Sydney agent sells tree-change dream after heading bush

Regional agents can pick up extra business and have even better client experiences by helping city folk head to the country.

LJ Hooker Albury agent Paul Bakker said this has been his experience of helping Sydneysiders make a tree change to Albury – a move he made himself in 2012.

“They're probably a little bit more open to suggestions,” he told REB.

“Local people can have preconceived ideas about areas down here, whereas Sydney people are probably a bit more open to suggestion. You can show them different types of property and then let them choose for themselves.”

Mr Bakker said regional agents don’t need different skills to sell to city buyers, but they do have to be willing to conduct different conversations.

“It’s about being aware of what’s out here and looking at the bigger picture, rather than just asking them how much they want to spend and offering them a home,” he said.

“You've got to ask them about what type of schools they’re looking at, and also discuss their work and lifestyle choices.”

Mr Bakker is an ambassador for Evocities, a union of seven NSW regional communities that aims to encourage people to live and invest outside capital cities.

Some of his tree-change clients have made contact through Evocities, while others have been network referrals.

“LJ Hooker is such a national brand, so if people are selling a home in Sydney and the agent asks where they’re moving, they then get referred to us,” he said.

“It’s really good for the LJ Hooker brand that we all work together and can help people move around the country.”

[Related: A city change with a difference]

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