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Autumn 2011


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The Australian Real Estate Review


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Autumn 2011

contents

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2 Editor’s Letter 4 Foreword:  Bailey Compton, Co-Director Leverage Australia and the Australian College of Professionals. 10

Agent Profile: Daniel Cachia, goodyerDonnelley Real Estate.

14 News 18 Events 60

Your Suburb

From the experts: 33

Taxation Issues: Bradley Beer, Director and Senior Quantity Surveyor at BMT Tax Depreciation, talks you through investment property ownership and depreciation.

73 Legal Issues:  Shannon Lakic, solicitor with Leverage Australia, discusses the importance of being educated in the workings of a strata scheme. 88

Technology Issues: John Paior guides you through the 10 things you need to ask for when selecting an IT services provider.

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Technology Issues: continued What your office equipment says about your business.

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Conveyancing Issues: Pauline Barrow, National President of the Australian Institute of Conveyancers, discusses the steps that should be taken when purchasing a property.

Special thanks to Jason Attard Photography for his photographic contributions throughout The Australian Real Estate Review.

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Features 20 How to become a Principal and how to become the best Often the decision to become a Principal is seen as a natural rite of passage for successful sales people – but don’t be fooled – there are many potholes along the way that, if considered prior to embarking on the journey, can be averted, writes Mark McLeod – CEO Growth, Ray White. 24 What is your office saying to prospective clients? John Vaisutis looks at the key aspects of a creating a consistent message to your clients. 36 Advanced sales training techniques – how to stay in front of your competing agents In coaching Australia’s elite high performance real estate agents there are five common traits that keep them one step ahead of their competitors every time, writes Josh Phegan. 44 Find a perfect franchise match When thinking of purchasing a franchise it is important to do your homework and not let emotion rule your decision making because the wrong decision could lead to being locked into a business that doesn’t suit you. Margaret Ambrose reports. 54 An attractive smile and the power of first impressions Whether it is business or pleasure, it’s undeniable that first impressions count. Dr Misagh Habibi examines why first impressions matter and one key to a great first impression: a great smile. 64 Using your people to help grow your brand Julia Nekich explains the concept of personal branding and how it can be used as a PR strategy. 74 Sealing your reputation with a gift  Although there are no set rules regarding when to give a gift, or what type of gift to give, there are some definite strategies you could employ to boost your profile. 79

How to get the most from an open So how do you maximise your selling chances in such a short time frame?

82 How to attract and retain top real estate agents The real estate industry in Australia is a lucrative one at the best of times. It rivals retail and hospitality, and dominates over many others. It’s for this reason, a lot of focus needs to be placed on recruitment in the industry and how agencies around the nation can do their best to not only attract, but retain the agents that keep this industry running, writes John Caldwell.

The Australian Real Estate Review


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2 Editor Kathryn Edwards Email: editor@aprs.com.au Editorial Assistant Jarrod Fitch

Editor’s Letter

Lead Designer Bianca Fidge Graphic Designers Michael Griffiths Kimberley Smith Kasha Abbott Publications Executive Kimberley Rainsford

stay in front of your competing agents and says there are five common traits that keep Australia’s elite high-performance real estate agents one step ahead of their competitors.

Marketing Johnathon Dunstan

For those of you thinking about purchasing a franchise, Margaret Ambrose reports on how to find a perfect franchise match and says it is important to do your homework to avoid being locked into a business that doesn’t suit you.

Publisher Garth Wright CEO Gary Peach

Marketing guru Julia Nekich explains the concept of personal branding and how it can be used as a PR strategy.

General Manager Graham Miles Printer Newstyle Printing Co. Pty Ltd 41 Manchester Street Mile End SA 5031 Phone: 08 8234 6155 APRS Head Office Level 6, 38 Currie Street Adelaide SA 5000 GPO Box 1746 Adelaide SA 5001 Phone: 08 8113 9200 Fax: 08 8113 9201 Advertising Email: sales@aprs.com.au Prepress Phone: 08 8113 9206 Email: prepress@aprs.com.au

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elcome to the inaugural edition of The Australian Real Estate Review.

Since we came up with the idea to create a magazine purely for the Australian real estate industry we’ve been amazed with the positive response received so far. The Australian real estate industry is like no other, grappling constant changes in the way that real estate is sold, and a slump in property sales due to housing affordability issues and interest rate spikes. It’s been our aim to have this magazine fill a void in the industry by creating an up-todate and relevant resource for Australian real estate professionals, covering the issues that matter. To help us get started, a myriad of guest writers jumped on board for this edition, to give their views on certain issues in the industry. John Vaisutis looks at the key aspects of creating a consistent message to your clients through the setup of your office and shopfront.

Disclaimer APRS is not committed to nor takes responsibility for the views expressed in articles or advertisements herein. The publishers could not possibly ensure that each advertisement published in this magazine complies with the Trade Practices Act and responsibility must therefore rest with the person, company or agency submitting the advertisement The TheAustralian AustralianReal RealEstate EstateReview Review for publication.

Mark McLeod reports on how to become a Principal and says that although the decision to become a Principal is often seen as a natural rite of passage for successful sales people there are many potholes along the way that, if considered prior to embarking on the journey, can be averted. Dr Misagh Habibi examines the power of first impressions. On the topic of advanced sales training techniques Josh Phegan writes about how to

John Caldwell explains why a lot of focus needs to be placed on recruitment in the real estate industry and how agencies around the nation can do their best to not only attract, but retain talented agents. On the technology front, Jon Paior gives his advice on choosing an IT services provider, and explains how your choice in office equipment says more about your business than you would realise. Pauline Barrow explains the advantages of tackling paperwork under the guidance of a conveyancer and discusses the steps that should be taken when purchasing a property. Also inside, we feature the statistics and data that matters about the New South Wales town of Maitland. Before signing off, I’d like to give a special thank you to all who have given their overwhelming support to get the magazine off the ground: Stephanie Mason at Total Real Estate Training (TRET ), Bailey and Vivien Compton at Leverage Australia/The Australian College of Professionals, YIP – Your Investment Property magazine, realestateworld.com.au and The Australian Institute of Conveyancers. We hope you enjoy reading this inaugural edition of The Australian Real Estate Review as much as we enjoyed putting it together. I would be very interested to hear your thoughts on our magazine or any of the issues addressed inside. Please drop me a line at editor@aprs.com. au or, if you are lucky enough to be attending AREC 2011 in Sydney during May, visit magazine co-ordinator Renée Lambert and myself at Stand 4. Kathryn Edwards Editor The Australian Real Estate Review


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Foreword

Natural Selection Survival Of The Fittest

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hen Charles Darwin produced his theories on evolution in On the Origin of Species he was pronounced as a heretic and wildly shunned in the Christian world. Darwin believed that the species evolved through a process of natural selection, that is changes would happen to a species and if those changes were beneficial change should remain because it would allow that species to survive. As the species changed and became stronger they would replace other species because they were now the fittest. Darwin’s theory became known as the ‘survival of the fittest’. Business is no different! New products are regularly introduced to the market. If they are better than previous products, they will replace the old products and a natural selection of business growth occurs. Real estate is also no different. The systems used to sell property have constantly changed throughout the first decade of this millennium. Remember the days when every person saw the house for a private appointment? Clients sat in the backseat of the agent’s car and the agent drove them to every house while a relationship emerged. This system was replaced by the open house and consumers have embraced it. Natural selection has a lot to do with the environment. The legal environment and landscape of this industry is changing rapidly: • On 1 January 2011 the Trade Practices Act 1974 disappeared and was replaced by the Australian Consumer Law; • On 31 January 2011 the new Residential Tenancies Act 2010 commenced in NSW; • On 1 July 2011, the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 will be introduced and Australian credit licenses will be a part of the Australian finance framework; and • On 1 January 2012 a national licensing regime for real estate will commence. These laws affect sales, property management, finance and the regulation of real estate agents. How the real estate industry will look in 2015 is anyone’s guess. What is important to note is the arrival of this magazine on the real estate landscape. It is publications like this which will keep us abreast with legal changes, but most of all the evolution of products within the property industry.

The Australian Real Estate Review

This Foreword will look at trends within the industry, including the changing legal environment, new and redundant services and commentary on how they will affect everyone within the industry. Our first example is Lawyers Real Estate in Victoria. Peter Mericka, a practicing solicitor in Victoria, has been selling real estate as a solicitor for the last 10 years. Prior to creating his Lawyers Real Estate model, he sold 200 properties as a real estate agent. Vendors engage Peter to undertake the conveyancing and to assist in the sale of their properties. Peter has a computer system which allows for online marketing, viewing of the property and permits offers to be lodged online. Lawyers Real Estate becomes heavily involved with the negotiation of the sale once a purchaser has indicated they are interested. It should be noted that a property is usually shown by the owners of the property on appointment.

That’s cheap! The market will like it and move towards the model. Nevertheless, history has shown that cheap real estate sales systems have an Achilles’ heel once they are franchised. Cheap sales fees mean that franchisors can’t extract enough income to sustain the franchise and make a profit. However, if the balance is right, the natural selection process of business will kick in and Lawyers Real Estate will survive. The aim of this Foreword is to take the reader on a journey. It will explore the law, business practices and sales conduct in a way that is novel and, I hope, entertaining. Many magazines have come out and produced the same material on a regular basis. I want to ensure that The Australian Real Estate Review can be used as a resource, an early warning system and a methodology for dealing with the changing marketplace.

As a consequence of Peter’s appearance on television show Today Tonight, Consumer Affairs Victoria initiated action in the Supreme Court of Victoria to have an injunction preventing Peter from selling. Ironically, Peter is in a perfect position as he has the educational background to obtain a real estate licence in many states of Australia and, through mutual recognition, would become licensed in Victoria. He has chosen not to out of ‘principle’ and because lawyers have represented their clients as agents in the sale of real estate for centuries. This is true in some jurisdictions. In Scotland solicitors are the point of call for buying and selling property. In many other parts of Great Britain and also in America this occurs. In Western Australia real estate agents can also be settlement agents. A settlement agent in Western Australia is the equivalent of licensed conveyancer. Whether Peter succeeds in court will depend on the interpretation of his functions. We will keep you informed regarding the progress of this case. Notwithstanding the result, Lawyers Real Estate has developed a franchise model to be expanded throughout Australia. What is most interesting is that Peter has had interest from about 15 different solicitors wanting to sign up. Importantly, Lawyers Real Estate will undertake the conveyancing and sale of a property for a flat fee of $5,500.00, plus marketing.

Bailey Compton Co-Director Leverage Australia and the Australian College of Professionals Bailey is a leading property solicitor and a licensed Real Estate Agent. Bailey has been described as one of the best legal minds in the real estate and property industry. The thousands of people who have heard Bailey speak have stated that his power is in the making of legal concepts simple for everyone to understand. The unique mix of legal and real estate talents allows Bailey to speak about property in a profitable and safe manner.


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Speed, Ease and Confidence : The Lube Mobile Experience

Lube Mobile’s offering revolutionises the traditional view of car service and repairs. Our customers love how fast and easy the service is, how informed and in control they remain, and how professional our operators are. So, why should YOU switch to Lube Mobile? 1. Convenience – “You just don’t get it” “We Come to you”; that part is obvious. But what isn’t , is how much easier, how much less hassle there is in actually having someone come to you to service or repair your car. Customers often remark that they just didn’t “get it” – until they had a Lube Mobile technician come to them. They didn’t appreciate how much stress it relieves, how much time it frees up by having the serviceman come to them – at home or work. 2. I need my vehicle - ASAP! In contrast to many small operators, Lube Mobile normally arrange for repairs to be done either the same day as your booking, or the next business day. We are on the road, doing repairs all day from Monday to Saturday. 3. Capability Size has its advantages. Lube Mobile employ technicians from wide and varied backgrounds. They are sourced from dealerships, specialist repairers, general repairers and even overseas! Lube Mobile technicians have the depth of knowledge and experience that allows us to send the right person for the job. And by having the latest equipment available, Lube Mobile are able to service and work on all major car makes and models. And remember all Lube Mobile’s work is covered by our 12 month/20,000 km Nationwide Warranty and our friendly customer service staff want to resolve any problems quickly and painlessly for you. 4. You’re in control Stay in control of your costs. Lube Mobile offers fixed price car servicing for both new cars and for cars no longer under warranty and we carry out services on all makes and models.

The Australian Real Estate Review

For car repairs, we always provide a written estimate before we start any work. And by prioritising our estimates you know what is more important and needs doing first. This keeps you in control of all costs when you use Lube Mobile. 5. Communication Know what is going on at all times. The advantage of having your own technician there with you is that we can explain what we find - there and then, on your car. You can see what we show you. We then give you options and opinions for you to decide, what you want done and when you want it done.

Evolution of Lube Mobile Right from the beginning, in 1982, Lube Mobile strived to be different to an ordinary mechanic. Throughout the company’s growth and evolution, to our current position as market leader, we have constantly sought to solve the traditional problems of car service and repair for our customers. Lube Mobile today remains a 100% Australianowned company with over 230 employees, a host of workshops nationwide and a genuine belief that taking care of your car can be easy, fast, hassle-free and very cost effective. We have served thousands of satisfied customers, and built a solid base of people who enjoy the convenience of mobile mechanical workshops for their everyday servicing and repairs, as well as for breakdowns.


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What is the Lube Mobile difference? At Lube Mobile, we believe that our service represents all of our customer’s highest hopes and most stringent expectations for car service; that our company is the ultimate in convenience, friendly service, expertise and pricing that is both competitive and gives control to the customer. We do this through: • Our on-site service, which saves you time, taxi fares and towing fees- No Waiting or Dropping Off – We Come To You! • Our standard 12 month/20,000km, Nationwide Warranty on all parts and labour. • O ffering written estimates before any work commences, putting you in control of what your repairs cost. • Using only high-quality parts. • Furnishing our vans with the full range of tools and equipment needed to perform almost any repair on site. • Allowing you to see what work is being done on your car - no being ushered out of the workshop.

• Working six days a week and employing a large number of skilled mechanics to do your car service and repairs usually within 24 hours of your booking. • O ffering full mechanical services - we do it all. - Fixed Price Services - New Car Servicing - Batteries, Alternators & Starter Motors - 4WD Service & Repairs - Brake & Clutch Repairs - Water Pumps & Radiators - Diesel Service & Repair - Fuel Injection Repairs - Fuel Pumps - Timing Belts - Bearings - Engine Management Systems - All Mechanical Repairs • Keeping our prices competitive. We do not charge for travel time, only for ordinary labour time.


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Prestige Auto Traders Australia’s largest selection of prestige cars

Operating out of a warehouse in Sydney’s chic inner-west suburb of Rozelle, Prestige Auto Traders is a unique car dealership. Founders, Rene Aalhuzen and John Keats, have seen Prestige grow from strength to strength since it was first established over 14 years ago. Prestige Auto Traders now boasts a monthly turnover of around 350 cars and a strong, family orientated team of over 30 staff who ensure their customers are offered the complete car buying experience from start to finish. Incorporating sales, service, structured finance packages and a range of aftermarket products and warranties, the staff pride themselves on giving their customers total peace of mind when purchasing a vehicle. In early 2010 a second warehouse was acquired for the successful development of the service department, utilising the expertise of highly qualified European trained service technicians. This additional warehouse enabled Prestige Auto Traders to offer customers highly competitive rates for the servicing of vehicles of all makes and models, not just the prestige brands they dedicate themselves to selling. It is no surprise that the staff of Prestige Auto Traders often hear the same expression from many of their customers when describing the business; “it has the prestige feel, without a prestige price tag”. It is due to many complementary factors that Prestige Auto Traders as a whole are able to turn over the number of cars they do. They ensure and indeed pride themselves on the fact that anyone who comes into the dealership is dealt with respectfully, honestly and professionally, and is given as much time and advice they require by all of the helpful and friendly sales staff. Operating out of a warehouse enables Prestige Auto Traders to keep their overheads down, and subsequently keep the prices of their cars lower than their competitors. Barry McDonald, the Principal at Fratelli Fresh, said “I have purchased my last five cars from Prestige. Apart from the fact that their prices are better than other car dealers; my main

The Australian Real Estate Review

reason for dealing with them is because I really trust them! I would recommend them to anyone.” It is due to customers like Barry that they have a repeat business and referral rate that is the envy of the rest of the motor trade. Having a turnover of 350 cars per month has some major advantages for customers. For example, if a particular car you are looking for is not in stock at the time, it can be found, as John Alexander the former Australian Tennis Champion and sports presenter explains, “If the car that you want is not there today, they will have it there tomorrow.” The staff at Prestige Auto Traders understand that most people do not have the time or expertise to do all the searching, testing, comparing and checking required when buying a used car, which is why they have developed a One Stop Shop for all your motoring needs, but also as a reliable and honest sourcing facility. You can now log on to the website, www.prestigeautotraders.com.au, let them know what you are looking for and one of their friendly Sales Staff will get in touch and find the car. Reg Window, the General Manager of Richardson and Wrench, Balmain realtors said “I have bought over 20 cars off Prestige over the last 10 years, whatever I want the boys always find for me, and at the right price, and most importantly they back this

all up with fantastic after sales service. I wouldn’t dream of going anywhere else” More recently Prestige Auto Traders has joined the Pagent group of companies. This has given the Prestige family a larger network of new car franchises to network with on a daily basis, including, Audi, Peugeot and Suzuki. The future is certainly looking bright for this unique and professional business, which will continue to flourish and expand for many years to come. So if you are looking for a high quality previously owned European car, a friendly environment and a fantastic deal, look no further. Come in and experience the difference today at Prestige Auto Traders, 180 Mullens Street, Rozelle, NSW 2041, or logon to www.prestigeautotraders.com.au


180 Mullens Street, Rozelle NSW, 2039 www.prestigeautotraders.com.au Phone: (02) 8755 2200


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Agent Profile

Agent Profile

What’s your point of difference? Having the ability to listen and understand what my clients’ needs are, or getting down to the raw reason they wish to sell, and what motivates them, and servicing them accordingly.

How do you handle the issue of other agents placing higher figures on properties? By showing the client at hand what the actual recent sales are, breaking it down to them and really showing them what that property was, and how we got to a certain price without it being overly inflated.

Do the vendors listen when you break down the facts? It’s sometimes hard if another agent has told them a higher price because they do latch onto that figure – as everyone does. You can also overcome that objection by advising the vendor that I want to see their property sold within a timely manner and that I don’t want to be conditioning them during our entire campaign.

Technology and marketing – what’s your opinion on online versus print? Does print still hold a place in real estate? Print does hold its place in real estate, it certainly hits people that are subconsciously looking for real estate, or not actually looking at a specific area, so it certainly reaches a certain portion of the marketplace. Online is more popular and our increasing costs for online marketing is certainly showing that. Online is more focussed, all of our campaigns are totally web-based and a lot of our properties are simply selling via the web rather than print media as it’s more cost effective at the minute.

Do you still think there’s a tradition of waking up on a Saturday morning and going for a short drive or walk to your local agent and viewing what’s on offer there? No, not at all. If we we’re in rural Australia or a small, sleepy coastal town, then yes that would still be a

The Australian Real Estate Review


Agent Profile

tradition, because it’s more of a holiday destination, and you get the holiday buyers. But in Sydney gone are the days of the window shop front, and that’s purely given that it’s all online – it’s at your fingertips in the comfort of your own home.

The CMS – how important is it in your daily activities? How do you use them to your advantage? They’re highly important. You can prioritise your work and keep a structure with the way that you incorporate your day, like making your phone calls in the afternoons and holding appointments in the morning, and not being distracted. It runs a smooth ship and keeps everything documented well.

How do you pass on unflattering feedback to your vendors? As it sounds, I don’t sugar-coat. Vendors need to know absolutely every comment that a potential buyer is making. Nine times out of ten, most vendors know what the positive aspects are of their property, as does everybody else, so it’s more the negative aspects which need to be outlined.

What’s been the biggest highlight in your career so far? Becoming my own identity as a sales agent. Making the transition from being an assistant to being a fully-fledged sales agent, as daunting as it seems is certainly extremely rewarding, and was a huge goal of mine growing up.

How challenging is it to establish yourself? It’s very challenging and it takes time because there’s no overnight success in real estate, and it takes time to build up a database, build up rapport and simply build up trust with the market and clients.

What advice would you give to those just starting out in the real estate business? Don’t be in a rush, take your time, learn the market and get an understanding of the demographic that you going to be selling or managing property in and follow through with what you say you’re going to do.

How do you manage to secure repeat business from past clients?

How difficult is the transition between different real estate markets?

I speak to my database, depending on who they are, on a monthly or three-monthly basis. That way they remember who I am, offering them my services, and also just simply keeping them up-todate in the market. Their property is probably their biggest investment and it’s always of interest to them to be kept up-to-date with how the market is tracking around them.

Extremely. There’s so many agents that are in one area... For example in the Eastern Suburbs the top 10 per cent of agents are selling 80 per cent of the business, with the other 80 per cent of agents selling 20 per cent of the business. It’s a matter of establishing yourself in the area and having the tenacity to prove your skills. The market will learn to trust you.

What are the challenges in your part of Sydney for selling real estate? Agents under-cutting commission, agents overquoting pricing to secure business, and just simply too many agents!

What would be the number one reason behind your success to date?

Daniel Cachia Real Estate Agent goodyerDonnelley Real Estate Daniel Cachia is a licensed real estate agent at Sydney-based goodyerDonnelley Real Estate. In 2000, he commenced in the industry and spent four years as a property manager before moving into sales. Born and raised in Sydney’s east, he has an intimate knowledge of the area. Daniel is forging his name in the real estate industry as an agent who prides himself on diligence, communication and integrity.

Why are first impressions so important? People form a decision on the spot based on how you appear, speak and project yourself. So if you’re untidy and not speaking well then potential clients will not be interested doing business with you – first impressions are everything.

Doing as I say I would do. If I’m going to tell a client that I’ll call them on a certain day, then I will do that; and also, having the passion and desire to succeed.

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ICS Real Estate Structure for Salespeople ICS Real Estate Pty Ltd has been providing independent contracting structures for the Real Estate Industry for over four years now.

During this time ICS RE has seen a dramatic increase in Real Estate Sales People and Agencies alike making a shift toward the much more flexible commission only structures that are being provided. As in other industries, Independent Contracting is on the rise in Australia, becoming more in line with other countries in Europe and of course the USA where contracting, particularly in the Real Estate industry, has been the preferred option for agencies and sales people for many years now. ICS has developed, with the advice of state based industry experts, a truly legitimate and robust tax effective structure that enables real estate sales people in Australia to operate as registered sales agents on a commission only basis, as well as of course facilitating licensed agents. ICS is proud to call many top agencies, both franchised and independent, its clients. ICS has been successful in eliminating many of the

problems such agencies face in managing their workforce whilst allowing them to maintain their current policies and procedures. ICS holds Real Estate licenses in Victoria, NSW and Queensland and is looking to move into other states pending demand. Many real estate sales people currently utilising the ICS structure see the service as breath of fresh air to what was once a distraction from their day to day role of listing and selling property. The many savings achieved via the group buying power of ICS make it a very viable option, not to mention the various tax savings the structure can facilitate. Many see the ICS option as a way of the future in the face of increasing legislative reform facing employers in the industry.

The ICS Structure For Real Estate “Sometimes there is a better way”

Independent Contractor Services (Aust) Pty Ltd (ICS) has combined a unique range of products and services to develop an innovative and cost effective independent contracting structure for the real estate industry, delivering outstanding results for both the Agency and Salespeople. Advantages for the individual salesperson:

Advantages for the Agency:

No need to obtain/maintain a full real estate agents licence (time and cost)

Can legally remunerate ALL salespeople commission only

No need to set up a costly corporate and/or Trust structure (initial and ongoing costs)

Possible reduction in Payroll Tax and Workers Compensation (except NSW)

The ability to share income with a spouse, company,

Elimination of various legislative issues

trust, partnership or children

Simplified payroll and reduced administration

No ongoing compliance issues; e.g. company accounts, annual returns etc. We ensure the Contractor is fully compliant

Attracting and retaining talent

Access to a range of support products services under the “ICS umbrella program”

For a no obligation consultation please contact a representative at your state based office below. VIC – Peter Watson – 0412 007 209 Ian Sunderman – 0419 033 120 NSW – Cameron Rudolph – 0417 579 259 QLD – Murray Statham – 0429 997 173 Derek Wallbridge – 0418 845 188 www.icsaustralia.com


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News

Mortgage Choice CEO calls for urgent housing action The CEO of Australia’s largest independentlyowned mortgage broker, Mortgage Choice, is pleased to see the recent Productivity Commission report findings ratify an earlier government department report identifying the true cause of deteriorating housing affordability. “Now it is time for governments to take immediate and effective action, which is long overdue, or suffer the consequences of even more Australians being pushed out of the market,” Russell said. In 2004 the Government’s Productivity Commission blamed the cause of higher property prices on rising interest rates and overlooked the effect undersupply continues to have on affordability. Last April, following the second annual National Housing Supply Council report, Michael Russell called for urgent, significant improvements to development approval and planning assessment processes to boost the supply of housing. The desired outcomes are an increase in the supply of affordable housing and a downward pressure on housing prices. It seems the Productivity Commission now agrees. The findings of its most recent report concur that: • Planning systems vary greatly between states and territories. Given the diverse range of stakeholders’ (e.g. community, business, regulatory) needs and preferences, these systems are characterised by ‘objectives overload’. Further, those objectives have been growing. • The  most common causes of delays and extended timeframes in the land supply process of all jurisdictions are the rezoning/planning scheme amendment process, structure planning process and overcoming community concerns and/or addressing objections. • The lengthy completion time of rezoning and planning processes, which can take up to six years, is not surprising given the complexity of each process and the absence of any statutory time limits for these processes. Russell stated, “Australians deserve transparent, effective housing decisions to be made quickly

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and regularly in the interests of turning around the deterioration of affordability.” “We call on the Federal Minister for Housing to accept the conclusions of both reports and open up a much more productive, consultative communication channel with the state Planning Ministers to take immediate action to resolve the true cause of housing affordability. The real issues are problems with sufficient land release, development approval processes and development costs. “Undersupply is the barricade, not interest rates. The latest Productivity Commission report findings are long overdue; much-needed improvements must be actioned ASAP. “Increasing the supply of residential properties in the low to medium price range will deliver a reduction in pricing pressure. “We need to dissolve the rolls of red tape that limit the supply of land for development. We need to implement timeframes for rezoning and planning amendments to improve the development approval process. We need to formulate planning guides so developers can be confident in their due diligence and, finally, we need to include automatic zoning of land for ‘urban use’ to save time releasing land.”

sectors, that will drive rental growth for CBD markets over 2011 to 2013, will not be as beneficial to the suburban markets.

time last year. When allowing for the downward adjustment in value levels in many of our markets, it revealed healthy continuing transaction volumes.

Although effective rental growth is forecast in 2011, rents are yet to reflect the tight market conditions being experienced for suburban A-grade assets.

“This supports our predictions that buyers were becoming more active with a continuing confidence in the underlying strength of both Australian and New Zealand economies.

“Rental conditions in the inner-west stand to outperform the broader suburban market where the region will benefit from the market’s lowest vacancy rate at 6.6 per cent,” Hoskins said. Tenant demand remains two tiered with enquiries dominated by larger, multiple-floor tenants with stronger balance sheet capacity and more confidence in future earnings compared to smaller, risk-averse tenants, the report said. Following a subdued sales environment, momentum was also starting to build for capital transactions, national director James Parry said.

Source: Mortgage Choice

“Investors are now looking for opportunities outside CBD markets as they are encouraged by attractive yields and re-established risk premiums for suburban assets,” he said. “We are seeing a bottoming out and expect interest to start rallying with a tendency for sales volumes to return to historical levels in 2012”.

Suburban office market on road to recovery

While yields for secondary assets still have some minor re-adjusting, prospects for A-grade, modern assets are comparatively firmer.

