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TECHNOLOGY THREAT REIV Digital Exchange: Embrace the future or fail BRAND BOOST Building your business’s identity


High-rise glut

Apartment boom set to slow down

Entrepreneurship Agents have always been innovators

Hot property Median prices still strong

Managing well

Peer support

Gary Peer outlines his top tips for success

Latest advice for property managers

Special report

Leading agents on the art of the deal

Put your clients ahead of the game

In real estate, market knowledge is everything. Imagine how your clients will feel when you give them the inside word on real estate results, which puts them ahead of the game. Simply direct them to to sign-up for free property email alerts every Saturday. Now that’s a result for both them and you too.


12 We want people to know we are boutique real estate agents ... in the sense of an intense level of personal contact and communication. Gary Peer Real Estate Director Gary Peer

Profile The Peer approach



Top agents on closing the deal Fletchers director Tim Heavyside and Jellis Craig’s Richard Earle share their secrets to securing a listing


DIY digital Tech experts recommend agents embrace new opportunities


Building agents’ skills REIV will introduce six new advanced courses for its members this year


Learning takes leap forward under GM Jodi Sanders was an executive with a weight-loss company before employing her leadership skills with REIV


The power of resilience Sam Cawthorn lost his right arm after a car crash but has bounced back


A matter of trust Agents risk jail and fines if they mismanage or misuse trust accounts

Attention to detail and personal contact are key to Gary Peer’s success



29 The Estate Agent ❘ March/April 2014







33 5 President’s Report

33 Marketing

7 CEO Report

38 Member News

10 Bulletin

44 Management

18 Market Update

45 Events

23 Tech Talk

46 Lifestyle

27 Events Calendar

47 REIV Directory

30 Course Schedule

EA The Estate Agent

Estate Agent is published for the Real Estate Institute of Victoria by LandEd Publishing.


Publisher Tom Skotnicki, Director LandEd Publishing +61 419 581 874 Editor Paul Bird Senior Writers Sue Green, Leon Gettler, Amy Birchall, Annie Reid, Kylie Skotnicki

Design and Production Pagemasters Advertising Michelle Ross, REIV 92056654 Cover photograph Bill McAuley

The views and opinions expressed in articles and columns of Estate Agent are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent those of the Real Estate institute of Victoria or LandEd Publishing

The Estate Agent â?˜ March/April 2014

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31/03/14 5:41 PM

President’s Report Neville Sanders President REIV

Property market strong, but first-home buyers can’t get a foot in the door


he Australian property year began on a strong note with interest rates at a record low and the housing market on the rise. In Victoria, the final months of 2013 brought extremely good results. But despite that good news, nationwide there was a decline in first-home buyers in the market last year. This is concerning, not only for those hopeful young Australians who have saved hard and want to get a foothold on the property ladder, but for the industry as a whole. These are the property buyers of the future and only by getting into the market and beginning to build up their equity can they hope to be active property market participants throughout their lives. Our national body, the Real Estate Institute of Australia, believes action must be taken to help first-time buyers. It has urged the Federal Government to act to stem this rapid decline through measures in the Federal Budget on May 14. It said in its submission: “With firsthome buyers finding it increasingly difficult to enter the housing market, home ownership in Australia is declining after four decades of stable levels.” The REIA sought uniform assistance to first-home buyers across all states and territories, with grants available for the purchase of both new and existing homes. It advocated allowing the first-home buyers to access their superannuation to buy their home and sought an annual review of the First Home Owner Grant to maintain relativity with house price movements. If this does not happen, buoyant markets mean first-time buyers will be further excluded because the grants they can obtain are actually diminishing in real terms. REIA also wants action on housing affordability. It said: “Availability of affordable housing is a goal that is

‘Availability of affordable housing impacts on the functioning of the economy as well as the wellbeing of individuals and the cohesiveness of communities and society’  – REIA shared by governments and all sectors of the community. Availability of affordable housing impacts on the functioning of the economy as well as the wellbeing of individuals and the cohesiveness of communities and society.” The 10 pre-budget proposals put to the Federal Government by the REIA included retaining current negative gearing arrangements for property investments and no increase in capital gains tax for those investments. It advocated abolishing stamp duty on property transactions in favour of a more efficient source of state and territory revenue. In Victoria, where many home buyers, particularly first-time buyers, find stamp duty an onerous burden and an impediment to purchase, the State Budget is on May 7 – as usual, a week before the Federal Budget. REIV believes this offers the State Government the opportunity to take

a lead and consider further stamp duty cuts for first-time buyers. This will assist those buyers who face being priced out of the market and competing with investors for properties in the same price range. We also believe the banks must do their part in ensuring a stable market at a time of employment uncertainty, by respecting the Reserve Bank decision to maintain low level interest rates. We can expect the banks to pass on even small rises to their customers, but banks that are willing to maintain their rates at low levels, even absorbing some portion of an increase, will not only be the most competitive home lenders, they will do a service to Australian home buyers. REIV has also been negotiating with the Victorian Government over its proposals that commercial property professionals no longer be required to hold a real estate agent’s licence for Continued on page 6

The Estate Agent ❘ March/April 2014


President’s Report

Continued from page 5

large transactions. The plan, aimed at cutting red tape, would permit the negotiation of leases and sales without holding a licence under the Estate Agents Act 1980. The government plans to introduce the change this year. REIV is committed to accredited, well-run, consistent industry-wide training for every stage of a career in property. Its importance cannot be over-emphasised. That is why we are appalled by this plan. We have met Victorian Treasurer Michael O’Brien in a bid to overturn or at least substantially change this reform. CEO Enzo Raimondo and Commercial and Industrial Chapter committee representative Joseph Walton met Mr O’Brien, and discussions with the Department of Treasury and Finance and Consumer Affairs Victoria – and


The Estate Agent ❘ March/April 2014

‘REIV is committed to accredited, well-run, consistent industry-wide training for every stage of a career in property. Its importance cannot be over-emphasised. That is why we are appalled by this plan’ Red Tape Commissioner John Lloyd – are continuing. Licensed commercial agents receive extensive training in complex areas such as contracts, legal and ethical requirements, minimising consumer risk, private treaty sales and conflict management. Payments related to the sale of property are held in trust accounts, which provides greater surety for vendors selling commercial properties. This may well be jeopardised if unregistered individuals are able to act as agents for such large sales. To allow these large transactions to be handled by those without

licensing and this government-audited training would not only undermine the profession, it would expose both vendors and buyers to unacceptable risk. REIV is committed to representing your interests at both the state and federal level. This is not only to ensure the voice of our property professionals is heard at the highest levels, but also because we believe those who want to pursue the Australian dream of owning their own home and to build wealth through property must be helped and encouraged to do so.

