The deal maker: Simon Cohen on forging strong relationships, finding a market gap, and how he built Australia’s biggest buyer’s agency

When Simon Cohen launched Cohen Handler, few people knew what a buyer’s agent was. Over a decade later, he’s a household name and heads up the biggest buyer’s agency in Australia. Here, he shares his journey, including the impact of Luxe Listings Sydney and the unique skills a great buyer’s agent brings to the table.

Simon Cohen might now have the biggest and best-known buyer’s agency in Australia, but back when he started Cohen Handler he says people thought he was crazy.

It was 2009, the market was coming off the back of the GFC, no one really knew what a buyer’s agent was and the real estate industry wasn’t sure how buyer’s agents fitted into the transaction puzzle.

A lot’s changed since. Courtesy of Luxe Listings Sydney, Simon is now a household name, but long before he became a star in the hit reality TV series his business was forging a reputation for securing clients the right properties at the right price.

In this episode of the Elevate podcast with Elite Agent Managing Editor Smantha McLean, Simon discusses the challenges he overcame starting a buyer’s agency, including how he built his reputation on strong relationships, and the skills a good buyer’s agent brings to the table in any market.

He offers a preview of the upcoming season of Luxe Listings, noting this season is likely to be the best yet with a compelling mix of stunning property, a touch of drama, and some great deals and negotiations.

Simon also speaks about his friendship with co-star Gavin Rubinstein, revealing the role Gavin played in getting Simon’s business off the ground.

And he shares an insight into how he found his feet as a successful agent in one of the toughest real estate regions of Australia, with some big names in the industry influencing and inspiring his career.

Now head of a national business with further plans for growth ahead, Simon looks at how his business has grown and diversified beyond his expectations, but why it always comes back to honesty and integrity and meeting an obvious customer need.

Then there’s the story of Simon’s first deal, involving some initiative, some neat novice skill and his mother’s car. He was 12, the deal was seamless, and it sparked a lifelong love of sales.

Candid, humble, and committed to real estate best practice, Simon shares a rare glimpse into how he saw a gap in the market, backed himself in the face of negativity and built the biggest buyer’s agency in Australia.

“I think your reputation is everything and whatever you’re doing, whether you’re a sales agent or a buyer’s agent, your reputation is going to follow you wherever you go.” – Simon Cohen.

Want to learn more about Simon Cohen? He’s our Spring edition cover. For your copy of the latest Elite Agent Magazine (and a whole lot more), subscribe to become a Pro member here.

Simon and Samantha also discuss:

  • Why Simon felt a buyer’s agency was needed in Australia and how he overcame the hurdles of educating clients and real estate agents of its value.
  • The lessons Simon learned in a tough market and how they set him up for success in the long run.
  • The skills a buyer’s agent needs, the value they offer and why top-performers turn to them time and again.
  • How Simon’s business has grown and evolved into a national brand, but why it still remains an operation with family at its heart.
  • What it’s like working with his Mum, why Simon wouldn’t have it any other way and the unique value Jen Cohen brings to the table.
  • How Season 3 of Luxe Listings will deliver more drama, more deals, more negotiations, properties with a real wow factor, and Australia’s favourite celebrity.
  • The impact the show has had on Simon’s business and how it’s helped create a better understanding of what buyer’s agents do.
  • What’s next for Simon Cohen, including his plans for growth and expansion in the years ahead.
  • Simon’s top tips for anyone considering becoming a buyer’s agent, including the changes he’s seeing in the market and why now is a great time to hone your skills.

And much, much more…

 Links and resources mentioned

Simon Cohen on Elite Agent

Connect with Simon Cohen

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Samantha McLean

Samantha McLean is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of Elite Agent and Host of the Elevate Podcast.