Sydney’s suburban office market was showing signs of a rebound with values beginning to stabilise and effective rents expected to rally over 2011, analysts at global property agency Knight Frank reported. The inner-west and city fringe led with vacancy rates of 6.6 and 8.3 per cent respectively, while the overall suburban average was 10.5 per cent, with a positive net absorption during the past 18 months. “Tenant demand in the suburban markets has been supported by a lower exposure to the GFC affected industries such as finance and insurance, with a higher proportion of tenants operating in more defensive industries such as education and health,” said NSW Research Manager Nick Hoskins. However, Hoskins noted that this will also mean that the upswing in the finance and insurance

“Perhaps paradoxically, the resource states of Western Australia and Queensland are tough going at the moment. Queensland has its special issues on top again,” White added. “Yet the key underlying pattern persists: the ongoing power of the big cities – Sydney and Melbourne in Australia and Auckland in New Zealand. In fact, it was the second best Kiwi month for the last year. “Stock levels are good with many vendors having confidence that they can buy and sell in similar market conditions.” Expectations for the winter months have been enhanced by an interest rate reduction in New Zealand and stable rates in Australia, White said. Source: Ray White

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“Building quality and green ratings remain critical to value, while strength of covenant and tenure will continue to enhance the outlook for A-Grade assets,” Parry said. Source: Knight Frank

March: state of the real estate sector According to Brian White, Chairman of Ray White, the month of March traditionally is a key barometer for an analysis of real estate activity. “It is the culmination of all summer activity. It will not be until spring before activity levels will be matched,” White explained. “Thus, after all the mixed influences of the previous six months, our March results were eagerly awaited. At $2.3 billion it was 16 per cent below the same

Image courtesy of Jason Attard Photography.

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News

»» Affordability reaches a new low in Australia The Real Estate Institute of Australia’s (REIA) Deposit Power Housing Affordability Report for the December quarter 2010 has shown a further decline in housing affordability. REIA President, David Airey said, “The proportion of income required to meet home loan repayments increased 0.5 percentage points to 35.3%, up from 34.8% in September 2010. Over the year, housing affordability decreased 4.6 percentage points.” During the quarter, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) raised the cash rate by 0.25 percentage points to 4.75%. This increase contributed to the increase in the quarterly average variable rate to 7.4; an increase of 0.4 percentage points. The Australian Capital Territory remained the most affordable state or territory in which to own a home, with the proportion of income required to meet loan repayments decreasing to 18.5%; 16.8 percentage points below the national average. New South Wales remained the least affordable state or territory in which to own a home, with the proportion of income required to meet loan repayments increasing to 39.5%; 4.2 percentage points above the national average. “Compared to the corresponding quarter of the previous year, all states and territories recorded a decline in housing affordability - the largest decreases were evident in Victoria and New South Wales”, Airey said.

Image courtesy of Jason Attard Photography.

Participation of first home buyers as a proportion of the market decreased to 15.6% - the lowest quarterly average participation observed since September 2004. Deposit Power National Sales Manager, Keith Levy said, “As expected, first home buyer sales weakened in 2010 after boosted FHB grants brought about a boom in 2009. There are predictions that in 2011 first home buyers will return to the market aided by more stable interest rates. Purchases by first homebuyers have a great impact on the market as they lead to an upswing in upgrader activity.” The outlook for 2011 is for official interest rates to remain on hold until the end of May. The

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News » continued

credit market is expecting an increase of 0.25 percentage points over the next 12 months. “It will be important to see how the big four banks will respond this year to monetary policy decisions. Whether they will continue increasing mortgage rates more than the increments in the cash rate or adjust mortgage rates accordingly to cash rates movements will be crucial to mortgage holders,” Airey said. Source: REIA

HubOnline launches “$0 upfront fees, no fixed term contract” real estate websites HubOnline, one of the leading providers of real estate software in Australia has announced a ground-breaking pricing model for its new HubStudio website platform. In a move that is likely to reshape the website design community in Australia, the new pricing model already familiar to the telecoms industry – zero upfront cost, no fixed term contract and just $99+GST monthly for maintenance and hosting – is now available through HubOnline. Nicolas Pierret, General Manager for HubOnline, believes many real estate agents have been paying too much for far too long. “Real estate agents have been told they must pay thousands of dollars to create the professional real estate website they need to run their business, but that is largely because website providers had not worked out the right product.

launching a new site and the customer gets a cheaper solution delivered faster and one that is more flexible to future changes,” he said. “HubStudio comes with a control panel that gives the real estate agency the keys to its website. With HubStudio, you don’t need to know anything about technology to keep it fresh for years to come – you can simply add or remove pages and even change the template or colours in seconds at the click of a mouse.” Clearly, a number of agents will continue to require an entirely bespoke design and pay extra for that. With the right website platform however, many agencies can get a website that suits them just fine by tuning up the template. For them, a no-upfront fee, no fixed term model makes perfect sense. “Most website vendors offer you a free quote. We offer you a free website. That should sound quite compelling to a lot of agents out there,” he said. Source: REA Group

The Australian Real Estate Review is pleased to publish news relating to the real estate industry. Please forward information to editor@aprs.com.au for inclusion in our next edition.

“What agents need is a smart platform that can deliver the look-and-feel they want without requiring much ad-hoc design work in the background,” Nicolas said. That is why HubOnline developed HubStudio. It’s smart enough to create a great-looking real estate website in minutes, with the ability to select instantly an attractive template, upload a logo, change the colour scheme. It even allows agents to build a site map and add specific features critical to their business success – such as property alerts, staff profile pages, calculators, among others. “With a smarter product, everybody wins. The provider spends less time, therefore cost in

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Events

May Australasian Real Estate Conference (AREC) 2011 22 – 23 May, 2011 Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre Details: www.tret.com.au

July Real Estate Leadership Conference 2011 5 – 7 July, 2011 Sofitel Resort and Spa, Fiji Details: www.tret.com.au The Australian Real Estate Review is pleased to publish events relating to the real estate industry. Please forward details to editor@aprs.com.au, including the title, dates, venue and contact information for inclusion in our next edition.

Property Council of Australia National Congress 2011 24 – 26 July, 2011 Darwin Convention Centre Details: www.wix.com/propertyoz/congress2011

August Australasian Residential Property Management Conference 2011 7 – 8 August, 2011 Hilton Sydney Details: www.tret.com.au

Real Estate Investment World 2011 17 – 18 August, 2011 Sydney Details: www.terrapinn.com/2011/real-estateinvestment-world-australia/

October Association of Financial Advisors (AFA) National Conference 23 – 25 October, 2011 RACV Royal Pines Resort, Queensland Details: www.afa.asn.au

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Principal Issues

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ften the decision to become a Principal is seen as a natural rite of passage for successful sales people – but don’t be fooled – there are many potholes along the way that, if considered prior to embarking on the journey, can be averted, writes Mark McLeod – CEO Growth, Ray White.

How to become a Principal and how to...

Often people want to become real estate Principals for the money and the perception of access to a larger slice of the commission pie. How to create an harmonious, effective team and how to choose the depth and structure of a business tends to become an after thought. And what about the initial and ongoing investment? Often the decision to become a Principal is seen as a natural rite of passage for successful sales people and anecdotally it makes sense for successful sales people (and even property managers) to seek Principalship. But don’t be fooled. There are many potholes along the way that, if considered prior to embarking on the journey, can be averted and a successful transition will result. Becoming a Principal requires an important mind shift – striving to be the one in the office selling the most could, and in cases has been proven to, be counterproductive. The good news is that the key personal attributes like enthusiasm, energy and drive which are essential to being a successful salesperson are the same attributes of a successful Principal. And the even better news is, the other skills critical to success in real estate business ownership can all be learned. It’s crucial is to be aware of which skills are lacking before you start out and then to take the necessary steps to fill in the gaps. Before you even begin planning, carefully consider the reasons why you want to open your own business – if it’s to operate an office with multiple salespeople you will need to be more than just a salesperson yourself. You will need to have good systems and processes and know how to drive them. This will become even more important in the future as more and more integrated products are brought into the property sales process, like mortgages and insurances. The turnover of tomorrow’s real estate businesses will be fuelled by volume and can only gain momentum as the number of people in the business increases. This is one of the major potholes. Picking the right people and then retaining them, but more on that later. Let’s look at three of the reoccurring potholes in the path to becoming a Principal: pennies, people, proliferation and more importantly, let’s look at how to avoid blowing a tyre on these predictable errors.

Pennies Critically, make sure you have enough money before you start and keep a close watch on your

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Principal Issues

costs. It’s the number one rule for any small business – cash is king. This is true whether you’re just starting up or operating an existing business. Having a good grasp of the basic factors influencing your cash flow will result in a solid and stable real estate business, regardless of what’s happening in the market. The first critical thing to consider is liquidity, or your access to cash. It doesn’t have to be actual cash in the bank; it can be a credit facility. The important thing is that if you need cash, you can get it quickly.

“If your business is in trouble and you’re not sure what’s going on, get some help from an expert. Facing the problem gets you halfway to fixing it.” For a start up business ideally you should have access to six month’s working capital; that’s enough to pay all the bills for six months in the unlikely event you don’t make a sale. And remember, this is outside of the money you will need to launch the business including fit-out and equipment costs. The time it takes for a start up to generate cash flow will vary. In my experience, independent businesses will generally take longer than franchised businesses to start making money. This is due to branding issues and the time it will take to coordinate the setup without support. If you’re taking over or operating an existing business, you should have three months worth of working capital, outside of purchase costs. This is because you should have some cash coming in straight away with an existing business, especially if there’s a rent roll attached. Once liquidity is assured, there are several other key areas to focus in on. These are the “holes in the bucket” and they’re the unnecessary cash leaks which affect many real estate businesses. The first relates to advertising. It’s never a great idea for your business to pay for advertising just to get listings. In fact, wherever possible get vendors to pay for their advertising up front. At the very least, get a credit card number. The last thing you need is to be left holding the baby when the bill comes in. Secondly, recruitment is important for the growth of your business. You need to have a firm strategy and manage outcomes when you’re investing in new people. Ultimately, their productivity will determine the success of your business.

Explore the different packages available to you like commission - only arrangements. Focus on minimising your cash commitments. Next watch your fixed overheads closely. The costs of equipment leases and administrative staff should be carefully reviewed. I’ve seen plenty of businesses who have signed up to hire purchase agreements at significant expense. With procurement companies around who will find you the best deal there are good and easy opportunities to minimise costs. Most franchise groups will also have some sort of arrangement in place to help out here. In terms of staff, make sure non-income producing staff like personal assistants are really necessary. Lastly, look closely at all the “nice-to-haves”. Focus on your core business and maintain your profile but monitor your spend on unnecessary things like expensive parties, intricate flower arrangements, donations and the like. This goes for your personal spending too. Make sure you can afford it if you’re looking to buy a jet boat or a new BMW. The cost could be far greater than you realise. The biggest mistake I see Principals make is when they see their cash flow heading south and are too embarrassed or fearful to ask for help. They may have started their business without expert advice and so started out behind the eight ball from the beginning. They think they’re alone but they’re not. And often with a measured approach even the worst problems can be solved. If your business is in trouble and you’re not sure what’s going on, get some help from an expert. Facing the problem gets you halfway to fixing it. And if you’re at the start up point or thinking about it, get some preventative advice and avoid cash flow problems down the track. Focus on making a profit, not just breaking even. A common pitfall on the financial side when starting out is having an insufficient tax plan – many businesses hit the wall when they receive their first unexpected tax bill.

People Another common misconception is that as a Principal your goal is to employ a team of superstars. As much as it would be nice, it’s just not likely to happen in the real world. Teams are generally made up of different personalities and abilities and will invariably be a mix of top salespeople, average performers and rookies. All of these people will require different levels of support – and that’s after you’ve managed to recruit the right people. Consider your reality carefully. Avoid joining the ranks of competent salespeople who turn into incompetent businesses and instead with some simple planning continue your career success,

becoming an effective Principal of a profitable business. And leading by example is not a foolproof avenue to success. Sometimes being the biggest earner in a team does not make you the best leader. Passing leads to your team and helping them manage those leads is a great way to get them to improve their own skills. Staff retention is a major challenge facing every real estate business. It’s a well known fact that most sales-based industries have a high staff turnover, but in the real estate industry the churn of people coming and going is particularly significant. It’s not uncommon for real estate businesses to have 100 per cent turnover of staff within a period of just five years. High staff turnover is expensive on many levels. Conversely, having a good retention rate can have a significant impact upon your businesses’ profit, culture and market share. To be effective in retention you first need to understand why people might decide to leave. A survey of a hundred salespeople who had recently left real estate businesses showed some interesting trends. Initially, we looked at where these people were going to career-wise after leaving the business they were in. The vast majority left for two reasons; either to leave the industry completely (43%) or to stay in the industry but to work for a competitor (43%). A smaller number were leaving to start a real estate business themselves (14%). It’s critical to understand each of these outcomes does not have an equal impact upon the business that the person is leaving. And here’s why.

“It’s not uncommon for real estate businesses to have 100 per cent turnover of staff within a period of just five years.” If a person leaves the industry altogether, any market share they had is effectively up for grabs. The business then has every opportunity to keep that market share and probably a better opportunity to do so than its competitors. The survey showed the majority of people (56%) who left the industry altogether did so mainly due to personal reasons such as retirement, health issues or they were simply not making enough sales. Only 20 per cent of these people were leaving due to dissatisfaction with the Principal of the business. On the other hand, if salespeople leave to go to a competitor’s business they are likely to

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Principal Issues » continued

take some, if not all, of their market share with them. Interestingly, only nine per cent of these people were leaving to go to a competitor because of better remuneration, while 45 per cent were leaving because they were unhappy with their employer. An even stronger impact is likely to be felt in the existing business if a salesperson leaves and decides to open up in competition. In this instance, they will also take their personal market share with them but on top of that, they are also likely to recruit more salespeople to work within the new business. And guess whose people make the most attractive recruits for an ex-staff member opening their own business? Yours! Importantly, of the overall survey respondents, this group had the largest percentage of people (61%) that were leaving because they were dissatisfied with their employer, while just 28 per cent left because they wanted more opportunities. Due to the nature of real estate, there will always be a number of people who join the industry and then leave because they find it’s too hard for whatever reason, or their personal circumstances have changed. Training, support and mentoring can help reduce the likelihood of this outcome. But in any case, this reason to leave is far less costly for the business than the other two possible reasons. People leaving to go to a competitor or to open their own business are clearly are the most concerning to the business. The survey showed the top reason why people left for a competitor or decided to open their own business was due to dissatisfaction with their current Principal (65%). This dovetails with the fact that good leadership is a common trait in any successful real estate business and it follows that in addressing this issue, many salespeople who would otherwise leave may very well stay. Another finding worthy of note – the vast majority of the people who left the industry completely were gone within 36 months, whereas those who left to work for competitors or open their own business had been employed between two and five years beforehand. This three-year timeframe can be seen as the “danger period” and beyond that, a salesperson has “survived” the initial stage of establishing their career. In order to keep them at this point, the Principal needs to ensure their other needs are taken care of. It’s important to consider every salesperson as an individual and then tailor solutions to their specific needs. The employee/employer relationship needs to fit both parties, and this means the financial arrangement as well as the working relationship. In some cases it may be best for the individual to remain as an employee with full support and for others, a more independent arrangement may be more suitable, such as the salesperson operating as a contractor.

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Image courtesy of Jason Attard Photography.

Whatever the outcome, it’s clear that one arrangement does not suit all and for those Principals who try to apply a set formula, the result may not be good staff retention. It is reasonable to say that creating a good working environment will have a significant impact on staff turnover. It follows also then that the retention rate is a pretty good indicator of the working environment. It’s common to hear Principals with high staff turnover complain that it’s impossible to get good salespeople, that it’s never the Principal’s fault when people leave. Easy words to say and expensive to believe – far more effective to listen to the reasons people give when they leave as an opportunity to learn and grow in your ability as a leader along with your business. Then, you might also find those people who feel dissatisfied in other real estate businesses leaving to join up with you!

Proliferation Here’s a little known and even less talked about industry secret that any Principal or would-be Principal should know; creating real wealth in a real estate business has absolutely nothing to do with selling property. That’s right, it’s not a mistake – no matter how many houses you sell, it will not equate to real wealth in your business.

You see, there’s a big difference between cash flow, income and wealth creation. Selling property only generates the first two and here’s the reason why. The true wealth in real estate is created by building a business that is worth something. The reality is the sales you do don’t factor into the value of a real estate business. Even if your office sells a lot of property, if that’s all it does it will generally only be worth somewhere between $50-70K to someone else – basically the depreciated value of the shop-fit and the lease. And not many of us would term that real wealth.

“...creating real wealth in a real estate business has absolutely nothing to do with selling property.” The value of a real estate business is actually based on how much of its turnover is predictable and does not rely on any particular person to generate it. If you or anyone in your team is a great salesperson, you clearly can’t be sold as part of the business. Sales by their very nature are unpredictable and dependant on the individual, which is why the sales value is almost irrelevant to the value of the business.


Principal Issues » continued

The obvious question is: how is real wealth created? Income from things like loan broking and other add-on services are factored into the value as they are generally predictable and often passive, like trailer fees on mortgages. But the single biggest factor in the value of most real estate businesses is the rent roll. This is the industry’s biggest irony. Most Principals fear property management; they know little about it, they don’t want to know much about it, and they would generally prefer not to have to deal with it, at all, ever. It’s much more mundane than sales, and all those pesky tenants, well – who wants to deal with them? Add to that the fact that property management is generally cash flow negative if you grow it from scratch and the temptation is strong to leave the whole thing to one side. Many Principals start up their offices focused on getting their own sales, and adding one or two other salespeople. They may have the vague idea that at some point in the future they will think about property management. Sometimes that day never comes and when the time comes to sell up, they realise in hindsight there was little point to owning their own business. Be honest with yourself about what your intentions are; if you’re only looking at how much income you can generate by selling, it’s probably best stick to selling in someone else’s business. There are risks to

owning your own business and if you know before you start there’s no upside, there’s little point in taking the first step and risking the downside. But if you do want to build a business, the reality is that having a rent roll is critical to a stable cash flow, particularly in tough times. It’s an asset you can build which has real value. And actually, property management is not nearly as difficult as you might think. If you’re joining a franchise, your franchisor should have solid systems for you to follow which will make it even easier. A responsible franchisor will not only be challenging you to create wealth, they will support you in making it happen. With solid systems you will not need to rely on other people who may or may not act in your best interests; you will truly be in the driver’s seat on the road to wealth creation.

Conclusion Many great salespeople make great Principals. And you can too. But it does come down to having pennies to spend (wisely) initially, sourcing and most importantly retaining people who fit their individual role moulds and not being afraid of, embracing, the importance of proliferation and diversification.

Mark Mcleod is one of the leading agents of change for Australia’s real estate industry. With an impressive track record spanning 25 years and a wide variety of roles, he has mentored some of Australia’s largest franchised and independent real estate businesses and is well known as a compelling industry speaker. Today Mark is the Ray White Group’s Chief Executive of Growth, working with agents and businesses around Australasia to implement strategies for success. Ray White is Australasia’s largest real estate group selling one in every ten properties throughout Australia and New Zealand. The Ray White Group consists of more than 1,000 locations and over 10,000 property professionals: business owners, sales people, property managers, mortgage brokers, admin, commercial, rural and investment specialists. The Group continues to grow throughout Australasia, as well as expanding further into international markets.

A great Principal isn’t necessarily a superstar salesperson. That old familiar hunger for the big bucks and sales pitch passion has to evolve into fervour for business growth and audacity toward the unfamiliar.

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Principal Issues

What is your office saying to...

John Vaisutis looks at the key aspects of a creating a consistent message to your clients.

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usinesses spend a lot of energy, time and money getting to know who their prospective clients are, then promote their products and services through a specific marketing strategy in an effort to get these prospective clients interested in their products and services and through their front door. However in most cases, once through the door those prospective clients are presented with an environment that creates a message that is in conflict to the message that got them there in the first place. Whilst very few clients will recognise this disparity at a cognitive level they will have felt it at an emotive level. This is that uneasy feeling you get even before anyone has spoken to you that ‘you may just not be getting exactly what you were expecting here’. Generally, people at that particular moment don’t just turn around and leave, they venture on but with that ‘uneasy feeling’, and ultimately just like a smoker trying not to smoke or a chocoholic trying not to eat chocolate, the subconscious mind has already made its decision about what will happen, because it’s a SUB-conscious mind decision and not a cognitive thought, a lot of energy and time is needed to recalibrate and align the prospective client’s thoughts with their feelings. How much better would it be if that same energy and time was used in confirming the message and just simply closing a deal? So, let’s wind it back a bit and look at the best place to start, as a rule most important business decisions are made using the business plan, marketing plan and financial plan in hand. Yet in

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most cases, when it comes time to planning your business environment, the place where ALL your plans come together to service your clients, you see time and time again designs focused on ‘what’s in vogue now’ rather than ‘What are we saying to our clients?’ Now, as we all know, businesses are all different and the way in which each business interacts with its stakeholders can greatly affect the requirements of the office environment. Your office location and its presentation may have a significant impact on the message being delivered and may affect your client’s perception of whether your business is the right choice. So, let’s look at the two key aspects of a creating a consistent message to your clients:

Location These days, there seems to be a lot of focus on getting the right office location to appease and retain employees, especially when considering the next generation. However whilst there may need to be some balance between employee and client expectations regarding the office location, at this stage we aren’t focusing on ‘what your office says to your employees’, after all no client = no business = no employees. Understanding your market segment and client demographic will greatly assist you in making the best decision about the most suitable location for your business or where parts of your business should be located.


Principal Issues

Probably the most common and obvious example is if your primary market segment for your business services are aimed at the general public, then what ever the ideal location is it should be accessible and visible by the general public. Although, all offices should be accessible to your targeted demographic. By accessible I am referring to the ease at which your potential clients can get to your front door. Some things to consider are parking availability, proximity to transport, stairs, lift speed and even the building’s operational hours. Any of these examples or other external interferences can be the catalyst for creating disparity with the message you are try to communicate. If customers have to ‘work’ to find and get to your office, what kind of message is that sending them? Furthermore, the appearances of buildings differ. While you’ll be able to design you office to truly reflect the message you have sent to your potential clients there is probably little you’ll be able to do about the appearance of the building. So when deciding on the best location, take time to consider whether the building’s appearance is in line with your message to your clients. Another example, if your business is looking at a market focused on luxury products, then if the building your office is located in is in aesthetically poor condition, an inconsistency in the message being sent could occur. Your office may present well and deliver the correct message, but your client on arriving at the building may have been brushed with a conflicting message that you now have to spend some time realigning. Existing clients are a great resource of information about how the market perceives your business, having them involved through a survey or similar medium to find out what has met their expectations and where there have been gaps will enable you to focus on closing those gaps. Although slightly off subject but worth a mention, moving business locations is a great marketing opportunity, it is one of the best reasons to have contact with existing and potential clients. If well planned your business will be able to take advantage of these opportunities, things like newsletter topics, relocating sales, surveys, change of details notifications, close down party, grand opening and any other associated reason that is suitable for being in contact with and involving your customers and creating exposure. In any case, an experienced and savvy commercial property agent that understands your client requirements are invaluable. The agent will have access to all the properties on the market and an experienced agent will also know what is coming onto the market. You may need to move quickly or you may be better waiting, the agent will be best to advise you here depending on the property market conditions. »»

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Principal Issues » continued

Wherever the final location is, be sure that it lines up as close as possible to what maybe your potential client’s expectations of your business.

Presentation Once you have a location that is aligned with your business message and your client’s expectations you need to continue a consistent message to your client through the presentation of your office. The layout of the office will have to comply with Building Codes and Australian Standards, WH&S requirements and possibly other legislative requirements depending on your business industry. However an experienced designer will have no problem working within these parameters whilst creating a layout that best fits your business’s message. The reception area of your office can be anything from a door bell to a large impressive floor area encompassing high level finishes, luxurious fixtures and features and anything in-between. Regardless of the size and style of the reception area it is important to get this area matched to marketing that attracted the potential client to your office. A disparity in this area could potentially see a client making a decision about whether they do business before any words have been exchanged. It is also pertinent to continue this consistent feel into any other area of the office where your clients may have access, such as meeting rooms, boardroom and amenities. Generally speaking the work area, that is, the workstations, offices, utilities, etc. should be out of direct sight/ear shot of the client as this is the employee’s area, where they get to do, what they need to do, how they need to do it, to get the client a satisfying result. This area should be designed for the employees and maybe completely different to the front end of the business. Whatever the message you need to convey to your clients, the front end of the business should maintain a professional image. You may need to consider a balanced blend of some or all of the following sensory attributes in order to create the right feel to deliver the wanted message: Colour: research reveals people make a subconscious judgment about a person, environment, or product within 90 seconds of initial viewing and that between 62 and 90 per cent of that assessment is based on colour alone. Source: CCICOLOR - Institute for Color Research. Do not discount the importance of choosing the right colours for you business, spend time with it and even get professional advice – it can make all the difference.

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With colour there is the inclusion of the sense of sight and with sight comes the stimulation created by shapes, in the office environment this generally translates to furniture and fixtures. Sharp, straight lines and angles denote authority and superiority whilst curving, flowing and continuous shapes represent flexibility and suppleness. It may take combination of a few different shapes to create the right message. Lighting: if you always worked in the same place and kept the same lighting setup, you may not

environment to ensure textures chosen aren’t working against the colour and lighting. Sounds: affect our moods and there are a couple of aspects to consider when assessing sounds. Firstly you would want to be eliminating any disturbing sounds. The term ‘disturbing sounds’ refers to noise that may have an ill effect on all the other components working towards creating the desired mood. Trying to have your client relaxed and open for discussion in the meeting room

“Understanding your market segment and client demographic will greatly assist you in making the best decision about the most suitable location for your business...” realise how much changing the lighting in a room can change the entire feel of it. In fact, lighting alone can create completely different atmosphere without you having to do any decorating. So you’ll need to consider appropriate lighting that compliments the colour scheme and works toward setting the right mood for your business. Texture: is the feature of roughness and smoothness, fineness and coarseness that we can detect by our sense of sight and also our sense of touch. Textures have a psychological effect on the room, as rough textures can look masculine or rugged, while smooth textures will appear formal. Coarse textures will contrast with fine textures. Textures must be carefully considered when creating the design and layout of you business

whilst the TV in kitchenette in the next room is interfering with the conversation maybe just enough to make the client feel unvalued. Secondly, you may want consider introduce stimulating sounds, this could be anything from soothing music to hard rock, audio/visual company or product information, sounds of nature, etc and even the noise created by the office staff and the interaction of people and the environment can create a high - energy feel. When thinking about sounds it should work in with the design and layout of the office in delivering that consistent message to your client. So finally, the last items to consider are smell and taste, whilst a person entering an office may not taste anything, that is to say they may


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not be sampling some type of food, the smell of the office will create a perceive taste. Again, depending on your business type you can use smell and taste to enhance the mood setting quality on the environment. Think about the time you walked past a coffee shop, soap shop or restaurant and you smelt something and along with the smell there would have been a perceived taste associated although you may not have noticed it. More importantly yet and not as readily notice you would have had a feeling about the smell and/or taste, it would have been the feeling that provoked the action in you, whatever that action may have been. Odours can also become a disruption when trying to communicate with your client, so at a minimum simply ensuring there is clean fresh air with elevate that issue. When you have the list of sensory attributes you require, creating and delivering that consistent message to your clients then comes down to selecting the right furniture and finishes that are available to go into the layout. Commercial Concepts Australia provide solutions in office design that can help you matching your environment to you client’s expectations, from conceptual layout assessing location through to detailed planning in sync with you marketing. From there it’s a simple process of project managing the delivery of the fit out to completion.

With 10 years’ experience as a former Client Side Project Manager within the Commercial Design and Construct Industry, John Vaisutis brings a wealth of knowledge and an abundance of skills. John has a passion for ‘keeping it simple’ and has designed Commercial Concepts Australia with this philosophy in mind.

Providing value to clients One of the things John finds most enjoyable and believes provides the best value to clients is conceptual planning completed to set parameters be it a specific marketing strategy, a budget, space planning, corporate recognition, staff interaction or a combination of all. The products and services provide simple and effective decision making tools. It is simple and effective and adds great value to the end user when they make the right choices. The ability to demonstrate flexibility in design means that any proposed construction you wish to undertake can be documented in a conceptual format to best fit your business requirements as well as your construction budget, or alternatively we can conceptualise you office so you can create a budget. Our services and products can be used to assess space and create budgets and because you then own the plans there are no copyright issues so you can use the drawings as you wish. As our business is driven by the production of conceptualised layouts and designs there is no hidden agenda or motive to try and secure more work, our interest is purely in creating an environment that suits your business. Commercial Concepts Australia is Australia’s first choice for standalone Office Environment Space Planning and Conceptual Design. We pride ourselves on our ability to assist you in assessing your commercial space requirements for your new office, office relocation, office fit out, office refurbishment or alteration. Your concept plans will be drafted based on your business requirements to deliver a consistent message to your clients. They are produced to scale and will depict how your tenancy could potentially accommodate your business. Whether you have two or 200 staff, 150m2 or 5000m2, we can create a concept plan to assess your proposed space(s) based on your business requirements.

