13 Sep 2018

The dangers of using a big brand name

REBAA member and financial planner, Kiril Ruvinsky, reveals his journey to becoming a successful buyer’s agent and founder of Strategic Investor Group in Sydney. Finding a gap in the market for clients looking for quality property advice he launched his own buyer’s agency business under the umbrella name of a well-known national selling agency with surprising results. We took him aside to ask the following Q&A:

Q: Tell us a little about your business, Strategic Investor Group?
A: Having been a financial planner for 25 years, I realised there was a real gap in the market for clients. There were no real solutions for clients looking for advice around property. Strategic Investor Group exists to give clients a competitive advantage through property. Our tag line is “Strategic Investor Group- Your unfair property advantage.”

Q: What made you decide to become a buyer’s agent?
A: We were advising clients on structure and strategy, and then they would go out to try find the property on their own. They would end up either buying overpriced off-the-plan rubbish, or home and land packages in Queensland when really what they wanted was a quality investment-grade property here in Sydney.

Q: You started your business under the LJ Hooker umbrella. Why did you change your name?
A: At the time we were actually running the LJHooker home loans business here in Sydney across around 50 offices. So we thought it made sense to piggy back off a known reputable brand. Boy were we wrong. The name confused people. The brand is well known as a selling agency, so every conversation had to start with an explanation that we don’t sell property, we only buy.

Q: Do you think consumers understand the difference between a selling agency with buyer’s agents and an independent buyer’s agent?
A: Absolutely they do, which is why our branding confused the public so much.

Q: Where do you see the future of the industry headed in Australia? 
A: I have seen first-hand how much money we save clients. I think most buyers agents really sell the benefits of using a buyer’s agent saying we will save you time. But it’s the money we save people that I think is the biggest benefit. For most people buying property is the biggest investment they will make and making mistakes can be extremely costly. The amount of errors I have seen people make I could fill a book with. The more people we, as a profession, can assist each year the more the word gets out – as evidenced by the growing number of buyer’s agents that are out there today.

Q: What do you enjoy most about what you do?
A: Helping our clients make really good investment decisions and making our clients’ money.