Selling agents aren’t the only agents of the real estate world. Buyer’s agents are independent specialists who work for the home hunter, finding them the perfect property – no selling involved. This week, we sat down with Brisbane buyer’s agent Anna O’Neill to find out what makes her tick…
Tell us about your story and how you started out in real estate
I bought my first property when I was 21. It was all I could afford and haphazardly renovated it and made $200K, which launched me into my next two properties.Then I started doing renovating and development courses and doing bigger and bigger projects. The whole time I was working in media sales for some of the biggest brands in Brisbane. Eventually I couldn’t buy anymore properties (without selling some) so I thought my favourite thing to do is to find a property with good potential and I can help other people do that.
What did you really want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to be an advertising executive and to be my own boss and I’ve done both those things now!
Any mentors or inspirational figures along the way?
Plenty. Working with some of the top business owners in Brisbane I feel like I’m giving a speech and don’t want to miss anyone out: Terry Skene, who owns Kingston Park Raceway, was one of my first clients and one of the savviest businessmen I know; Francesca and Andrew from Brazilian Beauty launched their business with me. I still look after Diamonds International’s advertising on the side, which would be 12 years now.
The person that got me thinking I could do property development as a business was Cherie Barber, as I did originally think property development was a man’s world. That was the first course I did. I thought about buying a real estate franchise but it wasn’t the right fit for me – I prefer finding the right solution and building stronger relationships, not selling a product. That’s why starting a buyer’s agency suits me to a tee.
Any large sales or big moments in your career that stand out?
I was Account Manager of the Year seven times at Nova, and I think always putting the client first was a big part of this success.
The client entertainment we did was insane! I’ve taken clients to Thailand and Hong Kong. We took one client, who has everything he could buy, in a helicopter over Moreton Bay – we landed at Sirromet Winery, had lunch and then flew back to the city.
What do you get up to in your downtime?
I spend time with my two-year-old, making her happy; lots of singing and craft at the moment.
What’s the funniest thing you’ve come across in your time working in real estate?
I once tried to buy a block of land from the owner of a brothel. I tracked down the owner’s address and door-knocked, then I realised. She didn’t need to sell it to me – apparently business was good!
What’s your favourite thing about working in this industry?
Finding people good investments or a new home and seeing them happy. It’s very rewarding.
And your least favourite?
Egos and not being called back when I make an enquiry on a property.
What advice would you give to yourself if you were starting out?
As a buyer’s agent, don’t assume people know what you do. There’s still a big education process. When I explain I work independently for the client and my fee is fixed for that reason, I see them relax. Don’t undersell your knowledge and negotiation experience as it really makes a difference in today’s market.
Where would you like to think you’ll be in 10 years’ time?
This is my passion so I’ll probably have a couple of staff, which will give me a bit more free time to spend with family and go on overseas holidays again! Some goals are a beach house to build or renovate and a boat.