Earning the experience to excel

September/October 2016 edition

Hastings Property’s David Cohen is focused on using every experience he has to ensure he establishes himself as one of Sydney’s leading buyers’ agents.

How long have you been working in the industry?
I started working in the industry during my final year of university and I’m now approaching nearly a decade in real estate.

Did you always want to work in the real estate industry?
Definitely. I’ve always had a passion for real estate. After finishing high school, I studied Property Economics at the University of Technology Sydney before getting into the industry. I haven’t looked back since.
Why did you choose to specialise as a buyers’ agent?

I spent time studying in Canada, where the concept of a buyers’ agent was well established. When I returned to Sydney, I found there weren’t many around. I saw a real gap in the Eastern Suburbs market, where property buyers were being misrepresented during the buying process. There was opportunity and demand for professional guidance throughout the entire buying process and I believed I could make a difference by offering an exclusive service dedicated to representing property buyers.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love seeing clients purchase their dream property. It’s a rewarding experience for me. Also, every day is totally different – you never really know what’s going to happen. I love it!

What are the key skills needed to be successful in your job?
  • People person. You need to have a big network of both friends and industry contacts.
  • Knowledge. You need to know your service area inside out (including property values, land sizes, streets and more).
  • Attention to detail. You need to be able to put yourself in your clients’ shoes and qualify suitable properties on their behalf in line with their buying brief.
  • Efficiency. Having a great team behind you means you can get things done as quickly as possible, which can be the difference between buying a property or missing out.
  • Negotiation. You need to be a strong negotiator when it comes to the purchase price, as well as your commission.

What’s the most interesting transaction you have been involved in?

Earlier this year, I purchased a property on Hastings Parade, North Bondi on behalf of a client living overseas for $5 million. I remember using Facetime at 4pm on the Saturday afternoon (which was about 3am local time for the client) so that they could see it before any other buyers. It was fascinating that they were in their bathrobe on the other side of the world making the biggest investment of their lives! We did all the due diligence on the Sunday morning and exchanged contracts that afternoon. When they flew into Sydney a couple of weeks later to see the property, I was relieved that they still loved it.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

I’d have to say that becoming a Partner at Hastings Property at the age of 23 is a standout in my career. I’ve been able to watch it grow into an award-winning agency, which has been very rewarding.

What are your goals for the next 12 months?

I’d like to see Hastings Property continue its growth and become the most recognisable buyers’ agency in Sydney. Personally, I’d like to be recognised as the #1 buyers’ agent in the Eastern Suburbs.

When you’re not at work, how do you like to spend your time?

I’m an avid golfer, so you can find me playing at the Lakes Golf Club with friends or clients. If I’m not there, I enjoy relaxing at home with my family and friends with great food and wine.

Is there a particular phrase or adage that you live by?

“Winners never quit and quitters never win.”

What’s the best advice you would give your younger self if you knew then what you know now?

Listen to your elders when they give you advice, because it’s generally from their firsthand experiences. You don’t gain experience overnight; it’s something that’s earned over the years. I wish I believed that when I was in my early 20’s.