Jaimie: Well, my guest today is Jo Vadill0. Now Jo is a well respected voice in the property industry. She is an author, a professional property buyer's agent, and provides coaching services to property buyers. Now, Jo launched the buyer's agency advocate Property Services in 2011. To help property purchases secure great deals seamlessly she's also the CEO of Property Women, an educational platform that supports and advocate for female investors. With more than 20 years of being an active investor herself. Jo really understands the buyers journey and shares her wealth of knowledge and experience to support her clients in their quest for property success. Welcome to Pitch Perfect, Jo Vadillo.
Jo: Oh, thanks, Jaimie. Thanks for the rapid coming into that and talking about, you know, 20 years of experience that kind of makes it sound a little old.
Jaimie: I always use that I will say two days of experience.
Jo: It’s okay.
Jaimie: Yeah, absolutely. I think it, yeah, it does make you sound certainly at least 40. Yeah. I mean, one thing I didn't mention that bio is I think you have one or if not the best personality of any human I've ever met and you instantly warm to you and I can see for someone like yourself who you're dealing with clients or potential clients and involves having conversations with all different stakeholders every day. I'm sure that personality has been a bit of a key to your success. Would you say without embarrassing you?
Jo: I feel like now I need to really up the ante and come up with some like really big charismatic Spiel because now now, you set me up for failure. But I guess you make I mean, it's a good point. I mean, you know, we're within certain industries having the ability to mingle with lots of different personalities, types. I'm a pretty natural communicator. So that certainly helps. As a buyer's agent. I'm speaking to you know, high end, you know, solicitors, my clients, accountant, some liaising with their brokers, obviously agents selling agents. You know, there's so many people, buyer's agents are like the centre of the nucleus of the buying journey. So you are dealing with many different moving parts and sometimes it's even just, you know, we've talked to the vendors directly in some situations with off market deals and things like that. So you really need to be able to shift gears and change the way you articulate yourself. So it does help being slightly I call myself an introverted extrovert. I think it's an omni that could be another way of describing myself. As I get older, I'm quite happy to be my own space in place, but I do naturally gravitate towards being around humans a lot. And I find it easy.
Jaimie: Yeah, absolutely. Can tell you do. So, so many questions. I mean, I for one only really got onto this concept of buyer's agents about two years ago, and a friend of mine was living in Tamworth in New South Wales and was trying to find a property in Newcastle and she kept coming every weekend to visit Newcastle and just couldn't get these properties, couldn't access them couldn't even get a look in and then engage the buyer's agent. And I think at the time she said she paid I don't know it was 18, 20,000 or something which I thought, wow, that's incredibly expensive. But then she said no, we were able to shave that off the cost of this property. The buyer's agent was able to negotiate that we were able to access a property we couldn't otherwise have had access to as a consumer. And so for me, I'm thinking now whenever I buy a property in the future, I will always engage a buyer's agent. But for you, you've been doing this a lot longer than two years. So we use sort of being a buyer's agent and especially a female buyer's agent, when there weren't a lot of buyer's agents around?
Jaimie: Ahh literally, it was absolute infancy in terms of the industry in Australia, because it's very, very common to use a buyer's advocate in America. That's a very common place. Buyers broker they've got different variations of that terminology, and a very different structure but that's it's it's very typical to buy property in that way in the States. And also they share the commission of the selling agent. So it's a bit of a bit of a funny one. It's almost like a you know, whereas here, it's like we are the we've got a fiduciary duty to look after our clients, the purchaser and the selling agent, he's there or she's there to protect and look after and get the best outcome for the seller of the property. So we it's a bit of a weird dance coming together like that. So when I started out I, I was working in advertising and marketing that was my career, my, my previous career and I just loved property. I loved everything about it. I was a complete junkie for it. I went to every live event that I get, I can you know, put a bum on the seat for love that I bought all the magazines back in the old days. You know I'd go and when I bought my first property I've had like the, you know, the news, oh my gosh, this really takes me getting newspaper and circled the properties and go out there. Look at it, you know,
Jaimie: It wasn't that long ago. To be fair, it wasn’t that long ago.
