It's time to buy: A day in the life of Shelley Horton

May/June 2017 edition

Shelley Horton from Albion Avenue, a leading specialist buyers’ agency in Sydney, spends her day out and about finding the perfect property for her clients. Here she gives us a glimpse at a typical day.

I’ve worked in and around the residential property industry for more than 20 years. I worked as a property valuer for 10 years before making the move to a corporate position with a mortgage insurance company. Then, about a decade ago, a friend mentioned that she was buying a property with her sister. While my friend lived here in Sydney, her sister was in London – and they were using a buyers’ agent to help them with the purchase.
That conversation sowed the seed. I started to see how I could bring all my skills together to add value for buyers in the transaction. Four years ago. I took the plunge, became a buyers’ agent and set up Albion Avenue.

To be honest, I’m not much of a morning person. I need something to wake me up and start my day on a high note. A good 45 minutes of exercise does just that. I generally alternate between a personal training session or a run through Centennial Park. It’s a definite ‘must’ for me every day – especially on Saturdays, which can be my busiest work day.

It’s not unusual for me to grab breakfast at a local café. I use the time to check my schedule. Every day is different – with a mixture of property inspections, client meetings and auctions – and it’s a great chance to set myself up mentally for the day ahead.

This morning I have five open for inspections to get to; three of them are for one client and two are for another. I double-check all the inspection times over breakfast, so I know I have enough time to get from one to the next. It’s tight, but doable.

I always try to get to an inspection 10 minutes early. I generally touch base with most of the sales agents in the days ahead of the inspection, so they’re happy to let me in a little early while they’re still setting up. It gives me a chance to have a good look around before the crowds descend – and I can also grab some one-on-one time with the agent.

Have they had a lot of interest? Is there any urgency behind the sale? Are they looking to sell sooner rather than later? Are they committed to selling at auction? These are all the sorts of things I’ll ask the agent.

I also check off my clients’ requirements as I inspect each property. They each have their own list of ‘must haves’ and ‘nice to haves’, so I’m looking to tick off as many as possible to determine how suitable the property will be for them. The more ticks there are, the more appealing it will likely be.

With the inspections over, I take some time over lunch to gather my thoughts. I’ve made lots of notes over the course of the five inspections this morning, so I start to put them into some order and begin to draft up reports for my clients. I also start thinking about which properties to shortlist and take the clients through.

Another of my clients wants to view one of the properties I’ve shortlisted for them, so I head off to pick them up. As I chaperone them through the property, we review their list of ‘must haves’ and ‘nice to haves’, and discuss the pros and cons of the property. This time, the property isn’t quite hitting the mark for my client, so I take the opportunity to gather more feedback from them. Sometimes it’s the smallest piece of information that can make the difference between finding a great property for them and the perfect property.


My last meeting for the day is with a potential new client. We have a preliminary discussion and I run them through the process. I also explain the different packages we offer. Sometimes a client will just want us to bid at auction for them. Others want the full package.

I take the time to set out what I need from them to ensure the process flows smoothly and answer all their questions. Once the client signs an agreement, we start defining what sort of property they’re after so I can get to work.

I finish up in the office by completing any outstanding reports for clients. I like to have a quick call first then email through the report, so my clients can review them when they get home from work and overnight.

I’m bidding at an auction tonight for one of my clients, so I do some preparation before heading off to the auction venue. Just as I do with inspections, I arrive early so I can see who’s who in the room, gather feedback about the property and find out how many bidders have registered.

My client is with me at the auction tonight. That’s not always the case, as my clients come from all over – local, interstate and international.

I make my way home after the auction. It’s been a long day and I’m looking forward to having a nice meal and just relaxing with my partner. I tell him about my day, he tells me about his day and we might watch some TV before heading off to bed at around 10.00pm. I definitely need my eight hours of sleep a night – I even have an app on my phone that reminds me when it’s time to go to bed!