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World-first for light-filled Atrium Tamworth’s boutique shopping mall, the Atrium, has installed Philips’ latest cutting-edge LED lighting technology, the LuxSpace Compact Power downlight — delivering considerable savings in both energy and maintenance requirements, while presenting a state-of-the art futureproof lighting system. Covering 6000 square metres of retail space, the Atrium shopping mall in Tamworth underwent a full refurbishment two years ago, involving the replacement of the existing fluorescent and mercury-vapour lighting with modern metalhalide alternatives. However, with the rising cost of electricity, the Atrium’s management considered strategies to reduce its operating costs and carbon footprint. Monthly power audits identified ways in which energy use can be reduced, with the two biggest consumers of power being lighting and air-conditioning. As the Atrium Managing Director, Bruce Read, investigated ways in which he could reduce the lighting component of his energy bills, he sought advice from Tamworth’s leading electrical wholesaler, Lawrence and Hanson. As one of Philips Lighting’s preferred distributors in the area, Lawrence and Hanson directed Read towards Philips Lighting Key Account Manager, John Ralston, to provide key insights into energy-efficient lighting solutions. According to Read, Philips provided excellent education and advice on the benefits of emerging LED lighting technologies. “I was initially cautious about the suitability of LED lighting for the Atrium,” says Read. “However, it soon became apparent that the latest LED technology could easily meet our lighting needs, while substantially reducing our lighting energy requirements and our carbon footprint.” Significant savings However, the energy-saving potential goes far beyond the lighting requirements. “These LEDs produce a significantly reduced level of heat into the lit area,” Ralston explains. “When you consider that is it possible to get a similar light output from a 45W LED as a 150W metal-halide luminaire, it becomes obvious that a great deal

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of the energy used by metal-halide luminaires is wasted as heat. Not only will the move to LEDs provide huge reductions in the energy used for lighting, but it will also result in a noticeable drop in the air-conditioning requirements, as far less waste heat will be generated.” A bright future Rated for 50,000 hours, the LuxSpace Compact Power LED features an extended service-life compared with the metal-halides they replace. “This rating equates to a 12-year operational lifespan for the Atrium,” says Read. “We expect this longevity to minimise maintenance costs and reduce disruption to business. By comparison, of the 75 metal-halide lights we installed two years ago, we have already had to replace 30 globes.” Philips’ advanced remote phosphor technology further ensures consistent light output and stable colour performance over the long life of the lamp and as LED technologies continue to improve, Philips aims to leverage these advances to reduce input energy requirements while maintaining consistent light output levels. This means that future incarnations of the LuxSpace family can be used in conjunction with existing luminaires to deliver indistinguishable lighting performance, while affording even greater savings. This will help provide a future-proof solution for the end-user. The Atrium expects a payback for this relamping project in less than two years. “If we additionally factor in the reduced maintenance and air-conditioning costs, the payback will be even shorter,” says Read. “The future for the Atrium looks extremely bright, with unparalleled performance and reduced operating costs. We also have the surety of a quality brand name, in conjunction with the excellent customer service Philips can offer.” Other LED Lighting Solutions Philips also offers other LED downlights, two of which are the Smart LED Spot Trio and Hexa. Consuming only 8.2W, the Trio is a great replacement for a standard 20W-35W halogen lamp, while the Hexa, which consumes 17W, is a great replacement for a 50W halogen lamp. With a 50,000 hour lifetime and low energy usage these downlights provide a great opportunity to

before

after

lower your energy consumption, maintenance and operational costs and carbon footprint. Philips LED retrofit lamps also provide a quick and simple energy efficient alternative to halogen downlights. The mains voltage (GU10) Master LED consumes 7W, as opposed to the 50W GU10 it replaces, saving over 80% energy usage for its 40,000 hour lifetime. The low voltage (MR16) Master LED spot is available in 4W, 7W and 16W replacing the 20W, 35W and 50W halogen lamps respectively. Ranging from 25,000 – 45,000 hours, these lamps will also reduce your energy consumption and associated costs. For more details on LED lighting solutions, contact Philips today on 1300 304 404 or go to www.philips.com.au/lighting.


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Absolute Office Interiors Commercial Fit out Specialists

Absolute Office Interiors’ Showroom, Office and Warehouse are located in East Victoria Park, Perth, at 12-16 Milford Street, Milford Park complex, our showroom faces Swansea Street, next to Swansea Street Markets. Absolute Office Interiors has been trading and continually progressing since 1996, the business was founded on the basis of passion for innovation in workplace design and service. To enable the business to expand we have learned and continued to benefit from our varied and diverse knowledge and customer base over the years to be able to offer workable solutions to fitting-out most types of workplaces.

It is often difficult to conceptualise a workplace design and then having to coordinate the vast areas of renovating while still running your business, that’s why businesses trust Absolute Office Interiors to Project Manage their fit out from the conceptual stage, right through to fruition as we are a ‘turn-key operation’ and will work with your chosen designers or provide our own design consultation. From the ‘ceiling to the floor and everything in between’ will be taken care of on your behalf to ensure you achieve the maximum results. We have a fantastic team of contractors who have been servicing the needs of our customers for more than 13 years. These include all office partitioned walls and ceilings, all electrics and data cabling, any plumbing requirements, commercial carpet and vinyls direct from the manufacturers, Daiken air conditioning systems, signage and frosting. This strong and enduring working relationship has ensured that projects are completed smoothly with minimum disruption to your operations. Our own unique ranges of office furniture is quite often based on work-flow, functionality, practicality and aesthetics blended carefully to give you maximum comfort and efficiency, this will ensure safety, comfort and productivity in a workplace where you spend a third of your day. Our principals are firmly based on workable solutions without compromising cost, efficiency or safety as style, practicality and space restrictions can often conflict in designing a work area or furniture. We endeavour to support local manufacturers and businesses for custom-made furniture and seating requirements so that our end product is consistent with local identity and continues to enrich our state and country. Aside from local workmanship to produce your ideal workspace, our open plan systems and stand alone furniture are at the forefront of design, practicality and user friendliness and created by us for the Australian Market. We constantly attend and consult trade and design fairs to ensure that our products and style are in keeping with the innovations both nationally and internationally, which helps to keep our designs ahead of our competition. Because our furniture is manufactured to our designs, creating something unique is relatively easy for us and we are able to tailor make furniture to our customer’s requirements. Our full range of

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products and services can be viewed online at www.absoluteofficeinteriors.com.au Absolute Office Interiors aims to provide friendly, efficient service to all our customers without prejudice. Our Project Management Team will also ensure that your refurbishment and furnishing needs are met as closely as possible to your desired concept. We start at the initial consultation to listen and discuss your ideas and the needs of your staff to operate effectively long into the future and the parameters with which you are working with. We then suggest practical solutions that help you achieve a result


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“From the ‘ceiling to the floor and everything in between’ will be taken care of on your behalf to ensure you achieve the maximum results.”

that is as close as possible to your ideas within those previously identified needs, boundaries and budget. We work with you from start to finish ensuring that any issues along the way are diminished and/or diverted. We believe that communication is definitely a ‘two way street’ therefore we listen to our customers and will value their input and feedback during the entire process of refurbishment.

not against you to provide what you need within a realistic budget that you can afford. We have sufficient experience and flexibility within our services and products to achieve this. Look for us on www.absoluteoffice.com.au

We are your locally owned Office Fit Out Company and we are here to help you create the ‘look’ you will feel proud of when presenting your business to your clients. We work alongside and

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Real Estate agents demand digital ...interaction has become the standard...

Window property boards have been the norm for decades and digital signage has started to become a more common sight in shop front windows, but some agents throughout Australia are now choosing to move ahead of the market and install Interactive Touchscreen Displays. Passers-by want to engage with Real Estate displays, they want to learn about what is on offer, but more importantly, they want to drive the content themselves. Looking at properties that they are not interested in is not only a waste of time, but it also frustrates the prospective customer and increases the chance that they will lose interest. Allowing users the opportunity to choose exactly what they do and don’t want to see results in far more attentive and interested customers.

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Unfortunately for agents, this level of interaction has become the standard in many customers’ minds. When browsing online, every conceivable search option is right there at your fingertips. There simply is no need to look at properties that don’t fit your predetermined criteria when online, and it’s what people have come to expect elsewhere as well.

Additionally, changes can be made instantly, rather than waiting for physical media to arrive.

Another key advantage of the Touchscreen Display is that the opportunity for action is right there on the screen in front of you. After seeing a property that is of interest on the display, customers can easily leave their details so that the agent can contact them directly.

Ultimately, whether your goal is to build your agency’s image, influence your customers or just to provide information; only digital displays offer the complete solution.

However, all of this is not to say that there isn’t still a market for dynamic digital displays. Digital displays can grab a customer’s attention and influence their decision making process; all without the ongoing costs involved in traditional printed displays. This is because updating a digital display obviously involves no costly re-printing of physical displays.

Digital displays are also significantly more space efficient. Having each and every property shown on a traditional display just isn’t possible for most agents due to the simple fact that there physically isn’t enough space.

Interactive Touchscreen Display at the Professionals, Banora Point


Taxation Column

Taxation Column Investment property ownership and depreciation

P

roperty depreciation is a tax deduction available to the owner of an investment property for the wear and tear on the plant and equipment items in their property. This includes things like carpets, stoves, blinds, heaters, light shades and hot water systems. There is also a deduction available for the wear and tear on the structural element of a building; this is referred to as Division 43. Depreciation is available to any owner of an income producing property. Both new and old properties will attract some depreciation benefit that the owner is able to claim as a tax credit. The depreciation benefit available depends greatly on the type of building, its age, use and fit out. Based on the Diminishing Value method of depreciation, the following scenarios are provided as an approximate guide: The maximisation of a depreciation claim on any building requires a combination of construction costing skills and an excellent knowledge of tax legislation. Quantity surveyors are recognised by the Australian Taxation Office to be appropriately qualified to estimate building costs for the purpose of depreciation. Natural disasters and investment properties: How can the tax system help? Various natural disasters have recently caused devastation throughout Australia and as a result many people have been left with damaged investment properties. Dealing with repairs can affect the owner’s depreciation and capital allowance claim after the clean up. But what happens when there is a natural disaster and assets are destroyed? For those lucky enough to be insured, the damaged items are replaced, for everyone else an out-of-pocket expense is the only solution. The removal and replacement of certain assets or parts of the home will create an extra deduction when there is no insurance.

So when an item is destroyed and there is no insurance claim, the leftover value of that asset can be written off immediately, and depreciation claims can start being made for any new (replacement) asset. There can often be thousands of dollars left in any destroyed assets that can be written off and claimed immediately, creating valuable cash flow for the property investor. Furthermore, an immediate write-off may be available for some or all of the balance of any qualifying Division 43 yet to be claimed. The following example explains how this can work for an existing air conditioner:

Scenario Existing air conditioner – bought in 2008 for $1,000 – the owner has claimed approximately $500, depreciating it down to $500 in 2011. It is completely destroyed and rendered useless after being affected by flood waters. The owner purchases a new airconditioner for $1,500. The existing air conditioner was not insured so the property owner can claim the existing $500 left on the old air conditioner. The owner can also start claiming depreciation on the new air conditioner from the installation date.

As a real estate agent when you educate your clients about the benefits of depreciation, you will be providing a value added service by helping them obtain potentially thousands of additional dollars each financial year in normal depreciation. If they have been devastated by natural disasters in recent times, they will appreciate the education as well, which may help them get something back for their loss.

Bradley Beer is Director and Senior Quantity Surveyor at BMT Tax Depreciation. Brad has over 12 years’ experience in the building and construction industry, is a member of the Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors and holds a Bachelor of Construction Management. He commenced employment with BMT & ASSOC in 1998, becoming a Director of the company in 2002. Brad’s involvement in a wide variation of projects enables him to provide clients with specialist experience in areas of tax depreciation, project management, project control, construction estimating, cost planning, cost management and contract administration. Brad has experience across the residential, commercial and industrial property spectrum, in both small and large scale projects ranging from $1 to $100 million. Brad’s combined experience and enthusiasm ensure that clients are provided with value adding solutions for their projects.

It is important for your clients to discuss their situation with a qualified depreciation specialist, whether it be about a normal depreciation claim, or a natural disaster related enquiry.

Building Type

2 BR Unit

Townhouse

Residential house

Commercial Building

Purchase Price

$400,000

$300,000

$375,000

$2,500,000

Year 1 Depreciation

$12,000

$7,000

$8,000

$100,000

Year 1-5 Cumulative Depreciation

$50,000

$30,000

$32,000

$450,000

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REI Super The industry fund that understands property professionals

Established by the industry, for the industry some 35 years ago, REI Super is, and always has been committed to the property sector and the people who work in it.

That is why the fund’s products and services are tailored to meet the unique needs of property professionals. And they put their money where their mouth is. When you look closely at their investment portfolio you will see that more than 10 per cent of the fund’s assets are directly invested in property. CEO Mal Smith explains that ‘as a fund we not only want to help our members save for retirement, we want to help them now. Things like low cost Death & TPD and Income Protection insurance along with access to quality financial planning, really make a difference to our members lives now. And, by investing in a wide range of investment streams our members savings are diversified and managed wisely for their future financial security’.

their needs come first. And of course, they have all the features you’d expect of an industry super fund including: • Low fees • A long track record of delivering strong returns • A well-rounded choice of investment and insurance options • Access to professional financial planning advice • Run only to profit members. To find out more about the fund and unique benefits it can offer you as a property professional visit www.reisuper.com.au or call 1300 13 44 33.

REIS 31784

The board of trustees are industry professionals who are elected by members to make sure that

REI Super is all about

you!

That’s why we’re run only to profit our members and help you save more with lower fees and stronger returns. So what could be better for you than an industry fund that really is all about you?

Find out more at reisuper.com.au or call 1300 13 44 33 This information has been prepared and published by REI Superannuation Fund Pty Ltd ABN 68 056 044 770 RSE No. L0000314 AFS Licence No. 240569. REI Super ABN 76 641 658 449 and RSE Registration No. R1000412 for general information. It does not take into account any member’s individual financial objectives, financial situation or needs. We recommend that you seek help from a licensed financial adviser before acting on any information contained in this notice. The Trustee reserves the right to correct any errors or omissions. The REI Super Helpline and the REI Super website are provided by Mercer (Australia) Pty Ltd which is a corporate Authorised Representative of Mercer Investment Nominees Limited ABN 79 004 717 533 AFS Licence No.235906.


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Increase sales with A free tax depreciation tool

Real estate agents the world over live by the mantra: location, location, location. And it’s true, the physical location of a property is absolutely one of its key attributes. But what many real estate agents don’t know, or realise, is just how important information about tax depreciation can be in helping get potential investment property buyers across the line.

Just like you claim wear and tear on a car purchased for income producing purposes, a property investor can also claim the depreciation of their investment property against their taxable income. “Depreciation is one of the most important yet often overlooked tax saving benefits available to investment property owners,” according to leading tax expert Tyron Hyde of Washington Brown Quantity Surveyors. “It can save investors thousands and it can be the difference between a property achieving positive cash flow or not.” Savvy real estate agents who understand the value of this information are turning to online tax depreciation calculators, which provide accurate estimates of how much depreciation allowances a property would attract to help drive sales.

Hyde, “And it’s having an enormous impact on the closing rates of some agents.” For instance, using Washington Brown’s tax depreciation calculator, a $400,000 high-rise apartment in Melbourne built in 2007 would attract $11,000 in tax depreciation allowances in the first year alone. “It’s a win win situation. For agents it’s about having the tools they need to sell a property, and for clients, it’s about providing information they need to make informed financial decisions.” More information on tax deprecation and a free online calculator can be found at washingtonbrown.com.au/free-taxdepreciation-calculator

“Never before have agents had the ability to use tax depreciation as an upfront sales tool,” added

WASHINGTON BROWN We know property

TAX EXP

DEP REC IATI ON

How much are you tipping the tax man?

ERT S

YIP AD JULY 2010.indd 1

Chances are you’ve been paying too much tax if you own an investment property and haven’t had a professional depreciation report prepared for your property. At Washington Brown we guarantee we’ll save you twice our fee in the first twelve months or your report will be free! Work out your potential tax savings now with our FREE online Tax Depreciation Calculator www.washingtonbrown.com.au or phone us on 1300 99 06 12.

11/07/10 11:13 AM


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Training and Development

– how to stay in front of your competing agents

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Training and Development

I

n coaching Australia’s elite high performance real estate agents there are five common traits that keep them one step ahead of their competitors every time, writes Josh Phegan. It’s a fierce world out there and only the fittest will survive. In coaching Australia’s elite high performance real estate agents there are five common traits that keep them one step ahead of their competitors every time. These traits and long held beliefs are consistent across all agents who transact in excess of 70 deals per year. They are the fundamentals that later lead to the transformations that allow them to capture the hearts and minds of any market. You can gloss over them, you can try to ignore them, but they are the fundamentals that brilliant agency is built on.

Market knowledge If you don’t know your market then you’re an amateur. Most agents proclaim market knowledge yet the latest buyer in any price range can outgun them, based on the research nature of the buyers’ purchasing cycle. Receiving Realestate.com.au and Domain.com. au alerts on your email is not market knowledge. What usually happens is the email comes every morning and receives less than a gloss over by the agent to see which listings they’ve lost. Market knowledge means acting just like a buyer. Inspecting as many properties as there are on the market in a given price range, regardless of the agency that has listed it. Most agents will proclaim they are too busy or too fearful to enter a competing agent’s open house, yet if they don’t then they’re a weak negotiator. Highly detailed agents set up a simple spreadsheet and record the details on every property that is listed in their core postcode. Every day they search the real estate portals for the newest listings. Once added to their spreadsheet they then search their database for past clients and past market appraisals that live in the area. With that hit list in hand they call their clients to advise of new listings in the area regardless of whether these are listed by their agency. Their belief is that it’s relationships over agency that counts. Better that our clients hear from us rather than from our competitors. Market knowledge allows you to be a powerful lister, a brilliant negotiator and the very best trusted advisor for vendors as you are aware of the market conditions (supply and demand) and can provide strategic advice. Five minutes a day on market knowledge keeps the competitors at bay. »»

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»»

Training and Development » continued

Presentation skills Never underestimate just how powerful a great presenter can be. It’s the little things that make a big difference. After sitting through over 100 listings presentations across the country, the number one listers are way out in front. Delivering effective listing presentations is a critical skill for number one agents. They get that presenting in front of clients is the highest leverage, fastest paced and most exhilarating part of the job. Questions make the critical difference for great listers. They follow a simple process: 1. They identify the need of the client – this is the number one and should take up to 90 per cent of your presentation. Never assume, ask, ask and ask some more. Build rapport with the client, so that they know that you get them, their situation, dreams and desires. 2. They then sell the features and benefits, but only those features and benefits that fit the client’s needs and fears. Amateurs present, professionals connect. 3. They trial close because they understand the importance of reading the client’s temperature. Closing shouldn’t feel awkward or rehearsed. What’s critical is that the client will start off stone cold at the beginning of your presentation. As you progress your presentation will naturally increase their buying temperature until they are feverishly ready to buy. Our top listers carefully lace seven to eight trial closes throughout their presentations, keeping them on track and ready for listing success. 4. They handle objections – not by rehearsing scripts, but by asking questions. There is nothing worse than an agent that reels off a script from a training CD, but fundamentally has misread the objection and failed to listen to the client. One of the greatest ways to handle the objection is the use of simple questions such as, “I get it, how did that make you feel?” They then work through a series of questions to uncover the client’s understanding before they go into negotiation mode to achieve the very best outcomes. 5. They close and close well. Our top listers start their presentation with a simple yes ladder close, then use this yes ladder at the end of their presentation to close out all the loops. Most agents present, but never close the loops i.e. come to an agreement on each component of the presentation. At the end of the day, we need to sign-off on price, timing, marketing, fee, sale method and why us. Great presentation skills can be taught, but you need a mentor who is better at it than you and someone who knows what they’re doing in delivering feedback.

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“When the salesperson comes across confident, clean, professional, healthy and happy, it not only leaves the association that their product will bring that effect into our life – but also makes us want to do business with that person.”


Training and Development » continued

Your visuals need to look hot and likeable. Agents across the country have been keen to adapt to new listing tools such as the iPad, however my top agents are straight shooters with pen and paper. A skilled presenter with a pen and paper will always win, as it provides connection, eye contact and engagement. The latest shiny device will not save you if the fundamentals are weak.

Connecting versus communicating This is the number one task for the fast paced industry leaders. Scripts and dialogues are only five per cent of the game. Your philosophy, approach, mindset and attitude are what determine your success. Those who talk at you often lose, those who connect with you always win. Connecting is about understanding the client’s fears. There are two great fears for real estate consumers: 1. That they will undersell their home. 2. That they will pay too much when they do sell. Great agents use these fears as hooks and then expand their case on the tools that they use to avoid underselling a home and what they do to reduce costs. The greatest way to avoid underselling a home is by leveraging your access to buyers. Clients get that. Most agents communicate that they have a database, but they don’t use terminology that a real street level consumer understands. Ask them, “Would it be okay if I brought through some buyers who we know have missed out on homes like yours in the past few weeks?” It’s the same thing, but it’s how you communicate the message that counts.

Business fitness is the speed of your business recovery. It’s built through having great systems and being able to overcome setbacks in seconds. Amateurs can take a few weeks and even a career to get over missing a listing. Professionals take less than a second, realising that they won’t win every deal, but that there are still many more deals to be done.

all have an ultimate outcome. It’s easy to get lost in the now and spend no time in planning for the future. 2016 is only five years away. If you’re planning on having any passive income by then, then what you do today is critical. Your real estate business is simply a cash flow generator. It’s what you do with that cash that counts.

Business fitness is about having simple systems that are highly scalable so you can pace in the number of transactions you handle in a 12-month period. Most coaches and trainers over complicate the industry. We’ve met some clients who are in a spin, and after spending thousands of dollars are in a worse position. Keeping it simple says to me that you need to stick to the fundamentals. It’s about buyers and sellers. The difference between a buyer and a seller is just time.

The leaders have an ideal outcome and work that plan to achieve.

If you’re going to handle 12 auction campaigns a month, then you need a simple process to follow time and time again. You’ll have 12 times more enquiry, inspections, offers and vendor meetings to handle, so spend time on simplification. The difference here is a three-page vendor report versus a one-page report. The one page report can say just as much and can often be more powerful. If it takes you 10 minutes to produce a vendor report versus four minutes, you’re looking at a difference of 48 minutes or 120 minutes. That’s a saving of over half.

Personal fitness and energy renewal cycles are dominant in industry leaders. They get time away from the office through meticulous planning and building people around them to handle the dayto-day operations of their business. Some agency principals are convinced they need to stay in their business, because if they go on holiday then the business will suffer. My word of advice is, if you’re not physically on holiday at least four weeks a year then you will burn out, and you’re most likely emotionally, spiritually or mentally on holiday anyway.

The leaders in our industry are great at building rapport through brilliant questioning skills. They engage and build relationships that are difficult to win against.

It’s hard to learn, but it doesn’t matter what your competitors are doing; what matters is what you’re doing and how you’re keeping your head in the game.

This is the number one for Australia’s real estate industry leaders. Fitness is the speed of your recovery. If you run up a hill your heart rate will rise; when you stop, you recover. The faster your heart rate returns to its resting rate, the fitter you are.

Spend a little time in getting to know the greats and you’ll change your career. Stick to the basics, have a plan, get a coach, be tormented. Set your sights high and stay on track with simple accountability. It’s your life and what you do with it counts.

Business fitness is about the way you think and what you do. We live in the most distracted society we’ve ever faced. With the likes of email, mobile phones, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn, we’ve got thousands of messages flying at us. It’s what you discard, not what you amass that counts.

Days on market are the critical measurement for success in reducing the costs. The longer a property stays on the market, the more likely it will sell at some level of a discount, and the higher the marketing costs will be. What most agents haven’t worked out is that an auction campaign where a property sells in 42 days is half the time of most private treaty sales, i.e. 90 days. There is also no national measurement of clearance rate for private treaty. Let’s say that the national auction clearance rate is 50 per cent and that the clearance rate for private treaty at day 42 is 25 per cent. This says to me that auction has twice the chance of selling at half the costs.

Business fitness

You‘ve got to be hungry and want it more than your competitors want it. It’s the early starts that count. The number one operators are all in early and hit out their first calls from 7:30 am. That’s where the money’s made. Ivan Bresic from Bresic Whitney Estate Agents has always said to me, “If you ring early, at least they know you’re busy, you’re thinking of them and that you’re here to do business.”

A hunger for growth

What’s critical for our leading clients is that their coach has skin in the game. That means a real commitment to their business success by calling it for what it is and assisting them in building simple systems for accountability.

Josh Phegan is the High Performance Coach for Real Estate Agents behind reEngage Coaching. In 2010 he spoke at over 138 events around the world, including Dubai, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Hong Kong and across Australia, in front of 5944 sales representatives, and conducted over 639 individual one on one coaching sessions. Over 60 per cent of his clientele earn in excess of $600,000 in fees. For more information visit www.reEngagecoaching.com or phone 0448 406 303.

You need to be clear on your outcome and what it is that you want to achieve. The fast paced leaders

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40

Convert your iPad to iSell with Property Marketer by Jill Garland

When it was released last year, Apple hailed its iPad as a revolutionary device for browsing the web, reading and sending emails, enjoying photos, watching videos, listening to music, playing games, reading e-books and much more. Indeed since its launch in April 2010, 15 million iPads have been sold worldwide. And just as the Apple iPad revolutionised the tablet computer, Sales Trainer, Mark Dwyer and his team at Property Marketer have developed an iPad application that has revolutionised the way agents and agencies present to clients.

Aptly named Listing Pad, this world-first listing presentation means you can dispense with paperbased presentations for good. The application allows you to create dynamic, interactive, animated listing presentations customised to EVERY prospect you present to. Imagine a presentation without separate pieces of paper for different aspects of your offerings. And because Listing Pad is interactive you can get your seller involved in the presentation, almost getting them to close themselves! As Mark explains, his inspiration for Listing Pad was borne out of frustration of seeing agents hamstrung by using linear presentations. “You know the scenario, it’s happened to everyone you’re into your presentation and the seller says ‘what about...?’” says Mark. “The format of the Listing Pad presentation is such that you’ll never say, ‘We’ll get to that in a moment’ again. Discreet tabs for each of the major sections are always at hand, as are each of the subheadings. If you’re onto marketing but the seller wants to ask about negotiation, go straight there and shut down the objections on the spot.” While you need a connection to initially set up each listing presentation, once compiled it is bookmarked on your iPad for use anywhere, anytime – you don’t need to be connected to the internet to present to a client. You can choose to use your own presentation or for maximum impact use the Ultimate Listing Presentation - a simple, visual listing agenda that ensures you will win the majority of your pitches without discounting your fee. To present to a client you enter their name and address details, drop in a couple of accolades (client testimonials), a photograph and you’re ready to go. The personalised, flexible listing presentation is fully branded with your agency’s logos and colours exactly matched to your standards. Listing Pad is only one component of Property Marketer - the most advanced real estate marketing platform in Australia. Mark developed Property Marketer to provide ideas and process that replace prospecting, attract and increase pre-sold listings, improve communications, attract buyers, expand management portfolio and promote a brand. He explains, “Property Marketer is the only option that ticks all the boxes when you want a range of material that integrates beautifully with your brand. The low entry and ongoing cost makes it a Lay Down Misère for

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agents who do not have the skills or resources to implement a suite of field-tested and highly effective marketing collateral.” Other features of Property Marketer include The Market Roundup, a compilation of local sales data coupled with photos of happy clients and a few paragraphs of market commentary. The information is then formatted into an A4 page for use at your office or for wider distribution in your local paper or letterbox drop. The Proposal feature is as the name suggests, a fully branded and customised proposal outlining your Unique Listing Proposition, a sure fire way for you to win more listings. Another great feature is Accolades, a simple yet professional method for storing and presenting your client testimonials. Your templates are set up and you simply add your testimonials along with the client’s name, address and a happy photo of the seller to the Accolades database. From there, Accolades can be seamlessly integrated into your Listing Pad presentation or can be printed to PDF as part of your leave-behind kit. Property Marketer is available to individual agents or as an agency wide subscription. It is a low cost investment that will yield extraordinary dividends for a real estate business through increased advertising revenue, increased listings enquiry, greater buyer activity and easier negotiations. Can you afford not to invest in marketing? Get on board NOW before your competitors do. Go to www.propertymarketer.com.au/ sensational to book an online demo.


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Your Real Estate Marketing Machine

Property Marketer is the most advanced real estate marketing platform on the Australian market.

