John Comino is the Founder of Bridge to Bricks, a property buyer’s agent and also a father of three. John was working as a qualified Chartered Accountant, when in 2018, he turned his long-standing passion for real estate into a career, and founded Bridge to Bricks. Having a unique background, John offers a different perspective to most real estate agents – his style is more authentic and informative rather than being purely sales-orientated. Find out more about John’s story, and get some excellent insights on what to look for when buying in the Inner West.
Tell us a little about yourself
I am married and a proud father of three beautiful young children – two boys and one girl. I’m a Chartered Accountant by qualification, and I love being active: either by helping people reach their property goals, or following the latest tennis scores.
I started my own business, Bridge to Bricks in 2018, with the aim of reducing the complications and stress involved in property-buying as well as helping people to maximize their investment.
I am also a regular podcaster and have been doing podcasts from the moment I started the business. My podcast profile has grown since those early days and I am now a regular on the Spark Your Fire podcast, which is an Australian Property and Finance show.
What inspired you to start your own business?
Starting Bridge to Bricks was a “passion project”, as I followed my long-standing love for real estate. It started initially by helping friends and family with their real estate decision making, or helping them bid at auction. It grew from there into a passion to help people reach their own real estate goals.
What services do you offer and what types of clients do you work with?
I offer three services:
1. Full service (most popular): finding, assessing and negotiating for property on behalf of my clients.
2. Assess and negotiate: my client finds the properties, and I help assess and negotiate them to exchange.
3. Auction bidding: I work with a variety of clients, from up-sizers, down-sizers, to first home buyers. Right now, first home buyers are most prevalent, however as COVID subsides, I believe that investors will return.
What are the benefits of using a buyer’s agent?
It saves both time and money. We run the search process and do all of the legwork finding and shortlisting properties. Most people take one year to purchase a property, during which time they have missed great opportunities, or watched prices rise – the “procrastination tax” as we call it.
We have access to off market or pre market properties due to our extensive and excellent relationships with Sydney real estate agents.
Ultimately it comes down to better property selection and better decision making. You wouldn’t go to court without a solicitor by your side, so why go into the biggest financial transaction of your life without someone in your corner, who has done it all before.
How are you different from other buyer’s agents?
Three things make Bridge to Bricks different:
1. You might be surprised to know that most other buyer’s agents don’t own any property themselves. Or if they do, they might be cheaper properties in regional areas. I am an experienced property investor in my own right.
2. I am a Sydney property specialist, and I do not get caught up in regional hot spotting. I stand by tried and tested property techniques that build enduring wealth over time.
3. As a Chartered Accountant, I bring real rigor to the property assessment process.
What has been the most exciting purchase so far in your career?
I was the buyer’s agent engaged to secure the property for a well-known renovation show on TV. We had a very short amount of time with a very specific brief. Most importantly, the deal had to work visually and logistically for television and meet the vision of the producers.
What three pieces of advice can you offer people looking to buy in the Inner West?
Location: the Inner West has more density than other parts of Sydney, so a quiet location close to transport, cafes and schools is always top of mind for Inner West buyers.
Think “light” and “layout”: Inner West properties can be extremely charming, but make sure that there is natural light, particularly if a terrace. Focus on the floor plan, because this will determine much of your day to day enjoyment in your space.
Stretch yourself for a parking space: even if you do not drive much yourself, it adds a significant premium and makes it more attractive to tenants.
What has been something positive or a silver lining for you during the pandemic?
Certainly spending more time with my kids and family, I don’t think I have been to the park as much as I have this year!
Favourite places in the Inner West?
Libby’s Place in Five Dock for a playground for kids and the Bay Walk. One Penny Red in Summer Hill for a great dinner. I also love Souvlaki Boys in Marrickville.
What has inspired you recently?
I came across Jocko Willink over the past few months: he is an ex US Navy Seal, a children’s author and a leadership expert. He has some really interesting perspectives on the human spirit, particularly in his rejection of the way we over-use the expression, “the war on…”, a very interesting guy.
The last book I finished a few days ago, was actually George Orwell’s classic 1984. A bit bleak actually, but a fascinating study in human resilience.
For further information visit the Bridge to Bricks website.