CEO Report Enzo Raimondo CEO REIV

The market will moderate over time, and agents will need to hone their skills


n Victoria, the final months of 2013 brought extremely good results with price growth and auctions taking a bigger share of the market. Six months ago – at the end of the September quarter – Melbourne’s median house price was $595,500. By year end that had reached $643,000, up 7 per cent on the previous three months, and a new Melbourne high. So the year’s first quarter has been one of high expectations. The REIV Property Market Sentiment Index for January 2014 increased by 7.6 per cent to 113, rebounding from a 13.9 per cent drop last December (2013). REIV members were most optimistic about price growth and turnover in the next three months, after a traditionally slower January. But there are clouds on the horizon and some caution is needed when predicting a bumper year. Those three months have also seen news of the demise of Australia’s car industry with reports of the flow-on effect on jobs varying from losses of 10,000 to 200,000. Other industries have also announced job cuts, with Alcoa, Qantas and Telstra among the businesses affected. In mid-February came the news that Australia’s jobless rate had risen to 6 per cent in January, with Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey predicting a rise to 6.25 per cent. That news came just days after it was revealed consumer sentiment had fallen to its lowest level in seven months, with more than 50 per cent of respondents expecting an interest rate rise in the next 12 months. We must heed the warning signs, particularly as, historically, declining clearance rates follow declining consumer sentiment. That is particularly so given that February Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed, in trend terms, the slowest growth of the owner-occupied market for the past year. So while the market is strong, it

‘We must heed the warning signs, particularly as, historically, declining clearance rates follow declining consumer sentiment’ does appear that it will moderate over the next 12 months. With this in mind, we have found that in good times – and equally importantly when conditions are more difficult – highly trained practitioners are always likely to progress and have a “buffer” against prevailing conditions. At REIV we have a strong commitment to ongoing learning for our agents and other property professionals, not only in the early years when basics such as sales techniques and legal requirements must be mastered, but even for those who have been in the business for decades. Our focus on career-long learning is backed by a wide range of research,

including a recent international study undertaken by the Texas Association of Realtors. This suggests that while drive and ambition are important, one of the key indicators of which young agents will make it in this tough profession is a willingness to continually learn. On the flip side, the survey found that new agents who didn’t make it were those who did the bare minimum to get and keep their licence. Here in Victoria it may be possible to comply with the Business Licensing Authority’s minimum requirements for becoming a licensed agent with a one-week course. But becoming a knowledgeable and successful agent, up to date on the latest sales and The Estate Agent ❘ March/April 2014


CEO Report

marketing techniques, with up-to-the minute legal knowledge, capable of running a business, leading a team, hiring staff and knowing how to target a variety of customers – that’s another matter. REIV is an accredited training provider – that means we have undergone a rigorous government audit process through the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority to gain approval to offer our three levels of courses – the entrylevel Agent’s Representative Course, a 24-unit Certificate IV in Property Services (Real Estate) for those wishing to obtain their real estate agent licence, and our advanced courses. This year we are responding to member requests by introducing six new advanced courses designed to help those with industry experience wanting to take their career to the next

‘At times of low consumer sentiment, high unemployment, falling buyer numbers and limited stock it is the highly trained agents, those who have worked and studied hard to hone their skills and professionalism, who will be best placed to rise to these challenges’ step. We now offer Marketing, Small Business Management, Business Sales and Frontline Management, as well as a new Diploma of Conveyancing and, soon, a Certificate III in Business Administration. You’ll find out more about these and other courses in this issue of the Estate Agent. REIV’s courses are not only subject to extensive government quality controls, they are taught by the best in the business – highly trained real estate professionals, with courses tailored

specifically to your business and Victorian conditions. The state of the market illustrates the importance of training and the career-long continuing professional development offered to members by the REIV. At times of low consumer sentiment, high unemployment, falling buyer numbers and limited stock it is the highly trained agents, those who have worked and studied hard to hone their skills and professionalism, who will be best placed to rise to these challenges.


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The Estate Agent ❘ March/April 2014


The new and improved Touchbase for iOS 7 is a compact tool that enhances communication and reduces administration, allowing you to focus on listing and selling! Great offers available for REIV Members. For more information contact 1300 695 645 or email


BY Annie Reid,

The Chinese have a taste for vineyards, we have a taste for American property and Melbourne land is opening up.

American bargain buys


fairness in owners corporation Fees

bitcoin bids aussie first

A recent Supreme Court decision has led to legislative amendments which clarify the way owners corporation fees are charged. Consumer Affairs Victoria says the changes to the Owners Corporation Act 2006 came into effect on December 18. Annual fees are charged only according to lot liability, while special fees – charged for unexpected works or cost such as legal fees – are charged according to lot liability unless the work being carried out is of

Buyers have a unique opportunity to buy a house in Perth using Bitcoin, the controversial and decentralised digital currency created in 2009. The owners requested their fivebedroom, $1.4 million home in Perth Hills be sold by Bitcoin, making it the first in Australia for sale by digital dollars. Since posting an ad online in November, the owners have received 60 emails from potential buyers.

particular benefit to one or some lots. This is known as the benefit principle – that is, owners who benefit more pay more. The Supreme Court found the application of this principle did not have to be exact if that was not practical – rather, the fees assessment had to be reasonable. And in some cases it may not apply – for example, work being done may indirectly benefit other owners by raising the value of the entire building.

growing thirst for wine

inner city no longer the priority choice


A report by Knight Frank reveals growing Chinese demand for vineyards. The Global Vineyard Index 2013 shows those in locations such as Argentina, New Zealand and Chile have seen big price increases, with Chinese investors becoming more influential in high-value markets such as Bordeaux. The French still dominate, but Chinese buyers have increased in numbers.

hot for holiday houses



The Estate Agent ❘ March/April 2014

If you’ve had your eye on the American property market, you’re not the first. Australian real estate agents are offering local investors guided property tours of the US, with Ray White Surfers Paradise singling out Atlanta as the location to watch. It will soon begin taking buyers over on tours and has opened an office in the city “because it ticked all the boxes”, according to Ray White agent Simon Worthington. Its tours offer housing prices starting at $75,000 and the opportunity to “buy one or buy in bulk”. For the past 12 months, the Atlanta office has been notching up about 20 sales a month. has revealed its latest holiday investment hotspots based on the top 10 holiday destinations from Tripadvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Awards and the highest rental yields sourced from Residex. Houses in Hobart led the way with a rental yield of 4.75 per cent, followed closely by Byron Bay at 4.70 per cent. Port Douglas yielded the highest for apartments, at 7.68 per cent, followed by Surfers Paradise at 6.94 per cent.