Accolades

Listing Pad

Accolades allows you to collate all your faxed, emailed, hand-written-on-the-back-of-acoaster testimonials into a perfectly branded, consistently laid-out format for your leavebehind or pre-listing kit. Packaged in a branded folder that is personalised to each and every prospect with just a few clicks and available instantly, you will wow your prospects every time. Listing Pad is the world-first listing presentation for the iPad. Once we set up your template based on your listing presentation or our Ultimate Listing Agenda, you can take your iPad offline and deliver a personalised, animated, interactive, non-linear listing presentation that will have your clients eating out of the palm of your hand.

There’s so much more... Market Roundup sets you up for truly effective communication. Campaign allows you to formulate your marketing products and integrate them into Listing Pad. Coming soon, Proposal will give you a personalised remote listing presentation in seconds for prospects you can’t get face-to-face with. Property Marketer is constantly improving (you should see what’s under wraps in the lab!) and, after a set up fee, it’s available for free to Sales Trainer Active subscribers. Get on board NOW before your competitors do. Go to www.propertymarketer.com.au/sensational and book an online demo.

The Australian Real Estate Review


42

Solving the sales performance mystery

Improving the performance of your sales force is one of today’s biggest challenges. Yet gathering profile data about your teams’ needs may seem like a fantasy... until now! The PI Worldwide® Selling Skills Assessment Tool™ (SSAT) provides exactly this information. It’s a proven, diagnostic instrument designed to provide objective data to let sales management evaluate sales abilities on three levels, individually, team and company-wide. The SSAT contains 25 questions to assess critical selling skills specific to the real estate industry and provides the insight to effectively focus the group sales training needs for maximum impact and individual coaching plans to drive maximum sales growth.

Results provide an objective view of each of the core sales skills and areas that warrant improvement. Clients receive three reports which:

3. Present: Encompasses linking your capabilities to the client specific situation through the most appropriate solutions.

• Help determine your whole organisation’s sales process and its effectiveness

4. Confirm: Uncovers how to win business and move forward, even when there are multiple decision makers.

• Target your group sales training with territory or product teams • Focus on each individual’s time in the field and one-to-one coaching The SSAT measures the five core sales skills required for a customer-focused and consultative sales process: 1. Open: Explores how to build trust and credibility while managing client expectations. 2. Investigate: Examines strategic questioning, listening skills and the examination of your clients’ decision making criteria.

5. Position: Focuses on how to build longterm customer relationships and benefit from referrals. Due to the quantitative nature of the SSAT, the first assessment provides a benchmark for the sales team. After completing sales training it is recommended the team re-take the SSAT at six and 12 months to gauge the effectiveness of their sales training and development programs. For further information on the SSAT contact Predictive Insight on 1300 675 509.

Unlock your sales teams’ true potential

The SSAT delivers an objective look at your people’s strengths, their skills, and specific areas for improvement. It provides a detailed, accurate quantification of the selling abilities across your organisation, vital information that allows you to focus your sales training initiative for maximum impact and maximum revenue growth.

The SSAT is one of the greatest sales tools you can have if you are a Sales Manager, VP of Sales or a GM. It identifies a person’s basic selling skills and the specific areas for improvement.

Mike Eastwood, President GVW

PI

Knowledge is power, and PI Worldwide’s® Selling Skills Assessment Tool™ (SSAT) gives you the specific data you need to increase the sales production and customer interaction skills of your whole team.

Predictive Insight

People Smart. Results Driven®

www.predictiveinsight.com.au

Call 1300 675 509 today


43

Who is Glenn Twiddle? and Why Is He Giving Away Training That Has Created Seven Figure Real Estate Earners?

In the Real Estate industry right now, we are seeing salespeople leave the industry in droves, where even on Century 21’s official Australian website it reads: ‘…it is estimated that 80 per cent of sales staff never renew their Government Registration Certificates by the second year of their career.’

“Kevin Turner, from Radio 4BC’s real estate talk show, made the comment that nine out of 10 real estate agents leave every two years,” Glenn remarked solemnly. “So we, as trainers and authors, need to ensure that Queensland Real Estate Agents are prepared for what lies ahead so we don’t see any more people leave the industry that could have made it, if only they had the right information.” So Glenn has taken up arms in a ‘war’ on these appalling statistics, and if giving the training away is what he’s got to do, then so be it. “If I can help someone earn enough, in my free 9 CD/3 DVD training box set, to earn them a great income, and stay in the industry, then it’s likely they’ll return to me for further coaching, training and other services I provide,” Glenn remarks, “So I’m not a total angel, I do have an ulterior motive.”

One of Glenn’s students, Chris Gilmour, now in his third year in Real Estate, started off with a free intro offer from Glenn just over two years ago. In his first year he earned $135,000, second year $880,000 and is on track for a million dollars in his third year, and much of that success he attributes to Glenn’s ‘outside the box’ training. “In a market of declining sales, we are currently experiencing a ‘cleansing’ of unskilled agents. In fact, as they leave in droves, there’s more business for the skilled agents,” remarks Glenn. “I have said to my students, like Chris Gilmour, of late, that this market will swallow the timid and advance the strong, and agents like Chris, are leading that charge, and you can too if you just do what he does.” For a free copy of Glenn’s box set, visit www.FreeRealEstateSalesTraining.com

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44

Franchise Opportunities

“In any business, reputation is everything, but even more so in real estate.”

Find a perfect

W

hen thinking of purchasing a franchise it is important to do your homework and not let emotion rule your decision making because the wrong decision could lead to being locked into a business that doesn’t suit you. Margaret Ambrose reports. When Victorian real estate agent John Rault decided to randomly call names from the list in front of him, it wasn’t what the people said that surprised him – it was that everyone said exactly the same thing. And for Rault, that sealed the deal. Rault is a Century 21 franchise owner reflecting on what made him decide to buy into the business he did, rather than one of the many real estate agent franchises available. When a real estate agent purchases a franchise, the franchisor receives payments from franchisees for the right to use their brand and to participate

The Australian Real Estate Review

in their systems. Typically, these fees, which pay for franchise support, may be a fixed monthly amount, or calculated as a percentage of income. Given that there is very little difference in the purchase cost and ongoing monthly franchise fees of all the major players, potential franchisees are faced with the sometimes-difficult task of choosing a franchise based on other considerations. And even though the differences between franchise agreements may seem slight, the wrong decision could lead to being locked into a business that doesn’t suit you, your expectations and your business plan. For Rault, the number one reason he decided to go with Century 21 was the testimony of existing franchisees. Steve Wright, CEO of the Franchise Council of Australia, says Rault made a smart move.

“A recognised name or a solid business framework with potential to become a well-known brand; support offered by the franchisor; growth projections – all of these things should be disclosed to a potential franchisee when thinking of buying into a brand,” he says. “However, more intangible elements of how a franchise does business, such as ethical leanings and their relationships with franchisees are things that a potential franchisee must research for themself.” Rault recommends to potential franchisees that they follow his lead and contact people who have been with the company for six months and others that have been with the company for several years. Rault is in a good position to give advice, having once severed a franchise agreement with what turned out to be a dodgy operator no longer in business (“All of a sudden lawsuits were coming


Franchise Opportunities

under a trusted and well-known brand, especially at a time when people are making the most important financial decision of their lives. “In any business, reputation is everything,” he says. “But even more so in real estate. Real estate agents don’t always enjoy the best of reputations you know!

“Running your own business is a big step,” says Wright. “One thing to really consider is if you get along well with your franchisor as you’ll be working relatively closely for a significant portion of time and relying on them for support when you run into challenges.”

“Due diligence is the most important consideration when venturing into any sort of business relationship.” “I could see that the business had done all the hard work for me,” says Burgoyne. “Years of building the reputation of the brand, working with the real estate institutes to establish the brand as an industry leader – you could spend years trying to do that yourself and not get anywhere close.” Rault points also to the national television, radio and billboard advertising campaigns, which would normally be out of reach, but which are paid for by the company under the terms of his particular franchise agreement. The issue of brand integrity is a double-edged sword, say Burgoyne and Rault. Other franchisees building good reputations can add to the reputation of your business, but franchisees creating bad reputations can also reflect poorly on yours. That’s why, say Burgoyne and Rault, choosing a business that has a thorough and genuine dispute resolution mechanism is vital. One of the most important things to consider when choosing a franchise is the issue of territory, says Rault, which is so necessary in a reputationbased industry like real estate.

out of the woodwork.”), and currently owning a franchise operation of a company for which he has a lot of respect and which is flourishing financially. At 37 and having risen through the ranks of the real estate agent for which he worked, Rault felt it was time to go into business for himself. Around this time, he was contacted by Century 21 ‘franchise scouts’, who explained to him the benefits of buying a franchise, in particular theirs, and he hasn’t looked back. Terry Burgoyne, a Barry Plant franchise owner, had also reached a stage in his life when he wanted to branch out on his own, but unlike Rault, Burgoyne had already worked as an employee for Barry Plant for five years before he decided to buy a franchise. This provided him with an intimate knowledge of the workings of the organisation, and allowed him to see first hand, the advantages of operating

“Most franchises allow you to operate within a certain area,” he explains. “For real estate agents, that means they can only sell properties within particular suburbs. So, say someone has heard of my reputation and wants me to sell their property. Or, if my grandmother wanted me to sell her property. My franchise agreement says that you can sell where ever you like, but not all are like that.” Terry Burgoyne’s franchise also allows him to sell property anywhere and he says this is a reflection on a greater selling point of any franchise – a culture of cooperation. “There is a real culture of knowledge-sharing,” he explains. “That was really important to me.” “One of the biggest considerations for me,” he continues. “Was that the business had to offer excellent support and mentoring. I wanted to have access to the best people in the business – people with years of experience and proven success, who offer advice and training, and I wanted the franchise I chose to have that.” The Franchise Council of Australia agrees that a good relationship with the franchisor is vital.

For Rault, the size of the business was also an important consideration. “Century 21 is one of the largest franchises in the world, with around 250 offices in Australia alone,” says Rault. “For me that meant security.” Burgoyne advises, though, that size should be considered in context. “You can have a hundred franchises but if fifty of them are run by clowns, you’re in trouble.” Above all, says Wright, remember that a franchise is a business. “The most important thing to do when thinking of purchasing a franchise is not to let emotion rule your decision making,” he says. “Many people fall in love with a brand or a product and deduce that everything on the business side of things must be great for the company to produce such a brand/product. But this can be a trap. Due diligence is the most important consideration when venturing into any sort of business relationship.” Nothing replaces doing your homework, says Wright. “Full disclosure of company information is a big indicator of how a franchisor values potential and current franchisees. If you feel that you are not getting the full picture, do your own research or back away slowly.”

The Franchise Council of Australia has a checklist of questions that they recommend all real estate agents read before making the decision which franchise to choose, which includes asking the following questions: • What are the distinct advantages that one business has over another? • Has the franchised business been thoroughly proved in practice to be successful? • What is the market area and what is the health of that market area? • How competitive is the market area? • Is there a strong, distinctive trade name?

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46

Build a business, don’t buy yourself a job! Successful sales people don’t always make successful business owners.

A myriad of decisions awaits you when evaluating which, if any, franchise group suits your needs. All will provide some variation on the tool box of products and services. All will have technology, training programs, in house systems and management support. Along these lines there is often an indiscernible difference outside of brand color and fees. The critical difference will be found in how do they encourage your growth and profitability and what is their platform to achieve it? If the response is make more sales, keep shopping.

you to your business and in my mind defeats the reason for business ownership. Even worse, the recommendation to make more sales is often the only solution. In short, run faster! Franchise ownership is not for everyone. It will require those that “jump in” to succeed through a medley of strokes. Salespeople are often highly proficient in freestyle and back stroke but profitability will more likely be achieved through alternate skills that have yet to be developed. Any franchise system is only as good as the driver of that system. There is not a franchise system around that will make you something you are not. The saying goes “you can’t send a duck to eagle school.” Rather, the success of any business is found in its people first and foremost and “Brand” and all that that entails, is merely a tool to leverage and hone your existing skills and talents. You are the greatest determinant of your success, not brand. This can be evidenced by great agents and great agencies and average agents and average agencies across all franchise groups. From the marketing co ops to the major brands, agents and owners all have access to the same franchise “tool box” yet some thrive and some just survive.

Nicholas Thiele – Regional Director, RE/MAX Australia

Many an agent in the pursuit of a better share of commissions has made the decision to buy a franchise in the belief that greater reward as an owner is just around the corner. The downfall in this thinking is that unless there is a plan to evolve into a true business owner where success is achieved without your sales contribution many find themselves owned by the business. They are stuck on the hamster wheel of making sales to cover office costs. This thinking will forever tie

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As successful as the RE/MAX Brand is around the world our real success has been built upon our people. The belief in the importance of attracting the best agents, working in partnership with the owner in the critical aspects of agent retention and driving profitability is what matters most. We encourage our agents to grow their business by marketing and profiling their services to all corners of the globe and not only to a particular area. Another example of our commitment to people is RE/MAX pioneered the idea that agents should be able to offer a better level of service to their clients by ensuring they can build a business around themselves. For those that accept this responsibility, higher levels of remuneration can be achieved outside of buying a franchise. The industry was not ready for that evolution when we introduced it in the late 90s. Many a company says they value people and I’m sure that in large part that is absolutely true, however. RE/MAX not only values its people as owners but also our people as sales associates. If you have a culture that values agents by providing a platform of success where they set the agenda, then as a

by product, all stakeholders benefit. The home owner, the buyer, the agent, the office and the brand all get better. Our market boundaries continue to shrink. With the increase in mobile technologies, smart phones and social marketing, opportunities can be found outside traditional boundaries and borders. You, your business and your people must position “your” offering for the radical changes already taking place. At RE/MAX, we want you to be the local expert while offering international exposure and best practice. Our belief at RE/MAX is that successful business ownership will be fought and won on three critical factors. 1. Your ability to attract top performers. a. Agents drive revenue not principals. 2. To retain through a planned career path. a. Provide people the chance to grow through professional development and accepting greater responsibility for their success. 3. Provide a structure that is flexible and profitable for the owner. a. Ask yourself, “What do you want from your business?” “What will it look like in three, five and 10 years?” Will it be you, me and Dupree or will you be running a true real estate full service business with 25, 55 or 105 agents? If you know these answers and you have a vision or a dream and thought there must be a better way ask these questions of your franchisor prospects and ask how they plan to support your vision and your dream of business ownership? You can buy any number of franchises that will provide a platform to make sales and hang up a shingle but only one when it comes to understanding and embracing the future of the industry and proposes a model to take advantage of it for you and your people. These ideas and beliefs are not exclusive to RE/MAX. Rather we have embraced what works in industries and businesses far and wide and applied them to an industry in dire need of increased professionalism. www.remax.com.au


AUSTRALIA

RE/MAX provides you the opportunity to leverage your unique talents to create & pursue a career that works for you. We already know & recognise that the reason for your success is because of you. We encourage you to be entrepreneurial in your approach & as a result RE/MAX rewards accordingly. Whether you’re looking to begin your RE/MAX journey as a sales associate or run your own business as a RE/MAX Franchisee, you’ll reap the benefits of being part of this innovative & successful business. So, if you ever thought there must be a better choice, you’re right, there is.

Be a part of something bigger.

If you would like to learn more about how RE/MAX can deliver success for you, visit www.remax.com.au or phone 1300 720 022 Isn’t it time to make it about you?


48

Stockdale & Leggo
 More than just a real estate agency

When you become a franchisee with Stockdale & Leggo, you tap into the success of a powerful and trusted brand that has stood the test of time. Their reputation speaks for itself. With over 75 years experience, Stockdale & Leggo is one of the most trusted and experienced names in real estate. Join Stockdale & Leggo and you are not just joining a company, you are joining the Stockdale & Leggo ‘Family’.

Stockdale & Leggo have a dedicated interest in your success and it shows in the level of attention you’ll enjoy when you join their ‘Family’. They open the door to countless opportunities through regular conferences, business meetings and events

and have dedicated Franchise Managers who act as ‘partners’ in your business with. With IT systems that are first class, Stockdale & Leggo has what it takes for you to succeed in today’s marketplace. A focus on each and every franchisee is crucial, according to CEO Peter Thomas. “The success and longevity of the company over its 75-year history has been underpinned by our commitment to our core values of family, honesty, ethics and open communication. New members should share our time-honoured business philosophy and passion.” As with any other reputable company, Stockdale & Leggo works to ensure the brand’s strong reputation is maintained. Peter maintains a welcoming, open-door policy to all members at all levels of the network. It is indeed rare that a CEO makes himself that accessible, yet strong family values filter through every aspect

of the company, right down to its branding and advertising logo, Welcome®. “Whether supporting our people,” says Peter, “facilitating transactions between vendors and purchasers, or negotiating successful long-term business partnerships with franchisees, real estate boils down to a respect for people and a genuine desire to see them succeed.” Stockdale & Leggo employs Australia’s best trainers to deliver regular Training and Professional Development programs, which include online scripts and dialogue training, and develops and maintains strong mentoring, liaison and support initiatives. For a confidential discussion about the benefits of joining Stockdale & Leggo, please contact Lyn Andrews on 0416 142 335 or email: landrews@stockdaleleggo.com.au

95 OffiCES

AUSTRALiA WiDE

A NATiON WiDE NETWORK

qUALiTY

MARKET

SERviCES

PRACTiCAL

EXPERTS

TRAiNiNG

UNDERSTANDiNG YOUR NEEDS

STRONG BRAND RECOGNiTiON HONEST THE ETHiCAL

KEY TO YOUR

SUCCESS NEW & iNNOvATivE TECHNOLOGY

PROvEN TRACK RECORD

STRONG LiSTiNGS SUPERiOR SELLiNG TECHNiqUES

STRONG SALES

Welcome ®

When you join Stockdale & Leggo, you are using the key to a successful business. Are you looking for the strength of a real estate agency with over 95 offices across Australia and growing? Join our network, where you will benefit from the expertise of a highly respected national brand which has stood the test of time. We have the technology, training and resources to see you succeed! Talk to an agency that has a mentoring and business development program for every new office using experienced Principals For a confidential discussion contact Lyn Andrews 0416 142 335 landrews@stockdaleleggo.com.au Dean Rees 0418-553-087 drees@stockdaleleggo.com.au

stockdaleleggo.com.au


YOU TOO COULD

BELONG TO THE

BEST

VALUE BRAND


50

The ‘Professionals’ Difference Belonging to the Best Value Brand

Professionals Real Estate Group have been a major fixture on the Australian Real Estate landscape for over 35 years. With more than 300 offices across Australia, New Zealand and a number of Asia-Pacific countries and more offices opening every month, they are one of the fastest growing groups and are showing no signs of slowing down. We recently sat down with the Group’s CEO, Glyn Morgan, to find out more about this dynamic group, why they are continuing to grow so rapidly throughout the country and exactly what the Professionals difference is. Glyn can you tell us ‘how’ Professionals is different from other real estate groups throughout Australia? Professionals absolutely is different from most competitor groups and a lot of that difference stems from how our group functions. Our business model is what is referred to as a member group, this means that instead of money being paid out to shareholders, every cent of profit the group makes is reinvested back into the business by way of services and benefits for our members. It is the members who steer the direction of the group, through their participation in management boards and consultation committees, so we truly are a group run by the members, for the members in every aspect. Personally I believe it is this business model that helps to foster the special feeling and sense of belonging within the group. This feeling of ‘belonging’ that your members share, can you tell us a little more about it? The word family comes to mind when I think about Professionals. Professionals members are not competing against each other for listings or market share, so rather then being rivals like you would find in many other groups – they are colleagues, sharing knowledge and information, supporting each other and working towards common goals. The relationships that form between members, the camaraderie - it truly is ‘mateship’ and many of our guys can tell you about lifelong friendships they have established through our group.

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This level of interaction of members all through the group is the perfect conjugate for the sharing mentality throughout Professionals. Training days, conferences, awards events are all opportunities not only for our members to catch up for a friendly chat, but to get together and share knowledge, information, techniques etc to better themselves and their businesses – and it is something you can see happening right before your eyes at any Professionals event! You’ve mentioned a number of different events, can you tell us more about these events and in particular your recent International Conference? Yes we hold a number of events throughout the year, all aimed at providing our membership with the knowledge and tools to keep up to date on the latest news and trends and successfully run their business. These events include everything from training days and courses, information bootcamps, awards events to recognise achievements by offices and their sales teams, workshops, conferences and more. The calibre of events Professionals consistently deliver throughout the year is second to none. The level of excitement that builds within the group before an awards evening or conference is tangible, with members eager to share the excitement and knowledge with their fellow members.

In September 2010 we hosted our bi-annual International Conference which saw hundreds of ‘Pros’ from our offices around the world converge on the Gold Coast for three amazing days of learning, sharing, catching up with old friends and making new ones! Jam packed with relevant presentations by keynote speakers such as Australia’s Bernard Salt (Cultural Commentator) and internationally renowned Stephen Lundin creator of the Fish! Philosophy. We covered a myriad of topics including; current industry trends, technology updates and forecasts. Members walked away from the conference with priceless new information and tools to implement into their business, but on top of all the learning and education the ‘fun’ factor was definitely a major part of this, and in fact all Professionals events. From fundraising dinners to a formal gala evening there was plenty of time to catch up with each other over a social drink and have a good time. Socialising is after all another activity that Professionals do best! It does sound like a fun ‘family’ to be a part of. It really is, but when you take the fun and business aside – there is another aspect that really makes our group different and that is our absolute commitment to social responsibility.


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The Professionals family takes our social responsibilities within the community very seriously. We care for our members, our clients and the wider community as they are as much a part of our lives as we are a part of theirs. Our Group has committed itself to two organisations being the National Breast Cancer Foundation in Australia and the Child Cancer Foundation in New Zealand. Over the years we have raised millions of dollars for these fantastic organisations and will continue our special relationship with them. The National Breast Cancer Foundation strives to fund the latest research into developing a cure for breast cancer. Professionals and NBCF have formed a Diamond Partnership, with a financial fundraising commitment being pledged annually. This is a promise we uphold with continuous fundraising throughout the year, through charity events and auctions at both a national and local office level. Right across Australia, Professionals offices donate a portion of their commission from each property sale directly to this very special organisation. So far we have raised over $1,400,000 and that number grows higher every day. We hear you have also been doing something different to raise funds for those in need recently? Following the wave of recent natural distasters with the Queensland and Victorian floods, the Western Australian bushfires and now the New Zealand earthquake we wanted to do something extra to raise much needed funds to help out people in these communities, and that’s how Professionals Unite came about. Professionals Unite was something new that we had not done before… a full day, online seminar style presentation made up of a number of action packed webinars presented by some of the world’s top social media/marketing minds – all directly streamed live into the offices of our members. We had internationally renowned experts dialing in from all over the world to host their segments and covered topics such as: preparing for the next economic shift, social media, search engine optimisation, tackling Google rankings and more. The information available to members on the day allowed for a real positive impact on their business and they were getting access to technology experts that would normally be upwards of $10,000.00 to see in action! On top of all of this

we raised over $10,000.00 for the disaster relief throughout Australia and NZ which we know will truly make a difference to peoples lives. Excellent, it is good to see big organisations rallying together and giving back. On the topic of $$, when it comes to fees I have heard you mention your dollar for dollar commitment – can you explain that a little? Because Professionals was created by members, for members – we are committed to providing our members with dollar for dollar value. This essentially means, for every dollar received in fees, we endeavour to give more than a dollar back in value. Returns are delivered in added value to our members, not in profits to shareholders. Our absolute commitment to providing value as a group means our members pay lower fees than the other organisations in the industry. The tangible value Professionals provides to each and every member is delivered through a wide range of materials and services. Service Centres offer a comprehensive range of Marketing, Training, IT, Recruitment and Operational services and also ensure our members have access to the best industry relevant information, deals and suppliers. So our members pay less… but get more! A good thing in our industry – less money in fees means more your members can spend on marketing I’m guessing. The Professionals branding is so colourful and fresh, how did it come about? Exactly, and that is why we have so many new members becoming Professionals after spending years under other industry brands. Less money in fees = more money to spend promoting themselves and their business = more listings, more success and at the end of the day more profits! We do love our brand and constantly get feedback about how much our members and their clients love the freshness and vibrancy. A few years ago we undertook the major project of overhauling our brand which meant changing the logo, imagery, signage, everything! We took a look around the world of real estate and, with little exception, the corporate styles and colours of the major players were institutional to say the least. The new branding we created is, by contrast, a fresh and striking look for the twenty first century, designed to appeal to the key demographic and

be recognisable so our offices/marketing/listings etc standout! Good branding, great value and that sense of belonging you have mentioned… it sounds like you have a winning formula. We believe we do and our members tells us so! Even better news is that we are currently recruiting for new members to join our group and have opportunities for new offices all across Australia. With new offices opening constantly Professionals truly are the group of the future. We offer our members the opportunity to belong to the best value brand in the business. We provide a unique service, where our members can retain their independent agent status, gain international brand presence and access the best value services across the industry. Whether you are currently operating under an independent brand, are part of a franchise group or perhaps are working for someone else and are now ready to take the next step and open your own office, we would love to have a chat to you about what joining our family could mean for your business. We have business development professionals right across Australia, contact someone in your state today. QLD | Michelle Mulholland Ph: 0434 331 656 NSW/ACT | Stuart Watts Ph: 0438 332 028 VIC/TAS | John Abraham Ph: 0434 331 738 SA | Lynne Savage Ph: 0458 505 950 WA | David Hobbs Ph: 0417 707 768 ASIA PACIFIC/NZ | Glyn Morgan Ph: 0430 288 170

Talk to one of the Professionals team today about how belonging to the best value brand could take your business to the next level! Professionals Real Estate Group To find out more information visit their corporate website at http://www.professionals.com.au/

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Wiseberry So what makes us different?

We are different in the way we treat each franchisee individually and maintain a close relationship with each of our offices. Real estate owners do not have to be alone in their quest for profit. With the high focus on daily results, the presence of immediate and reliable support is only one of the services we offer our franchisees. Our aim is to look after the people within real estate. Only happy and professional salespeople can look after clients with a genuine level of care and professionalism. We all know that getting a name and a good looking office does not necessarily mean getting business through the door. It is the quality of the people who sit with our clients that matters most.

Our successful growth is based on a deep understanding of the needs of those who work in the real estate industry. We look after our own by: •D  elivering initial and ongoing training to every salesperson within our network ensuring consistency of service delivery • K eeping a close monitor of the offices’ daily results so that support and training can promptly be injected • Visiting our offices regularly

• Supplying marketing tools such as our own e-magazine • Using latest technology in delivering sales training • O ffering referral system which rewards those introducing champions to the network We invite you to contact any of our franchisees to see if they will tell you any different. If you believe you could be doing better, give us a call, because we care.

• Presenting training sessions, workshops and seminars

For franchise opportunities: call us on (02) 8883 4832 or email us at info@wiseberry.com.au.

•B  eing a phone call away for immediate support

www.wiseberry.com.au

•P  roviding an internet based management and CRM system


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First Impressions

and the power of first impressions

W

hether it is business or pleasure, it’s undeniable that first impressions count. Dr Misagh Habibi examines why first impressions matter and one key to a great first impression: a great smile.

It’s an age old expression: don’t judge a book by its cover. The very wise glean something from this mantra. They find those moments in life where an open mind sees possibilities defying the odds of convention, beyond first impressions. The other 99.9 per cent of us judge by first impressions – most of the time completely subconsciously. Let’s look at the book example behind the proverbial phrase. We buy a book based on what feel its cover communicates to us. We may flick nominally through its pages, even peruse its chapter of contents or back cover – but it is the actual cover that draws us in. This is a prime example of how consumerism is primarily emotionally driven and drawn by (first) impressions. It’s an undeniable fact that if you want to succeed rather than get by in your career, you need to make positive first impressions. There is an art, science and of course a business to making a positive first impression – and it translates to the bottom line. Successful companies spend sizeable resources in its pursuit. The need for people and products to make great first impressions has led to the rise of the advertising and marketing sectors and to the big business of relationship training drawing on the science of making good impressions.

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Why is it that when comparing products we often see the facts favouring one, but we can’t help ourselves in wanting the other? It’s because somehow it left an impression on us. We will go so far as buying a house or a car because we like the feel of it, even though it may be missing the spare room or the four doors that we need. It is the experience that a product gives us, not its exact function, that is the draw-card.

use. Before I buy an Apple product, I make sure to do the right thing and ask about its specs (as if I don’t already know about the product). The reality is I like how its products look and feel. It’s a bonus that when I get home they work just fine (most of the time). The feel of the Apple Store, the passion of the salesperson, the look of the slick and slim silver case, and the impression of the advertiser, has already won me over.

