21 Nov 2019

The benefit of a rigorous apprenticeship

REBAA is Australia’s leading national industry association for buyer’s agents. Members abide by a strict code of conduct and full member status requires a minimum of two years’ of consistent buyer agency work. Licensing, appropriate insurances and sponsorship from two existing members are part of the entrant criteria. REBAA focuses on promoting its members, raising market awareness of our industry body, and always seeks to protect consumers from industry misconduct and risk. REBAA caters to learner and provisional members and offers a mentoring program for those who seek one-on-one support from an experienced buyer’s agent.

In the next in our series ‘The benefit of a rigorous apprenticeship’, REBAA VIC member Miriam Sandkuhler from Property Mavens, shares her apprenticeship experiences with honest reflection and candour:

Miriam started her career working in the financial services sector in the days before they called it ‘financial planning’.  As an authorised representative, Miriam was employed by a financial services firm in 1999 to help them sell managed investment scheme real estate, at a golf resort in the Yarra Valley. She was head hunted by Mirvac to fulfil a similar role in South West WA in 2004. That experience clarified for Miriam the limitations that this type of property had when it came to growth and resale.

While this experience affected her financially, it also fuelled her thirst for knowledge about the industry. So, after her stint selling managed investment scheme property, she entered the profession and became a high-performing buyer’s advocate.

“I was fortunate to be employed and mentored by Damian Collins at Momentum Wealth in Perth,” said Miram.

“He was an experienced property developer, buyer’s agent, financial planner, CPA and mortgage broker. I learnt so much from his all-round expertise that I had a very thorough apprenticeship over a 16-month period and I loved it! I was really good at property selection. I had a natural affinity for it, my negotiation skills were well developed, and I loved working for buyers; protecting their interests and helping them to buy high performing property. My consultative approach, which I learned in my financial services role, was perfectly suited to help me succeed as a buyer’s advocate.”

Returning to Victoria in 2010, Miriam started her multi-award nominated independent firm Property Mavens in 2012. She has established a strong reputation as a leading advocate and regular media commentator on buyer’s rights, petitioning the Victorian government to change the laws on underquoting from 2015-2017.  She holds a APIA qualification with PIAA  and is the bestselling author of Property Prosperity.

As a multi-property investor herself, Miriam know that advocacy requires much broader knowledge and a higher skillset than what sales requires, and there are no shortcuts to the job.  

“Our role is to protect clients from making costly mistakes as well as advise them on which properties to buy and for how much money,” she said. “It’s not a job for someone without substantial real estate experience and a solid understanding of growth drivers and what attributes effect a property’s ability to grow in value. While this can be trained over time, not everyone can grasp the complexity of property and the role that we provide our clients.  We protect, guide and support our clients by advising them based on their best interests.”

Observing how the industry is on the brink of disruption and with a strong desire to lead the next wave of change, Miriam recently launched the Property Mavens Advocacy franchise model, to help agents transition from sales to advocacy.

“It’s about educating selling agents on the difference between a consultative versus a transactional approach and how to properly support their clients with their property decisions, whether buying or selling.  Fundamentally it’s about people not property, and a client for life mentality.”