A recent survey by Slater & Gordon of more than 2000 Australians found that 48 per cent would look beyond the 10km CBD radius if they were to buy a home tomorrow. Only 29 per cent said they’d prefer to live within the radius, with 10 per cent happy to relocate to a regional area. So the great Australian dream of owning land is alive, but prices and high demand are driving people out of the inner city.


door open to more homes

preston on move as Middle class spreads

Figures from the Urban Development Program reveal Melbourne’s land supply will allow more than 400,000 new homes to be built. The report also shows the number of potential apartments in metropolitan activity centres has more than doubled in the past five years, underpinned by ABS forecasts that Melbourne’s population will reach 8.6 million by 2061.

Preston, one of Melbourne’s up-and-coming suburbs, is the new Brunswick. As gentrification slowly creeps north, the average rent for a one-bedroom flat in Preston increased 39 per cent to $325 a week in the 12 months to last December, outstripping Brunswick in the same period. The Tenants Union of Victoria has singled out the suburb as one of the “least affordable” areas for low-income renters, as tenants battle to make ends meet. Darebin Council mayor Gaetano Greco said gentrification was spreading from Westgarth, Northcote and Thornbury, with “Preston as the next frontier’’.

US Home Buyers Turn to the Internet


A new US study has found buyers of all ages begin their property search online, but older buyers are more likely to have learned about the home they bought from an agent, while younger ones are more likely to have found it on the internet. Most buyers were referred to an agent by someone they know. But older buyers were more likely to work with an agent they had used before. Seniors mentioned reputation as the most important

factor in choosing an agent, while for all other age groups it was honesty and trustworthiness. The 2014 NAR Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study, carried out for the National Association of Realtors, evaluated the generational differences between recent buyers and sellers. The full study can be downloaded at

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The Estate Agent ❘ March/April 2014



Peer pressure and attention to detail gets the job done Agency principal Gary Peer is a big believer in looking the part, but behind the image is a switched-on team. By Anthony Black


Bill McAuley

Gary Peer: Proud of his company’s success, which is built on attention to detail and personal contact.


The Estate Agent ❘ March/April 2014

t helps to be an obsessive compulsive working for Gary Peer Real Estate. And senior partner Gary Peer admits it. This firm embraces image. Salesmen skipping a morning shave are sent home to do it. Don’t turn up without shiny shoes. Driving a dirty car? Don’t even think about it. Salespeople work 60 to 70 hours a week. Peer says his business partner, Phillip Kingston, was told to stop practising his auction skills in the shower because it was disturbing neighbours. These days Kingston hands out lollies at auctions in between hugging bidders and kissing babies. This is real estate, Gary Peer-style. Looking sharp increases the chances of doing business. The company’s offices in Caulfield North and St Kilda sell between 450 and 500 properties a year – about $430 million in business. The firm was recognised by the Real Estate Institute of Victoria in 2013 when it won the largest residential agency of the year, corporate promotion (multiple offices), innovation and communication awards. While it won in four categories, it was a finalist in eight. On the awards night, 40 Gary Peer staff took to the stage in a show of unity. “The great thing about winning awards is recognition for our hardworking staff,” Peer says. “It was a great thrill and we are all very proud.” Peer is also proud of the company’s success that is built on a growing database, immense suburb knowledge, attention to detail, digital technology, hard work and personal contact. “We want people to know we are boutique real estate agents. Boutique in the sense of an intense level of personal contact and communication,” Peer says. “Our business philosophy is to

Oc, opo Profile

always improve and never rest on your laurels. We always question what we can do better.”

Digital power

Peer is big on networking. People who work and live in Caulfield, St Kilda and Elsternwick are all potential clients. His weekly internet show GPTV, streamed from his website, includes interviews with architects, builders and other successful business people. Peer and Kingston host a 15-minute program on all real estate matters. Viewers are encouraged to send in questions or pass on comments. “Phil and I put a lot of time and energy into preparing the show and we use a professional film crew,” Peer says. “We believe the program offers a point of difference in that it enables us to communicate with clients and potential ones in another way.” Peer and his staff of about 60 embrace digital technology. They update clients by regularly sending text messages. A full-time database operator matches buyers with properties. Print newspapers are increasingly taking a back seat. “The internet is the biggest change I’ve seen in the real estate industry in my 33 years,” Peer says. “The internet is massively important. Today, we’re selling more than 50 per cent of homes to people who first source them on the internet. As for rentals, we still get a few walk-ins (off the street). Other than that, all our rentals are online.” Apart from his own site, Peer spreads his advertising and marketing online to sites including the REIV’s website

One of the best forms of advertising is also the cheapest – word of mouth. “Word of mouth advertising is everything. It can make or break a business – it’s that important. That’s why we work hard and go the extra yards to please our clients. “We don’t really want people who are satisfied – we want people who are more than satisfied. A satisfied client just isn’t enough. It won’t bring glowing reports or push potential clients to you.” On social media, Peer is ambivalent. “One of our sales associates is a social media freak and he does generate sales leads from a strong following, but I think it’s double-edged.

‘Asian buyers are cashed up and seem to want to park their money here ... it’s secure and has a good track record’ “If people don’t like you or they’re unhappy, they can hurt your business. You have to be careful that social media doesn’t become a hiding place to avoid personal contact. And personal contact is what we’re big on.” Peer says most vendors, now and in the future, will want to do business face-to-face, particularly when it involves properties worth substantial money. There is no substitute for dealing with someone in person.

