After more than 20 years in real estate, I guess I’ve negotiated my fair share of property sales, seen some amazing homes, and met a wide range of people along the way.

It all adds to the journey, and I was honoured to be invited to speak and participate in a Q+A with the staff at Cohen Handler as part of their speaker sessions.

But firstly, who are Cohen Handler?

Simon Cohen of Cohen Handler

Simon Cohen of Cohen Handler

I’m guessing most of you know Cohen Handler already, as their great reputation precedes them. But Cohen Handler, led by founder Simon Cohen, is perhaps one of the best-known buyer’s agencies in Sydney. They operate as an expert team of buyer’s agents and advocates and have expanded nationally in recent years.

As real estate agents we have strong relationships with a range of buyer’s agents, and regularly negotiate with them at auctions and property sales. Real estate is about relationships and collaboration, and we’ve built strong working relationships with Cohen Handler across many sales in Potts Point and the Eastern Suburbs. In fact, we often call them when we have a property we know they might be interested in for a buyer.

We believe buyer’s agents offer a valuable service in a competitive market like Sydney. Although traditionally buyer’s agents were famous for helping out on high-end prestige sales, they also help first home buyers, investors, and downsizers secure their dream property.

If you’re a buyer, there are many benefits to using a buyer’s agent. Saving time and money on your property search is one of them, and having an expert to bid at auction or negotiate on your behalf is another. But so is tapping into their market expertise, network and access to off-market or silent sales with real estate agents. In fact, Cohen Handler says 82% of the properties they help buy are transacted off-market.

Transparency in real estate is crucial

Given that both buyer’s agents and real estate agents spend our working lives negotiating, one of the key things we discussed at the Cohen Handler Speaker Session last month was negotiation. I spoke about my approach to negotiation and why I think vulnerability and transparency are gifts of strength when it comes to negotiation. So is honesty.

We all know real estate agents have a shocking public reputation when it comes to honesty. A 2021 survey placed us down right near the end of the most trusted professions list – yes, again. We were beaten to last place only by advertisers and used car salesmen. It’s a reputation that’s stuck like mud, and really hard to change.

It’s something that I also spoke about with Daphne Sauvage, an agent I often co-list alongside, the other week on her blog.

Intense competition for listings, sales and results in the real estate industry often leads to bad behaviour, bad business practices and even bullying. But there are better ways than others to work with your colleagues, buyers and vendors and drive competition. It’s one thing to show strength but you also have to be compassionate. You need to be true to your own set of values and take them to your real estate transactions.

That said, telling the truth – which often includes telling people what they don’t want to hear – can lose you an awful lot of business but it also means that in the end, you end up getting the right kind of business.

Common interests and the same goals

We’re in a service industry, so naturally, the client needs to come first, above everything else. And, as we also discussed at the Cohen Handler speaker session, I believe the greatest gift you can give yourself, and your client is to stop talking and listen.

It’s only when we really listen and understand what our clients are looking for, and what they’re struggling with, that we can help match them with the right solution – in our industry, that’s the perfect home. And that’s where buyer’s agents and real estate agents are on the same page.

Article by Jason Boon

In a real estate market that is the focus of Australian, and indeed worldwide attention, Jason Boon's results in the Sydney scene make him a highly significant figure within the industry. A long-term specialist in the Potts Point and inner eastern suburbs area, he is uniquely placed to leverage his skills and local knowledge as the area undergoes significant change and diversification. Jason ha…