Jo: The olden days. But you know, this is this is what you know, this is how I started out and I just there was also a TV series at that point with the lady from the UK called Sara Beanie. And she still has a few different iterations of her things now on I think Fox or or Netflix but she did a lot of renovation programs like she'll go in and speak to somebody about what they shouldn't shouldn't do when they show the befores and afters and how much money they could make. And I was just like drinking the Kool Aid. I'm like, this is just where I need to be. I love it. I love the bricks and mortar. I love everything about property. So when I had my second son I re educated got the form and did all the formalities I became a licensed real estate agent and started up the company but as a buyer's agency. And Jaimie seriously, I spent the first three years of my company saying to people, what's a buyer's agent? I was answering that question like what's a buyer's agent do why would you need one of those? Why would you need it? You know, why would you pay someone to help you buy a property that people use an expert to sell a property without blindly buy really poor investment standard stock? You know, they'll go into that they wouldn't realise they wouldn't do their due diligence. They didn't realise that buying in that flood affected area they didn't realise is a council approval across the road for you know, you know, a large building that will throw shadow over the property, the rain, or they buy something because it's a really good rental return but hasn't had capital growth for 10 years. So this is the reason you pay an expert to buy a property for you not only to save you money and do the negotiations, but to do all that due diligence so you're not buying yourself a lemon that's going to do nothing to hold you back from progressing further.
Jaimie: Yeah, of course. And I suppose you are living breathing sleeping property talking to agents all the time. So you are, you are the expert in that, in that industry, which is really great. And that's why you would use a buyer's agent. Let me let's go back there to when you first started and you know, being a PR gal, I'd love to know what you kind of used as your avenue to become known in not only an industry which was in its infancy, but also as an unknown profile yourself. Did you sort of advertise in the local newspaper? What sort of things did you do from a PR and marketing perspective?
Jo: You know, really the start out, you know, got the website up and running, you know, register the business name, you know, did all the backend machinations but then it's like, right, the shops open, but no one's coming to the front door. So I did really what you meant to do and that is network, you know, so I did attend BNI events here in Sydney. And, you know, I was just a fish out of water. I was like, Well, you know, I've got it. I've got to like stand up and tell people what I do. And, and honestly, from that I've got, you know, one client she ran to find three properties through us and I'm still in contact with her today. And it was just that started the momentum. And then, you know, they told their friends and then I'll reached out to people in the industry love brokers, who at that point, again, I guess I had that benefit of being a niche in a niche market. You know, not only was there hardly anyone being a buyer's agent, but there was no females in that space as well. So the other benefit I have was, whether it's, you know, free media, you know, contacting, like, basically, they started getting contact, but only contact put my hand up to actually write articles, but then they all started contacting me. So they're asking me for me, you know, let's just like bite-sized comments on different things that were happening in the industry. And back then there was a big appetite for people buying magazines in the property space, and this just continued the momentum and opened more doors. So in actual fact, for my journey as a business owner, I've actually invested very little financially into marketing. I haven't had to because I've got that momentum and load a lot of it. A lot of my business even today, comes from past clients, repeat clients, and also a lot of industry professionals that I've worked with over time that will say, Yeah, I've got a client looking to buy a duplex in Brisbane. Can you help them out and like, Brett, I'm here to help.
Jaimie: So you don't just do Sydney you do other areas?
Jo: I've even, even Newcastle. I've done bus tours with all these Sydney shoppers and I've gone to Newcastle. So definitely we've bought in almost every state I'm just thinking I haven't bought in Northern Territory. But we do a lot of a lot of activity. Southeast Queensland is a big one for us as well. We've got people on the ground that do the physical inspections. I'm personally really active in that space. I've done a couple of property developments in the last few years there myself a building there again, now and the Sydney market owner occupiers that's really where my strength is. But when it comes to investors, and we've got different levels of our business as well, so I'm not always like clients who sometimes do the physical inspections, but we we charge them a lot of service to do all the due diligence and find off market deals for them as well. So a lot of that can be desk, a desktop scenario, and I just pick up the phone, and it's talking to people all day every day. Like it really is just building that rapport with agents. What have you got off market? What can you do? How can we make this deal work? And that's really what we do.
Jaimie: So those kinds of that tactic. Were you sort of looked at the free media side? Is that something that you still kind of adopt in your business in 2023? Are you still you're wanting to put yourself out there in the media, all those techniques? I mean, obviously magazines, they're still around, but they're not as popular. But you know, there's online media and there's still TV and there's still radio, there's podcasts, all that sort of thing is that something which you kind of still follow along and constantly nurturing from a marketing perspective?