Foreign investment

Peer says there is no doubt foreign investment is pushing up property prices. When a Chinese woman applied

for a sales job, Peer hired her at the start of 2014. “In our market, we sell a lot of real estate to Asian buyers. Our new employee isn’t experienced in real estate, but she has a lot of business acumen. Obviously, her language skills will be a big advantage. “Asian buyers are cashed up and seem to want to park their money here. They like Australia – it’s secure and it has a good track record.”


Peer acknowledges it’s extremely difficult for young people to buy a property. His advice: “Do your best to buy something. Buy something small, live with your parents if you have to, negatively gear it – just try and get in where you can and when you’re young.”

Industry view

Peer says most agents are fair, ethical and represent clients’ best interests. “Part of our success is part of our problem. We drive good cars and we look sharp and that can get up people’s noses. People see us transacting large amounts of money and think every real estate agent makes a fortune, but that’s not the case. “At the end of the day, agents are working in a highly emotional industry. We could be dealing with people after a death in the family, or someone who is going through a divorce. That’s the nature of our business.” But he accepts the good with the bad. “You can’t be in an industry making a big noise saying, ‘Come to me, come to me,’ without taking a few knocks. We’re quick to take the credit.”  


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1300-882-973 1300-882-973 The Estate Agent ❘ March/April 2014


Special Report

Street smarts and honesty ring bell Successful agents have a similar approach: know your client, do your homework and work face-to-face. By Anthony Black


Bill McAuley

ellers have one big advantage in the property market and that’s real estate agents. Using an agent maximises a vendor’s chance of obtaining the best possible price. Agents are top negotiators. Because they negotiate for a living, their experience gives them significant competitive edge when crunching deals. What makes it interesting is when vendors pit agent against agent to list their property. As they say, agents can’t sell it if they can’t list. Closing a deal is a skill. One who does it better than most is Tim Heavyside, who sells more than 100 homes a year valued at more than a collective $100 million. Heavyside is the top salesman at Fletchers Real Estate. His sales prowess has been recognised: he was the REIA’s residential salesperson of the year in 2011 and 2013 and the REIV’s residential salesperson of the year in 2006, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Heavyside is generous with insights on closing deals. He notes the importance of careful listening, studying body language, humour, persistence, negotiation and psychology. He offers an analogy: a boxer planning to knock out his opponent will jab, jab, jab and then

Tim Heavyside: His blueprint for success includes careful listening, studying body language, humour, persistence, negotiation and psychology.

hook. For a real estate agent it’s give, give, give information and then ask for the vendor’s business. “Salesmen the world over are told to follow ABC – always be closing. Well, I prefer ABE – always be educating. “If I provide relevant information to a potential client, I believe I’m then entitled to ask for their business – firstly list and then sell the property. “I may not get the business, but I’m not going to die wondering. The principles I live by are simplicity and certainty.” Top salespeople are excellent communicators. Importantly, Heavyside

‘Sometimes, I’ll draw pictures and diagrams on a notepad as another way of getting my message across to the vendor. I’m no artist. I draw stick figures, but it can help explain and make things come alive in another person’s mind’ 14

The Estate Agent ❘ March/April 2014

says, a salesperson must be able to mentally “connect” with a client so all parties are on the same wavelength. Heavyside says a vendor shouldn’t have to work hard to understand an agent’s message. He says he focuses the conversation on the vendor’s property. “When talking to agents, all vendors want to know is what’s in it for them if they sell their property. “I ask questions so the vendor feels part of the sales process. Listening is a skill. An agent who dominates the conversation runs the risk of boring a vendor, who is then likely to focus on something other than the sale.” Heavyside says he will be jovial and light-hearted if he feels the vendor will respond in a positive manner. “I notice body language. Some vendors are passive, while others can be dominant, flippant, certain, uncertain, positive or gloomy,” he says. “I try to establish a rapport with the client. “Sometimes, I’ll draw pictures and diagrams on a notepad as another way of getting my message across to the vendor. I’m no artist. I draw stick figures, but it can help explain and make things come alive in another person’s mind. “It’s important to feel confident about the information I’m providing. The vendor notices that I’ve done my research.” Heavyside says he is not overconfident or arrogant, and is aware that vendors are studying him and drawing conclusions about what he says. Towards the end of the first meeting Continued on page 16

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Bill McAuley

The Estate Agent â?˜ March/April 2014


Special Report

Continued from page 14 Richard Earle: Prefers no-frills approach. Dressing up sales can do more harm than good, he says.

The truth pays

Competition between agents to list a property is fierce. Agents over the years have been known to stretch the truth to secure a listing. For instance, a truthful agent, based on knowledge and experience of properties in a particular suburb, may quote a selling price or range that falls well short of a vendor’s expectations. So the next agent visiting the property quotes a price the vendor wants to hear in a bid to win the listing. The agent knows the vendor’s price will be difficult to achieve. 16

The Estate Agent ❘ March/April 2014

Bill McAuley

with vendors, Heavyside usually pitches one-liners to clinch a listing deal. He gives examples of what he may say to a vendor: “Are we ready to proceed? When can we get started? Do you have a spare key, or would you like me to get one cut? Have I done enough to earn your business? I have two hot buyers ready to trot; should I contact them about your home? We need to fill in some paperwork; is the home just in your name? I have two auction times available, midday or 1pm, what time would you prefer?” And if a vendor isn’t sure whether to sign, Heavyside will continue asking questions. “What’s your sales process?” he will ask the vendor. “Do you mind sharing it with me? Are you happy with what I presented today?” The Canterbury-based agent says his proactive approach is effective most times. “It’s all about picking your marks – it’s called street smarts. I know when to talk and when to shut up. Some agents refrain from asking enough questions because they are scared of rejection. “Some reasons vendors give for delaying a decision to sign with you are paper-thin. Sometimes, they need a little reassurance. If you have the courage of your convictions, I believe one more question will close a deal. “For instance, I will ask a vendor, ‘Is there any reason why we can’t proceed right now?’.”

