You Never Know Where Your Career Will Take You

Luis Lequerica

Luis Lequerica:

The biggest difference in between, a property investor and an owner-occupier or a family home buy is that emotional component. I really believe that what we bring to the table, not only as buyer’s agents but as your aim part is bringing that financial model, into the decision making process.

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 to the career opportunities that buyer’s agents are providing to people to bring awareness to the opportunities around the value that buyers agents are providing to people who need help buying property. Our goal of the show is to strip back and dive into the stories and the journeys of remarkable buyers agents who are paving the way forward in one of the fastest-growing we real estate career trends right now. Our guest today is Luis Lequerica. He was born in South America. He’s got a remarkable entrepreneurial story. Luis moved from South America to Australia and studied agricultural economics. He had the intention of getting into the family business. He then had a bit of a pivot and got into the Rose business. He grew a seven and eight-figure Rose business, not just in Australia, but internationally. Then after that Rose business, when he exited, he got into real estate and became a buyer’s agent. He’s now a director of Your Empire. He started off working with investor clients and now he’s transitioned into working with owner-occupiers. We’re going to dive into Luis, his story and we’re going to introduce Luis right now.

Welcome Luis.

Luis Lequerica:

Ben, thank you for having me. I don’t know if I’m remarkable, but it’s, it’s actually very cool to be here today, so thank you so much.

Ben Handler:

Awesome, man. You’ve got to re, I think you’ve got a really remarkable story. I mean, I heard a story, I haven’t unpacked this with you around, there was a lot of roses on a plane once and then the plane arrived and let’s just say the roses weren’t in the best condition.

Luis Lequerica:

condition. Yeah. So let’s, let’s say we went down in flames, on that one and look, it was a great lesson, so one of the things that we learned out of that always had insurance and always make sure that your insurance is actually valid insurance. So as we found out, our freight forwarder was selling us d**  insurances. So we lost, quite a bit of money there and we had to liquidate the business.

 

Ben Handler:

Wow. And so how did you go and get into this Rose business? I mean, it’s quite a unique area.

Luis Lequerica:

Yeah. Look, interestingly enough, as you said, I was studying agricultural economics and as part of our marketing ops research, we had to do a, a marketing project on an agricultural product. And I decided to do it on roses out of Columbia. So I was doing all the market research. I realized that there was no, fine fresh cut flowers in Australia. The market was very seasonal and I thought there was a great opportunity to get into that business at that point. And I started with one little box at a time. I used to get the bus from one end of Oxford Street to the other end sale bunches of roses to each one of those flower shops. And the business started growing from there.

 

Ben Handler:

Amazing. I mean it seems like you’ve got the Entrepreneurial blood. How then did you then pivot from the Rose business into real estate?

Luis Lequerica:

So, when I started the flower business, I became a member of an organization, which is a worldwide organization called entrepreneurs organization, so I became a member of that when I was 24 years old. And back there I met my current business partner, Chris Gray. And , look through our, I was part of EO for maybe 12 years or 10 years. And throughout their journey, just Chris and I became really good friends. And when I liquidated the flower business, I was looking for other things to do. I actually ventured into a subscription business for kids, which was backed by Telstra and I actually stepped down from that, from that business as well because I wasn’t passionate about it. And at that point I thought, well, I should get into something different. And I had an idea around real estate. I sat down with Chris, had a coffee, the coffee ended up being 10 beers.

, look to these days, our, shareholder’s agreement is in the back of a serviette. So, five points, very easy to remember and it has been a remarkable, partnership.

 

Ben Handler:

Yeah. So obviously a lot of trusts there and you’re doing a shareholder’s agreement on the back of the serviette. No, it’s great. It just seems like you guys have very high-level trust. How important has EO been during your, your business career?

Luis Lequerica:

Oh, massive. Massive look. I, I always say, EO has saved my life, my business career and my marriage more than once. So from a personal perspective, just being able to share with that level of, of people, just entrepreneurs, business owners, so in order for you to qualify into, we owe, you have to, be the business owner, have a revenue of more than $1 million to apply globally for Sydney, it’s $5 million revenue.

