The coronavirus crisis has caused some to run for the hills, overwhelmed by what appears to be a risky time for new ventures.
But the opposite is true for Queensland-based agents Lou Cooper and her daughter Ambre Perry who are set to shake up Buderim and its Sunshine Coast surrounds with their new agency, ‘Perry Cooper’.
And what better way to celebrate taking this leap of faith than parachuting onto Australia’s most glorious coastline, Lou reasoned.
“It’s going to be an exciting new adventure we’re taking together so the adrenaline rush of jumping from a plane seemed like the perfect way to celebrate our start,” Lou said.
Lou said a need for more flexibility in life combined with changes amplified by COVID meant now was an opportune moment to strike out on their own.
“We saw the coronavirus crisis as presenting an opportunity,” she said.
“It’s important you don’t sit on the fence and wait for things to happen because everything is changing and if you don’t change with it, you’ll get left behind.”
Lou admits that she had “lots of lives” before real estate became her passion.
“I was an international trolley dolly with Qantas – I met my husband flying and we’ve been together nearly 40 years.”
In what could only be described as lousy timing, she decided to open her own agency just before the GFC hit.
“It was an absolute disaster,” Lou explained.
A move to Sydney doing five years with McGrath ended up being just the tonic. Lou skilled up and felt confident to forge on.
“Ambre also came to Sydney with me, but she didn’t join McGrath. Instead, she worked with one of the top agents in Balmain/Rozelle as his PA.”
Ambre’s eventual return to the Sunshine Coast would have been enough of a drawcard for Lou to head back home, but when it was announced a grandchild was on the way, there was no stopping her.
And so, Lou and Ambre found themselves both working for a major brand on the Sunshine Coast.
“We realised very quickly that potential vendors thought it was amazing that we were mother and daughter.”
Lou said apart from the obvious familial bonds that clients liked, she and Ambre were able to easily relate and empathise with buyers and sellers across the generational gap.
Lou said they also brought different skill sets to the table, with Ambre being the more meticulous of the two.
The leap of faith
Lou said when they first began to consider opening an agency, UrbanX wasn’t on their radar.
“We almost surprised ourselves when we decided to talk to Dan Argent (UrbanX CEO). It wasn’t something we were looking for. But I’m a big believer in disrupters like Uber, and I saw Dan as a disrupter. I was curious and wanted to know more.”
The onset of the pandemic and a recognition their industry was undergoing a necessary revolution prompted the duo to take things further.
“COVID has changed so many things and real estate is among them,”Lou said.
“So, I was intrigued about UrbanX and I persuaded Ambre to come and have a chat with Dan, and we realised it was the perfect opportunity.
“I think people are looking for a more personal approach.
“I also think agents are realising they work really hard for their money – everyone thinks you don’t, but you do – and you work really long hours and you don’t get paid for them when you work for bigger agencies.”
Lou said UrbanX’s offer to help brand and market ‘Perry Cooper’ was highly appealing, but their management of back-end admin sealed the deal.
“The concept of UrbanX doing all those background things that take so much time and effort, and that somebody else is so much better at doing. The team at UrbanX are fantastic.
“Another advantage is you don’t have to carry so much stock. You don’t have to do so many transactions, but rather can be more attentive to the transactions that you do.”
Lou said having their own brand also affords them the flexibility they need to excel in their market.
“In the bigger agency we were restrained by the type of marketing we could do, the cost, and restricted by the area we could market ourselves in.
“Also, we can work from home, so our overheads are low. In fact, our overheads won’t change from what they were when we were working for other brands.”