‘I actually prefer a tough market as it requires much more skill to do a deal for the same or less money when compared to a strong market’ However, if the price is unrealistic, it usually fails to sell and bitterness may develop between the agent and vendor. That’s why it always pays to be honest upfront, according to veteran agent Richard Earle, a director of Jellis Craig’s Hawthorn office. He says there are no shortcuts. Earle takes a no-frills approach to closing deals. He believes agents who try to dress up a sales process as a science can do themselves more harm than good. Talking technical jargon, or presenting a sales approach that’s like re-inventing the wheel can turn vendors off agents. He doesn’t make relatively simple concepts complex. “Real estate is actually not a hard job,” he says. “It’s just bloody good fun as long as you tell the truth. If you tell the truth,

you can’t go too far wrong. You won’t get caught.” What Earle does before meeting a vendor is prepare well. He will have seen the outside of a vendor’s property and know the recent sale prices of similar properties in the same suburb. “Before I walk through the front door, I will generally do some digital media research on who is interviewing me, so I know a bit about them, if I don’t already,” Earle says. “I’ll send my potential client an email confirming the appointment time. My email will also request a title, so I can confirm the size of the land. “I will have a pretty good idea what the vendor paid for the property. If I don’t know why a vendor is selling, I will find out pretty quickly. “Now, all this is just preliminary

Oc, Special opo Report

‘It’s the woman who has the most impact about what a family will do going forward. Women have an empathy with property’

work that I don’t even think about because I’ve been doing it for so long. Some other agents won’t go to this trouble – they will just turn up to a vendor’s house on a particular day and try and wing it.” As part of his marketing mix to close deals, Earle says he shows potential clients testimonials from previous vendors and buyers. “I reckon preparation is 90 per cent of every successful negotiation.” He says none of this is rocket science. “Vendors read you and you read vendors. If I want to work with you and you want to work with me, then we will get on like a house on fire. “Frankly, if someone doesn’t want to work with me, I don’t want to work with them.” Earle says he is honest with buyers about a likely selling price and the level of genuine interest in a property. Today’s buyers are tomorrow’s potential clients. Trying to mislead a potential buyer can backfire because, as Earle says, technology has enabled a level playing field. Buyers and sellers are more knowledgeable than ever. “Real estate agents are no longer the gate-keepers of information,” he says. “Buyers and sellers can access the same information we have by going online. It means agents can’t hide stuff, which is good. It’s then a question of how the information is interpreted.” Earle says the best deal-makers are invariably experienced, work long hours, are well-researched and confident negotiators. Agents mostly relying on charisma to close a deal don’t do nearly as well as hard-working agents. Agents unwilling to put in the long hours generally leave the industry, particularly in flat or falling markets. “I actually prefer a tough market as it requires much more skill to do a deal for the same or less money when compared to a strong market. Clients will keep coming back if you perform well in a weak market. The tough markets sort real estate agents out.”

Women hold the key Philip Webb, of Philip Webb Real Estate, says the woman in the relationship decides whether to buy a property, so he focuses on dealing with them. “It’s the woman who has the most impact about what a family will do going forward,” Webb says. “Women have an empathy with property. They feel houses, they feel property and they feel whether it’s going to suit what their family needs.” Webb says agents should be polite and address a family’s specific needs.

Persuading buyers

Tim Heavyside knows better than most that buying a property can be an emotional roller coaster. He says house-hunters are often looking for reassurance they are making the right decision. He is prepared to offer it if he thinks they will make money on the property over time. “I’ve been involved in auctions where the successful bidder thinks he’s paid way too much. But five or 10 years down the track, the property turns out to be a great investment.” Heavyside distinguishes between realistic buyers prepared to negotiate

on price and dogged bargain-hunters. He says he won’t spend much time with inflexible bargain-hunters because vendors wouldn’t accept their unrealistic offers. In closing a deal, Heavyside says it’s always better to do business face-to-face. “I want to see people’s reactions – if they screw their face up to what I’m proposing. It’s also harder to make someone laugh over the phone.” He says some people find buying a property a “painful” experience. They really don’t want to be in the market and would rather stay put, but feel they have no alternative. Yet others enjoy looking for a new home. Heavyside says knowing a buyer’s personal situation tells him how to approach a sale. He says to gauge a level of interest in a property, he asks a buyer to score it out of 10. If a buyer rates a property 10 out of 10, it’s generally out of their price range. Three or four out of 10 means a buyer isn’t that keen. Five or six out of 10 is lukewarm, but still not good enough to be a satisfied buyer. Seven out of 10 is a key score, as the buyer wants the property. Unless money is no consideration, Heavyside says there is an element of compromise in almost every property. “I recently saw a property on the market for $2 million and I loved it,” Heavyside says. “But the price was out of my league. Ten out of 10 doesn’t exist.”

a guide to CLOSING DEALS ❚ Be honest when appraising a vendor’s

property. ❚ Inform a vendor about what work may be needed before selling to maximise price. ❚ When you think the time is right, ask for a vendor’s business. Don’t be scared of rejection. ❚ Suggest a realistic selling price range to the vendor. It can pay to under-promise and over-deliver. ❚ There is no substitute for homework. Know recent sale prices of similar properties. Confirm the size of the land before meeting the vendor. ❚ Communicate in a pleasant, confident

and effective manner. Refrain from using technical jargon. ❚ Be a good listener, pay attention to body language and look clients in the eye. ❚ Be honest with buyers as they are more knowledgeable than ever. Today’s buyers are tomorrow’s clients. ❚ Direct your selling skills towards the woman when dealing with families. She mostly decides whether to buy a particular property. ❚ The harder you work, the luckier you’ll get. ❚ Forget short cuts. ❚ Follow your instincts. The Estate Agent ❘ March/April 2014


Market Update

Median houseprices hit record highs across state Melbourne’s median house price rose 7.3% to $643,000 in the December quarter as regional heavyweights maintained their peaks. By Sue Green


elbourne’s median house price and the median price across regional Victoria both reached record highs in the final three months of 2013. The Melbourne median of $643,000, was up 7.3 per cent on the September quarter. The median for 2013 was also up 11 per cent year-on-year in comparison to 2012. In regional Victoria, the median house price reached a record $320,500 in the December quater – more than 6 per cent higher than the same quarter in 2012 and up 2.6 per cent on the September quarter price of $312,500.