And then, so everyone is going through a very similar journey. So being able to feed on those experiences, it’s just amazing. It’s, it’s having, I always explain it. Imagine having, 8 board members that you can access once a month for four hours or at any given point that touch of your fingers. So it’s actually amazing.

 

Ben Handler:

Yeah. I mean that’s, support is what you need when you’re grinding as an entrepreneur. People who like-minded people, you can bounce things off.

 

Luis Lequerica:

Yeah. And look and being able to share the experiences as well, we all know that the entrepreneurial journey is not an easy one. It’s a tough journey. It’s a roller coaster and you sometimes need to vent. You need to, understand why the fuck things are happening, and, and there’s no better way to do it.

 

Ben Handler:

And then how have you found this new transition? Obviously, you’re focusing on investor clients for a while that Your Empire and now you’ve moved into the primary residence space. How’s that transition?

Luis Lequerica:

Look? It, it, it’s, it’s a very interesting process because I, I always said to, to Chris and to everyone in the business, I actually don’t want to be a buyer’s agent, so I don’t consider myself a bias. Agents are such, my angle is more on the business angle. And look, it’s, it’s a very important thing to, to clarify because for the people that are doing the course, for example, these, besides being a buyer’s agents, you’re also going to be a business owner, and that’s a massive thing that you’ve got to sort of getting into it. So, for me, my focus is I want to be 30% buyer’s agents, 70% business owner, and look, people can do it differently, but for me, that’s, that’s what I want. So, so when we started, four or five years ago with Your Empire, we had one product.

We have tripled the size of the business nearly, and we now have close to eight products, right? So for me, it’s been a very challenging thing. How to learn a new industry on the go, grow the business, I am absolutely passionate about property, which I never thought it was going to happen, more than anything. You know what I mean? I, I think it is being passionate about people and being, being real, right. I, I think, again, people are sick and tired of all the bullshit around there, and people just want people, they want to relate to another human being, so for me it’s been a massive learning curve.

 

Ben Handler:

Yeah. People want authenticity and I agree about the business. Buying property is just something we have to do as buyer’s agents. I mean, this is, that’s the service and we’ve got to deliver it 120%. Yeah. But we are in the business of running a business.

Luis Lequerica:

That is it. That is it. Look, I, I often get this, Lifework balance questions, I mean, you, you know, I’m a, I’m a workaholic, so I work seven days a week, I’m replying emails at four o’clock in the morning, 10, 11, 12 o’clock at night, if I’ve got something in my to-do list, so for example, I won’t leave a client reply for the next day. If I have to give client updates, I will do all my clients are updates on that day. Right? So for me, it’s being able to be connected all day, every day, but also gives me the flexibility off if I want to do something on my personal or, or have personal space. It also gives me that flexibility. Yes, it’s a great way for you to enjoy life as well. Right? So, I do enjoy, certain things in life. So I like boats. I like cars even though I don’t drive, but those are the things that I enjoy.

 

Ben Handler:

You mentioned you don’t drive. How do you get around to client appointments? I’m just curious without, without driving.

Luis Lequerica:

So, look, I do public transport, so I take the bus trains, I do a lot of Uber, for, for the weekend viewings. I normally rent a car, but I just believe that there are other ways, for you to get from point a to B and you don’t necessarily need to own a car, look, we’re a family of five, so I’ve got three kids. We have a car at home, but, but I normally don’t use it, I really try and make an effort and, and, and use public transport. So, you don’t like driving, or you just look, I, I had my license, I lost my license and it was, it was an interesting process because I used to drive everywhere. I mean, at one point I think I had like four or five cars at home and I, I literally drove everywhere and this just forced me to think outside the box, I’m probably more productive now. So on the bus, on the train, in an Uber, I can read emails, I can reply to emails, I can read documents, I like reading a lot. So, yeah, it’s just, it’s easier for me. It’s, I guess it, one of the things that I’ve always wanted to do is live my life by design. And this is just the way that I want to live my life.

 

Ben Handler:

It’s great. I mean, I respect that because driving is frustrating. It’s, it’s challenging on the road at times. So just being able to sit back as you said, and read and actually educate yourself instead of while you’re driving and focusing is a win.