Jo: Probably not nurturing as much as I caught her short, you know, so I still get those organic comments from you know, like a, you know, a representative from domain would contact me or Sydney Morning Herald. So I do still get those phone calls that do come through. Look, we're looking for a voice in the industry to comment on this but it doesn't take as much as as a business owner. It doesn't take much to open those doors. You know, journalists are looking for people to quote on on these scenarios or to provide content for them, tell them what's going on in the industry. And I think sometimes I've gotten lost in just being very busy doing the service side of my business, but I haven't always noted the marketing side as well as I could or short. But the reality is, I still loosely do but I need to I think you always need to ramp it up. You don't want to be the best kept secret and effective.
Jaimie: Yeah, absolutely.
Jo: And what I've got up my sleeve that other people don't have is all that time that longevity in the industry in the space. That and also I'm an active investor myself. So I've done a lot of the things that my clients want to do. So I'm not coming out at like, Hey, I'm fresh out of school. Look at me with my buyer's agency opened up and ready to go like I bought into state or boarding my self managed super fund. I've bought into strata I've built brand new duplexes I own you know, like properties I've renovated about 10 properties to add value and then use the equity to buy again, I've done capital raising property developments. So I've done a lot of things I understand the momentum the fear, the joys You know, challenges like trying to find solutions. In actual fact, at the moment, even this week, we already this week, I have to do what I do for my clients and I just don't want to you know, you're like, I don't want to be an adult this week because I'm building in Sydney and I'm just like, you know, who do I need to like pay off to get these you know, surveyor reports, done some a bulk and get started, you know, so that's what I do for my clients. I do all the hurt work. You know, I'm the one that actually chases you know, takes people for answers. You know, what's going on? Where's the contractor sale? Where's the strata report? You know, that's my job, but when I'm doing it for myself, it's not so much fun.
Jaimie: Oh, yeah. It's like that old stories that yeah, it's even myself. I teach people how to get paid speaking gigs and I get so busy doing that that I forget about getting my own paid speaking gig. So I totally relate. And you are a member of PR club and you are the perfect sort of PR club member because it is the time for business owners. And sometimes you just need that cake up the bar because you know, you could reach out on Sourcebottle or put out a pitch to a media organisation pitching yourself or go on podcasts or you know all the different avenues get some more speaking gigs, networking, that sort of stuff, but sometimes you just need that. Pick up the bat this is what we're focusing on this man, you know, you get so busy in your business. And it's easy to sort of, not not to get but not prioritise that traditional media and PR side of things. Let me talk about property women because we were chatting before we started and you said you literally were attending their events and then a couple of years later was it that you decided to buy the business? How did that all come about?
Jo: This, um, I was literally, oh, and I think my second son at this point was I think might have been pregnant I would have been pregnant I look at the timescale would have been pregnant the time. And then the industry of events was still very much people were quite happy to pay whatever they needed to do the to get a seat set at the table so to speak. Whereas now that you know that that industry is shuffled around a little bit and a lot of people were sitting up, you know, webinars and all the rest but back in the olden days this 2009 event was on and I think I will literally Google women in property or some sort of combination of that because none of my friends my my, my most beautiful long term friends are remotely interested in property in the same way I am it's almost like I've got this amazing hobby and I'm, you know, a total nerd for it. And I had no what no one around me was talking. I want to talk I want to talk about renovations to people you know, like real. So I literally did his Google and lo and behold about 48 hours later they're gonna hold this big event in Sydney never heard of them before. It was $900 for this event, and that was an epic size and sum of money for me to ever put on the table especially when I was actually out. I was actually taking a break off work at that point. And I spoke to Greg, my husband who works on the internet works as a buyer. He's works. He always says I work for he always says he's my employee. He's not he's I am the director of the business but he holds his own quite nicely as well. So but he's super supportive and I say the word lucky but it's so important when you've got a spouse or your significant other that supports what you do. You know cheers you on and he said just do it. Just go and go to this event. I went to this property Women event it was packed packed room full of women, you know, series of different speakers or and I'll remember the day really feel younger still got the book that they gave us on the day. And I was just like, mind blown because one of the one of the next speakers coming up with an accountant and like, I was like oh this is this is going to be a bit of a mess. And I just did not have any idea the capacity of what I could do with what I was creating for myself you know, withdrawing equity adding value. You know what I could what what I could actually charge from the taxation viewpoint. All of these things was just this like, you know, this likes dropped down from the sky and hit the top of my head and I'm like, oh, we've got all this equity in these properties that we're starting to accrue and this is how we're going to build our portfolio and I literally couldn't sleep that night. It was phenomenal. So every time this group probably went on to come around to Sydney formulating so to speak, I think you know approximately, I put my hand up or down I'm doing some, you know, free crewing for them and just you know, being there to help and support training to become a buyer's agent. All of a sudden I'm actually speaking on their stage, which is another obviously another way for me to grow my business. And by 2015 the three directors had basically had enough for now ready to sort of go their separate way isn't they called me and said, “hey, what do you think about you buying the business, you know, your natural affiliation with it?” And you know, I did?