Median house prices in the three major centres – Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong – all grew and their prices remain at their peaks. Bendigo, where the new Bendigo Hospital project is getting underway, was up 1.6 per cent on the September quarter, the highest growth of the three centres. But across the state there were huge variations in price growth with some

areas increasing by more than 10 per cent while others fell. It was an exceptional quarter, with interest rates at record lows, auction clearance rates averaging 70 per cent and an increase in million-dollar sales. In fact, 21 per cent of all city sales in the quarter were million-dollar sales, compared with 16 per cent in the September quarter.

‘There were some new additions to the million-dollar list – Williamstown, for example – and the return of other suburbs such as Fitzroy North, Ashburton, Ormond and Prahran’

MELBOURNE SUBURBS: Dec-2013 Median Quarterly Change Most Expensive Suburb

Most Affordable Suburb























































$1,400,000 14.1%




The Estate Agent ❘ March/April 2014

This provided some new additions to the million-dollar list – Williamstown, for example – and the return of other suburbs such as Fitzroy North, Ashburton, Ormond and Prahran to the list for the first time this year. Prahran topped the December quarter price growth list, its median price up 25.7 per cent on the September quarter price. But it was Toorak, with a December quarter median of $2,875,000 which was the city’s top growth suburb for the year. Its December 2013 quarter median was up 55.4 per cent on the previous year. However,

Market Update

Melbourne Median Prices Seasonally Adjusted

Median price ($) $700,000


Units & Apartments

$560,000 $420,000 $280,000 $140,000

Dec 2013

Jun 2011

Dec 2008

Jun 2006

Dec 2003


Regional Victoria Median House Price Seasonally Adjusted


$264,000 $198,000 $132,000 $66,000

Dec 2013

Jun 2011

Dec 2008

$0 Jun 2006

prices. Melbourne’s median unit price increased by 3.9 per cent to $498,000 during the quarter. That was up 11.8 per cent on the same quarter in 2012. No suburb topped the milliondollar mark for a unit median price – Brighton East was the most expensive with a median of $862,500. Most affordable was Sunshine with a $229,000 unit median price.

Dec 2003


this was inflated by the number of sales above $3 million in the final quarter of 2013. Even Northcote, once the poor relation to nearby Fitzroy North and Carlton North but now in the top 10 suburbs for house price growth, is nudging the million-dollar mark with a median price of $971,500. Bentleigh, Box Hill, Donvale, Essendon, Moonee Ponds, Murrumbeena, Richmond, South Melbourne and St Kilda also came close. In outer Melbourne the median house price of $474,500 was up 4.4 per cent on the September quarter and 10.3 per cent on the same quarter the previous year. By comparison, the inner Melbourne median of $977,500 was just 1.8 per cent higher than in the September quarter, but 10.6 per cent higher than the same quarter in 2012. While auctions comprised a higher share of sales this quarter, there was stronger price growth for houses sold by private sale, This has driven some of the price increases in the outer suburbs, where private sales are more popular. The median price of units also grew in the December quarter, but did not match the growth in house

Median price ($) $330,000

strong highs and some lows in regionals The median price of a home in regional Victoria reached a record high in the last three months of 2013, up by more than 6 per cent on the same quarter in 2012. But the results were variable across the state. Some areas experienced relatively strong demand – while other pockets of the state returned lower results. Statewide, the December quarter regional median house price was $320,500, an increase of 2.6 per cent on the September quarter price of $312,500. Medians in the three major centres – Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong – all grew and remain at their peaks. Bendigo was up 1.6 per cent on the September quarter, recording the

highest growth of the three centres. In Queenscliff, a town popular for holidayhome buyers and retirees, the median was $687,000 – up 13.6 per cent on the previous quarter. Other impressive performers included Ararat, where the median of $179,750 was up 17.9 per cent on the September quarter, Colac-Otway, where the increase was 8.1 per cent, Wellington Shire with 3.5 per cent and Wangaratta, with 7.3 per cent. By contrast, the median house price for East Gippsland fell by 1.7 per cent, compared with the previous quarter, while Horsham’s fall was 7.7 per cent. There was a 2.2 per cent fall in Warrnambool. The Estate Agent ❘ March/April 2014


Market Update

Keen demand for apartments before townhouses take off Moderate push for established homes in Melbourne’s inner and middle suburbs, but growing population to apply heat



The Estate Agent ❘ March/April 2014


he rapid supply and sale of new apartments will continue over the next two years and then slow as market conditions change, according to property consultant Robert Papaleo. Mr Papaleo, of Charter Keck Cramer, was speaking at the joint REIV Australian Property Institute State of the Market presentation in Melbourne. He said that an increase in rental vacancies in the short to mid-term could be expected across inner and middle Melbourne. REIV’s latest rental data – showing vacancy trends – supports this, highlighting the vacancy rate for the inner suburbs has increased from 3.1 per cent in January 2013 to 3.4 per cent in January 2014. Mr Papaleo said there had been 36,000 apartments built since 2010, compared to an average of just 4,000 apartments built annually in the 2000s. “I expect about 30,000 new apartments will be built in the next two years and then a slowdown in construction as investors, who have driven this significant growth, find it harder to get a solid return on their investment.” While interest in apartments will wane, there will be a much stronger demand for townhouses, especially in inner and middle Melbourne, he said. The demand for homes with more space is also evident in the latest REIV median price data by bedrooms which shows capital growth for two and three-bedroom units (which includes apartments and townhouses) was higher than for one-bedroom units. The median price of two and threebedroom units grew by 4.1 per cent over the quarter to December 2013, compared to 1.8 per cent for onebedroom units.

‘I expect about 30,000 new apartments will be built in the next two years and then a slowdown in construction as investors, who have driven this significant growth, find it harder to get a solid return’  – Robert Papaleo, property consultant at Charter Keck Cramer The demand for townhouses will be driven by owner-occupiers and investors, with greater rental interest in townhouses in the next 12 to 18 months, Mr Papaleo said. He said there would continue to be moderate demand for established homes in Melbourne’s inner and middle suburbs. While interest rates are low, he said, demand would be only moderate due to “benign economic growth” at present. This is in line with the REIV’s projections of more moderate house price growth in 2014 following a very strong market in the second half of 2013. In the medium-term, he said, ongoing population growth in Melbourne would see an ongoing demand for established homes, especially in inner Melbourne, and a need for new homes. The latest population statistics from

the Australian Bureau of Statistics confirm Victoria continues to add the highest number of people in the nation – more than 106,000 in 2013. The REIV estimates about 105,000 homes were sold in Victoria in 2013 which is in line with the long-term average but is below the peak of 143,000 in 2007 despite the state adding more than half a million people over this period. Over the longer term, Mr Papaleo told the conference, the city would grow by one million people about every decade for the foreseeable future. This would drive an increase from four million people at present to six million people by 2030. Lot sales – an indicator of the need for new homes – should increase by 20 per cent in 2014 to 10,000 sales after a modest 8,000 lots were sold in 2013, Mr Papaleo said.