 

Luis Lequerica:

I look, don’t get me wrong, last year we had a family holiday in New Zealand for six weeks and we drove seven and a half thousand kilometres, or I drove seven and a half thousand kilometres. So I do think that, it’s just what you want to do and how you want to do it and just, just live, live in your terms. So that’s, that’s absolutely the way that I’ve, that I’ve planned it.

 

Ben Handler:

I know that you’re working with primary residence clients mainly now as opposed to investors. How have you, what have you noticed a major difference with the, with the client journey that you’re going through?

 

Luis Lequerica:

Yeah, so, look, I’m an economist so I’m very black and white numbers-driven, sort of, sort of thing. Even though I’m South American and I’m very emotional, the biggest difference in between, a property investor and an owner-occupier or a family home buy is that emotional component. I really believe that what we bring to the table, not only as buyer’s agents but as your aim part, is bringing that financial model, into the decision-making process. So if you’re looking at, let’s call it a million-dollar property or a $5 million, there’s a financial decision, there’s a financial process, and, and, and thought process for you to understand and justify that purchase. And then there’s an emotional component. So if it’s the perfect location, the perfect house, if it’s going to make your partner happy, if it’s going to be close to schools, if it’s going to be close to the office, if it’s going to suit your lifestyle and on paper in value, it’s worth $5 million, but the vendor wants five-point $5 million.

Are you going to risk trying to get that same place in six months’ time and pay $5 million? Or are you going to put it into our $500,000 emotional component if you can live in it for the next 20 years? So is $500,000 for 10% or whatever, the amount is significant if that’s going to be yours forever home. So I think going through that motion with clients is very helpful. So understanding where they are and how can we justify it. Then emotional components.

Ben Handler:

Yeah, it’s a very different experience. A lot more emotion that you’re dealing with. But I invest in properties, I always say declines. It’s still emotional when you’re buying for investors. Yeah. They’re trying to accumulate wealth, their financial freedom, whatever they’re trying to do with this. There’s a motion with that.

 

Luis Lequerica:

Absolutely. And, and, and look, I, I always say it’s, it’s very interesting to work with, with investor clients as well. So normally COO, CFO, COO, bankers, lawyers, doctors. So normally very strong characters that we, that we’re dealing with. Very, very cool people, but strong characters, very successful people in their own sort of way, a lot of them, especially, I see this with a male, clients, they, they, they really think they’re the decision making, guys, they’re the guys that, you know, almost the wives report to them. And it’s very funny because we would present a property to them and I’ve got to, “I’ve got to check with Mary. I’ll run it past Mary first and then I’ll let you know.” So, I always like to say they wear the pants, but they bloody asked the wife every day what colour pants.

 

Ben Handler:

Then there’s this, there’s, there’s usually multiple decision-makers.

 

Luis Lequerica:

Absolutely. [inaudible] look, that’s, that’s another thing that I’ve always, or that I’ve learned it’s always communicating with both decision-makers. If you want your life to be easier, especially in the, in the family homes, if you are not talking to both decision-makers, it’s, it’s got to go pay shape one way or another.

 

Ben Handler:

Yeah, it’s great. And where can people find you?  with Your Empire? They’re looking for you guys.

 

Luis Lequerica:

So, look, the the the easiest way is to pick up the phone. Give me a ring, my number is 0456 556 052. As I said, available 24/7 will shoot me an email.

luis@yourempire.com.au.

 

Ben Handler:

Well, it’s great to see that your empire is now expanding into the primary residence space because I mean Your Empire, it’s a very established brand. Obviously Chris and yourself, we’ve got a very good presence. So it’s great to say that you guys are diversifying and you’ve got all these products that you’re offering. I mean, I love seeing entrepreneurs who have been in business who are now getting into the buyer’s agent space, who love business. They’re hustling. There are so many transferable skills, right? Just to really bring into it. So it’s awesome to see your story. I mean, you’ve been such a successful entrepreneur, so now to bring that energy into this new business. I know you’ve been doing it for a while, but it’s just great to see how this business is expanding now. So yeah, thanks for being here. Appreciate it.

 

Luis Lequerica:

Thank you so much for having me. And I’m looking forward to another five 10, 20,30 years. Yeah.

 

Ben Handler:

And we’ll see you next week on the new show. See you there. Thank you, guys.

 

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