The Brady Marcs Podcast

Episode 2 with Heidi Brown

Episode 2 with Heidi Brown

This week we chat with one of the core members of the Brady Marcs team, Buyer’s Agent and Licensed Real Estate Agent, Heidi Brown.

Heidi was a high performing selling agent on the Lower North Shore in Sydney for 14 years before becoming a buyers agent. Brady and Heidi discuss the differences between selling property and buying on behalf of clients, as well as tips and seasoned advice for auctions and so much more.

Links for Heidi Brown:

Episode Transcript

Voiceover: Welcome to the Brady Marcs Podcast with your host Brady Yoshia from Brady Marcs Buyers Advisory. Enjoy discussions with a variety of guests and pioneers from diverse backgrounds, each sharing their unique perspectives on property, business, industry and more.

Brady Yoshia: This week, I’m talking with one of our core team members of Brady Marcs, Buyer’s Agent and Licensed Real Estate Agent, Heidi Brown. Heidi was a high performing selling agent on the Lower North Shore in Sydney for 14 years before becoming a buyer’s agent. Welcome, Heidi, thanks. It’s awesome to have you here today.

Heidi Brown: Thanks for having me.

BY: I’ve known you for a long time.

HB: Long time. 

BY: When I first became a buyer’s agent, I remember buying properties from you for my clients. Heidi, what is your personal journey or connection with the property industry so far?

HB: So this is my 20th year in real estate, which is a little bit frightening. So originally, I started in sales and marketing with a residential selling team in Crows Nest and was there for 14 years. And then flipped over – this is my fifth year on this side of the fence.

BY: Wow, and how’s it going?

HB: I should have done it 10 years ago. 

BY: Buyer’s agents are becoming more and more popular. Could you tell the listeners what is a buyer’s agent? What does a buyer’s agent do?

HB: Buyer’s agent really is the advocate for the buyer. It’s been such a long time coming this side of the industry. I really think that buyers have to be represented properly in a property transaction. So otherwise, it’s very one sided.

BY: Yes, and it can be quite confusing for buyers.

HB: 100%. It’s confusing. The property industry itself is a minefield for even for experts sometimes. So I can’t even imagine what it would be like doing it for someone that doesn’t do it all day, every day.

BY: Absolutely. Being a buyer’s agent, what is the typical day or week look like for you?

HB: Ha! There’s is no such thing. Every day is very different. Generally, we start the week off, you know, with our perfect week in plan in place. And we do meetings, of course, Mondays is really a catch up in a debrief on the weekend. And then Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday we spend time sourcing properties, sourcing opportunities, inspecting properties, and spending a bit of time with our clients. And then Saturday – Friday, Saturday generally getting ready for the weekend. So prepping for auctions, prepping our clients for auctions, or inspections as well.

BY: Yeah. 

HB: So it’s busy.

BY: It’s full time.

HB: 100%.

BY: You are very successful buyer’s agent. What was it that inspired you to switch from a selling agent to become a buyer’s agent?

HB: Look, I think it was a, stars sort of aligned for me. It was my oldest child was finishing school. The company I was with was going through some changes. And that really opened my mind up to thinking that there’s something else out there. And then I had a conversation with you quite literally. And you said why don’t you come and join us and it hadn’t even crossed my mind. I was in a very comfy space where I was. So it was a just a huge leap of faith actually, so, so glad I’ve done it.

BY: Well, I’m so glad you did it.

HB: Good.

BY: We are blessed to have you on the team. Heidi is definitely a team member. So when you’ve got a team member that works together collaboratively, we always feel that we can rely on Heidi and ask you lots of questions. So thank you for joining us.

HB: Pleasure.

BY: What do you enjoy most about working with buyers?

HB: I think it’s the intimate nature of our clients. I think a selling agent’s role is over and done in six weeks. And you know, obviously, we would like to have our buyers done in six weeks. But that’s often not the case. And we talked about in real estate generally having clients for life, but we literally do on this side of the business. It’s not, it’s less transactional. I had a client say to me on the weekend, you know, if I’d met your party, I’d want to be your friend. So that was a lovely compliment, I thought. 

BY: That’s awesome. Is there another story you want to share with us that has touched your heart with clients?

HB: Oh, just just the connections that you make. And, this side of the industry particularly is very referral based. And I feel very blessed with the amount of referrals I get from both industry and from ex clients.

BY: That’s awesome. So there’s a lot of agents in the real estate arena that are looking to potentially make the switch what would your advice be to them if they wanted to become a buyer’s agent?

HB:  Just be really clear on the on the path that it’s going to take you it’s like any change of within an industry even the change itself. There are going to be really tough times and it’s hard to establish yourself. And it’s it’s really important to remember that if you are going to make that change from a selling agent, be kind to those around you as a selling agent because you’ll need them on your way up on the buy side as well.

BY: Absolutely. You never know what’s around the corner. We’ve All had lots of funny stories in real estate, particularly being selling agents. What is a funny story that you can recall either being a selling agent or even now as a buyer’s agent? Or what’s the funniest story?