TO BE THE LOCAL REAL ESTATE EXPERT YOU NEED VICTORIA’S BEST SALES DATA. Great offers available for REIV Members. Call 1300 695 645 or email to find out more.


Tech Talk

REIV app puts more help at your fingertips


here has been strong interest in the REIV app with 2708 downloads to date. Over the past two months usage has risen by 28 per cent. The app has been enhanced in recent months, making it easier to use through the upgrading of functionality. Improvements to the app include: z Login to the app faster. You will only need your member number to log in now. We have removed the password restriction. Please note that your member number is restricted to being used on two devices. z Agent commission calculator. A GST Inclusive/Exclusive button has been added.  Commission and GST dollar

An upgrade makes it faster, built-in calculators do the number crunching and conversion tools do the tricky bits

amounts are now displayed, showing the breakdown of the calculation. z Stamp duty calculator. Principal Residence Yes/No button has been added. First Home Buyer Yes/No button has also been added.  z Conversion tools. It’s now easier to view the many different conversion tool options. Click the “>” button within the conversion tools area to see various options such as inches, centimetres, metres and feet.  z New design. Users will also notice that our most popular calculators have a new look. We’ve designed the calculators to be intuitive and easy to use.

Accessing the app

is the Calculators area. It offers access to a range of calculators on-the-go for Agent Commission, Stamp Duty, Trust Duty, Land Tax, Home Loan Repayment and more. The Conversion Tools are another handy feature which will enable you to convert length, area, volume, power and velocity. A comprehensive member directory will be at your fingertips once you download

the app. Look up agency members, individual members, solicitors, conveyancers and surveyors. A Useful Information section will help you quickly locate councils, government associations and various other numbers. The REIV codes and guidelines section will also provide you with a range of important information.

Each individual member can access the app on two selected devices. You cannot share member numbers as this is a benefit of individual membership. If you would like to change the device on which you access the app, please contact 9205 6652 or email membership@ To download the app, search for “REIV Members’ App” in your app store. If you have previously downloaded the app and would like to upgrade to the latest version, go to your app store and upgrade to Version 2.1.

Features of the app In addition to the new features of the REIV app, you will also have access to the latest industry news with regular updates such as auction previews, median prices and much more. The app also enables you to register for new training courses and events, adding the details directly into your calendar. One of the app’s most popular features

The Estate Agent ❘ March/April 2014



Don’t be a ‘digital ostrich’: technology is here to help Information overload can be overwhelming, but learning how to effectively use devices can ease the burden and boost efficiency



oo much information: it’s usually what we say when someone is confiding in us, sharing personal details we would rather not hear. But technology coach Megan Iemma says it also applies to the bombardment of information about new technology which can leave our heads spinning.

“It’s infowhelming – information overload,” she says. “It’s a matter of managing to not drown, but stay afloat.” Iemma was one of the keynote speakers at last year’s REIV Digital Exchange. She told the more than 100 agents attending that when it came to

‘Bridging the gap between their devices and their laptops ... It’s about empowering people to use technology, bridging the gap between what people currently know and what they need to know’ Megan Iemma, technology coach 24

The Estate Agent ❘ March/April 2014

their smartphones and tablets, it was time for some DIY. “My clients hand me the device and say, ‘You just do it and give it to me’. What I am saying is, you need to learn to do it yourself. “A lot of people just use it for the internet, games and email instead of invoices, note-taking and using it as a portfolio for clients.” All those arriving for Iemma’s session were given a pre-loaded iPad, provided by Officeworks, to use for the day. This meant they could take an interactive approach to events by tweeting using the hashtag #REIVdigital, with all

Oc, opo Technology

Left: Information overload: It’s a matter of managing not to drown, but stay afloat, according to Megan Iemma. Centre: Digital Exchange attendees try the pre-loaded iPads provided by Officeworks. Right: Peter Brewer encourages tablet users to make the most of their devices for business.

tweets displayed on screens onstage and replayed throughout the day. But they could also try out Iemma’s tips for “bridging the gap between their devices and their laptops to run a mobile office” on the spot. “It is about empowering people to use technology, bridging the gap between what people currently know and what they need to know,” she says. She warned agents, especially older agents, against taking a “digital ostrich” approach, putting their heads in the sand and waiting for the new technology fad to pass. Iemma was part of a program of high-powered local and international speakers who featured at the Digital Exchange. They included US-based Tara Christianson, technology and training director for Century 21 Redwood Realty. The renowned speaker, who regularly presents on the use of technology in real estate, talked about “how to make your social media investment a winner”. Joe Cincotta, managing director of Sydney social strategy and technology agency Pixolut, also focused on social media, which he believes is a natural fit for real estate. Ad man Ian Elliott, chairman of Australia’s biggest advertising agency, George Patterson, spoke about brand building, while Melbourne-based intellectual property lawyer Sharon Givoni issued some timely warnings about copyright and the use of digital photography. Google representatives Annabel

Prentice and Caroline Oates spoke about current Google trends, while LinkedIn’s Sascha Ambrose presented his top 10 tips for using the 238 million-member online business network’s many functions. It was an event which aimed to bring REIV members right up to date with the latest technologies – and with the digital world changing so fast it is important that REIV keeps offering this valuable service to its members, says Jodi Sanders, REIV General Manager, Learning and Development. “New technologies have so much to offer real estate, but they change so fast

it can be difficult to keep up. Also they are expensive – it is important to get the best deal. The REIV will always get the best offers for members, so it is worth checking the member benefits available. “REIV plans to continue to bring high calibre national and international speakers on new technologies and the digital age to our members.” Megan Iemma is an REIV technology coach. To discover how she can help you, contact her via or phone the training department on 9205 6666.