Jaimie: And so what does that look like today? What does the business sort of intelligent series of events mentorship or how does it kind of work?
So back then it was very much you know, there's live events which obviously has taken a massive shift over the over time, there was a membership as well where they are sending you know, sending things out so very much more of a manual sort of process and now with the systemized digital era is is here and so we do webinars, a lot of education, I now have a course on there called the buyers advantage. And so that's a really affordable opportunity for you to be speaking to a buyer's agent one on one or not one on one. So I should say, one to many zoom environment, but you can actually contact me privately and send me your questions and allows you to get the access to my brain my experience leverage off the people that are the professionals that you know people who don't know where where to find a solicitor where am I store charge? What do I even do to get started in property investing? How do I work out the yield of a property? You know, how can I look at the RP data and have a look at what the value is and so this is all the support that we provide, but it's super digestible and affordable for people who are just starting out in the industry because people don't really need the buyer's agent support. first time buyers are first time investors a lot of the time. They really don't have necessarily the budget to use our services but they really need our support. And then that's that's the reason probably we've been morphed into this, you know, having this course called the buyers advantage.
Jaimie: And so what is the number one question because I can imagine the number one question I want to ask is, where should I buy in Australia? It's going to be a great investment.
Jo: I can ask some really unusual questions. And I don't mean to, like just recently one of the one of our students asked me, What stage do I pay the solicitor? You know, like, these are just the fundamental questions like, what's the process and there's not necessarily one, buying property is not always a black and white. It's a very grey. Like there's so many variables and even now like I'll do deals and go that was weird or that was bought or that contract was kooky. things people don't recognise that they can ask for things to be fixed before they actually settle on a property. So we just sold on an off market, jokey property for a client of ours. And something came up with this building report that needed fixing. So I asked, “could they fix it on their time and dime before settlement?” And they said yes. So my client didn't have to deal with it. And we proceeded to sail and, you know, people don't recognise any thought they can do a pre settle, they should do a pre settlement inspection. So I've been a pre settlement, inspections when a vacating tenant has like left junk and I'm not kidding like from the front like the letterbox to the back gate including the in the inner machinations of a piano in the backyard. Like it was just chaos. So all of a sudden I've got like a 2pm settlement not ended, I have to organise withholding of funds, or we can we delay settlement but we're not have we're not taking that property in its current condition and my clients aren't going to pay for that cleanup. So other times these settlements, there's been water damaged, especially in the heavy rains we've had in the last couple of years. So things like that that you ask you can ask for people to pay for the problems that you're seeing and face and a lot of buyers don't recognise that. If the dishwasher doesn't work and it wasn't inclusion that it should have been working, you know, that shouldn't be your cost.
Jaimie: So I mean, I've bought a couple of properties in my life so far and it's such a bars on settlement day. It's stressful. It's exciting. It's scary. Do you feel all those feels too or are you really desensitised now?