HB: Oh gosh, this this could write a book quite literally of the of the story. It’s one of my very funny stories was with you, though. For anyone that doesn’t know, Brady isn’t a huge dog lover. And we were at a house that we were inspecting, and the agent said, I’m gonna let the dogs back in now, as we were walking out and the dogs were enormous and were flying down the hallway, we were absolutely running to beat the dogs out the front door. That sticks in my mind very clearly. It’s a funny day.

BY: I remember that one. Auctions can be very daunting and stressful for buyers and sellers. Yeah, you have a really great track record with auctions, an environment where many feel uncomfortable. What are your tips for anyone wanting to purchase at auction?

HB: One of the auctioneers actually often says in his spiel, bid like a buyer’s agent, like you’re never going to run out of money. And I kind of have that mindset when I get there. The most recent auction, I was literally at my last dollar last weekend, but you, hopefully my body language and my face didn’t tell that story. So it’s about being prepared, takes away your nerves, being organized and have a very clear understanding of what the expectations are from both the agent, the auctioneer, and the vendor before you even get there.

BY: Yeah, those are great. Are there any secrets, listeners should know?

HB: Look at an auction, and all of us in our team do it differently as well, but I generally try to open the bidding. Because I like to see what the next increment is. Is it a big one? Is it a little one? To kind of put my hat in the ring first to see who wants to play?

BY: Yeah, that’s great. What’s should buyers not do at auctions.

HB: Ah, panic is probably the worst thing you should do. Go in there with a realistic expectation, set your budget, set your numbers and try to where you can stick to them, or you’re going to walk out the door feeling unwell? And we’ve all seen that.

BY: Yes.

HB: So yes, stick to your numbers. Research. Be prepared. And just put your hand up. You don’t get the prize for being second. 

BY: No, absolutely not. Many clients want to know how to show a selling agent that you’re interested in a property without giving away too much. For example, your maximum price you’re willing to pay. How do you approach this? And how transparent should buyers be?

HB: You’ve got to let – the selling agents genuinely want to work with you, as a buyer’s agent, particularly, but as a general buyer, you know, it makes sense to get as much information as you can from the selling agent, and make sure that you’re included in every conversation. So there’s ways that you can certainly indicate, getting the contracts reviewed, having changes made through solicitors and being in constant contact with the agent is super, super important to the amount of information you will have before the day.

BY: That’s great, excellent. There are a lot of buyers looking to buy property at the moment. And unfortunately, lots of buyers are frustrated and have buyer fatigue, what steps should someone look to buying property either right now or in the near future?

HB: I think just have a really good understanding of what’s happening out there. And the best way to do that, of course, is working with a buyer’s agent because we are living and breathing it 24/7. And it’s it’s taking that onus away from the buyer themselves to give you someone else to workshop, the issues and problems and lack of stock that we’re all currently facing. And to know that you’re not alone in the journey, I think it’s really, really important and it makes an incredible difference. I’ve noticed and I’m sure you have to in the last few months when clients come on board after trying to do it themselves. There’s actually like it literally the weight is lifted off their shoulders. So we take that burden on but we do it in an educated and measured way which makes a huge difference you search.

BY: It does and we absolutely take the emotional side of it away from the emotion, so yeah.

HB: That being said, I was with a client on Saturday at a property and she burst into tears in the main bedroom and she literally had a physical reaction to how much she loved the property, so that’s probably showing your emotions too much.

BY: They’re good emotions.

HB: Yeah, exactly.

BY: We both know that the real estate industry can be 24/7.

HB: Yeah.

BY: Away from being a buyer’s agent, what things are essential to your daily or weekly routine.

HB: So exercise is really important for me. I can’t run anymore, unfortunately, but I do try and do four to five sessions of something a week, whether it be Pilates or whatever. Walking my dog, and just trying to get some downtime on a Sunday, particularly. It’s really our only day off. But having a little bit of downtime is really important.

BY: It’s very important to recharge the batteries.

HB: Yes.

BY: So what are three things you love to do?

HB: I’m a good cook. I think my kids would maybe argue that, but yeah, I’m a good cook. So I find the Sunday prep session, quite therapeutic. I like to have a glass of wine in the afternoon or Sunday afternoon and have a nice meal and go for big walks or catch up with my friends.

BY: Yeah, that’s great. I know you love to read. So what are you reading at the moment?

HB: I mean, two things. One is ‘Atomic Habits’, which is the James Clear book, which I’ve actually read some years ago, but I’m going back to that, which I’m really enjoying. And I’m enjoying Michelle Obama’s new book, which, I’ve followed her for years. And she’s, I’d a bit of a girl fan of hers. But she has some beautiful messages for everyone. This is the book she wrote through COVID.

BY: Oh, yeah. They’re both awesome books. Yeah. So to the listeners out there. If you haven’t read either of those books, I highly recommend them. Yep. So you mentioned earlier that the marketplace at the moment is quite a tough one for buyers. There’s not a lot of stock on the market, how do you overcome this with your clients? What’s your advice? And sorry, I should also say what is your advice to the listeners out there that are embarking on a purchasing journey?

