When I was looking into becoming a buyer’s agent, I looked into many avenues of which associations to join and who I was going to learn from. I felt pretty alone in the early days as I was starting up my own agency and I didn’t come from a real estate background, so I knew I wanted to find like-minded others to help me learn and to look towards when I had questions.
Sense of belonging
I found REBAA online and I joined just before attending my first AGM. I took a deep breath and booked my flights to attend the annual conference, intending to blend into the back row and take it all in quietly and return home. When I walked into the room it was such a friendly atmosphere. Everyone I met was so open and welcoming, I felt a huge sense of relief that I’d found ‘my people’. Even though these people were no doubt competitors of one another in many cases, there was a feeling of cameraderie and mutual respect that made me feel right at ease. They were all passionately working towards a common goal, to help their clients and raise the profile of the industry. I felt an immediate a sense of connection and common ground right away.
I sat down at a table only to be surrounded by names I recognised in the industry and faces I’d seen from TV shows and I remember feeling a huge sense of relief, that this was the right crowd to be associating with and learning from, if I wanted to be successful in my new career. To be with those who were in the trenches, who were walking the talk day in, day out, and had been for decades. I was also struck by how diverse everyone was. It became clear that there were many different business models and approaches implemented in real life, which I found reassuring to see as I wasn’t exactly sure if I was going to fit in.
Having the opportunity to meet everyone over the course of the conference and ask my naïve questions in a supportive environment was massively helpful to me. I gained relationships I could truly call on beyond the conference, who would grow to become friends and help me when I faced problems along the way (and still do rely on them, to be honest!). I guess it was informal mentoring in a sense, before REBAA formalised a mentoring program for members.
I listened carefully to the more experienced buyer’s agents in the room (in awe of those who had truly pioneered the industry in Australia as buyer’s agents many, many years ago) and through the ‘Brains Trust’ sessions, I heard the room discuss and debate key issues from an experienced viewpoint which I greatly benefited from.
As the conference continued, I came to realise I had so much more to learn. You don’t know what you don’t know, until you join your industry body and find out just how much there really is still to figure out! I’d recently completed my full real estate licence and already had two business degrees under my belt, but to get industry-specific learning and ongoing help on a consistent basis has been priceless. In this industry, best practice is constantly changing and to have support specific to buyer’s agents is like oxygen to running my business.
The members-only forums continue to be a great tool for me. I’m able to connect and discuss with true buyer’s agents across the country and feel connected and supported that I can ask anything on my mind and have a multitude of suggestions and opinions to help me out. As my business grows and my skillset with it, my fellow REBAA members have been there to help me out as my questions change.
If you’re thinking about stepping into the industry or are looking for some like-minded others, I can only say I’ve found joining REBAA to be an essential ingredient for my success. It’s been immensely helpful over the past few years, from starting a business to growing and hiring staff. Far beyond the monetary benefit of discounts, I’ve gained a priceless community of colleagues who have such depth of experience to help me out whenever I ask. Now I’m able to pay it back and share my thoughts with those who find themselves where I was, taking the early steps as a buyer’s agent and seeking out the best in the industry. Thanks for leading the way REBAA!
Claire Corby is the founder of Capital Buyers Agency in Canberra