If a product (and for the purpose of this article professional services and sales are also considered products) elicits the right feel-good hormones in our brain, it has made a good first impression – and it would take a lot to reverse this effect. Whereas, without having made a good first impression, there is a longer, uphill route to proving a product’s value. Research has proven this. We are, after all, not that clever. We buy stuff we don’t need and do things based on immediate appeal much more often that we’d care to admit.

The reverse also applies. My recently impending mid-life crisis and a growing gut gave me a scare and hence my obsession with cycling was born. Despite being desperate, I couldn’t bring myself to buy a road bike from a nonchalant, non-athletic and dry salesman that failed to express any passion (and indeed based on his body form, any proof of personal use) of bicycles. In fact I became primed for a quick purchase from his fitter, more conversational competitor down the road.

We are all suckers for first impressions. Whilst it may be that positive impressions can sometimes create a misleading bias, they also confirm for us when something is genuinely right. So in that way, they are absolutely important. At the end of the day, we are social creatures and we form judgments based on social parameters and definitions.

First impressions and the salesman Let me give you some personal examples. I love Apple products. They look great and feel good to

I failed to buy a sound car that I liked from a salesman that got on my nerves. I left a healthcare provider who seemed unable to muster any semblance of compassion or gentleness in his approach, despite the fact that I was in pain and desperately needed his help. I needed all of those products/services and I soon enough bought them from a competitor who through their positive first impression, developed an easy rapport with me. The salesperson is perhaps the epitome of the impact of first impressions. Today millions of people will fail to make a purchase of a product

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First Impressions

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First Impressions » continued

they are actually actively seeking, because the salesperson will turn them off unwittingly – perhaps by an undertone of patronising pushiness or insincere seminar - based sales technique, perhaps by their unkept or unprofessional appearance, or some other blocking factor you just can’t put your finger on. Today millions will also purchase products they are not actually looking for because the salesperson will be well presented, friendly, genuine and helpful in a way that makes them want to see the benefits of the product. And yes, some of those sales will be houses. When the salesperson comes across confident, clean, professional, healthy and happy, it not only leaves the association that their product will bring that effect into our life – but also makes us want to do business with that person. That’s the power of first impressions. But…

What makes a good first impression? There are many factors that can contribute to making a positive first impression. And a lot of them work through our subconscious within seconds of meeting someone. Research indicates that you are scanned within seconds of a first meeting and that a ‘snapshot’ first impression judgment is made within 30 seconds – many experts have purported this to take place in as little as seven seconds. In this time people form fairly lasting impressions about your intelligence, success, confidence, competence, physical fitness, professionalism, your salary and even which newspaper you read. So what if we fail to impress? Well then it’s an uphill battle. It takes about six to eight meetings of sustained positive interaction to undo a few seconds’ imprint of a negative first impression. It can seem an overwhelming challenge to impress within seven seconds. But is it actually difficult to do this? Sociolinguist Professor A Mehrabian studied the impact of three elements of a face to face encounter – verbal, vocal, and nonverbal. His studies showed that seven per cent of our initial impact comes from our verbal message (i.e. what we have to say). Another 38 per cent of the impact comes from our vocal qualities (i.e. tone, rate, inflection). But a whopping 55 per cent comes from the visual element, which includes our facial expressions, body language and smile. Here’s the significance of this research. It’s not that your verbal content doesn’t matter. It’s that if you don’t look and sound confident or credible, then it doesn’t matter whether you are or not because few people will actually listen to what you have to say if your image is not congruent with your message. So you decide – is there any sense in aligning your image with your message? And if so, what do you need to work on to make it happen?

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The power of the smile Research has shown that smile attractiveness has not just an affect on the first impression a person gives, but also what personality traits they are judged to have. A team from a Radboud University Medical Centre in the Netherlands found that smile attractiveness has a profound psychosocial impact – affecting both how a person is judged and also how they judge themselves. For example, smiles with disproportional display of gums against teeth were judged unfavourably and correlated with characteristics of neuroticism and lower self esteem. It’s as specific as that.

perhaps extrapolate that a three-point increase in the scale of attractiveness, which might be achieved with say, a cosmetic dentistry treatment for someone suffering from visible dental problems, would equate to a whopping $93,600 per annum increase in income – 15 years ago! It seems that because people expect attractive individuals to be more intelligent, successful and likeable, they treat them in ways that foster these behaviours. And smile attractiveness plays a big role in that perception. One reason for the power of the smile may be that smiling physically makes you feel good. When you smile your body releases endorphins (feel good

“When the salesperson comes across confident, clean, professional, healthy and happy, it not only leaves the association that their product will bring that effect into our life – but also makes us want to do business with that person.” More recent research from psychologist Dr Anne Beall PhD confirms strongly that one’s smile plays a significant role in the perception that others have of our personality and appearance – that one’s teeth alone can have an impact on overall attractiveness and perceptions of personal attributes. In Beall’s study before and after pictures of patients who had cosmetic dentistry treatments to their smile were used to assess 528 people’s character judgments and assumptions. Various, specific character traits judgments were correlated with the pictures. The results were an advertisement for cosmetic dentistry. They revealed that people were consistently viewed as being more attractive, intelligent, happy, successful in their career, friendly, interesting, kind, wealthy, and popular with the opposite sex with smiles that had been altered by cosmetic dentistry versus their original smiles. But how true are these stereotypes? It seems that the self-perceptions and the judgments of society based on appearance become a selffulfilling prophecy. Several research studies in reputable psychology journals have shown that attractive people are more relaxed and outgoing and have more social finesse than less attractive counterparts. One study showed that attractive women were rated by men as more socially skilful and likeable based on purely blind, five minute phone conversations. So clearly confidence of attractiveness seems to cascade into other aspects of personality. A Canadian study which assessed attractiveness on a scale of one to five found that for each increase in the scale, a person earned an additional $2600 per month – and this was in the 1990s. We could

chemicals). When you smile, another person’s natural reaction is to smile back. So in turn the person you smiled at also has endorphins released in their body. This all happens very unconsciously. But our unconscious mind memorizes this impression of a person – that they “make us feel good”. This in turn can be a precursor to breaking down skepticism and building trust – important not just in building personal relationships or seducing our potential partner, but also in professional relationships and in ‘making the sale’. If your client’s guard is down and they trust and like you, they are obviously more prone to buying whatever it is that you sell. No surprise then that research poll results have shown that an unattractive smile can hurt a person’s chances for career success (74%), an attractive smile makes a person more appealing to the opposite sex (96%) and that a smile is an important social asset (99.7%). Let me give you an example. Roz Davies is an artist, art history lecturer, visual artist, cartographer and one time snake-handler. Despite her accomplished credentials and diverse experience, she had always felt held back from her potential by her smile – until she underwent a major dental overhaul. “Before the treatment I was so embarrassed by the condition of my teeth I simply did not smile, and for the most part talked with an almost closed mouth, and from behind my hand.” “People said they ‘didn’t notice’ but I feel they were simply being polite! How could the post treatment


First Impressions » continued

attract so much favourable comment if the ‘before’ wasn’t noticed!”

“After the treatment the new smile affected me totally. It gave me the confidence to speak without hesitation, and to consider opportunities, personally and professionally, that I would have previously dismissed.”

There is an added complexity in this process which I see daily as a dentist who deals with complex rehabilitative dentistry. Patients who suffer from low self esteem due to an unattractive smile actually hide their smiles in their facial expressions. The effect of this in their life is very profound, because they are not able to signal those signs of genuineness to others. They do not elicit the endorphins in the people they interact with – despite the fact that their real ‘inner’ personality be very genuine, friendly and potentially outgoing. For these patients, I have seen time and time again how reconstructive/rehabilitative or cosmetic dentistry is a completely transformative and empowering process.

Roz’s new smile gave her the confidence to approach an executive committee, present a proposal, and make a deal which resulted in her publishing a book now selling in various outlets and in the list for the West Australian Premier’s Book Award for 2011.

It is common to see patients virtually return as a different person after their smile transformation, gleaming from ear to ear and transformed in their body language and communication style. As in Roz’s example, they often become more successful people in their careers and relationships as well.

Roz’s experience is not unique. And Roz’s treatment was not simple or cheap. Her whole mouth was treated by means of fillings, extractions, dental implants, porcelain crowns and veneers which virtually transformed her appearance. Sounds like a mouthful (literally) but using sedation, she quite enjoyed sleeping and waking to a new smile.

“The research for the book involved around 100 interviews – face to face – together with a lot of personal interaction… I would never have considered any of that with my pre-treatment teeth.” Asked what it has done for her personal life, Roz says, “I laugh now! I’m a different person.” When we look at the research into smiles, how they affect character judgments and first impressions, and how they affect our behaviour, Roz’s experience shouldn’t be surprising.

Speed and type of smile According to research by Glasgow-based Go Group, how quickly you shine your pearly whites can also shape the first impression others have of you. A grin that snaps ear to ear too quickly can lead to others thinking you are insincere. But a slow and naturally opening smile appears more genuine. In this study a team of business advisors examined how smiling can give clients a positive impression. They found that a swiftly appearing smile that does not extend to the eyes can signal to the client that you lack sincerity (fake smile). Whilst a natural genuine smile tends to flood the entire face and extend to the eyes. This is because the tightening around the eyes in a genuine smile is very hard to fake and indicates that someone is conveying their true feelings. Whilst lack of involvement in the eyes, or lack of display of teeth (a closed smile) tends to signal ingenuity or that someone may be not conveying their true thoughts or feelings. So the body language and subtlety of facial expressions that accompany a natural smile play an important role in first impressions too.

The genuine factor Watching a few episodes of Extreme Makeover leaves anyone in awe of what a new smile, a thought-through wardrobe and a proper haircut can achieve for someone’s confidence and wellbeing. But you have to make sure you are seeing experts who know what they are talking about, and who have the experience to achieve the changes you seek, because there is too much tendency to over-do everything. The fact is, in most of our professions people don’t expect us to have been dressed by Hollywood’s outrageous style guru Carson Kressley. What we seek are colleagues and clients that express genuine enthusiasm, service and passion in their work – at first impression at once clean, professional, healthy and attractive to reflect those qualities. As Australians we tend to frown on people that try to be something they’re not. I know I get turned off when someone unnaturally wedges my name between commas and forced smiles – several times in the first 30 seconds of conversation – because some PR guru told them to. But like all people we respond to a positive first impression dressed by a genuine attractive smile, positive body language and friendly tone. We form lasting impressions and make important decisions based on these impressions. So be genuine, friendly, dress appropriately and if you got those pearly whites gleaming, keep up the brushing, regular check-ups and flaunt them. But if you are not blessed with a smile that reflects the genuine you, don’t underestimate the influence the transforming artistry of a skilled dentist can have in your life. It might just let your true character shine.

Guest writer Dr Misagh Habibi is a West Australian dental surgeon and sedationist. His practice focuses on advanced reconstructive and surgical dentistry, dental implantology and sleep dentistry. He holds degrees from the University of Western Australia and the University of Sydney, is a Fellow of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists, and a member of the Australian Dental Association, American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and Australian Society for Dental Anaesthesiology. Misagh lives and practices in Perth with his wife Jennifer and two daughters Lana and Lua. He enjoys writing, theatre and film and likes pretending to get fit on the bicycle.

Until then, keep smiling.

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A confident

smile :

a sign of your success Before

At Adelaide Cosmetic dentistry we are not only about creating beautiful smiles. We use state of the art laser equipment and the latest techniques to care for all your dental needs. Have your teeth permanently straightened, brightened and reshaped. Amazing veneer systems with no drilling, injections or temporary fillings are now possible.

Image courtesy of Jason Attard Photography.

After

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Please call us on 8213 1821 for all enquiries or visit adelaidecosmeticdentistry.com.au Dr Roshanak Amrein | Dr Balakka Reddy


Make an Impact With Your Smile Does your smile reflect the real you? A healthy, attractive smile goes a long way to making a positive impact with clients and colleagues. When you smile with confidence, people take notice and you feel great. Invest in your health and well-being and reap the rewards!

SMIle MAkeoverS thAt Are AS Much An Art AS A ScIence Our understanding and highly skilled team takes pleasure in seeing you reach for your potential with a new lease of life sparked by your new smile. Whether you suffer from advanced dental problems or you’d just benefit from a brighter, whiter smile, we can help!

We offer you all aspects of cosmetic and advanced dental care - from teeth whitening to full mouth reconstructions in a convenient, friendly comfortable environment. And if you are nervous about the dentist or can’t bear the thought of endless visits to fix advanced problems, we specialise in Sleep Dentistry - so you can comfortably snooze your way to your new, healthy smile in next to no time!

SMIle WIth confIdence. cAll our frIendlY teAM In Perth todAY!

(08) 9381 2881

Perth, WA

e-mail: info@churchilldentalpractice.com.au web: churchilldentalpractice.com.au


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Your Suburb Maitland, NSW

Maitland LGA Area: 392 square km Population: 70,154 (ABS 2010 Estimated Resident Population) Location: 27km west of Newcastle, 170 km north of Sydney

Some of the highlights of a visit to Maitland include:

Maitland is the fastest growing non-coastal, LGA in NSW. Located on the fertile alluvial flats of the Hunter and Paterson Rivers, it is one of the most highly productive areas in NSW and a service centre for a rich agricultural hinterland.

• Exploration Tourist Drive

Maitland is also an established transport hub with excellent road and rail links. These include highway links with Newcastle, Newcastle Airport, the Port of Newcastle and the Sydney Newcastle F3 Freeway as well as rail links with fast and efficient freight and passenger services to Newcastle, Sydney, New England, NSW North Coast and Queensland. Maitland’s robust economy incorporates a broad cross section of industries including retail, tourism, mining, manufacturing, agriculture, transport and construction. Property and Construction Extensive land releases, for residential, industrial, commercial and retail developments are fuelling a strong construction industry. The fast growing industrial and commercial areas at Thornton and Rutherford are attracting a diverse range of industries and industry support businesses for the region as a whole. Nestled in the lower Hunter just two hours north of Sydney and 30 minutes from Wine Country, Maitland is a diverse location with a plethora of unique attractions, physical attributes, accommodation options, shopping and dining opportunities which will appeal to all looking for a special place in the Hunter. A stunning blend of “funky heritage” and contemporary style, Maitland, Hunter Valley encapsulates the best of the past and the present. The streetscapes of Maitland and surrounds are lined with historical buildings dating from the early 1800s and there are picturesque rural views from a multitude of vantage points with a relaxed environment to enjoy. Maitland is also host to an array of stylish boutiques, pampering service providers, unique guesthouses, eateries and entertainment venues. There is something for everyone within Maitland, Hunter Valley.

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• Picturesque Morpeth • Historic Maitland Gaol • Maitland Regional Art Gallery • Walka Water Works • Heritage Walks • Wine, Produce and Heritage Trail • Antiques Trail Housing With the prices of housing and land in Sydney reaching unattainable levels, Maitland on the other hand offers the investor a wide selection of realistically priced homes and land. In addition to a healthy market of existing homes, there are a number of new residential estates on offer, including one to five acre semi rural plots located within five minutes of Maitland’s centre. There are also large blocks for executive living in Thornton, Bolwarra, Aberglasslyn and Oakhampton and numerous other suburbs.  New “towns” are currently being developed with the first of these - Thornton North - soon to be home for 10,000 new residents. Maitland is a city of natural beauty and wide open spaces, of clean air and national parks, of impressive gardens and sweeping views. It is a region well known for its attractive rural district, historic city centre and moderate climate. Maitland has more than three times the national average of open city spaces, with 30% of the region dedicated to outdoor sports facilities and 22% established as small parks and playgrounds. The city normally receives around 722 millimetres of rain a year, falling on an average of 111 days. Maitland City Council works hard to ensure that this city will always be a remarkably beautiful place to live. Its policy of urban development has been carefully formulated as an environment management plan, and this work has established a highly respected system of infrastructure, waste collection and park and street maintenance. Living in Maitland is like living in the centre of paradise. Some of the state’s most admired and popular attractions are all within 30 minutes drive, including the wild and lush bushlands of the Barrington Tops National Parks, the wine and food delights of the Hunter Valley vineyards, plus the splendour of the wide white beaches of Newcastle and Nelson Bay.

Image courtesy of Jason Attard Photography.

Sports and Recreation There’s not much you can’t do in Maitland. Whether you enjoy the outdoor sports of golf, tennis, swimming, bushwalking or the more leisurely pursuits of picnicking, gardening and arts or crafts, its all here. Maitland has a number of privately owned and operated recreational facilities, including the Taylor Tennis Academy and the Greenhills Sport and Leisure centre. There’s even an annual agricultural show that draws visitors from all over the country. Heritage and Culture A spectacular heritage city, Maitland and its surrounding villages has retained all of its unique ageing character. History surrounds you during Maitland’s Heritage Month Celebrations. Maitland once rivalled Sydney as the proposed capital City of the State of NSW. Morpeth is one of the most picturesque historic villages in Australia. Heritage comes alive in the streets that launched Arnotts Biscuits, Soul Pattinson and Brambles Transport. For the culturally minded, Maitland’s Regional Art Gallery is located in the historic former Technical College building in High Street, and it is widely acclaimed for the standard of its exhibits whilst the Maitland City Library plus three other branch libraries provide residents with a complete library service. Numerous theatre and musical groups and venues add colour and excitement to Maitland’s cultural calendar.


Your Suburb

Maitland’s vital stats

Maitland

Maitland Semi Detached 11.91 %

Rent through Agent 20.00 %

Flat, unit or Apartment 4.71 % Other Dwelling 2.79 %

Rent (Share) 0.46 %

Being Purchased 32.00 %

Rent (Other) 10.00 %

House 80.59 %

Fully Owned 37.54 %

Maitland LGA

Maitland LGA

Rent through Agent 13.98 % Semi Detached 4.46 %

Rent (Share) 6.22 % Being Purchased 40.25%

Rent (Other) 6.20 %

Flat, unit or Apartment 5.85 % Other Dwelling 0.52 % House 89.17 %

Fully Owned 33.35 %

Being Purchased

Rent through Agent

Rent (Share)

Rent (Other)

Fully Owned

House

The suburb of Maitland is located in the Local Government Area of Maitland and covers an area of approximately 5.5 kilometres squared.

Local amenities include two clubs, a hospital, a post office, a swimming pool and five churches of different denominations.

The surrounding suburbs include Oakhampton, Pitnacree and Mount Dee.

Currently, the median sale price of houses, units and vacant land in Maitland is $256,402 compared to $288,795 for the Local Government Area of Maitland.

In 2006, the population of Maitland was 1,821 people, with the main age group being people between 40 and 49 years of age. The largest segment of the population is not in labour force, in general those in employment work as professionals with most people travelling to work by driving a car. There are approximately 680 dwellings, with the majority of these (80%) being house. 35.9% of properties in the area are fully owned, with 30.6% of the properties being purchased and 70% being owner occupied.

realestateworld.com.au is entirely developed and owned by the real estate industry and is wholly owned subsidiary of the Estate Agents Co-operative Ltd. Our solution consists of a website that is supported by several real estate publications distributed throughout New South Wales.

Married people account for 61% of the population and households in Maitland are mainly couples with no children. There are 16 Parks, two primary schools and two high schools.

Visit realestateworld.com.au to access a wealth of demographical information and statistical property data to make finding your next property even easier.

Semi Detached

Flat, Unit or Apartment

Other Dwelling

Disclaimer and Copyright 2011 Copyright Estate Agents Co-operative Ltd. All rights reserved. No reproduction, distribution, or transmission of the copyrighted materials in this report are permitted. The property information and statistics are compiled from our Red Square property information database. This report contains property sales information provided under licence from the Land and Property Management Authority. Estate Agents Co-operative Ltd is authorised as a Property Sales Information provider by the Land and Property Management Authority.

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An agency leading the way in the rural sector

R & R Rural and Residential Property is a boutique style Real Estate Agency based in the rolling hills and valleys of the Stroud district.

Set within the Port Stephens hinterland, Stroud borders the Karuah & Hunter Valleys and is so named for its resemblance to the Cotswold region in England. It is a true delight for tree changers, being centrally and conveniently located with city, beaches, forests, farms, vineyards and snow capped mountains all within short reach. Denise Haynes and the ‘R & R’ team are proud to call this district their home and love to welcome new locals to share the area. ‘R & R’ Rural and Residential Property has been created to fill a need in the Real Estate Industry. An agency where clients are made to feel comfortable, relaxed and whose needs dictate the process. Real estate responsibilities are attended to with the utmost care and concern, and clients are assured of an absolutely professional service at all times.

“...client satisfaction is the only true measure of success and not ‘business is business’”.

With Denise and her teams passion for property, experience, professionalism plus friendly, caring and relaxed dispositions there is no doubt that ‘R & R’ Property is geared for success and that you will always know that they will be willing to go the “extra mile” to assist you. They want customers to keep coming back, so work at creating enduring business relationships. Sadly these values, whilst timeless, are harder to find today when the business world is motivated by less than inspiring ideals. What sets them apart is the belief that client satisfaction is the only true measure of success and not “business is business”. Denise’s tenacious nature and hard working ethics will ensure that you’re purchasing or selling transaction will exceed all expectations, whilst ‘R & R’ Rural and Residential Property achieves new heights of customer satisfaction and success.

During the time ‘R & R’ Property has been operating Denise has steadfastly implemented changes to the business to keep it as modern and cutting edge as possible, at the same time ensuring that the importance of client satisfaction is always at the forefront. Denise is a fourth generation local who can help you with regional knowledge and history. She has both professional and personal investment experience in the Real Estate industry and will readily offer assistance based on her in depth knowledge of the local market.

Denise Haynes

The Australian Real Estate Review


64

Marketing and PR

Using your people to help

J

ulia Nekich explains the concept of personal branding and how it can be used as a PR strategy.

The way in which prospective buyers perceive, and develop trust in, brands has changed over the years. Today, there is more of a focus behind the brand’s people: who are they and do they walk the talk? This is especially important in service industries. I believe it’s because two major changes have occurred: the first is consumers are increasingly overloaded with marketing information, busier, and more cynical of brands as a result. The other is that technology, while helping to make marketing more targetted, can sometimes remove the human element. Good marketing may give a brand its own personality, but at the same time, promoting a key

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person behind the brand has worked for many a service provider. This is called personal branding. In my PR experience, knowing what your brand stands for, aligning a company’s major talent – CEO, MD, owner, or even an external consultant brought in especially to represent the brand – to the brand positioning, then promoting that synergy has helped to better position a company, increase brand awareness, cement its reputation, and build trust among its target market. The stronger your personal brand, the more people want to do business with you – Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, and even David Koch are a case in point. In the real estate industry, however, very few agencies use personal branding as a marketing tool. I believe it’s because they are (quite rightly) focussed on sales – winning over vendors ready to sell, and selling that property at a premium.

But aligning key people in your agency with your brand positioning (that is, does he or she walk the brand talk?) can help vendors slowly learn to trust your brand. Vendors then feel they are buying from the person behind the brand rather than the brand – even if that person is not the person selling their property. Think John McGrath. Or, in the home loan market, John Symond of Aussie Home Loans. John McGrath is a great example of personal branding done well. He knows what his brand stands for, had a vision to create the finest real estate agency in the country, and has backed it up with books, speaking engagements, TV appearances, PR, awards, telling his business story to the public, industry partnerships and alliances, and more. Personal branding is powerful, particularly when a brand or company is fairly new. A new brand can lack personality, and a way to give it personality is to highlight the talent behind it.


Marketing and PR

Promote their expertise. When the talent is sharing his or her real-estate knowledge and informed opinions with the public, media and industry, he or she is also showcasing the expertise of the brand or agency. The platforms on which the talent can do this are the media, speaking engagements at events, and social media. In the case of the latter, the talent could develop its own Twitter profile (and LinkedIn profile if in a professional service industry). Showcase their personality. Personality is really important if the personal branding is to take off – particularly in the media. The personality of the talent should be an extension of the personality of the brand or company, and this is proved time and again when celebrities are used in marketing campaigns. At the very least, a warm, personable talent (not afraid to talk!) combined with lots of knowledge in his or her particular area will see the media more likely to invite that talent back on its program or publication. With regards to public speaking, a sense of humour is a bonus. Last (but not least), good looks can also greatly help the public and media connect with a talent, especially if TV is a media target. Highlighting their journey. Often, the talent has an interesting journey that can be used in the branding – particularly if it’s the founder or CEO. Is it a rags to riches story? What drove them? What’s their focus and their vision? What have they personally achieved? People love to be inspired, and the story could be a wonderfully positive message communicated by the brand. This could translate into profile stories in industry trade magazines, business media and occasionally newspapers.

The goal is for vendors to come to know the talent, like the talent, and then eventually trust in, and buy from, the talent. This is why many brands will use celebrities that align with them in their marketing campaigns. Customers have already learned to like and trust these celebrities – and that’s most of the hard work.

Sourcing the talent in your company So how do you go about sourcing and promoting talent within your agency? Firstly, since the media often plays a large part in a brand’s promotional activities, it’s important this person is someone who will be liked by the media. One ingredient to look for is a deep knowledge about their industry – even on an international scale. In a media interview, can they offer statistics, information about what’s happening on the ground and in legislation, trends and perhaps even future

forecasting? They will also need to be fairly positive, personable and know how to connect with people. As silly as it sounds, I’ve found a bit of an ego helps too – does the talent love seeing his or her picture in the paper or on TV? Finally, does this person have a long and steady future in the agency? There’s no use putting in all the hard work and time to align their brand with that of your agency when they will leave within a year. Replacing them with another talent will mean further hard work to develop a new relationship with the media and customers, who have already learned to like the original talent.

What are the approaches to use? Below are three approaches – which are all best used together – to promote a talent and therefore the brand.

As an example, one of the first stories I secured for a property investor client was a two-page profile in Sydney’s Sunday Telegraph. It was very satisfying for my client to not only tell his story, but share his strategy for investing (which he does for others through his business). Not only did this give him phenomenal exposure to a readership of around 750,000, on the back of this story he also secured a very large client. While there is more to personal branding – as it’s a continually evolving space – the above points help to explain the concept, how it can be used as a PR strategy, and its benefits for brands in general.

Julia Nekich is founder and principal of The Ideas Suite, a Sydney PR agency with a speciality in property, real estate and personal branding in the media. Visit: www.theideassuite.com.au

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68

Presentation presentation presentation! The three rules of graphic design for a successful building.

By Robert Luxford, Director | Vivid Communications Robert Luxford is the Director and founder of Vivid Communications. He has over 15 years experience working with Melbourne’s architects, developers and construction companies. The projects he has worked on are regular award winners. He recently designed the way finding for a new stadium in Perth.

Surrounding your development with the correct presentation material is the most powerful way to gain vital support from day dot. From years of experience we know there are critical points in the stages of a project where investing in presentation pays serious dividends. Bids and proposals Collating all the information together in a designed document allows you to direct the terms through which the concept is perceived. Set the agendas and answer them in turn. Presented in print and on screen the project should be an easy show-andtell anyone can flip through and understand. This is the best way to attract the most votes for your building, before, during and after lodgement. Preparing for market The time between approval and release is the window of opportunity to assemble the resources needed for the push. These are the base assets which populate your campaign so all future promotion has colour and life. Branding Develop the logo for the project as soon as possible. It acts as a catalyst, showing concept maturity and marketability. Brands foster belief and attract attention so it is easier to raise capital and secure early investors. Note: make sure the logo is something you will proud to use in years to come to leverage interest in following projects. Renders Get great renders. They will be used everywhere. Spend as much as you can on getting the most evocative realistic views of the project’s key features. The extra few grand spent up front is

The Australian Real Estate Review

a lot less painful that running under whelming press ads week after week, ouch. This is the campaign’s key investment. Image resources Your campaign will require context photographs of the locality, images of the fittings and features and of course the lifestyle of the occupants. Marketing floor plans When it comes time to signing the contract this is what they are buying, the plan. The marketing plan might be the last deciding factor between your project and the other one on the coffee table. Design it so they can imagine their life there. Digital video Say it once with passion and record it. Digital video means your architect can tell the same story over and over thousands of times and never lose enthusiasm. How much would it cost for your architect to do personal sales presentations? Make the video and YouTube it. Web site The centre piece of the public presentation. Sites today have to engage with social media and conduct business. Intelligent web sites now feed other sites creating multiple updates from one location. We can calculate house and land packages, connect buyers with agents, facilitate conversations, distribute digital assets and be an up to date news channel on the project. Membership and involvement is key. Often the web site is thought of as just a sales tool but by using a flexible content management system the site can continue beyond the sales period to serve the needs of the occupants, to be a community hub. This way the site can be on-sold to the body corporate. No waste, money back. Building design The identity can be part of the fabric of the building. Door handles, safety glazing, colour schemes, signs and way-finding integrate the brand with the architecture. Of course there is also the logo to be proudly displayed to the street. Construction The site hoarding is a major sales asset. Free, on location billboard space for months or years. Crane booms are great for neon.

