Why Your Agent Should Be Your Ultimate Ally


As the Melbourne curfews are lifted, so are our collective spirits! Hooray for that!
Unsurprisingly, the BuildHer8 team and many of our BuildHer Members are always keeping a close eye on the property market.

And amongst the restrictions being eased earlier this week are property inspections! Buyers and renters in Melbourne are once again permitted to conduct inspections by appointment. 

This week Ivy of Homes_by_Ivy caught up with Sam Rigopoulos from Jellis Craig Inner North to chat about state of play of the property market, and how to gain an ally in your local real estate agent.

So, grab a cuppa and tuck in ‘cos Sam has plenty of sage advice when it comes to property!


We at BuildHer Collective always talk about how important it is to have great relationships with local agents such as yourself. Is that something you agree with and encourage? What are the benefits for both sides?

I would say it is extremely important for everyone involved!
What is now the Rathmines Project, for example, was an “off market” opportunity presented to BuildHer Collective. Importantly it was during a time that I knew they were ready to consider options again.

As an agent, knowing the buying and selling cycles of each client helps to time opportunities. That way, the clients that we choose to service receives a strong flow of relevant potentials at the right time.
As a builder/developer, it pays to have tight relationships so that you can leverage these chances in the market, including ‘off market’. You then also have a reliable go-to source of info for any opportunities presented to you at any time by any agent.

Ultimately the single most important factor of any great relationship, however, is trust. 
This small word creates enormous value. Something I am relentlessly focused on when considering my role in these relationships.


A trusted advisor! YES, that’s absolutely what you have been to us.
I love that the BuildHer8 team has been able to consult with you from the very start of the Rathmines Project. Your guidance and help ensure that the two houses we are building are what the market actually want! What excites about this project?

Yes, I saw a lot of value in this site when we first presented the BuildHer gang with the opportunity.
What excites me most is seeing those initial ideas seed into its material form. From a brainwave to a carefully considered and curated piece of design.
To watch that evolve from conception, and to add value to that process, is very exciting for me.

Who do you think are our potential buyers? What features stand out that will appeal to these buyers?

 When I was considering my advice, I was particularly keen to ensure we could encourage development of two homes that cut through to multiple market segments. That’s appropriate for Fairfield.

From empty nesters, to small families or executive couples – these properties are now tailored to be well suited to each buying group.
I’m really excited by these homes. They will speak strongly to each audience for a variety of reasons. The luxurious finishes, amazing sustainability features, practical amenities and floorplans that just make sense.

BuildHer8’s Rathmines Project. Demolished in just a few days and ready to build!


So how should a BuildHer find and approach their local agent when they’re new in an area?

I would start by attending as many inspections as you can. Frequency of contact builds rapport and will open up better conversations.

Once you have shortlisted an agent or two that you feel you can rely on, based on your initial meeting at inspections, take the next step. Invite them for a coffee/meeting at a café or their offices to outline your intention.

From here I would judge how they go about trying to work with you and deliver on this. 
As agents, we do a lot of chasing trying to find clients to work with, when one comes to you it’s refreshing and greatly appreciated. You should find they will work hard to maintain & build the relationship.

What kind of intel should our ’DevelopHers’ and members ask for when planning to develop and sell? When should they be asking for it?

It is really important to assess comparable sales data for any project you are about to embark on.
One of the great advantages of a good relationship with your local agent is the ability to access and translate that data for a more refined insight into what the numbers mean for you.
When developing in an area, you really need to understand your market demographic. For example, what they might appreciate from a layout, size and aesthetic perspective.

You should also be sure to review things like heritage overlays, easements and school zones to ensure that the potential project can actually be developed as you would like.


We all know that not all agents were created equal. We certainly feel very lucky to have you in our corner as our ally! Can you give our members some tips on how to tell a good agent from a not-so-good agent?

My advice would be to judge a person by how they treat everyone. Not just someone who has something to offer them.  You will find every agent will stalk you if you let them know you have a house to sell but it’s really more important to watch how they treat/service you when you don’t. Understand they need to prioritise time, but do they shun you or seek to service you in some way shape or form?

This is important because whilst you are initially selecting a partner agent to sell, what you need to rely on is that your agent is putting maximum effort into your buyers. That’s where you need them most!
That’s where they should be focused – either directly or through their team.
So, take them for a test drive first and play the buyer before you play the seller and observe.

When developing in an area, you really need to understand your market demographic. A good local agent is your ultimate ally for this.


The real estate market had been effectively put on hold during lockdown, what’s your view on the state of play in the next few months in your area of Melbourne Inner North.

There are many of views and opinions about the market and where it is heading. Off the cliff, into a storm, will it boom? We never truly know until we are looking in the rear view.
What I can share anecdotally, however, is the depth of demand we are currently experiencing. 

The last few months of lockdown have created a lot of pent up demand. We can see the surge of enquiry coming at us from all angles. I think it is signs of a strong burst of sales energy for the homes that will hit the market post-lockdown.
We believe there is enough demand to run the market hard to Christmas with strong results likely to occur.

In NZ their market had a strong V shaped recovery post stage 4 lockdown. 
Sydney is currently experiencing a post-first-wave surge in market demand. 
And internationally many countries that have been dormant in price growth are experiencing growth again for the first time in many months, even years.

It feels counter intuitive to what the mainstream media is suggesting but I think that this is very often the case. Record low interest rates are here to stay. There’s a good chance rates will reduce further by the end of the year to near zero.
I personally think we are in for the strongest decade of activity & growth real estate has seen for some time. Call me optimistic but I’d rather be wrong and have a crack in the market than right and not have done a thing!

Sam is Director and Auctioneer at Jellis Craig Inner North.


An accomplished and self-driven real estate professional, Sam Rigopoulos’ genuine, hard-working approach and outstanding record of sales success have played a pivotal role in positioning Jellis Craig Northcote as unrivalled property leaders.

A price record-breaker multiple times over, Sam leads the agency from the front, particularly in the prestige category, where he is proud to be the area’s number 1 choice of agent.

Sam’s professional style is personable, approachable and refreshingly proactive. Under his leadership, Jellis Craig Northcote has surged ahead, becoming the fastest growing agency in the local area.

Follow Sam on Insta here, a fab way to find out about off market opportunities! 

Listen to our Podcast Interview with Sam from Season 1 of the Building With BuildHer podcast.

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