HB: I think so long your expectations are real, and clear. And you know it’s not going to be easy. I think that makes a really big difference. And to do your homework, do your research, talk to agents, talk to buyers agents, talk to people in the industry so you don’t feel completely alone in the journey. I bid at an auction for some clients couple of weeks ago with 25 registered bidders, you know that those sort of numbers we haven’t seen for years and years and years, even through COVID, online when we were doing auctions. So you know, there are so many buyers out there and the properties are just not there. It’s somewhere between 30 and 50%, down in stock levels. And we just have to get creative about creating opportunities out of nothing. Whether we get local agents to letterbox for us whether we are doing cold calls or working with agents in the in whatever space we’re looking in, to kind of talk to people they’re appraising as well, you know, maybe there’s an off market opportunity there. So it’s about being really creative.

BY: Very good point. So realistically, how long would it take a buyer to find a property in the current climate?

HB: I would have said a couple of years ago, when we first started, it would have changed six to eight weeks. But you know, realistically, it’s 10 to 12 weeks. Without question. Buyers need to feel that they have seen enough property to be able to make a really good educated decision. And because there’s so little stock on the market, that process is taking longer as well. So when they get to that point, they go, yes, this is the one for us, they know that they have seen everything that’s possible on-market, off-market or even pre-market. And then they’re able to make a really good decision. 

BY: So they have to have realistic expectations. You mentioned the word off-market. That word is mentioned a lot. What is a true off-market and an off-market property.

HB: So an off market properties become a bit of a buzzword in the industry. In my day in your day, we used to call a preview week, or we used to show the property prior to going on the internet  for one week or VIP database listing and there was a whole lot of different yes we had. But a true off-market is really one that isn’t even, it might be someone that there an agent is appraising that he’s looking to not do photos, not do floor plans not do any kind of advertising. The off-market that most people know about at the moment is the one that sent out to 5000 people on their databases. So it’s not exclusive to you. So genuinely, off-market property is one that we have exclusive access to, as opposed to something that’s gone through a database of 5000 people.

BY: Yeah, that’s a really good point. At the moment, when we look at and we look at Domain, we are only seeing limited properties. Those are all on market properties. What would your advice be to someone that’s looking to buy a property? If that’s the only access they’ve got? Would it be to engage a buyer’s agent?

HB: Yeah, 100%. I mean, we, we sell, buy – I got the selling agent hat back on – that we buy somewhere around 60% of our properties annually that never hit the market. So there’s this whole underworld of property that goes on that people who don’t have access to that can’t buy, can’t see. So you’re actually only seeing half of what’s available to make your decision.

BY: Yeah. And is a buyer’s agent just for someone with a very large budget?

HB: Not at all. I’m working with first time buyers, you know, sub-800 to buyers who’ve got millions and millions. So the process is exactly the same for us, whether it’s, you know, a first time buyer or somebody buying a commercial property or or a $10 million home, the process is exactly the same.

BY: So a buyer’s agent is accessible to everyone.

HB:  100%, yeah. And it’s interesting. First time buyers, probably with the lowest budgets probably need you the most, because there’s so many pitfalls that they can get stuck on if they’re not being well advised. And having kids sort of that age, you know, as do you, you feel quite protective of them. And you don’t want them to get themselves into trouble with high strata levies, or things that they can’t see in contract. So using our experience to help them make good decisions is going to put them on their property journey for the rest of their lives.

 Y: Yeah, it’s very good for them to have someone to hold their hand ups every step of the way. So I recall one of your clients recently, well, I shouldn’t say that you’ve been working with her for a short period of time, I might add, she took a little bit longer than others.

HB: Yes. 

BY: You had a lot of fun along the way

HB: We did.

BY: And there were some ups and downs with her, do you want to tell the listeners a little bit about how the journey came full circle, and any other insights as to what happened that could potentially help a buyer make a decision?

HB: So this particular story, this lady was very particular, she was the most beautiful, beautiful lady, but very particular in terms of what she wanted. So our journey lasted just short or just over a year, which is a long time, which is not normal. But we saw an extraordinary amount of property in that time. So this was sort of pre-COVID, pre- any of these slumps in the market at the moment. So it was considerably a normal market. So after just over 12 months, she bought the first property that I showed her. Back to my point of saying, you’ve got to be sure when you make a decision, she was very sure by then.

BY: I’m sure she was. Pardon the pun. Yeah. And so sometimes when we say the first property is the right property, that actually makes sense.

HB: Yes. So it’s about, again, setting those expectations with the clients that you know, you, we do know what we’re talking about. We’re here to advise you, you know, that’s what you’re paying us to do. So, you know, listen, listen to what we can do. So but yeah, that was literally full circle.

BY: Yeah. Heidi, it’s amazing to have that interview. Thank you for joining me today. Thank you. So if somebody wants to contact you, what’s the best way for them to get in touch

HB: My mobile number 0407 410 173. Or of course through the Brady Marcs website, you can find me – all my details are there. We of course do, you know, obligation free chats just to see where you are in your journey, and perhaps we can help you along the way and if I’m not the right person, there’s somebody else in our team that will be.

BY: Thank you so much.

HB: Pleasure.

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