Equipping the agents With the “preparing for market” information collected the creation of sales tools for the agents becomes greatly streamlined. Agents books, brochures, sales kits, floor plans, display suite and the video reference the same library of information as the web site for seamless integration and campaign unity. Now you are cooking. The public campaign Press ads and online marketing are often two versions of the same creative. By briefing them in as part of the over all campaign, efficiencies are gained in the cost of producing the artwork and more recognition is gained from consistent messaging. This is the moment for the renders to shine with commanding copy. Empowering the social network With the project launched the next stage is to be ready to help people float the idea among themselves. Digital video and web site links to Twitter and Facebook are ideal facilitators. Satisfying owners Once the project is complete your next ambassador is the happy client. A well presented owners manual and a web site they can call home keeps the brand at their fingertips. Reaping awards It is important to consider how the building sits in your company’s profile. What role will it have in your history? With the project completed it is time to take the hero photographs for news releases and enter the project for awards. Awards are a commanding independent recommendation which propel your business on the strength of your product.


69

»  P rofessional Photography & Twilight Photography Jason Attard Photography is the leading Real Estate Photography specialist, and has been for the past 7 years. If you are after Professional Photography, Floor Plan or maybe a High Resolution 360 Degree Virtual Tour for your property, we can adapt to all requirements.

»  Interactive Floor Plans  »  Photography Courses »  H igh Resolution 360 Degree Virtual Tours

We pride ourselves on quality and friendly service with fast turn around, we understand that everyone is busy and requires urgent attention. We can customise for your business with company colours and logo’s to add that extra personalised service. For further information or to organise your photography requirements, please contact Jason.

w www.jasonattardphotography.com.au e jasonattardphotography@msn.com p 0411 406 608 The Australian Real Estate Review


70

Real Estate Video Marketing Changing The Way You View Property Online!

More than 90 per cent of home buyers start their search for property online. Traditional forms of media and advertising such as newspapers and magazines are fast declining, so the time to develop an effective online marketing and advertising strategy is now. Real Estate Video Marketing (revmaustralia) was specifically developed to provide a unique and exclusive service to the real estate industry in Australia, in order to assist agents to maximise their online marketing and listing exposure.

Is Video timely and expensive? Not anymore! Our unique system ensures your property video is developed and distributed online within 48 hours from the time you order - and all for only $165 – less than half the cost of standard traditional video services. Where do the Videos get posted online? To maximise the number of potential buyers who see your property listing online, we distribute to the following video and social media related websites: • YouTube

• Plurk

• Faves

• Ask

• RealtyTube

• Simpy

• Hi5

• BookMarkSync • Dailymotion

We enable you to reach more potential buyers online than ever before.

• Twitter

• Propeller

• FriendFeed

• Bebo

• RealtyVideo

• Tumblr

How do we achieve this?

• MisterWong

• Diigo

• Digg

We take your digital photographs and using sophisticated software, create a cinematic motion video of your property listing, which is then distributed to the major video and social media websites online.

• Facebook

• Reddit

• Blinklist

• Bibsonomy

• Metacafe

• StumbleUpon

Why Video? Video is by far the fastest growing media segment online, and this trend is set to continue with continuous improvements in technology and broadband internet speeds.

Even more exposure! To enhance your online marketing efforts further, we also create a custom designed web page for each property. The webpage includes the property video in high-definition, your contact details, and your company branding, to help drive more leads to your listing. You can then link to these web pages from the following:

When Google purchased YouTube back in 2006, the state of the internet changed dramatically, and a revolution began! Google has since gone to great lengths to ensure that videos are an integral part of their search results, and this will become more prevalent in the years to come. Video marketing for real estate is still very much in its early stages here in Australia, but expect to see huge growth in this area soon.

• Your own real estate website or blog

Why is Video so effective?

We make ordering your property listing video easy...

Humans by nature are attracted to motion and movement. When it comes to property online, home buyers are four times more likely to watch a property video than look at static images and text. In fact, our videos have on average a 92 per cent retention rate - that is 92 per cent of viewers watch our videos from start to finish, which translates to a highly engaged and responsive audience.

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• Realestate.com.au • Domain.com.au • Homehound.com.au • Myhome.com.au • Realestateview.com.au How to order?

Simply head to our website, click the order button, fill in the property listing brief, upload your photos - and you’re done! The entire process takes no more than 10 minutes of your time. We then get to work on developing a captivating cinematic motion video for your property listing, and then using the power of video and social media, put your listing in front of the largest and most responsive audience across the web.

We exist solely to provide our service to the real estate agents of Australia, so if you’re not already, we encourage you to start utilising our service and gaining additional exposure for your property listings. More exposure = more potential buyers. Real Estate Video Marketing (revmaustralia) Ph: 1300 996 171 E: simon@realestatevideomarketing.com.au W: www.realestatevideomarketing.com.au


71

Are You Ready For Social Media? ADVICE FOR REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONALS

So what is social media? For the Real Estate industry it’s an opportunity to engage with online communities to generate exposure, opportunity and sales. It provides Real Estate professionals the chance to get closer than ever to potential and existing clients at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing methods.

Social media has developed significantly over the last five years. It’s no longer a place for teenagers to catchup, it’s a place for up front and personal connections with people of all generations and from all backgrounds.

This instant and personal connectivity is the foundation of long-term rewarding relationships and changes the way people think about Real Estate agents and how they can engage with them.

The massive takeup of social channels has changed people’s purchase behaviour. Now they are educated, motivated, tech savvy and constantly hungry for new content. They are looking for reliable and relevant sources of information and are prepared to spend time finding them.

The core goal of using social media is to attract people looking to sell and connecting them with buyers looking to purchase. Doing the basics of setting up a Facebook page or Twitter feed is not enough to cut through the noise in an online space filled with competitors and Real Estate agents need to go above and beyond to make themselves heard.

The next breed of Real Estate agents need to be in this social arena, talking to consumers, understanding their needs and responding to them. Agents who do this well will have instant access to the most profitable customers. Agents who delay risk being left too far behind to catchup. It’s a painful truth but most consumers believe all Real Estate agents are alike. Yes it’s true! After all the time, effort and money spent on brand positioning and awareness it is still difficult for agents to cut through the market and differentiate themselves. Social media is an outlet to show customers who you are, what your company stands for and what your story is. It lets you connect on personal or multiple levels, to show that you’re not the same. One of the biggest challenges for Real Estate professionals is developing a two-way relationship based on trust. Almost all traditional Real Estate marketing activities are one-way with no opportunity for consumers to engage in an actual conversation. They either accept the hard sell incoming phone calls, SMS alerts, or emails or reject them. Interacting with customers in a social environment they are comfortable with not only provides an opportunity for meaningful two-way conversations; it provides vital insights into exactly what customers are looking for and gives you the chance to add real value to the their property search. Real value doesn’t mean tweeting customers every day about how much great property you have for sale. It’s responding to feedback with relevant information, for instance an informed and interesting article. This simple action builds trust on a personal level and positions the Real Estate professional as an expert in a market where everyone is the same.

This means creating a strategy that adds value to sellers and buyers alike. It means joining the conversation on your terms rather than getting dragged into it on theirs. Social media is not about telling the audience your story, it’s about allowing them to tell your story for you. Implementing a successful social media strategy is not something that can be done overnight but you need to start somewhere. If you are already using social media or want to join the conversation then talk to us. We will help you understand how social channels can be integrated into your other marketing activities to add value to customer’s real estate search and build long term relationships. We will get you started, give you advice on your social strategy and policies, and demonstrate how to engage with people within social channels. We will guide you through the Do’s and Don’ts of social media and if you already have a social presence we will help you optimise them into effective marketing channels, generating longterm engagements and trust with customers. You’re consumers are already fully engaged in social media, why aren’t you? We have recently developed a social media for real estate step-by-step online course. This easy to follow video training program will walk you through the exact process to establishing a strong social media presence, building a trusted list of buyers and sellers, give you access to the best social media software available, and provide a blue print to increased sales and revenue. To express your interest in this exclusive course, head to our website and register today. www.realestatesocialmarketing.com.au

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Legal Issues

Legal Issues Strata Education

L

ike many professionals, a solicitor knows the value of working with educated clients. Educated clients give clearer instructions. They understand risk and the emotional as well as financial cost of litigation. However, educated clients also expect more from their advisers and this is a good thing. We have had the fortune and pleasure of working with owners’ corporations where the people concerned are not only very pleasant but also very intelligent. They ask hard questions and are directly involved in trying to resolve, both ethically and legally, the many kinds of issues that can arise in a strata scheme. Unfortunately, not all members of an owner’s corporation are educated in the workings of a strata scheme and this can make life very difficult. On the contrary, strata managing agents in some states are required to be formally educated, both initially and continually. It is our experience that standards are higher among strata managing agents where education is required. The impact of no education is most clearly illustrated when owners’ corporations decide to self-manage. What results is a group of ordinary people who struggle to properly manage what is essentially a mini community. Untrained and unguided, they are required to administer a set of rules and procedures that can become complicated in difficult circumstances. Put simply, this is a strange state of affairs. It is strange that there is no requirement for members of an owner’s corporation, or at least an executive committee, to undertake some sort of education. The New South Wales Fair Trading website provides some information on strata schemes. The Department also issues a publication entitled Strata Living, which contains basic information about common property, the executive committee, meetings, repairs and maintenance, disputes, etc. This publication is a good start for anyone wanting to buy into or understand a strata scheme. Nevertheless, as more apartment complexes are built to cope with a growing population, education tailored for members of owners’ corporations appears ever more needed.

We believe such education should cover the building and formation of a strata scheme, the legislation that governs a strata scheme, and last but definitely not least, the fundamental skills of effective communication. The simple truth is that living in a strata scheme, particularly in multicultural Australia, is about living in a community of people from different backgrounds with different values and opinions. As you would expect, not everybody communicates in the same way and in our experience, lack of or ineffective communication is often the cause of issues in a strata scheme escalating out of control. This is the reason for NSW Fair Trading urging parties to ‘talk’ about a matter before proceeding to mediation. Mediation then has to occur before proceeding to adjudication or the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal.

against the caretaker. The caretaking agreement was then challenged and as they say in the classics ‘the rest is history’. By the way, the caretaker won the case. If the executive committee were educated, they would not have been drawn into a dispute between the builder and the caretaker. Furthermore, if the lot owners were educated the motions to undertake the litigation would not have been passed by any general meeting of the owner’s corporation.

Strata managers and property managers are required to deal with disputes on a daily basis – strata managers on behalf of owners’ corporations and property managers on behalf of lot owners. Unfortunately, members of executive committees who instruct a strata manager and the lot owners who direct a property manager rarely have sufficient knowledge to provide clear instructions or directions. This ultimately causes dispute resolution to be conducted in an environment where all parties are not properly informed and costly and unsatisfying litigation results. To resolve this problem, members of executive committees, at least, should be required under the Strata Schemes Management Act 1996 to undertake a course of study that will cover the obligations of an executive committee.

Shannon Lakic is a solicitor with Leverage Australia Pty Ltd. Admitted in the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 2008 and holding a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, Shannon practices and teaches others in the areas of business law, real estate, franchising and strata management. Email Shannon at shannonl@leverageaustralia.com

The Court of Appeal case of The Owners Strata Plan 56443 v. Regis Towers Real Estate Pty. Limited [2003] NSWCA 274 demonstrates how a lack of knowledge can unnecessarily escalate a dispute. We understand that the cost to this owner’s corporation was in excess of $1 million. How did the dispute begin? It was a complaint regarding raised carpet in front of a lift. The caretaker (Regis Towers Real Estate) was blamed for the problem. They indicated (correctly) that the builder was responsible. A representative of the builder sat on the executive committee and convinced the owner’s corporation to litigate

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Corporate Gifts at Settlement

Sealing your reputation with

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Corporate Gifts at Settlement

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hen a property settles it is important to make one final lasting impression on your vendors, but it is also a chance to make a fantastic first impression on your purchasers. This not only ensures repeat business, but also helps generate word of mouth, as your client rushes to the telephone to let family and friends know the good news that they’re moving house. Although there are no set rules regarding when to give a gift, or what type of gift to give, there are some definite strategies you could employ to boost your profile.

Gifts that keep on giving One way to mark your place in a client’s rolodex is to give them something that will act as a regular reminder of the experience they shared with you. Gifts such as a magazine or newspaper subscription will provide this constant reminder. For those purchasers moving from interstate or overseas, a street directory will also make a good lasting impression. Don’t know what magazine to buy? Don’t worry! Websites such as iSubscribe (www.isubscribe. com.au) aggregate a myriad of Australia’s top publications, and have a gift card option – just choose your price.

For the discerning client Even though their latest purchase adds to one of many in their investment portfolio, it is still important to fully acknowledge these clients and mark the occasion with a gift. As the clients are not moving themselves, this eliminates the need for pots and pans or moving cards, but there are other gift ideas that can be considered. One such idea is to make a donation to a charity on behalf of your client, who will receive a thank you card in the mail from the charity or fundraising organisation. Another option is to buy personalised stationary for your client. Also, a good quality bottle of wine is the ultimate sign of appreciation. Wine works in almost any situation and adds an elegant touch. If your client is not a wine drinker, whiskey and boutique beers can also be considered.

more personal, a piece of art for the empty walls will make a long-lasting impression. For the first home buyers who have it all, look at adventure websites, such as Red Balloon (www. redballoon.com.au), and purchase them the experience of a lifetime, anything from a hot lap in a V8, to a skydiving or sailing adventure.

For the food lovers Well, this one’s easy. Giving your client the local Entertainment Book will give them year-round discount dining, but for the more personal approach champagne, chocolates, chocolatecoated strawberries, a fruit basket, cookie basket, or maybe even cooking classes...the list goes on! If you yourself are the food lover, why not give your culinary skills a work-out at home and turn up to your client’s house on moving day with a simple home cooked meal. If you’re not the type to slave in front of a stove, grab some takeaway, this way your client can take a well-deserved break from unpacking – just don’t forget the cutlery!

A family This one’s not as complicated as it sounds. But when dealing with the family unit, it’s always a good idea to include the children – and even the family pet – when it comes time to give your gift. Some places to source the family gift from are movie cinemas, the local zoo, amusement parks, aquariums or museums. You could purchase a family pass, or even an annual pass to some of these places so the family can spend time valuable time together.

The luxury home buyer Dealing with the luxury home buyer or seller and with properties worth millions of dollars is a unique experience, and your settlement gift should reflect this. Eloquent gifts for these clients could include a holiday, including cruise holidays or golf holidays, a regular cleaning service, or a gift from a high-end shop including Bose or Bang & Olufsen.

The first home buyer / singles Most first time buyers are either fleeing the nest for the first time or squeezing out of their crowded share house. Either way, the bank account will have had a good thrashing as a result of the settlement. As such, there are some great gifts recommended for this client. A gift card for a furniture shop or electronics store is a great place to start. If you prefer something

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A REAL delight Imagine yourself lost in a misty valley, surrounded by vineyards and orchards and discovering the mysterious world of the ‘black diamond’. The Wine & Truffle Company is one of the few truffières in the world where you can not only enjoy the unique experience of a hunt with the truffle dogs through the oak and hazelnut groves, but also indulge in a truffle-inspired menu matched with award-winning wines. In WA’s South–West, the Manjimup/Pemberton region grows some of Australia’s finest cool climate grapes, in particular merlot, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and shiraz. The richness of the soil and the cool climate are also ideally suited to growing the black truffle, a delicacy traditionally harvested in the forests of France.

Say thank you to your valued clients with our superb gourmet gifts What better way to acknowledge the support of your clients than with our award-winning wines or unique gourmet truffle products from our farm in beautiful Manjimup, Western Australia. View and purchase the full range of wines and gourmet gifts on our website.

Special offer

for readers of Australian Real Estate Review

We are pleased to offer you our Wine and Truffle Club members’ discount of 10% on all products and wines PLUS a further 10% by quoting REAL11 when you place your order. Free shipping on all orders over $100. Please register online, or call 08 9387 2276 for more information.

Established in 1997, The Wine & Truffle Co. is the largest producer of fresh truffles in the southern hemisphere. The property has over 13,000 hazel and oak trees and 30 acres of wine grapes. What better way to discover how these fertile soils have become home to one of the most sought-after, edible European delicacies, than to walk through the Truffière on a guided tour. Watch the dogs weave their way through the Oak and Hazelnut trees searching for that elusive black treasure, and then smell the truffle’s pungent aroma. Each winter, chefs from around the world wait in anticipation and are prepared to pay up to $3,000/kg for this much sought after “black gold”. Before bringing this unique experience to a close, linger a little longer. Sip on one of our premium fine wines overlooking the picturesque scenery, or let our master Chef tantalise you with a mouth-watering selection from the seasonal menu where almost everything offers some interpretation of the truffle. The fresh truffle season runs from late May through September. The Cellar Door offers wine tasting, and has a full range of the Wine & Truffle Co. products for you to purchase and share your experience, such as truffle oil, roasted hazelnuts, honey, mustard, and other products including merchandise. If you cannot make the journey to Manjimup, the Wine and Truffle Co. offers a selection of gourmet truffle products which are available all year round and can be ordered direct from the company. Naturally, the Wine & Truffle Company’s gourmet selections are made with hazelnuts and truffles harvested from their own farm together with other ingredients such as the oil, honey and salt which are made from local produce. The fine quality of the Wine & Truffle Company’s truffles and truffle products is demonstrated by their distribution around the globe to noted international chefs and food lovers everywhere. As you might expect, the Wine & Truffle Co. produces a wide range of wines, from every day easy drinking wines through to richly flavoured and elegant fine wines and Sparkling Pinot Noir NV Brut, The Truffle Hill Chardonnay 2009, recently awarded a gold medal at the 2011 Timber Towns Wine Show, is the perfect complement to the product gift line. What better way to reward your colleagues or clients than to present them with a gift of gourmet food or wine from the Wine & Truffle Company?

www.wineandtruffle.com.au The Australian Real Estate Review

To purchase, visit the website at www.wineandtruffle.com.au to register. Please quote REAL11 to receive your bonus discount, or phone 08 9387 2276 for further details.


“Sourced exclusively from a Single Vineyard of Circa 1900 year old Estate Grown Shiraz Vines!”

James Halliday Wine Companion 2011 2007 Woodstock ‘The Stocks’ Shiraz This is a selection of the best barrels of shiraz from the century-old vines near the winery; the colour is good, the wine with a great array of spice, dark chocolate, black cherry and blackberry fruit; while only medium-bodied, it has outstanding length bolstered by fine, savoury tannins. Screwcap. 14.5% alc. Rating 96

Woodstock Wine Estate | Douglas Gully Road, McLaren Flat, South Australia | +618 8383 0156 | www.woodstockwine.com.au


Open Inspections

How to get

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et’s face it, in today’s current real estate market, gone are the days of running hour-long open inspections and having lengthy chats with prospective purchasers. Nowadays agents can run up to 20 open inspections every weekend, which brings the public’s viewing duration down to a mere 15 minutes. So how do you maximise your selling chances in such a short timeframe? Here are some tips to help you snag that lucrative buyer. Be prepared: Ensure you have ample brochures, letters of offer and, most importantly, keys for each property. Very seldom do you sell a property from an outside viewing, but in the off chance you do, it’s always good to be able to write up the offer! Be punctual: Ensure you have enough travel time between each open inspection. Nothing makes a worse first impression than a late agent who seems unorganised. Furthermore, today’s buyers are time sensitive and could swiftly go to another agent’s open if you are late. Think strategically: When placing your sign boards out on the adjacent streets it’s advisable to cover all travel directions. If you only have two or three sign boards in the boot of your car, then it may well be time to invest in more. The geography of a property can at times demand up to six sign boards to fully optimise all traffic to your open inspection.

Image courtesy of Jason Attard Photography.

Look sharp: Today’s buyers are more switched on than ever before, which means they want to deal with agents who know what they are doing and this begins with making that all-important first impression. Ensure your shirt is stain-free and ironed, shoes are polished and that you and your breath smell fresh. It is always a good idea to have some mints handy and an extra can of deodorant or perfume/cologne in the car, especially through the scorching summer months. Hangovers and open inspections do not mix, period! Having a fuzzy head and looking dishevelled at an open inspection does nothing but make buyers question if they are really dealing with a professional. So rethink having a big night out before a busy day of open inspections, as it could cost you, and your vendor, a sale. Work with your vendors: Depending on what season it is, inform your vendors of jobs they can do around the house to enhance the emotions of prospective buyers. This could include giving the sprinklers a run in the garden 10 minutes prior to the viewing so the garden smells fresh. Other jobs include brewing a fresh pot of coffee on the stove, raking the lawns and in general, maintaining a comfortable room temperature and keeping the house tidy. It is true that some people can look past a messy home and see potential, but why run the risk of losing a buyer who simply cannot see past the jocks drying in the lounge room?! If you can tick all the above boxes and have priced your property reasonably, then you are well on your way to successfully converting an open inspection into a sale.

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How to run a successful open inspection It’s all about creating that first impression

Since its inception in 1985 the Endurosign portable A-frame has rapidly grown to become the real estate agents favourite open and auction sign. With its sleek, prestigious design and unique flip to close image protection, ease of use and excellent stability it is easy to see why the Endurosign is used by real estate’s top achievers plus our unique full three year warranty is an industry first and guarantees you peace of mind. Our optional Endurosign interchangeable message system removes the need for many different signs. Simply change the message from Open to Auction or Lease etc; in seconds. Show your open times or unit number etc. Endurosign

reusable and durable labels use the latest nano technology and can be safely stored on the back of your Endurosigns or in your Endurofolder when not in use. No glue, no mess! Need to display more information? Why not use our Endurosign brochure holder kit and display all your property details or other information on the side of your Endurosign? Need to display your auction terms or property details. The Endurosign portable pin board allows you to display up to eight A4 pages face on and even more using our mountable brochure holders. The Endurosign unique pin lock material ensures your pins never fall out. Save time at auctions and set up before you go. Uses pins or Velcro pads to mount your information. Call our sales team now on 1800 809 646 and find out more.

I purchased my first Endurosign in 1992. To date, I now have purchased well over 100 of them. The first thing you notice about the Eudurosign is how professional they look, and I know that’s what the public will see too. They definitely enhance the image of my business. There are many features which make the Endurosign so alluring. They are lightweight, but won’t blow away even on windy days. They are a smooth design so will not damage upholstery or clothing. When not in use they fold up, becoming compact for easy transport and storage and the cleven design protects our corporate graphics as the sign faces do not touch. Also, I have found the service at Endurosign excellent, the friendly and competent staff always willing to go the extra mile. Top that off with fast delivery times and you have a company and products that I am willing to recommend to any real estate agent looking to enhance their business. Craig Marshall J.P Principal, Century 21 Cordeau Marshall Goup. Ph 0410 699 688


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Were you Secret Shopped at your open house this last weekend? By Glenn Twiddle, Real Estate Author and Trainer That’s right, over the past year, Real Estate agents across the country were ‘Mystery Shopped’ by either myself or my team. We chose the properties at random, and mentioned this to the agent ‘we own a house down the road, and we’re just checking out prices.’ The very thing a future seller might say. My results in full are on my blog, but the results overall contained some good news and some scary news.

Readers of The Australian Real Estate Review have the chance to win one of 20 copies of Glenn’s Ultimate Open Home CD training course. Email glenn@glenntwiddle.com.au with ‘Open House Comp’ in the subject line to win your copy.

So the really good news is you don’t have to be brilliant to be head and shoulders above your competition. Here are some of the results of 51 ‘Secret Shopped’ home opens: • 4 1 agents didn’t phone back at all. (none followed up on the day of the open) • Two agents just didn’t show up • Seven agents made our secret shop ladies feel ‘unwelcome’

• 49 of the agents didn’t ask for the sale in any way • One followed up with a simple thank you sms • One followed up on more than one occasion • One had take home material that was something more than a colour photocopied, one page flyer. The list goes on and you can review the study at my blog, that being said, the results are clear. You can be THE standout agent in your area by taking just a few simple steps that your competition just can’t be bothered taking. Two years ago, an agent called Chris Gilmour bought my CD program, ‘How to Embarrass Your Competition with Your Open Homes’ and has since implemented strategies that have him selling between 10 and 24 homes every month, and attributes much of that success to his ‘Ultimate Open Home.’ www.GlennTwiddle.com.au

Image courtesy of Jason Attard Photography.


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Recruitment

How to attract and retain top

estate

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he real estate industry in Australia is a lucrative one at the best of times. It rivals retail and hospitality, and dominates over many others. It’s for this reason, a lot of focus needs to be placed on recruitment in the industry and how agencies around the nation can do their best to not only attract, but retain the agents that keep this industry running, writes John Caldwell. Recruitment in the real estate industry often sees a vast difference to other industries, in that agencies’ mentalities on staff and staffing is all about either one of two opposing things: a strong focus on attracting and retaining new staff and a subsequent focusing of all their energies on how to do that or conversely, a lack of focusing on those aspects. If and when agencies fail to follow a robust recruitment strategy, they run the risk of not

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attracting the right candidates or ‘talent’, or – to a degree – worse, attracting candidates who are not retainable for the long term due to unclear expectations from both ‘sides of the fence’. Many agents and agency directors undertaking their own recruitment would benefit from asking a simple question: why? It is by asking why that person is right for the job, why they’ll fit-in with company culture and why they won’t contribute to a high or low staff turnover is exactly how many exploring the minefield of recruitment will avoid a large, metaphorical explosion. Gone are the days where agencies have a line of quality applicants willing to do whatever it takes to land a job with them. Sure, there was a time when people would jump through hoops in the interview process, attend a free trial and if successful work all manner of hours just to keep the job, this is simply not the case anymore.

