Why this property investor doesn’t mind being a ‘pain in the ass’ to his buyer’s agent

While many property investors recognise the value of property professionals as a part of their journey, one should also remember that it takes good education to know whether or not you’re getting the kind of service that you deserve.

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Chris McMullen, who has only recently started his property investment journey, admits to having limited knowledge about real estate and investing, which he makes up for by continuously educating himself through various means such as programs, podcasts, and seminars.

What he did get from his extensive advertising background that proved useful in his journey towards creating wealth is a “good bullshit filter”. According to him, a lot of people would not hesitate to take advantage of you once they find out that you have money to invest in such a costly asset.

“They will promise you pretty much everything. They'll take your super if you give it to them and they'll do whatever—I think they're the ones really to watch out for,” the property investor explained.

Smart Property Investment’s Phil Tarrant agreed and said: “I want someone to [things] for me but I've invested in my education so I know ... the drill and I'm able to challenge my buyer's agent.”


“[You] can’t outsource responsibility for education and decision-making,” he added.

Finding the perfect buyer’s agent

In order to find the buyer’s agent who could best help him achieve his financial goals over a certain timeframe, Chris did not only pick the most well-known professional or the one recommended by most of his friends. Instead, he took the time to line up six different agents and talk to them about his goals, limitations, and capabilities as a property investor.

He immediately looked for properties that strike his interest as soon as he arrived in Coburg, Brunswick, then he shared it all with the six professionals and asked them about what they thought of his choices. At the end of the day, according to him, the best agent is the one who makes you comfortable enough to talk about your finances—someone you can even “have a beer with”.

He said: “That person's going to be by your side [so you got to like him].”

However, it becomes a little bit complicated once you take competition into account. According to Chris, working with experienced agencies like National Property Buyers and Empower Wealth presents a challenge because their buyer’s agents most probably entertain other property investors who, like you, are looking for the best asset.

The property investor shared: “When I showed the property [to] ... Empower Wealth … [the agent] said, ‘I've got that for someone else but we can show you some other properties … ‘ I realised that was probably the detriment of going with these guys—you're competing with other people like yourself.”

While this pretty much confirms that he’s on the right track in terms of picking out good properties, he knew he wanted to work with someone who can take time to know him and his portfolio in order to help him ultimately achieve his goals. Chris ended up with a new buyer’s agent form Cohen-Handler, who personally drove him around to look at properties.

According to him: “He had a background in building … [and] evaluation for banks, and he was the only one [who] … took me out and showed me a couple of properties.”

“I got comfortable with him ... We went and stopped at a few properties and he pointed out some things, and I got a gauge of what he'd be like to work with.

“And I knew that, because he was new, he didn't have anyone else. He'd be just going headstrong, fighting just to find me a place, and make a name ... in this new place that he'd joined,” he added.

Being a not-so-good client

Being able to build a good relationship with your buyer’s agent is just as important as being able to find them—after all, the goal is to have them stay throughout your journey to help you make good decisions. However, for Chris, there’s nothing wrong with being a little bit annoying if you get a better service and a better output as a result.

He said: “That process of labour is forgotten once the baby's born. All the hardships and everything you go through, once you've got the end result, that's all that you reflect on.”

“I don't mind being a pain in the ass through the buying process as long as we both achieve the goal at the end. And I say ‘we’ because I feel like it's a bit of a partnership with your buyer's agent,” the property investor added.

There will always be friction at some point, even if you have the best relationship with your agent, but keep in mind that as long as you are comfortable with each other and you both operate in the same way as the entire financial team, then you’re essentially on the right track. A good property professional, after all, is someone who is comfortable to make adjustments so he could deliver a better service tailored specifically to a particular client.

Phil’s advice for property investors looking to work with a financial team: Discuss your goals with them, set some ground rules, and establish a good relationship built on trust and respect.

He said: “When that friction does happen, you can get through it okay and it's not personal. It's just, ‘Okay, let's sort this out and move on … ' It is … a genuine partnership,” he concluded.

Tune in to Chris McMullen’s episode on The Smart Property Investment Show to know how he utilises other property investors’ personal stories, experiences, and mistakes as research towards buying his own properties.

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