With the recent ups and downs of the real estate market, buyers’ agents are growing in popularity and are fast becoming an integral piece of the real estate puzzle.
“Although buyers’ agents only really make up around five per cent of the market, awareness of the benefits of working with us is growing year on year. We add genuine value by saving clients hours of research time, finding available properties, shortlisting options, viewing and appraising, carrying out due diligence and then expertly negotiating the purchase on their behalf,” Michael explained.
Not surprisingly, STRAND Property Group’s core clients are busy corporate professionals with limited free time to search for their next home or investment on Sydney’s Lower North Shore and Northern Beaches. Michael and his team also help a number of Australians living overseas in places like London, Hong Kong and Singapore who value his on-the-ground expertise and in-depth knowledge of the local property market.
Buyers at heart
Established in 2016, STRAND Property Group was born from Michael’s personal desire to help people make better property investment and buying decisions.
“As a residential investor for a long time, I’d seen firsthand how other people were making really poor property decisions, whether they were buying for themselves or buying as an investment. To be honest, I felt quite alarmed by some of the things people had done with advice they’d received in good faith. I knew there was a real need for investment advice that had the property buyer at heart,” Michael said.
In the early days, Michael started working with investors who needed to get their portfolios back on track and also professionals starting their property investment journey.
“In the last 18 months or so however we’ve been focusing on home buyers as well. This is largely due to the market, but also an increasing demand from time poor professionals looking to outsource their entire property purchasing process,” he added.
So what makes Michael so successful at what he does?
“I think the key thing is I’ve walked the property path personally before helping others. In short, I come from a position of experience rather than theory and this makes a huge difference to the level of service I can offer,” he said.
“Not only that, as a qualified architectural engineer, I can assess, analyse and shortlist properties with a different skillset to most other buyers’ agents. We can go into a property and identify risks, potential issues but also opportunities and value add options,” he added.
Michael and his team also have a strict “clients’ best interests first” mantra and are committed to taking an honest and open approach.
“Whatever advice we give is based on our clients’ needs, their risk profile, their journey in life and where they're at now. It's certainly not driven by the number of transactions we need to do a year or how much commission we need to make, but by what can we do to make the outcome for the client the best it possibly can be. That's a big driving force for us,” he said.
From day one, Michael’s goal was to set STRAND Property Group up to be as professional as possible by following best practice each and every time, with every client.
“We're active members of REINSW, the Real Estate Buyers’ Agents Association of Australia and also the Property Investment Professionals Association. Each association has its own strict code of conduct for members to follow and we absolutely do this and more,” he said.
For Michael, this desire to adhere to best practice at a service level also extends to best practice within the wider industry.
“One of the biggest issues in the property industry is that advice is not legislated like financial planning or tax advice. Anybody can go out there and give property advice without any qualifications and this is something I'm quite passionate about changing,” he said.
To this end, Michael is a valued and dedicated member of REINSW’s Buyers’ Agents Chapter Committee, which meets quarterly to discuss industry issues including how legislation affects buyers' agents specifically.
“We’re pushing to change the Property, Stock and Business Agents’ Act to give a clear definition for buyers' agents and what they do. This will mean that anybody who calls themselves a buyers’ agent will have to follow a code of conduct that’s legislated, rather than simply a guideline. We're pushing for buyers' agents to be accredited, just as auctioneers are, to improve levels of education and also raise the barriers to entry,” he explained.
Michael is also actively involved in creating local business networks to create mutually beneficial strategic partnerships.
“When we help buyers through their property purchase, we can now support them with other professional services such as accountants, financial planners, mortgage brokers, solicitors and more,” he said.
“We’ve established four successful networking groups based in several northern Sydney areas and it’s been very rewarding for everyone involved in bringing these communities together.”
Into the future, Michael remains committed to raising the profile of buyers’ agents and will continue to work with the REINSW on a number of important legislative initiatives.
“We’re also looking to solidify our business and grow slowly but surely. We’re truly not driven by dollars in terms of commission or turnover. We just want to help people make the right decisions around property now and for the long term,” he said.
“Although buyers’ agents only really make up around five per cent of the market, awareness of the benefits of working with us is growing year on year.”
“We're pushing for buyers' agents to be accredited, just as auctioneers are, to improve levels of education and also raise the barriers to entry.”