With salaries on the rise coupled with employer benefits increasing and albeit an impressive unemployment rate, Australian employers have found themselves in a bartering position with potential employees. Even companies with a high base that are not commission driven are struggling. Recruiters of all walks had not predicted this day would come, but this ‘dry spell’ extends from grassroots organisations and agencies to those of the international spectrum. Organisations such as Google, for example, are reputed to be one of the country’s most generous employers with free child care, free laundry, free meals and a games room useable anytime; however, we still see large amounts of unfilled vacancies in their ranks because of the growing effect of the employee. A number of factors need to be taken into account when recruiting for your organisation, which includes the real estate industry – one of


Recruitment

the most lucrative of all with one of the highest staff and worker turnover rates around especially with new consultants. The initial recruitment factor to determine before the process begins is the benefits an employee can gain while working with the agency. Whilst the – what some consider – gimmick benefits on offer by some of the ‘giant employment’ agencies out there may attract a portion of the market, don’t panic, there is still room for everyone and plenty of people to fill the gaps. What stops most companies securing top talent is not the lack of benefits or opportunity, it in part comes down to a somewhat ‘old-school’ mentality that still circulates the minds of employers, being that people should love the brand and what is ‘in it’ for the employers by hiring the candidate. The tables have now turned on the world of recruitment in anything from retail to real estate, which has proven that now with so many opportunities on offer the candidates hold all the cards and leave the employers vying for a candidate, rather than the candidates vying for a position. When looking to recruit new talent you need to be prepared to sell your brand and the opportunity. If you approach the recruitment process with any degree of arrogance, no matter how powerful the brand, alienation of the candidate will occur and ultimately drastically reduce your pool of quality candidates to select from. To adopt an old adage, they say there’s a fine line between pleasure and pain – which incidentally both of which recruitment can prove to be – but if we convert this into arrogance and confidence, a whole new air to the understanding of what recruitment does comes to light. For example, if the likes of global organisations with employee numbers in the tens of thousands approached their recruitment and selection process with an arrogant shrug of a shoulder and over-zealous approach, considering employees are highly likely to disregard the organisation as far too pretentious and selfabsorbed and ‘head for the hills’. So, how do you approach the recruitment process? Think laterally. There is a very well known academic known as Dr. Edward De Bono, whom is the leading authority in the world of creative and lateral thinking. He devised the ‘Six Thinking Hats’ as a tool for lateral thinking and planning as a method of “separating ego from performance” to get a greater outcome from a situation and have input from varying angles. It’s a brilliant system and while not for everyone, certainly gets the brain and recruitment process out of complacency. Combine this lateral thinking with planning and you’re left with the very first thing you need to do. Ideally, the planning phase of recruiting needs to happen from the very beginning before you even advertise the role. Clearly understand in your mind the role, the responsibilities, the hours and the characteristics of the person required. There

are companies out there that are able to sort the specific demo- and psychographics of candidates, but be prepared to pay through the nose. In the end, it comes down to the fact that you, as the individual or individuals responsible for the expansion of your agency’s employee base, are the ones that know your agency. You know the culture, you know the people, you know who would and would not work; therefore, it’s a matter of filtering the good from the bad. A fairly informal, but effective method of doing this is to perform a bit of ‘environmental scanning’ and take a look at your industry. Take a look through the archives of past applicants, and if possible successful or unsuccessful agents and determine why they worked or did not, as well as what made them great, or sent them flailing – little things like this will help you get a clear scope of the exact person you want to be handling your clients, representing your agency, and ultimately, bringing in the dollars. After the planning and thinking stage, before you’re able to begin recruiting, a position description needs to be designed and mirrored against the ideal candidate to ensure total accuracy and trustworthiness that the people it draws-in will be the top of the range. A position description does not need to be overly formal and any search engine will provide hundreds of free templates and guides if you have never drafted one before. When it comes to the real estate industry, there are obviously certain traits that are highly sought after more than others. A keen understanding of the industry and local area knowledge would be a must, as well as the all-important proficiency in the English language. Again, as the individual or individuals recruiting for your agency, you know the culture and know the ideal specific requirements of anyone who comes on-board.

plan, composed a sterling position description and crafted an enticing job advertisement and you’ve got a few nibbles at the end of what has been a very long hook – what now? In terms of keeping candidates keen through the whole recruitment process, some things must be done to ensure they don’t go cold and disappear. It is critical that you know up front what the process will be, how many interviews are required and if any psychometric testing – an increasingly popular method of intellectually and mentally profiling potential candidates – is required. If from the get-go, the candidate is aware of the recruitment process, surprises down the track and possible turn-offs can be avoided. You need to plan how you will sell your brand and this opportunity you’re providing to your next agent. Often at an interview, organisations and recruiters forget this integral aspect of the process and can quite easily turn someone who is raring to go, into someone who ignores phone calls and allows their passion and interest to die – something we’re desperately keen to not let happen. Ways to avoid this disappointment on both sides of the fence is to ensure the interviews and interactive stages of the recruitment process aren’t a bland, corporate process lacking in life. Unfortunately most of the time, interviews are comprised of employers firing-off consecutive questions to their candidates with no consideration for any kind of two-way communication. We need to remember that gone are the days of the hypoderm and gone are the days of, as mentioned before, the candidate being the ‘chaser’ rather than the ‘chasee’. A lot has changed in recruitment and the employment market in recent years. The hierarchical structure of the typical interview has also changed: interviews nowadays should be

“Recruitment is a battle – recruitment for a great real estate agent can be an even bigger battle!” After the position description has been created and you know the exact, perfect candidate you’re after, you construct the advertisement that should be seen as the lure and hook with which you catch that perfect agent. Use the position description to draft your employment ad, ensuring that the key requirements are listed in the ad such as past experience, educational merit, personal attributes and any other positive and beneficial bits and pieces they can bring to the table. All of this will ensure that you only get relevant people apply which will make the screening process a lot less painful. So imagine, you’ve assembled an ideal benefits package, built the perfect candidate recruitment

tailored to resemble more a candid chat with a few loaded or leading questions thrown in the mix to elicit key answers from the candidate. It is in this way that employers are sure to get the best information and see a side of the candidate that they’ll most likely be working with. When it comes to touting the benefits of a new agent working for the agency, it is easy to overlook the basics. It’s quite interesting when you’re confronted with an interviewer who has no pre-set questions and worse still, has no idea of what it is exactly that makes the agency or organisation worthwhile to work for. Alas, these things happen, so it’s something that should be avoided – at all costs. »»

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»»

Recruitment » continued

Admittedly, it is often hard on the spot to think of all of the benefits of working for your agency so it’s best to draft a page before interviews commence. Think of all types of things big and small. For example, some organisations and agencies offer employee benefits such as monthly team and individual incentives, high commissions, birthdays off, mental health day off every annual quarter and incentive trips with co-workers. It’s a great idea to make this list, have it printed off in an attractive manner and leave a copy with each candidate. As long as they know what they’re in for if they sign on the dotted line, it’s sure to be enough to keep them keen. If, however, there are few organisational benefits then this will need addressing. As it stands, if an organisation or agency can’t carefully articulate exactly why someone would want to within the ranks, then chances are their enthusiasm may be curbed, therefore careful communication of everything good about the agency will be needed. Benefits of working for an organisation are like the cherry on top of a brilliant cake; a cake filled with excellent branding, a good mix of people and a great client list to fill the gaps. Benefits do not need to be huge and in fact can be cost neutral as well as be the ideal sweetener in retaining a new employee for as long as possible. For example, by providing a small incentive for achieving a percentage over a monthly target budget, such as a domestic trip with a loved one may be just the ticket that carries the right amount of weight to push that agent to repeat the effort again next quarter. As they say, every little bit helps. Other ideas that can be factored into a low company budget plan all contribute to aiding the ‘selling points’ of why an agency is the answer to a potential candidate’s employment prayers. After the benefits have been shared, interviews been conducted and just before the offers are made, the highly vital reference checks are recommended. While candidates may seem perfectly sincere on paper, and sell themselves to you flawlessly – they are real estate agents, after all – it would simultaneously seem that in this day and age, there are a lot of embellished points on the CVs of individuals. Two reference checks aren’t a bad spot to start in terms of weeding out any little hiccups in their back-story. After it’s all done, all sold, all finished, managing the offer with a candidate can be a make or break in the recruitment process. The job offer process should be an exciting and well-sold situation. After all, an agent changing agencies or a graduate securing their first placement is an exciting and nerve-wracking time, so it’s great to empathise and share the joy. The offer should never be low balled and is best to be made in person. There’s nothing more demeaning than a candidate being accepted (or

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rejected for that matter) via e-mail or letter – a personal touch makes it all the more meaningful and serves as a platform to provide them with excellent feedback. But, let’s not forget that an offer in writing keeps the legal process happily purring away in the background along with an employment agreement. However, when it comes to contractual agreements and signing, it’s a wise move to use a solicitor or lawyer to draw-up the paperwork and necessaries. Around $A500 will be sufficient enough for a lawyer to work their magic and seal the deal once and for all. That contract can then be used as a template for all similar roles. When it comes to however, the unfortunate circumstance, it would be remiss to not share information: resignation and the power of the counter offer are disappointing necessities in the world of employment. If the recruitment process is done well, the agency as an employer should understand the reason as to why the agent that you fought so hard for and won is pulling the pin. By offering the resigning employee a counter offer – something such as a tokenistic monetary amount or as a gesture of goodwill and determination to keep them on board, such as a change of role, job responsibilities. When managing a counter offer it is very important to remind the candidate why they wanted to leave and how your company will offer them what they were looking for. Remind them of your benefits sheet. Following the recruitment process may seem arduous and at times futile, but comfort lays in the fact that precious money and time will be saved ultimately. Recruitment done well can highlight any organisation as an employer of choice and a stand-out in the market. Recruitment is a battle – recruitment for a great real estate agent can be an even bigger battle! Finding that person with that little bit of je ne sais pas that illustrates them from the rest is half the fun, and once you’ve got them, there’s always a slight jitter of excitement as you watch the competitors whimper. Recruitment does not need to be a difficult task, and while these suggestions are a typical process that should be tailored to an agency’s particular tastes and culture, they may just be the tantalisation in the right direction your agency needed in finding that diamond in the rough.

Image courtesy of Jason Attard Photography.

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Recruitment » continued

John Caldwell is CEO for Retailworld Australia and company director for the Retailworld Group of companies globally. John started his career in fast food making pizza and being a delivery driver. He progressed through the business holding most available roles on his way up the ladder - Store Manager, Area Manager, National Training Manager and State Operations Manager. At the age of 21 John franchised two fast food stores in Sydney. In 1998 one of John’s stores was awarded the Australian franchise store of the year and John was recognised at the world conference as one of the best franchisees out of the 7,000 stores worldwide. In addition, this business acknowledged John with dozens of national and international awards. John sold his stores to move back into a corporate role. He was appointed National Training Manager for an Australian retail fashion success story with over 100 outlets before stepping up to take on Human Resource & Operations Management for the company nationally. John then took on a Melbourne based high end fashion retail chain as General Manager, in this role he lead the company through massive sales increases and established the manufacturing and wholesale side of the business.

“The tables have now turned on the world of recruitment in anything from retail to real estate, which has proven that now with so many opportunities on offer the candidates hold all the cards and leave the employers vying for a candidate, rather than the candidates vying for a position.”

In 2003 John decided to follow his passion for HR and retail and developed the Retailworld brand in Australia as a subsidiary of the New Zealand based company. In more recent years John and Trish McLean acquired all shares in the global company to form a formidable partnership globally. John has very detailed and large scale growth plans for Retailworld both in Australia and throughout the world.

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Real Stars In Real Estate Experts in Real Estate Recruitment

When you’re looking for new staff, do you want to hire the best candidate who comes to you from advertising, or the very best available? People are not necessarily actively looking for a new position, especially if they’re currently working. It’s extremely time consuming to look through job adverts and submit applications.

These people are called passive job seekers and they usually prefer to register with a recruitment agency to assist them in the process. With an extensive database of a few hundred people as well as a network of contacts, Real Positions has access to these people. It’s what they do every day is talk to people. This gives their clients the opportunity to find the best person available and not just the best person who comes from advertising. Writing adverts that draw the right people and extracting relevant information from resumes and interviews with people requires experience and ability. Combining a background in the recruitment field of some years and the real estate industry for a considerable length of time, across property management and sales, Real Positions is able to present its clients with a shortlist of people who meet their job criteria for final interviewing. This

saves clients endless hours of searching for people themselves and so when another vacancy occurs, they simply pick up the phone. All the hard work of recruiting staff is removed and this saves money as well. When a Principal’s hourly rate is considered in dollar terms and that of any other senior staff involved in the hiring process as well, they are able to utilise their time instead earning money for the business. Real Positions are experts in recruiting for the real estate industry and place quality people in roles which they understand and in an industry they know inside out.


australasian real estate conference


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Technology

you need to ask for when selecting an IT services provider

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hen it comes to choosing an IT services provider, you need to choose a long term partner you can trust, writes Jon Paior.

I would hate to be in your shoes. There are few business relationships that are as critical to a real estate agency as the one you have with your IT company. Even your accountant you probably only hear from on a quarterly basis, about the time when your BAS is due. But your ‘IT Guy’, well sometimes it would seem you spend more time with him or her than your significant other! Add to that the fact that it is almost impossible to hide information (except banking details) from your IT Guy, you really need to choose a long term partner that you can trust. The process has always had its challenges, but in recent years it has only gotten harder. Long gone

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are the days when you would go to your local computer shop, buy a computer (a laptop if you had plenty of cash to blow), then head to your accountant for a copy of your accounting package, install that and then backup your accounting data onto (of all things) a floppy disk, which you would post back to your accountant. Today you need to navigate through all sorts of decisions, Web hosting, Internet Service Provider, email addresses, antivirus, network support, antispyware, auto updates, not to mention the plethora of backup options at your fingertips. Security is also a major concern and passwords need to be strong and kept safe. What more and more businesses are realising is that they need a good long term partner that they can trust to provide – not just the nuts and bolts of your network – but also the advice you need to make the right decisions.

Below are the 10 things to ask about when selecting an IT services provider:

Availability of support Unfortunately the “one man bands” that used to dominate the SMB market just aren’t up to the task any longer. When something goes wrong you need someone to answer the phone every time. Don’t worry, these guys will still have jobs as home users get the more complex networks, but unfortunately the requirements of small businesses are growing too rapidly and leaving them behind. Make sure the business you select has a qualified support engineer that is available to support you remotely at all times – you need someone who can give you quick, informed advice, at an instant’s notice. Effective and available remote support is critical in today’s computing environments, saving you both time and money.


Technology

You also need to find people that you can get along with. Sometimes I have found that customers are so stressed about a computer problem they need counselling before I can even start to fix the actual problem. Using a stereotypical “computer nerd” who lacks the social skills to identify when this is important, just doesn’t stack up anymore.

Qualifications This one might seem obvious but a quick glance through a company’s website will quickly reveal what certifications the support company has. You might think it is not relevant but remember that you might have to rely on this company to get you out of serious trouble one day. Most people use Microsoft Windows and so you should look for a company that is both a Certified “Microsoft Small Business Specialist” (look for the blue logo) and has at least one “Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer”. These programs and certifications, not only give you confidence that the company can actually setup your computer network properly in the first place, but also means that when things do go really wrong, the engineer has access to direct support from senior engineers within Microsoft. When setting your network up in the first place it is critical that it is done correctly, i.e. to the “Microsoft Standard”. The fact is that if you don’t have these qualifications you won’t know what that standard is. The basic level of qualification, MCP, costs less than $200 (around two hours of paid work for the average consultant) to obtain and should be an absolute doddle for an engineer who has any level of competence. There is a national professional body for small business IT professionals, SMBIT Pro. If your IT provider is not a member of this organisation this should be a huge red flag to you. Every industry has its qualification requirements and code of ethics. Professional body membership is a good start when assessing a provider’s merit.

Business match You need to find an IT support company that has several other real estate clients and you should ask them for references. For example, there are only three or four mainstream applications that real estate agents use within their firms. Finding someone who already knows how these applications work is a huge advantage, they probably already have the support line for your software company on speed dial, not to mention the fact they may have already seen the problem you are encountering. Also there can often be an unofficial channel of knowledge sharing. I remember when one of the mobile phone carriers first provided value caps for mobile phones, almost all of my real estate agent clients switched over within a few months. By helping to spread the word on a great product for this industry, everyone gained.

Documentation Before you sign on with a provider ensure: 1. They will provide an adequate level of documentation. 2. Demand to see a project plan. Even a relatively simple task like supplying and configuring a new computer should be accompanied by a comprehensive checklist. 3. Get it in writing that you will own all documentation INCLUDING ALL PASSWORDS and that an up to date a copy of it will remain on your site at all times. 4. A  sk to see a sample of this documentation before signing! 5. D  on’t pay them (in full) until you get it and understand it!

With adequate documentation, there is no need to feel “tied” to using that provider. They will always provide the best service they can because they know you can leave them at an instant’s notice.

Prepaid service People will argue about this one, but it is a fact of life that when you already have received payment in full for something, there is less urgency to deliver. If your provider argues the case, or offers a discount, why not request that a discount be applied if settle the account within seven days. Remember to live up to your end of the bargain though.

Insurance You don’t drive an uninsured car, nor do you use an uninsured doctor or accountant. In fact before you even finish reading this article, send an email to the person who looks after your IT and ask them to send you a “Certificate of Currency” for their Professional Indemnity Insurance. Don’t let them near your computer until they provide it! You would be genuinely shocked at how few IT businesses get this simple level of risk coverage. There is just simply too much at stake and do you really want to make your provider homeless just because they couldn’t get your backups working or tripped over a power cable? It might be your insurance company that takes them to the cleaners.

Proactive measures What proactive measures can your IT company provide you? Do you ever get a call suggesting a new product or maybe a new way of doing things? What about your backups? Do you have to wait until you need a file restored before you find out whether or not your backups have been working 100 per cent? How about product updates, server health checks, Internet usage reports? All of these things should occur without you even having to ask for them! Ask what proactive maintenance programs are available for your agency. Typically the computer shops and very small operators are unable to afford the software to manage this effectively.

Ability to grow with your business Every real estate business should have a five year plan and a good IT consultant will ask to see it anyway. You need to ensure that as your business grows the level of support offered also grows. The whole point of any business tool, computers included, is to allow you to increase your productivity so you can grow your business faster than your overheads. Your IT support company should understand this and have new technologies “waiting in the wings” ready to implement for you when the time is right. Exciting cost saving technologies like Voice over IP (VoIP) and internetbased (online) backups are now mainstream for real estate agencies, and should be presented to you along with a real business case. »»

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Technology » continued

Strategic vendor alliances

Trust

The computer you buy from the local shop is for your home. Let me rephrase: HOME COMPUTER = SHOP. Businesses need vastly different things in a computer. Dual head displays, minimum of a three year onsite warranty, silent operation to mention a few. Home users on the other hand prioritise graphics performance and hard disk space and not too much else. Show your IT Guy a Dell catalogue and watch their reaction. If they cringe and talk about how Dell makes rubbish computers simply move on. If they use it as an opportunity to assist you in selecting the right Dell computer and offer you an comparable alternative, then you have found a great company to deal with. There is a reason Dell is number one globally, they make great computers, and they make millions of every model, all of them absolutely identical. So do IBM/Lenovo, Hewlett Packard, Toshiba and Acer. These are the tier one providers that you should be buying from, not from some guy working in his shop with a screwdriver building a dozen or so a month, hoping they get the component compatibility and complex airflow through your computer’s case right.

Remember, this company will have access to ALL OF YOUR FILES. It is critical that you trust them to not give or sell your data to one of your competitors. Make sure you know how to change your important passwords at an instant’s notice. Look for a long term relationship and ask for a similar business that can act as referee. The first thing you should ask is how long they have been using that provider. Business relationships that last 10 years or more is not all that uncommon.

The questions you need to know about are:

3. He often leaves the site with the job not completed to “research the problem”.

1. Which tier one hardware vendor do you recommend (there are five to choose from)? 2. Which Antivirus product are you trained in (and have appropriate certification)? 3. Which Backup solution vendor are you most familiar with? 4. Which Internet Service Provider do you recommend? 5. Who do you recommend for website design and hosting? If these questions can’t be answered instantly then something is wrong.

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Trust is of course a two way street, so remember to pay your bills on time.

In summary Every month at my company we get new customers finding us and calling us virtually in tears. They don’t want to leave their existing provider because they have “used him for years and he is such a nice guy”, but: 1. He won’t return my phone calls. 2. He takes too long to get to my site.

4. He is on holidays and he works alone, there is no one else to call. 5. Sometimes when he leaves the computer is worse than when he got here. 6. And the most common and tragic of all...I need my files restored but my backups haven’t worked in six months and no one told me! When we get there we find that invariably the equipment is inferior and the network was never setup correctly in the first place. Often, the reason the calls don’t get answered is because the support engineer has never been trained in

the correct “Microsoft” way of doing things and is out of their depth. Stress mounts up and the issues are never resolved. Make the right decision in the first place and your journey will be all the smoother for it.

Jon Paior, MCSE, is a founding director and Managing Director of GEEK PTY LTD, an industry leader in Information Technology Solutions for Small Business. He has over 15 Years’ experience in delivering IT services to this market segment. For more information or even just a chat he can be reached via jon@paior.com or www.geek.on.net


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Real Software Success Automate Your Sales AND Marketing

The winners in this new economy will be those offices that can effectively leverage the Internet to redesign, automate and integrate all business operations. With the pace at which technology is changing today, any office which is a step ahead of others because of a brand or location will not be able to hold on to that advantage for long. Organisations that implement a CRM (Client Relationship Management system) and turn their business into e-businesses will find their competitor’s clients ripe for the picking. Boss Solutions CRM software enables businesses to manage the most valuable client relationships with total automation from as little as $97 per month for an entire office.

Along with simplifying customer communication procedures, Boss Solutions offers another muchwanted but often-elusive feature for clients - a complete CRM solution that can be personally customised to store clients your way. Boss CRM also boasts the industries’ only total automation system. Weekly newsletters are automatically produced, sent and customised to each client’s exact needs. Just Listed and Open Home Flyers are automatically produced and sent to your database. In addition, this offering provides a calendar with integrated free SMS reminders for appointments, a bulk property up-loader, a TV window display module and complete integration into your website. This CRM solution automates and integrates all aspects of your business operations.

Fortunately, technology has enabled compact sized organisations to get into a position of making more money and pleasing more clients. All this translates to only one conclusion. Along with great features helping you to improve your processes and increase your revenue, the Boss Solutions CRM adds the ultimate edge to your business. Visit www.bosssolutions.com.au to book an online presentation.

Offices are finding it increasingly difficult to differentiate themselves in the marketplace.

• Fully Automated Marketing System • Free SMS Capabilities

Australia’s most advanced Real Estate Software For an entire office from $97.00 ex per month

• Task Management System with SMS reminders • Full Office System from $97 ex per month • Calendar System with SMS apt reminders • Flyers & Brochures • Bulk Property Upload to over 20 websites • Ability to group customers anyway you want • Buyer Match - automatically sends e-brochures to your database Full Office Websites from $750.00

P: 07 3503 6844 F: 07 3305 0965 W: www.bosssolutions.com.au


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RealOz Developments Extends Product Range Last year Real Oz launched a web based CRM system designed for agents and office administrators that integrates with the main RealOz product accepting data based on events that occur in day to day real estate. This year RealOz has launched Custom content managed web sites starting from $59.00 per month including all fees. RealOz is also in the development phase of iPad and Android tablet devices for Property Managers and Agents alike and will be announcing a release date very soon.

From being the market leader in New Zealand for 20+ years (Real NZ Software) RealOz Launched in Australia 10 years ago with a bold new concept in real estate software, to be a true one stop shop for all matters real estate. In 2010 Damon Dunlop took over RealOz as the Managing Director after sitting behind the scenes leading the development team. Dunlop says RealOz has never attacked the real estate software market with a volume sales strategy; rather investing in a client for life principle with outstanding support. We plan to carry on with this business model with an extension of our product range to ensure we keep up with modern technology’s and provide the true one stop shop for real estate offices independent and franchise alike.

When you choose a package like RealOz it makes you look at your office procedures and quickly identifies any holes. At the same time RealOz can slot into any office with the modules on offer. The RealOz principle is simple, one supplier, one point of data entry and outstanding service. www.realoz.com.au

The RealOz product range comes from 22 years in the real estate software industry and includes Listings, Advertising, Sales, CRM, Trust Account, Creditors, Debtors, General Ledger, Payroll, Residential Property Management and Commercial Property Management Modules all integrated with the back end RealOz financials. The reporting is the most comprehensive on the market and has been built up over the years with client feedback.

your one stop shop for australian real estate software

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realoz RPM

Core product of the realoz suite

Residential property management

· · Sales - agent payouts·

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commission breakdowns letters

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comprehensive reporting sales integration COA

· - multiple company’s·

email pay slips

Trust accounting

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- multiple

trust accounts detailed reconciliation

Advertising

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realoz CPM

Listings letters window cards web loading

General Ledger

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trust & GL integration detailed events diary landlord emailing letters and reporting

Providing all of the main features, realoz Office integrates with the entire RealOz suite.

Payroll

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Commercial property management BOMA coding system trust & GL integration detailed events diary letters and reporting

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realoz LIVE

Web based CRM

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agent logon listing searches buyer matching and reporting email templates LIVEsite integration

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open home lists placement lists & charging

www.realoz.com.au/office

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realoz LIVEsite

Custom real estate web sites

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content management vendor logons buyer logons template driven newsletter system

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for more information email info@realoz.com.au or visit us on the web at www.realoz.com.au


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Behind every strong brand... CHOOSING THE RIGHT TECHNOLOGY PARTNER CAN MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE

So you have a great real estate brand. And you may have already opened your second and perhaps third office. But how are you measuring your business? Over 15 years I’ve seen many great real estate brands developed, but I’ve also seen a lot of them fail because they do not build equally strong ‘back office’ systems. It may not be as glamorous as marketing, but a solid back office management system is essential for a brand to maintain its success. How do you know if your back office systems are less than what they should be? Poor back office systems typically have outdated technology and fragmented manual systems. You don’t need to be a technological whizz to identify whether your system is not up to scratch. Ask yourself; can you:

View all your company listings in a single place? Update listings so they immediately display on your company or group website? Provide a ‘turn key‘ solution to new offices joining your company or group? Measure KPI across your company or group performance in real time?

• It makes opening a new office or adding a new salesperson a simple ‘turn key’ process, since the new member already has a platform to use. • Your customers benefit from enhanced service, creating customer loyalty. • The professional structure adds overall value to your business.

If you’ve answered NO to at least two of these questions, then your back office systems are probably holding back the growth of your business.

James Shelton Agar established the software company Online Solutions (OSL) in 1995. OSL now provide real estate systems and infrastructure for more than 2,500 users across Australia and New Zealand. They have worked with large national franchise groups through to niche-market offices, as well as individual salespeople.

The advantages of a strong back office system include: •U  nified culture within your company, as all members ‘talk’ the same talk. •R  educed compliance time for your offices, as they no longer need to fax manual activity reports to Head Office.

Your real estate brand deserves the right back-up agent TM

OSL has been providing market-leading real-estate systems for over 10 years, with our software implemented in hundreds of offices across Australia and New Zealand. Our products support national brands, niche-market offices and top salespeople alike. Above all, OSL management systems help you optimise your office workflow, so you can spend less time on management and more time connecting with your customers and making sales. OSL Office is a comprehensive, integrated and easy-to-use management system, designed from the outset as a real-time multi-office system, providing office and company-wide dashboard and KPI reporting.

It can be used in both sole-practice offices and offices within a group. OSL Group is a group management module for established or aspiring franchisors, designed to provide you with increased efficiency across your real estate group. It includes KPI and EOM reporting, franchise fee management and staff management functions. So you can reduce compliance costs for member offices, standardise formats for easy reporting and collate data more easily across offices. There’s also OSL Web, to enhance your company website. And you can help salespeople get to the next level with OSL Agent Live.

Ask us about a free trial

office agent

TM

web agent office

TM

TM

TM

TM

office web

TM

To find out more about OSL solutions for your business, please call 1800 11 55 15, visit www.oslsoftware.com.au or email sales@oslsoftware.com.au

TM

web

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Technology

What your office equipment says about

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our choice in office equipment says more about your business than you would realise, writes Jon Paior.

With office equipment, status is rarely, if ever, a purchasing factor. I personally love the prospect of the newest, shiniest, whiz bang smart mobile phone, slipped into a fancy designer cover, sleekly showing off my individualism and style. But my desk phone? Who cares what brand, I just need it to make calls when I’m at my desk. I didn’t even realise there was a choice of colour? Photocopiers, now that’s a boring subject... Does it print? OK... What about my desktop computer? All I really care about is that the screen is large and clear enough for me to see what I am doing and that it doesn’t take forever to switch on in the morning. What you may not realise though is that your choice in office equipment says more about your business than you would realise. You probably

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didn’t buy the cheapest car available, mainly because you likely thought it was not going to be as safe or reliable, but also because others will see your choice and make assumptions about you and your priorities. It is odd how we would never trust a car salesman to “choose” a car for us, and we all remember the old joke about the disaster that befell the lady who told her hairdresser “whatever you think”. And yet almost universally small businesses unquestioningly trust the advice of their IT supplier. This is even more odd when you consider that when you buy a car it comes with a parts and labour warranty, meaning that if something goes wrong, apart from the inconvenience, it will not cost you anything. However with computers, phone systems and printers etc., often the very people recommending the equipment are the ones who have the most to gain when it all goes wrong.


Technology

The concept here is Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). TCO includes every cost that is associated with owning and operating a piece of equipment, not just the sticker price. This includes user training, installation, power consumption, other consumables, call costs etc. Even more importantly, you need to ask: what will downtime cost my business if it all goes wrong? Offset this against the benefits that you will realise with the equipment on-board your business. When purchasing office equipment, such as a new photocopier, computer, server or phone system, take the time to ask the relevant questions and do the research yourself. What is covered in the warranty? Parts only, or parts and labour? Fixed on-site or will it need to go back to the supplier (return to base)? Is it a manufacturer’s warranty or will it be serviced by the person who sold it to you? Or worse, an insurance underwriter? What additional extended warranty and maintenance plans are available? Is there a “no more to pay” option available? It is crazy that the cheaper an extended warranty is, often the less likely you are to need it, usually because the supplier has a higher level of confidence in the product’s reliability. What is the turnaround time to fix or replace? In the industry we call this SLA or Service Level

Agreement. It defines the various levels of response to issues with your equipment. Look at the cost to your business if you have an equipment failure and think about what your requirements might be. With printers, ask for the “total cost per page” and ask them to include maintenance kits. Often more expensive printers will actually be significantly cheaper over the three to eight years’ good quality printers stay in service. With phone systems, ask if you have a choice in telecommunications provider.