Jo: Ah, for my clients, I love the victory for my clients. I love it. It's so exciting. It's so fun. I reach out to them afterwards. And I keep saying look, I'm still here you got questions you need a referral for a carpenter or luck as much as I can help you obviously, I don't know everyone in every single suburb of Australia, but, you know, it's I love checking in and saying show me what the kitchen looks like now that you've you know, painted it and all that you know, all that sort of stuff. So, I really do get that joy and seeing people come to it. It's it's really when our offers accepted, but I've learned I've learned the hard way we don't celebrate until we've actually got all the contracts exchanged. So, you know, nothing's over until it's all done. It's done signed and delivered. But I love that and I love nothing more than a client does give me a number that they're prepared to go to. And I can secure that property underneath that number. It's like, you know, to me, it's a win. You know, of course I just, I love it. I really enjoy it. And I really apply a philosophy with buying property that if I'm not prepared to actually put the money in the table and buying that aerial or that sort of property myself, I'm not going to tell my clients to go and do it. And there are some areas that a lot of investor activity and obviously gets overloaded. You know, it's just got a really poor trajectory. I feel with no trees, no room in the backyard for pools. You know, I just think it's going to have some real social issues. You live as these young families come to a stage where there's a lot of teenagers in the area and I don't want to live life but there are just a lot of people selling some really rubbish stock out there. And I'm very, very cautious of buying where there's great infrastructure. You know, it's capital city based, or really big, busy regional hub where there's a lot of different employment opportunities, and not just chasing yield, but you're also looking at growth when you're investing.
Jaimie: Yeah, I mean, and that's another reason why you should use a buyer's agent because so many people get caught up in the emotion of it all and they get emotionally attached to these properties and they need someone to really come in objectively and say, This is a shit property though buyer here's why. But if you don't have someone doing that, you can really go and I've put lemons in the past too. I bought a property in Port Stephens, which had termites and I was I'd fire it's got a thermal camera and it'd be fine and it wasn't fine. But I got so attached to the fact that you can see the ocean from the bedroom window. And if I had had a property, property agent at the time buyer's agent, you know, on my side, I would have not have bought that wasted so much of my savings on that property. So yeah, it's another great reminder. Is there anything further you'd like to say before we wrap up, Jo particularly in relation to women, property investors, I know you specialise in you know, all buyers, not just women. But do you find that that's a cliche question that without women being underrepresented, but really isn't, you know, women investors still quite a rarity compared to male investors.
Jo: Our girls have really stepped up since my days when I started really stepped up and I think single women are one of the bigger now percentage wise women, people seeking out loans. However, having worked with and I do work, obviously with, you know, a lot of a lot of couples. And I noticed that men are more decisive when it comes to spending money and women can sometimes sit on their hands a little bit more and m&r and potentially over analyse a deal which is where a buyer's agent is helpful because I'm there to hold your hand and say to you, this makes sense. This is the reason why here's the local evidence and proof and the numbers etc. So that's where I can help but I do find that men are just a little bit more quick quick to make decisions and women are a little bit more cautious. And but the girls were step we're stepping up and we're doing it alone and I bought my first property on my own and at the time I was dating Greg dating but it was my loan. I had the pre approval and it used to drive me insane because the agents would look at him and ask for his details. And I'm like, “hey, Nana, this is me. I'm doing this for myself.” And I think it's really important. If you're not in a relationship, you can do it on your own. I know it's hard. It definitely is hard. I mean, at the time I purchased, I started walking dogs outside of business hours to get extra money because I extended myself because I wanted to I wanted him on the property market. So I literally did do an ad in the Yellow Pages and started walking dogs outside of hours because that was my pocket money so to speak. But I had to I had I sacrificed holidays and buying $300 handbags and all the things a lot of my friends were doing because I so desperately wanted to get on the ladder, you know, so I think it's just really important to make the decision to have a look at your numbers. And if you want to get started, really speak to a broker, find a fantastic broker and just see where your help your financial help is that and get your taxes up to date and it just start to put those marks in your calendar and you can make it happen and doesn't have to be where you live right now you can invest outside of that area. Use a buyer's agent if you're not a local.
Jaimie: That's so inspiring, especially in today's day and age where you know, it's very tempting to want to go on the latest holiday, buy the latest clothes and shoes and handbags and all that sort of stuff. So I think that's really inspiring to hear that from you sacrificing that back then because you can fall into that trap. And you might require a bit of sacrifice now to be able to have the benefits later. So I love that.
Thank you so much Jo for coming on to the podcast today. It's been incredible. I always love talking to you and if you want to check out a bit of Jo’s information I'll put the the links we've talked about today in the show notes but yeah, thanks again, Jo for coming on.
Jo: Absolute pleasure. Thanks so much, Jaimie.