Meet the new players in Adelaide’s property market
What does a buyer’s advocate do? And how do you end up working as an advocate in Adelaide? Entrepreneur and mother of three Katherine Skinner, of National Property Buyers explains.
One of just a handful of buyer’s agents in South Australia, Katherine Skinner says her job is as much about education as helping people buy and sell homes or manage rentals.
The Adelaide born and bred director of National Property Buyers SA cut her teeth in the industry working in Melbourne, where buyers’ advocates are widespread and accepted. In South Australia they are less common, and their role is often misunderstood.
“I spent a lot of time in my first year of this business meeting with agents and explaining what buyer advocacy involves because a lot of them were worried I would be competition- this is not the case at all” she says.
“Another common misconception I find in Adelaide is that people think we’re only interested in helping buyers with lots of money to spend at the high end of the property market.
“Again, this is not true – we do have some clients looking for multi-million-dollar properties but we’re really here for everyone and 60 per cent of our clients are actually looking to buy for less than $600,000.”
Katherine and her Adelaide-based team of three specialise in helping buyers find and secure the right property in the right location to meet their needs, be it as an investment or live-in home.
They conduct market research and inspections, provide an auction bidding service, and offer property management to investors. They can also advocate on behalf of vendors, although this is less common.
“The vast majority of our clients are interstate investors looking to buy rental properties in Adelaide,” Katherine says. “They’re attracted to this market because of its stability and relative affordability compared to the rest of Australia.”
“Most of them are looking for something that is low maintenance, with high rental yield and the option to add value down the track through a renovation or sub-division.
“In Adelaide, where there are so many suburbs that don’t see much growth you have to be aware of where you’re buying.”
The National Property Buyers SA team also assists a lot of people who are relocating to Adelaide, as well as locals who simply do not have a lot of time to spend researching the market and attending open inspections.
Katherine’s path to property advocacy:
Katherine, began her career working in the head office for a national ice cream company before moving to Melbourne in 2005.
“My partner at the time, had a digital marketing business and wanted to move to Melbourne so I sort of went along with it – I was 19 and it was an exciting thing to do,” she says of the move that would eventually see her working in property research and investment management for a well-known advocacy firm.
“I worked in marketing for a luxury car brand for a while, but it was long hours and I felt like I was working to live, it was simply not for me” Katherine says. “I saw an ad come up for the front of house property advocacy job and I’d always been interested in real estate, so I went for it.”
Katherine always knew she loved property and investments. She found she had a passion researching market trends, visiting open inspections, studying investment strategy and attending auctions. Deciding this was the industry for her, she went on to earn a diploma in property services (Agency Management). She also became a registered land agent with the Real Estate Institute of South Australia (REISA).
She and her, now husband, Neville returned to Adelaide in 2009 to be with their families, and Katherine was delighted to find her hometown had been booming, with lots of new development, cafes, and quirky retail strips to discover.
“I’m happy we moved back here- I’ve got a very close family and I always knew that I wanted to have children here,” she says.
“Adelaide’s changed so much- when I moved back it was exciting to discover there were all these new coffee shops and trendy streets. It used to be that you could go to Jetty Rd, Glenelg or The Parade to shop- now there’s Queen Street and Duthy Street and Henley Square and Grange – it’s great.”
Katherine worked for an Adelaide real estate agency before being offered the opportunity to open National Property Buyers Adelaide office, after the birth of her first son.
A mother to three young boys- aged between 18 months and five years, she sees flexible work hours as the way of the future and admits her life is jam-packed with “no TV or downtime” but that’s Ok because she loves what she does.
“Ultimately I find the strategic element of property exciting and I get to help people – whether it’s the owner-occupiers securing their dream home, or mum and dad investors planning for the future, and that’s a good feeling knowing you are changing someone’s life,” she says.
Her hot tip on the Adelaide property market? “There’s a lot of interest in the north-eastern suburbs and anything that’s inner west at the moment,” she says.
by Eleanor Miller
Real Estate Journalist