Could you succeed as a Buyer’s or Vendor Advocate ?
Are you considering becoming a Property Advocate but don’t know if it’s for you?
Are you ready to go out on your own but you’re not sure what’s next?
Stock levels are LOW and the real estate industry is moving into a “new normal”. If you are thinking of transitioning into this side of the industry and starting your own property advocacy business, here are some important pointers for you to consider.
Having started my business from scratch in 2012, I spent many years and many thousands of dollars learning how to create a thriving, profitable, multi award winning and industry recognized business.
The following tips will go towards your capability to succeed and thrive, versus simply survive. Many newbie advocates are now struggling. because they fail to understand what’s required to succeed.
Being your own boss in the Property Advocacy sector of the industry offers some fantastic rewards. Helping clients to secure fantastic outcomes is always a thrill. It can also give you the freedom to work flexibility, earn more money and enjoy a better work life balance.
If you have been working from home since the arrival of the Covid19 virus, this could suit you. It’s not for everyone however, and there are elements of this role to carefully consider before jumping the fence.
Are you experienced in real estate?
To succeed in advocacy, you need to be an experienced high performer, with a proven track record of success. You need to have a very clear understanding of how the industry works, via practical experience as a sales or buyer’s agent. Additional experience as a property manager is a bonus but that alone isn’t enough.
Joining this sector of the industry as an inexperienced agent is dangerous to consumers, who are reliant upon advocates having proven knowledge, insight, and expertise. It’s very risky for the novice agent, as they will be the one who gets sued, not if but when something goes wrong.
Taking expensive non-industry accredited courses on how to be a buyer’s agent or advocate won’t cut the mustard either. Currently there are dozens of new ‘non industry’ advocates running around calling themselves ‘experts’, without actual real estate experience. Naïvely, they are a danger to themselves and to consumers.
Property Advocacy isn’t a profession that can be learned in theory. Learning on the job and directly under the mentorship of an experienced employer or established, operating Advocate is what leads to success.
Clients rely on advocates having not just a comprehensive understanding of the property market via professional experience, but also of how estate agencies and agents work.
Having real estate experience is also critical for business and legal compliance, negotiation and securing client outcomes.
What you need to succeed
Being an exclusive buyers and/or vendors advocate who is dedicated to representing the best interests of your clients, requires you to be
- a specialist(area or niche expert)
- completely independent from all selling agencies (being part of a selling agency is a direct conflict of interest)
- professional with a high level of education, personal development, and real estate expertise
- experienced with established database, processes, and referral network
- ideally accredited by the National Buyer’s Agents Association (In Australia, the Real Estate Buyer’s Agents Association of Australia (REBAA) is the national body representing Exclusive Buyer’s Agents)
- supported and mentored by an established, operating Advocate
Do you have a reputation as a good operator?
Your past clients will be happy to transition with you, if you have developed a good reputation while working for them. It helps to have as many contacts on your database as possible for lead generation when you start in advocacy from scratch. It takes time to build up networks and referral relationships and a track record of client case studies and testimonials will go a long way.
Are you an area expert, homebuyer expert or investment expert?
As a sales agent did you prefer selling new property, established property, working with investors, developers or home buyers? This may be the path you choose to go down to niche as a specialist buyers and vendor advocate.
Make no mistake, the hours are equally as long as those you experience working as a selling agent. Make sure you find a niche that you enjoy given the substantial time commitment you will need to make in your new career direction.
There are no shortcuts to succeeding in this business. You will need to put in the hours and the work. This is not a part time gig. Real estate deals do not switch off just because you want to work part time. Do not believe those who plug part time as a sound reason to join this sector industry. You will fail your clients, and you will likely fail financially.
Unlearn being a selling agent and learn to be a Property Advocate
While many agents may balk at the idea, if you don’t learn you can’t grow. Advocacy is a totally different way of working to selling. It is important to understand the nuances and differences, as this will determine your success and your client outcomes.
Selling a house has no similarity whatsoever to buying a home. It is not a transactional process, it is consultative. Developing a strong reputation will depend on you understanding the need to be trained as an advocate. Having seen ex selling agents transition and do wrong by their clients, as they still unconsciously operate like a selling agent is awful to witness. And they do not even know they are doing it, much to the detriment of their client.
A client of mine worked with an ex agent who transitioned to advocacy, and that ‘advocate’ did not orchestrate adequate due diligence for her, which ultimately cost her thousands of dollars in unexpected property repairs. As such, she is well within her rights to take legal action against him, because he failed his obligation to protect her interests in the negotiation process.
It is important to move ego aside and be willing to be openminded to retraining.
Securing ongoing mentoring is important to your personal and professional development.
Having high levels of emotional intelligence, motivation and a drive to help
You will be dealing with clients who view property with their own personal filters, so it’s important that you have a high level of emotional intelligence and are able to empathize with clients while working to secure them outcomes.
Ask yourself why you want to be an Advocate? What will motivate you to get out or bed as a self-employed advocate daily to do this job? For me it was about protecting consumers, ensuring they make smart and profitable decisions and knowing that I make a positive difference in their lives. Being clear on this will help you endure the tough times, while you develop your mettle. In reality you will experience tough times and tough markets. The current Covid19 Virus economic chaos is a perfect example of that.
Having patience and savings to back yourself
Property Advocacy requires patience and in this time of Covid19, as it will take a good 8 – 12 months of establishing yourself to make headway (depending on your niche). There will be times where none of the stock on or off market meets your clients brief. There will also be times when stock levels are low, or times where you miss out on a property due to relentless competition, requiring you to go back to the drawing board and repeat the process. Often, you may do this several times and for a single success fee. It’s the equivalent of selling a property 3 times before it goes unconditional. This is assuming you onboarded a client in the first place, so having 6 months of living costs saved as a buffer to support yourself is essential when starting out.
Changing client circumstances will impact their ability to start or even continue searching, meaning you will have to be responsive at short notice to their changing demands. As such, this is not a part time profession. The average client brief could take 6 – 12 months for home buyers and up to 3 months for investors. Knowing that in advance will help you manage your cashflow and clients.
- For a greater chance of success, make sure you have a minimum of 2 years real estate sales or buyer’s agent experience before becoming a property advocate
- Ensure your reputation is stellar and you have a database of clients to work
- Determine your niche before starting as an advocate and focus on that niche
- Be open to unlearning the known, and learning a new way of working and how to be an Advocate.
- Work for an established firm or under the ongoing mentorship of an operating Advocate.
- Dealing with and managing emotional clients requires emotional intelligence. You will need to draw on it!
- Be patient, as some client briefs can take many months and up to a year to fulfil.
Click Property Advocacy for more information on our agent business opportunities
Miriam Sandkuhler, CEO Property Mavens and Property Mavens Franchising, Industry Thought Leader
“Property Mavens is a multi-award winning and industry recognized Property Advocacy agency, dedicated to providing our clients with independent and unbiased evidence-based advice.