very interesting. You’re right, because a lot of people are renting. A lot of people don’t want to change their lifestyle like that. That’s a fear. I think for a lot of people. I’ve got to change my lifestyle so I’m not going to do anything. But if they can maintain the lifestyle, be a property owner or they could own multiple properties, I think it’s a win win. It absolutely is. And I’m, look, I’ve been in property since I was 10, not quite that, you know, quite young. So, so I think, I think there’s a, there’s a mindset for me that, you know, that that property will pay dividends when it comes to retirement.

Trent Iverson:

And, in this piece that I wrote it, we spoke about what’s, what’s that number? What’s that number that you need when that pay packet stops? you know, at a reasonable interest rate, which is, you know, hard to find these days. So I’m trying to get people to, to think, yes, they’ve got their life here in the city and they’re living day to day and they don’t want any impact on their life at this stage. But what happens 65, 70 years of age? What is that number that they need in unencumbered asset to produce an income that will support the same life that they have now? And I think that’s important in the, the, the, the sooner we can get that message out to people that they need to start thinking about passive income in retirement, the better it is. And I, and I think we’re approaching it from that, just start thinking about, you know, your thirties your forties now what happens in 20 years time, how are you going to grow those assets in a relatively short space of time and as you said, without hitting the hip pocket and without changing their lifestyle.

Trent Iverson:

And I think it’s a good question that people need to ask. It’s exciting. I mean 2020 seems like it’s going to be big for you because commercial, the space, it’s untouched. There’s a few buyer’s agents doing well, but I mean a few people out of what, 25 million it’s, I think it’s a big business opportunity and I think it hasn’t been exploited properly yet for, I remember when I started becoming a buyer’s agent focusing in Resi 10 years ago, it was so fresh and are just feels like commercials like that now 100% Oh look, I totally agree. And that’s, this is why we were just doing baby steps with it. We do small scale. We’re not doing anything too, too crazy out there. but I think it is a market that is relatively untapped, but I also think, it’s a different head space.

Trent Iverson:

It’s different mindset when you are going in and out. And I think you’ve got to look at, you know, if we’re looking to sales, perspective, we talk about vendor discounting, on the, on the buyer’s side, we want to maximize that, that that vendor discount for our clients. And we look back at the transaction that we referred to earlier, getting a 20% reduction. I mean, there are good buying opportunities out there in commercial because it doesn’t have the emotion that that residential has. So yeah, we see some pretty exciting times in 2020 for commercial. Yeah. That’s awesome. So out of the working 20 years, corporate sales, marketing, very successful pit management business, which you built and sold two years now into the property agent business, how does, how does this compare to, to, to that prior journey? Very different, very different. This, this career for me is about flexibility.

Trent Iverson:

it’s about maximizing the relationships that I’ve built through my corporate days. I’m also maximizing relationships built with the pet management business. The pet management business gave me access to a market throughout the Eastern suburbs, which transitions perfectly into this. So look, I think from, my perspective, being a buyer’s agent, being a property agent, it gives me some flexibility, but it enables me to work with my network that I’ve built up over many, many years and just deliver them some great results. I love it. And last question before we finish up, how do you describe your, your model when someone asks you is have you, is there a name for it or, yeah, look, look, Oh, we don’t refer ourselves to buyer’s agents or, or, sales agents. We’re property agents. and again, I think we are the mutants.

Trent Iverson:

we are the X men, in the industry, but I think, that that concept will grow. I think you and I were speaking before the show that there is a little bit where you are one or the other. And, and, and I genuinely don’t believe we have to. I think we have an obligation to a client. Whether that is is, a buying client is selling client a property management client or commercial client. We have an obligation to represent them and achieve the result that we’re being paid for. And I think if my skill set and my business can handle both sides of that equation, I think it’s something that that’s a value add for our clients. I love it. And where can people find you? A trend? Iverson underscore, real estate on, Instagram Harris, either and property agents on Facebook or [inaudible] dot com today you, or just give us a call.

Trent Iverson:

Happy to chat.

I love it. I love what you’re doing. Thanks for obviously participating. I, just want to wrap up the show now and just let you guys know that if you want to, I guess check out a very fascinating model. I really enjoy and admire what trends doing with his hybrid model. So, you know, not classify himself as a buyer’s agent or a selling agent. It’s a property agent business. So if you’re looking to sell property, you can go there. If you’re looking to buy property, you can go there. He also manages property and as he said in 2020 is going to be focusing on the national investment model. So helping people buy investment properties, not throw too much cash out of their pocket, and also focusing heavily in commercial. So check them out on the details you provided and see you next week.

Ben Handler:

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