If viewing (and buying) luxurious, multi-million dollar properties in the most affluent suburbs in the country tickles your fancy, you might want to consider a career as a buyer’s agent.
Differing from a real estate agent, a buyer’s agent is a licensed and regulated real estate professional who acts on behalf of the property buyer. Their purpose is to research, find and negotiate a property that is an ideal match for their client.
Sounds like a pretty cool gig, right? That’s what Simon Cohen thinks, too. CEO and co-founder of Cohen Handler – one of Australia’s leading property buyer’s agency – Cohen knows what to look for in the competitive property market, and this know-how and knowledge – coupled with his charisma – has served him well for the past 15 years.
If you’ve seen the widely popular Amazon Prime show, Luxe Listings Sydney, you’ll see Cohen’s expertise front and centre, as he highlights his real estate prowess across Sydney’s most desired suburbs. You’ll also come to quickly realise that the real estate industry is not for the faint heartened. Nor is the role of a Buyer’s Agent.
We spoke with Simon Cohen to tell us all about his role on Luxe Listings Sydney, what a buyer’s agent actually does and how to purchase that aspirational home you’ve been eyeing off.
ICON: Hi Simon. Can you briefly explain to us what Cohen Handler is all about and what exactly your role entails?
Simon Cohen: I started Cohen Handler in 2009 and before that I was a real estate agent. Back then, buyers weren’t really represented in Australia. So, I had an idea to bring a buyers agency to Australia. Also, I wanted to build a business with a culture centred around the idea that, if it wasn’t my business, it would be a business that I wanted to work at and be a part of.
I left being a real estate agent at the age of 24 and I decided to move to the United States for a year to research how buyers agents work, and learn more about the market. I came back to Australia and kicked off the model and I now operate as the CEO of Cohen Handler, and also as a buyer’s agent because it’s still a part of the industry that I love.
ICON: What was your initial attraction to the real estate industry?
SC: I love dealing with buyers. It’s amazing to be able to help people find what they are looking for in a home. It’s also a pretty cool job seeing all the best houses that Sydney has to offer. I’m a very strong negotiator and to being able to do that every day is something I love.
I’ve also loved building a brand from scratch. It’s what I’m passionate about it, and I love providing this service because, 15 years ago, it didn’t really exist.
ICON: As one of the first buyer’s agents in the country, what are your unique offerings and how do they differ from other businesses in the industry?
SC: Firstly, it’s our experience. No one has been around as long as we have. We’ve bought a lot more properties, we’ve done a lot more deals and we have stronger and more solid relationships with real estate agents than any other buyer in this country. We’re nation-wide, so we can offer our clients access to all the best homes in all the major cities. I have over 35 buyer’s agents who work for me and who all specialise in different areas so we can offer our clients different areas of expertise.
It’s access to more, its’s more experience and it’s more opportunity.
ICON: Amazon’s Luxe Listings Sydney has been a hit here in Australia. How have you enjoyed your time on the show thus far?
SC: My time on Luxe Listings Sydney has been great. We were a bit apprehensive to do it at first, but it has been a fantastic time filming. The best part for me has been offering viewers a glimpse into what we do as buyer’s agents, which is super cool.
“Real estate is super simple: it’s all about location and aesthetic.”
ICON: Have you learnt anything from being on the show?
SC: That I don’t look good from all angles (laughs). No, it’s been great to learn about the ins and outs of putting together a production like this. It’s truly impressive.
ICON: You started Cohen Handler 15 years ago, with your mum, Jenny Cohen, being your first employee. Today, it’s one of Australia’s most successful Buyer’s Agencies. How has that time been together?
SC:I lose my patience a lot with Mum (laughs) but I wouldn’t swap it for anything else. Firstly, she’s probably the hardest working person I know – I have to kick her out of the office every night. But to be able to work with someone you can trust as much as your mum, I’m very fortunate and very lucky for that. She’s instrumental to the success of this business.
ICON: You’ve seen some amazing properties in your career. Do you have a favourite property you’ve bought for a client to date, or perhaps any highlights from 2022 thus far?
SC: My favourite properties are two I’m not allowed to discuss right now because they haven’t settled. I’m about to finalise one property hopefully for $80 million dollars. That will be my favourite property. But honestly, I’ve bought so many jaw-dropping houses for my clients it’s really hard to pick one.
ICON: Buying multi-million dollar properties for your clients… does it ever get old? Do you still have those ‘pinch yourself’ moments?
SC: While there still are some pinch yourself moments, I’m used to these properties now because I see them every single day. What I never grow tired of is doing these really big deals for our incredible clients. For me, that’s the most rewarding experience. Doing record breaking deals with billionaires from all around the world, that’s the super cool stuff.
ICON: Do you have any tips or tricks across the residential landscape that you can share with those perhaps looking to make the next step in purchasing that aspirational home?
SC: Real estate is super simple: it’s all about location and aesthetic. If you can find a property in a location that people are going to want to live in, you can never go wrong. And if you can turn that property into something that most people walk into and go ‘wow’, you’re going to create a heap of value.
ICON: What’s next for you, Simon? How is 2022 shaping up?
SC: Season three of Luxe Listings Sydney will launch at the end of the year which is exciting. We’re also working hard on opening up our newest office which will be international. But besides that, just doing what I love: buying amazing houses for my clients.
You can now watch Luxe Listings Sydney on Prime Video.