Jon Paior, MCSE, is a founding director and Managing Director of GEEK PTY LTD, an industry leader in Information Technology Solutions for Small Business. He has over 15 Years’ experience in delivering IT services to this market segment. For more information or even just a chat he can be reached via jon@paior.com or www.geek.on.net

The three year trend for call costs has been a 50 per cent reduction in peak call rates. Companies who signed a four year contract three years ago, are still be paying upwards of 15c per local phone call and 40c (or more) per minute to mobiles. Many providers are now offering half those rates. It is a fact of life that the phone systems that are “subsidised” or free, are in reality paid for by the high call rates you endure over the course of your contract. Don’t wait until something goes wrong in your business before asking yourself the questions: Are my purchasing habits putting by business at risk? Am I comfortable with that risk? Is it worth spending more upfront and gaining additional productivity and reliability over the life of that product?

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New printer is hot property! Ask any realtor for their secret to selling houses, chances are they’ll tell you “presentation is everything”. Konica Minolta has adhered this mantra when developing the new bizhub C360 series, which brings a professional touch to detailed image and text reproduction, ensuring eye catching, beautifully presented print finishes every time.

the potential for any tampering. The bizhub C360 can actually distinguish original from copies, preventing any alteration or improper use of important information. This is achieved by embedding original documents with a pattern that appears when copies are made. Scanned documents can be saved with password protection and encrypted PDF documents can only be opened by authorised users. Contracts, financials and private client information stored in the bizhub hard disk drive (HDD) has several layers of security. The HDD lock prevents stored data from being accessed, even if the HDD is physically removed. When disposing of the bizhub, the HDD can be overwritten with random numbers, ensuring private information remains private, even from decryption software. Password protection, IC card and biometric security technology prevent soft data leaks to ensure printouts and faxes are only accessed by the intended recipient. These security features can be used with your existing security infrastructure, including authentication servers or IC card technology used to swipe into your office. Advanced fax capabilities

The bizhub C360’s overlay function makes overlaying text, pictures, tables and graphs in full colour a breeze. Capture the attention of prospective buyers and tenants alike when printing colourful single sheets, double-sided flyers, campaign letters and leaflets. Adjust the colour density of the overlay to create colourful backgrounds with easy-to-read text in the foreground. You can also merge your document with full colour company letterheads and forms, eliminating the need for expensive pre-printed stationery. Enhanced security features Maintaining client trust is vital to the success of any realtor’s business. The robust security features of the Konica Minolta bizhub C360 range will give your clients peace of mind that their sensitive information is protected. The bizhub C360 series assures the integrity of original documents is guaranteed by eliminating

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In addition to standard fax functions, the bizhub C360 series offers advanced network faxing capabilities that utilise your existing office network infrastructure. IP fax eliminates the need for a mail server, reducing or even eliminating transmission costs regardless of distance or branch location. Routing can automatically redirect incoming faxes to a forwarding destination preset for each sender. You can reduce printing costs by only printing faxes deemed ‘worthy’ after viewing them on the control panel display. In addition to a speed dial function, you can also check dialled numbers on the control panel’s confirmation screen before sending a fax to prevent sending documents to the wrong recipient. The confidential fax feature requires you to input a password when printing a fax. Faxes received during non-business hours can be stored in the device’s memory to be printed out when work resumes. Additional benefits include reducing the frequency of unsolicited commercial faxes and details of senders who transmit unsolicited information can be registered and set for automatic refusal.

Keeping a cap on costs Because every real estate agent deals with a raft of different clients with varying needs, the bizhub C360 has been designed to allow you to set limits on copy, print, scan and fax levels by account or department to reduce costs and bill back. Upper limits can be set on the number of colour or monochrome copies, prints, scans and faxes. You can easily and cost-effectively track usage by device or department to reduce wasteful output and comprehensively manage user activity. The bizhub 360 can also help you to reduce your carbon footprint by reducing energy consumption, decreasing CO2 emissions, suppressing noise and enhancing the use of recycled papers while achieving significant cost savings. The bizhub C360 allows you to print documents directly from USB memory devices without using a PC. You can even use your Bluetooth® mobile phone to save files to a User Box in the main HDD and print whenever you like – perfect for highly mobile real estate agents – freeing you from spending time at your desk using your PC. The printer’s 8.5 inch colour LCD monitor is user-friendly and easy-to-understand. This allows simpler, more intuitive operation of the numerous functions available, capturing the best of both worlds. There is even a web browsing function (i-Option) which lets you access Web pages using AJAX. You can view and print Internet pages directly from the operation panel. Now you can share documents with groups of colleagues. The bizhub User Box function stores standard 600 x 600 dpi RGB data documents in an integrated high-capacity hard disk (250 GB). Documents can be converted to copy, print, fax or attach to an email. User-friendly and outstanding from start-to-finish, the Konica Minolta bizhub 360 is the latest in office hardware that will save you time, money and ensure your documents are printed immaculately every time. Konica Minolta streamlines your work efficiency, allowing you to get back to the business of what you do best – selling houses!


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Konica Minolta Receives 2011 “Line of the Year” Award from BLI Konica Minolta is the vendor to beat in 2011. Winning this year’s BLI “Line of the Year” award, Konica Minolta’s line of colour and monochrome multifunction devices have proven to be the ultimate in performance and quality. After two months of rigorous evaluation, Konica Minolta has demonstrated exceptional results across the most important considerations – reliability, image quality, productivity, ease of use, scanning, a host of connectivity attributes and overall value.

“Konica Minolta’s products maintain extremely good and consistent output from start to finish over the course of our high-volume tests. So much so that if I need to output a long-run job containing colour elements on a business colour device, I’d choose these Konica Minolta engines nearly every time.” Pete Emory, BLI Manager of Laboratory Testing The small device that changes your office in big ways If you’re after a more compact machine, which captures much of the functionality of the bizhub C360 but takes up less space, look no further than the bizhub C35. The bizhub C35 is a compact A4 colour multifunctional device with performance and productivity similar to most A3 colour multifunctional devices. It’s just the right size to be placed within arm’s reach for increased business efficiency. The bizhub C35 allows real estate offices to do away with multiple devices, as it combines black and white printing, colour printing, scanning and fax capabilities in the one machine. This ‘all-in-one’ design makes it suitable as a main machine for franchises and satellite offices. Whether in colour or black and white, the bizhub C35 offers high-speed outputs of 30 pages per minute and duplex printing. The large 4.3-inch full colour LCD touch-screen display makes it extremely simple to operate.

The bizhub C35 also offers PageScope Enterprise Suite software, with a variety of user authentication systems including IC card authentication. The bizhub C35 is supported by Konica Minolta’s state-of-the-art Universal Printer Driver (UPD), which means it can be shared with other Konica Minolta multifunction devices and printers from a single interface. With the UPD, you can print from your laptop or PC while you’re away on business at a branch office, or in an office with multiple bizhubs, without having to access a new driver. It’s also compatible with a range of other brands. The bizhub C35 uses Simitri HD toner with biomass, which is produced using plant-based resources. Konica Minolta has also developed an ozone-free charge roller, reduced the number of parts, and utilised recycled materials.

To find out more about how the right printing solution can save your business money and increase efficiency, contact Konica Minolta on 1800 789 389 or find out more at konicaminolta.com.au/realestate.

BLI’s “Line of the Year” is awarded once a year to the business whose product line is determined to be the best overall in its category based on the cumulative test results of all models tested. Also considered is the breadth of the company’s line and its ability to provide quality products suitable to a broad spectrum of customer needs, from low-volume to high-volume. “We are honoured to have received BLI’s highly coveted ‘MFP Line of the Year’ award,” said David Procter, National Marketing Manager, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Australia. “We have always been proud of the exceptional quality of our equipment. This recognition from BLI justifies our enthusiasm at Konica Minolta, and is the ultimate commendation for the performance and quality of our MFP range.”

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Where is your printer taking your business?

From the first consultation to final settlement, your printer should do more for your business than just print. To find out what we recommend, visit konicaminolta.com.au/realestate or call 1800 789 389

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Ozefax Pty Limited Communication through technology

By using an Internet fax service, you can send and receive faxes just as easily as email. There is no need to install a fax modem, a fax server, a fax machine or phone lines. With Ozefax you can send an email directly to a fax machine, and you can receive all your faxes by email.

If you send a lot of faxes to your clients, traditionally you would need to wait until one fax document is delivered before the next fax will attempt to dial out. You can imagine when you need to send out over 100 faxes, in that this would take in excess of a couple of hours. By using Ozefax, the delivery time shortens to only five mins no matter how many faxes you send out. You will also receive an email report right at your desktop letting you know which faxes were successfully sent, and which of those that failed. Your fax number is never busy and you never experience any delays in sending out faxes to individuals or to multiple lists.

We can also use your existing fax number. Forget about paying a monthly telephone line rental, scrap that fax machine and save on stationery and toners. With Ozefax you can pay from as little as $6.99 (+ GST) per month to receive your faxes in your email. Simple!

Ozefax Pty Limited Affordable, Easy and Fast Communication through technology – Send faxes through email, no fax machine or telephone line rental required

Internet Fax » Email Marketing » Business Phone Solutions » Web Services

t 1300 729 660 » e sales@ozefax.com.au » w www.ozefax.com.au


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Is your backend affecting sales? Back office systems are often your weakest link. You’re working flat out to do the best by your clients, but (and this isn’t a personal question) ...is your backend letting you down?

The office now relies on Lanier business solutions and devices to securely and efficiently manage all business critical documents.

A chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link, so if your back office is letting you down, you’re probably not getting optimum performance from your business. Relying on paper is not only an inefficient way to do business, it’s also fraught with danger, as the unfortunate events recently in Brisbane have shown. Imagine the cost of loosing your (paper based) critical business data!

Kristy says “a frequently used feature of the system is the ability to directly archive documents as they are scanned” and “before upgrading to Lanier, there were some major challenges with the old equipment, especially the fact that it was really expensive to run, slow and produced poor quality results.” Since implementing the new Lanier workflow, Kristy’s office has made a 30% cost saving, in rental and running costs. In addition, the new systems are a lot faster, and are able to quickly process all the large files that need to be printed, copied or archived. Kristy says the main things she likes about Lanier are the “operating cost savings, faster output speeds and the fantastic follow up service.”

Lanier specialises in scanning and document management systems that add security and efficiency to your day to day working documents, including your: contracts, forms, invoices, plans & surveys. These can all be transferred into a highly efficient and secure digital domain. Lanier recently installed a new office document management system for Kristy Harmer, the Administration Manager of a Real estate Agent with 21 staff in Gladstone, Central Queensland.

call 1300 353 374 email solutions@lanier.com.au or Australian visit www.lanier.com.au The Real Estate Review

Remove your weakest link by building a better document management system with Lanier. Call 1300 353 374 to arrange a free consult today.

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Making your documents our business


101

Glass Whiteboards The perfect combination of colour, beauty and functionality

SilverScreen Glass Whiteboards has been in operation since 2008. Managed and owned by Patti and Iain, this small business has grown in leaps and bounds in its three years of operations. Currently based in the Sydney suburb of Camperdown, Silver Screen employs seven workers and has provided high quality products to almost 400 clients across Australia, including major law firms, health funds and telecommunications companies. The standard whiteboards are usually ugly, scratched and messy, and it is difficult to consider them as anything other than a necessary evil, to be placed only in training rooms or out of the way

places. Easily scratched, in no time at all, the office whiteboard looks old and tired. One wipe of our SilverScreen Glass Whiteboards restores your board to its original clean, shiny, new appearance. We understand that the real estate industry is highly competitive and that with potential clients, first impressions last. These whiteboards sit prominently in any reception, corridor or boardroom, and due to their unlimited range of colour, quality and professional look, are eyecatching. Every office strives to project an image of quality, esteem and high value – SilverScreen Glass Whiteboards provide that edge! In addition, our products can be designed for behind-the-scenes functionality. Our new ‘gridboards offer you embedded lines – no more need to re-draw your lines each time you change data. By using our ‘grid-boards’. which you can customise

for your requirements, for calendars (from weekly to annual), sales projections, staff competitions and project management, your staff will also benefit! Having successfully established our logo boards in the marketplace, we are now looking at innovative ways of creating products that will broaden our offerings significantly. SilverScreen has developed prototypes for special use in corporate settings. Additionally, SilverScreen have begun designing whiteboards with fully inlaid designs – whether the design is a portrait, a family photo or your favourite scene. The few designs produced so far have been received very well, and we will continue to develop this. SilverScreen Glass Whiteboards aim to produce excellent products that make Australian offices look beautiful while being dedicated to outstanding personalized customer service!

INNOVATIVE ANDSTYLISH SilverScreen Glass whiteboards add a new dimension to the office and boardroom. Available in any colour with your company logo tastefully displayed. Your SilverScreen is more than just a whiteboard – a classy, attractive design addition that strengthens your brand. The smooth glass surface allows for the use of any whiteboard maker pen – no more dents, scratches, ink residue or stains! One wipe, you have a shiny clean surface. » Constructed from 6mm toughened glass » O  ur larger standard size boards come in ‘projection-ready’ (low iron) glass which gives true colour » Sizes A4 desktop up to 2400mm x 1200mm » Mobile Glass Whiteboards on quality frames » Your choice of colour » Your logo displayed, any position » Highest grade stainless steel fittings » Suitable for mounting on masonry / brick or cavity walls » Delivery Australia wide

p 02 9557 7103 m 0411 187 007 e sales@glasswhiteboards.com.au w www.glasswhiteboards.com.au

Glass Whiteboards Pty Ltd ABN 46 130 448 841 88-90 Parramatta Road, Camperdown NSW 2050


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Conveyancing Matters

Tackling the under the guidance of a conveyancer Pauline Barrow discusses the steps that should be taken when purchasing a property.

The Australian Real Estate Review

Pauline Barrow is National President of the Australian Institute of Conveyancers. After completing a Business Course in the 1970s, Pauline began her professional career in legal services, firstly working in legal firms and later specialising in conveyancing which resulted in the opening of her own conveyancing firm, Professional Conveyancing Services, in Glen Waverley Victoria in 1986. Pauline is also a fellow of the Australian Institute of Conveyancrs and the Institute of Legal Executives (Vic).


Conveyancing Matters

P

roperty conveniently changes hands daily however there is a lot of work undertaken behind the scenes such as investigations, verification, title clarification and drawing and engrossing legal documents to name a few processes to allow this to occur. This is necessary so that a purchaser of real property gets title to what he or she contracted to purchase. Buying a property is a big investment and that investment needs to be carefully handled and protected in order to achieve a good outcome on your investment. Earlier this year there was media attention drawn by a purchaser of real estate in Queensland when it was discovered after settlement that his solicitor had transferred the wrong property into his name. Whilst stamp duty may not be imposed on a dutiable transaction to correct a clerical error in a previous dutiable transaction, there may be other consequences if the property transferred in error has been improved substantially. Therefore it is important that the right advice is obtained at the earliest possible time before signing a contract to prevent or minimise any potential problems. Australian Institute of Conveyancers (AIC) mentor certified practising licensed or registered Conveyancers (CPCs) by ensuring proper educational and risk management programs are available to ensure consumers are provided with the best information and advice necessary to ensure successful completion of property transfers. Currently the transfer of property is undertaken by paper documents lodged at Land Registries in each property jurisdiction. Currently Conveyancers are generally state based and work in one jurisdiction because of the variances in property legislation from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. However, with the many initiatives currently under construction, the face of conveyancing is changing. The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) and the governments of Victoria, NSW, Qld and recently WA Landgate, are driving some of these initiatives, and the AIC are in support of the many projects and provide valuable support and information via stakeholder consultation. With electronic conveyancing, no longer will it be necessary for paper documents to be lodged at Land Registries. Data will be transmitted and digitally signed for by Conveyancers and financial settlements and transfer of funds will happen almost instantaneously providing great efficiencies from an end to end electronic process. In Victoria, there is currently a working eConveyancing prototype in operation however in view of the nationalisation of professions, laws and a business case for a national eConveyancing system, National Electronic Conveyancing Ltd (NECDL) will build on Victoria’s advancements and the work conducted by National Electronic Conveyancing Office. As such NECDL purposely

moves from a planning phase to a development phase in building a national electronic conveyancing system. Some of the topical discussions under NECDL are the assigning and dealing of risks which may occur in the electronic system and - the identification and verification by customers of property sellers and purchasers in the system. It is intended that purchasers and sellers will enter into agreements to have their Legal Representatives sign for the data to be transmitted within the system which will ultimately translate into the change in ownership of property. No matter how property transfers hands, be it by paper or electronically, in order for a safe transfer of an unencumbered title to be registered in the Land Registry of the state or territory in which the land is located, the following is a summary of what I would consider to be the steps that should be taken when purchasing a property:1. Engage your conveyancer at the earliest possible time and before you commit yourself to signing a contract. 2. You should undertake a personal inspection of the property. It is not beneficial to substitute an on-line viewing of the property. 3. You may wish to attend the local council and inquire as to permits required to build or extend a dwelling and whether there are any restrictions and regulations in that area. 4. Check for filling and notice the fall on the block as this can increase building costs. 5. Conduct your own measurements of the land and measure the distance from the nearest connecting street to the commencement point of the land. If you are not provided with a copy of the registered plan to the land, you may need your Conveyancer to assist you in obtaining a copy of the plan. If you are unable to measure the property yourself, you may wish to obtain a survey of the property by a professional surveyor. Alternatively, you may wish to obtain a title insurance policy which will provide protection against any matters that would have been revealed in an up to date survey report had you obtained one and that may cause you loss. Your AIC Conveyancer will assist you with obtaining this policy. 6. Request your Conveyancer to obtain a current search of the title and plan of the land to the property. In some states, this will be provided to you before you sign a contract. 7. Check for any registered easements, covenants (restrictions) and ensure that there is nothing permanently erected over an easement or that there are no breaches of any covenants.

9. What charges are you likely to be paying as a result of your purchase, i.e. rates, common property charges, community infrastructure charges, taxes. 10. Are you entitled to a first home buyers grant or a concession on duties payable when you purchase property? Some states offer concessions when it is your principle place of residence or you are a pensioner or person with a health care card. 11. What access do you have to the property? Some properties have access via a common driveway or an easement created on someone else’s property for the purpose of ingress and egress. 12. Ensure that you have pre-approval of finance or alternatively you cannot sign a contract without making the contract subject to approval of finance. 13. Obtain financial advice particularly if you are purchasing an investment property. Any financial advice should also be taken in conjunction with legal/conveyancing advice. This is important as you need to know in whose name or what entity you should acquire the property. In some instances, if you are not shown correctly on the contract, additional stamp duty may be imposed making it more expensive to purchase your property. 14. If you are purchasing a unit or apartment “off-the-plan” never sign a contract without legal/conveyancing advice on the proposed development as this investment involves more risk compared with buying a completed dwelling. When purchasing “off- the- plan” you are not able to see and inspect what you are purchasing until after the project is completed. Whether the property is completed or otherwise in progress as determined by the proposed plans and specifications, would always be subject to variation from my experience. You will find the contract terms will provide for variations and sometimes not very favourable to a purchaser but vented more to the Vendor having the final say on the variations. As such there is always an increased risk of disputes arising. You may consider also engaging an architect or a building consultant or engineer to check and advise you in relation to the proposed plans and specification. 15. Consider whether it may be necessary to revise your Will. If you do not have a Will, you may consider it necessary to arrange for a Will. 16. Once the contract has been signed, lodge a Caveat on the property title as soon as possible in order to protect your interests.

8. Check what services are connected to the property and are they of a standard level to that provided in the surrounding areas.

The Australian Real Estate Review

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104

Choosing the right conveyancer Scott Petherick, Director of PRS Conveyancing and Board member of the Australian Institute of Conveyancers (SA) Division, says there is an increasing need for vendors, purchasers and agents to be aware of whom their Conveyancer is and what experience they have in the industry. “It is important in this environment that your Conveyancer understands your needs in relation to the transaction. This may include the setting up of underlying documentation in certain circumstances to protect the position of the client particularly where trusts and super funds are being used in the transaction.”

With the ever growing number of conveyancers in the market place it is important you choose a conveyancer with the necessary qualifications and experience to suit your needs.

PRS Conveyancing has been in business for 10 years and has three very experienced Conveyancers on staff to help your every need. They are all qualified as Certified Practising Conveyancers (C.P.C.) by the Australian Institute of Conveyancers (SA) Division. This means they have the necessary training every year to stay connected with the markets needs.

PRS Conveyancing has helped thousands of people and businesses right across South Australia with all types of property transactions in both the residential and commercial sectors.

Located in the heart of the Adelaide CBD We specialise in all areas of residential and commercial property settlements across South Australia. Over 60 years worth of combined conveyancing and banking experience. We deliver a professional and efficient settlement service.

Our services include: » » » » » » » »

Residential Conveyancing – transfer of all houses, units and vacant land Matrimonial transfers Plan of Division – all Commercial & Residential Plans of Division Leases – all Commercial Leases and Disclosure Statements Commercial and Business Sale Conveyancing Family and Estate Transfers Preparation of Private Mortgages Preparation of Residential and Commercial Contract and Form 1’s

Phone | 08 7129 3777 Fax: 08 7129 3799 | Email: scott@prsconveyancing.com.au | 123 Wright Street, Adelaide, South Australia, 5000


105

Take Full Advantage Advantage Settlements

Since Peter Maro established our agency in 1998, Advantage Settlements has developed a steadfast reputation for always providing its customers with outstanding service. Our confidence in our ability to consistently deliver these high levels of service enables us to provide our clients with peace of mind that if they are dissatisfied with our service for any reason, we will refund our settlement fee. The ever increasing volume of repeat business and referrals we receive from our customers is surely a testament to the quality service that we deliver. We are specialists In: P Residential property settlements P Commercial property settlements P Private sales

P Related party transactions P Strata titles P Subdivisions P Land titles office documentation P Land titles office searches P Assistance and advice relating to all aspects of conveyancing

Julie Cicchini - 0411 756 202 Rebecca Claffey - 0404 060 324

We have an experienced team here at Advantage Settlements with Reagan and Julie being registered as Licensed Settlement Agents under the Settlement Agents Act 1981 and Rebecca who is currently completing her qualifications to become licensed.

Suite 2, 1st Floor, 896 Albany Highway East Victoria Park WA 6101

For added convenience, we offer extended business hours where we are contactable on our mobiles. We can be contacted Monday to Friday 8am to 9pm, and 10am to 5pm on weekends. If clients wish to call us outside standard business hours, they can contact:Reagan Maro - 0402 796 773

Advantage Settlements has recently moved office so please take note of our new postal and street addresses:PO Box 5396, East Victoria Park WA 6981

Phone: 08 9221 2600 | Fax: 08 9221 2612 If you would like to sit down with me to discuss your clients Conveyancing needs, please feel welcome to contact me so we can tee up a time to catch up. I look forward to the opportunity of working with you in the future. Reagan Maro Advantage Settlements | Managing Director MOB: 0402 796 773

100% Money Back Guarantee  Residential & Commercial Property Settlements  Private & Related Party Transactions  Personalised Service Guaranteed To discover more about how Advantage Settlements can assist you with your next Property Sale or Purchase, visit our website at www.adsett.com.au

 08 9221 2600  enquiry@adsett.com.au  www.adsett.com.au


106

Benefits of an insured rent roll By Carolyn Majda* These include:

Your landlords wouldn’t hand their car keys to complete strangers. Yet every year, thousands of landlords around Australia hand the keys to their investment properties to people they don’t know. In many cases, they do so without appropriate insurance in place. Most landlords rely on the steady flow of income from their rental property to repay their loans, generate income and build wealth. When you consider this, it’s surprising that so many landlords leave themselves exposed. In addition to providing cover for landlords, landlord insurance has unique benefits for property managers and their agencies.

Less risk Uninsured landlords can expose property managers to greater risk and place your agency in the firing line of unwelcome law suits. An insured rent roll can help to protect you and your agency from professional indemnity claims. If a tenant injures themselves in a rental property as a result of neglected maintenance work, they may decide to sue their landlord. If the landlord has appropriate insurance, they will be covered for legal liability for occurrences on the property that cause death or bodily injury. But if the landlord doesn’t have insurance, the tenant may direct their claim towards you and your agency. Landlord insurance minimises the risk of you having to make a claim on your professional indemnity insurance should the tenant of an uninsured landlord seek to claim damages against your agency.

Be mindful of financial product advice Despite the benefits of landlord insurance, property managers must be careful not to offer landlords financial product advice or actively encourage them to arrange insurance on their rental property. However, you can inform landlords that landlord insurance exists, provide them with brochure material and, if a landlord gives you authority to act on their behalf, arrange insurance cover. Arranging cover can be as simple as faxing a request for insurance cover to an appropriate insurer or applying on the insurer’s website. You can simply state to a landlord that the following risks are generally covered under landlord insurance policies: • Malicious damage by tenants, • Accidental damage by tenants,

Less stress

• Deliberate damage by tenants,

Most property managers dread the thought of having to ring a landlord to tell them that something has happened to their property.

• Legal liability if a tenant injures themselves on the property,

Property damage, theft and loss of rent can leave uninsured landlords significantly out of pocket. It’s much easier to pick up the phone and tell a landlord that a loss has occurred when they have insurance cover in place. Landlord insurance means less stress for landlords and less stress for property managers. Peace of mind Despite your good intentions and the strict processes and procedures you have in place, things can still go wrong.

The Australian Real Estate Review

In these situations, landlord insurance provides peace of mind that your landlords – as well as you and your agency – will be protected.

• Loss of rent if a tenant stops paying the rent, absconds or leaves a property unable to be tenanted while damages are repaired, • Loss of rent if a tenant suffers financial hardship and a court awards the tenant a release from their lease obligations, over and above the bond, due to hardship, and • A certain level in professional fees if the Australian Tax Office undertakes an audit relating to their investment property.

For example, you can select the very best tenants for your landlords, but they can still lose their jobs or suffer financial difficulties that leave them unable to pay their rent.

* Carolyn Majda is Manager of Australia’s leading landlord insurance specialists, Terri Scheer insurance. Terri Scheer Insurance provides insurance cover for landlords, helping to protect them against the risks associated with owning a rental property. These include malicious damage by tenants, accidental damage, legal liability and loss of rental income.

Similarly, you might have strict processes in place to inform your landlords when maintenance work is required on their property, but you cannot control whether they will act upon this.

For further information call 1800 804 016 or visit www.terrischeer.com.au.


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O

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The Laws of of The55Irrefutable Irrefutable Laws Buying && Selling a Business Buying Selling a Business BUYING BUYING

SELLING SELLING

1)1) RE GISTER online with The Rent 1) AXIMISE your rental department with REGISTER online with The RentRoll Roll 1) M MAXIMISE your rental department with Broker to receive alerts before sales are strong management fee income and a Broker to receive alerts before sales are strong management fee income and a made public focused geographical service area made public focused geographical service area 2) REVIEW the business profile, financials 2) REGISTER online with The Rent Roll 2) REVIEW the business profile, financials 2) REGISTER online with The Rent Roll and suburb reports Broker requesting an appraisal of your and suburb reports Broker requesting an appraisal of your business 3)  SECURE finance and submit the offer business 3) SECURE finance and submit the offer 3) M  ARKET directly to a database of 4) COMMUNICATE with landlords using 3) MARKET directly to a database of thousands of prospective clients 4) our COMMUNICATE with landlords psych approved letters that encourage thousands of prospective clients using our psych approved letters that retention of database 4) RETAIN with our guidance to the end encourage retention of database 4) of RETAIN with our guidance to the end the retention period, your landlord 5) ABSORB the business under our best of the retention period, your landlord database 5) practice ABSORB the business under our best efficiency model and leverage your database practice efficiency model and leverage new cash flow 5) PARTY with your nest egg taken care of your new cash flow 5) PARTY with your nest egg taken care of When it comes to buying, selling and succession planning THE RENT ROLL BROKER is your first point When it comes to buying, selling and succession planning THE RENT ROLL BROKER is your first of call. With a specialist focus on rent roll and agency sales as well as succession planning for the real point of call. With a specialist focus on rent roll and agency sales as well as succession planning estate industry, you are sure to get the best possible solution as a buyer, seller or in leadership transition. for the real estate industry, you are sure to get the best possible solution as a buyer, seller or in Register today for FREE at www.TheRentRollBroker.com.au leadership transition. Register today for FREE at www.TheRentRollBroker.com.au Chris hashas developed ChrisGoodway Goodway dev.eloped this specialist brokerage to to this specialist brokerage service the unique demands service the unique demands of ofthe thereal real estate estate industry industryinin rent rent agencysales salesasaswell rollroll andand agency well succession planning. as as succession planning.

With a specialist education With a specialist education in the psychology of sales in the psychology of sales andand marketing coupled with with marketing coupled industry experience, Sasha industry experience, Sasha brings a unique skillsskills set toset to brings a unique thethe process. process.

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Real Estate Journal March 2011 39


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The Australian Real Estate Review Autumn 2011