tweets give plenty of feedback Attendees at REIV’s Digital Exchange were given an iPad for the day and urged to tweet using the hashtag #REIVdigital. The tweets were shown on screens. Here are some highlights: REIV @REIVictoria “Real Estate is a natural fit for Social Media” Joe Cincotta presenting at #REIVDigital Michelle Ross @MichelleKRoss 75% of purchasing decisions are influenced by social media – @saschaambrose realestateview @realestateview Follow @saschaambrose for solid tips on using LinkedIn more effectively. Some great insights of his making up our tweets from #REIVDigital

Tara L Christianson @techwithtlc Tip 8 from LinkedIn: Add rich media – videos, documents, embeds, etc. Tara L Christianson @techwithtlc Win the moments that matter. (a) Be there and (b) Think about customer experience while they’re there. Fletchers @FletchersRE @thatpeterbrewer @saschaambrose @jodireiv – All the key points covered in an informative, clear manner. A great session. Lou Wong @make_dumplings Evernote gives access to my info anytime anywhere. REIV @REIVictoria Use keywords throughout your #linkedin profile, thanks for the great tip @saschaambrose The Estate Agent ❘ March/April 2014



Get tech savvy or risk getting left behind

Real estate agents won’t be replaced by technology, they’ll be replaced by agents who embrace it


eal estate agents who don’t keep up with new technology because it is too scary or too much trouble have been warned they risk becoming obsolete and being replaced by those who know how to use the technology. “Real estate agents won’t be replaced by technology, they will be replaced by real estate agents who effectively use technology,” smart business educator Peter Brewer says. Brewer, previously a real estate agent for 30 years, now creates digital footprints for real estate agencies. He was a speaker and MC at the most recent REIV Digital Exchange event. He told EA it was vital agents “get on board and make yourselves relevant, because there are kids in garages across the world finding faster, smarter, cheaper ways to do what you do”. Brewer takes a realistic approach – the online world is fantastic, but it does not necessarily replace everything. If certain things are working for you, mix the old and the new, he says. But he becomes agitated at the thought of agents spending $1000 for a smartphone or $800 for an iPad because others in their office have them, then only using them to check Facebook. “If you are going to spend that, at least use it as a business device,” he says, adding that modern devices have as much “grunt” as the technology that sent us to the moon, yet users ignore their capabilities. “People buy all this stuff only because someone else said they should. I call them digital magpies. “If you are going to spend $1000, why not go and get someone to teach you how to use it. Take a class at the local TAFE, hire a technology coach. “I think some of it is laziness and some of it is embarrassment,” he


The Estate Agent ❘ March/April 2014

handy TOOLs Sunrise calendar: Mailbox app enables management of multiple calendars. Compatible with Google calendar and iCloud, it offers real-time synchronisation, reminders, time zone support, smart icons and tagging location to events Audio notes: Allows taking notes while recording/playing. Add photos. Evernote: A kind of digital filing cabinet which works like a mobile office. Helps remember everything across all devices. Genius scan: Turns phone into a scanner, scans as a JPEG or PDF. Scan receipts, submit to clients and the Tax Office. – Peter Brewer

‘If people make an (email) inquiry and don’t get a response within five minutes they are on to the next agent ... You don’t have the luxury of turning off at night and checking your emails next morning’  Peter Brewer, smart business educator says of some agents’ unwillingness to embrace technology. “They are doing it because the guy beside them in the office did it.” But that refusal risked losing clients: “If people make an (email) inquiry and don’t get a response within five minutes they are on to the next agent to see what they can do. You don’t have the luxury of turning off at night and checking your emails next morning.” He recommends setting alerts for relevant email subject lines, and marrying emails and mobile devices with your laptop. Brewer said that at the time of the Digital Exchange last November there were more than one million apps in the Apple App Store. Now there are more. The average lifetime of an app after being downloaded is six weeks and research shows 70 per cent of the apps downloaded are never used.

But there are many apps which are very useful aids to business and the interactive sessions at the Digital Exchange showed there were a number of agents who “know what they are doing” with new technology. It is those who won’t pay for apps who amaze Brewer: “You spend $1000 on a device, then say no to spending 99 cents on an app. They say, ‘I refuse to spend money to pay for an app’.”

REIV’s 2014 Digital Exchange will take place on November 11. This year’s event will focus on keeping a social marketing presence and staying relevant in the digital world. Don’t worry if you are a beginner, we’ll help you get started. There will also be advanced topic breakout sessions for those wanting to take their digital knowledge further. The program and enrolment details will soon be available on

Events Calendar

Reiv events to put in your diary

Business and pleasure: REIV members networking, learning, sharing ... and having heaps of fun along the way.




Business Brokers Knowledge Network Event


Senior Auctioneering Competition – Heats


Privacy Laws: 2014 changes and their impact on real estate agents


Graduation Night


Property Management Knowledge Network Event – Melbourne Metropolitan


Geelong Division Awards Night


Commercial & Industrial Knowledge Network Breakfast Event


Otways Division Meeting


Buyers Agents Knowledge Network Event


North Eastern Division Lunch


Ballarat Division Awards Night

May 2nd

Rural and Regional Knowledge Network Event


Property Management Knowledge Network Event – Melbourne Metropolitan


Women’s Series Lunch – Tracey Spicer


Young Agents Knowledge Network Breakfast Event Valuation Knowledge Network Event


Geelong Past Presidents’ Lunch


Leader Lunch Series – Shane Crawford


Commercial & Industrial Knowledge Network Event – Principals’ Forum


Property Management Knowledge Network Event – Bendigo

To find out more about upcoming REIV events or to make a reservation, please visit Events are listed there by category as well as in the full 2014 calendar, which can be downloaded as a PDF.

The Estate Agent ❘ March/April 2014


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Oc, opoTraining

Agents eager for edge to stay on top of marketing game New, advanced courses to build on skills as changing media landscape throws up constant challenges


ith more than 3000 real estate agencies and about three times as many agents in Victoria, it’s a tough and competitive business. So, how to stay ahead of the competition? While listings and sales are obvious answers, there is constant pressure to achieve them when traditional business methods – newspaper advertising, shopfront displays – are waning.  Agents not only market and sell properties, they run businesses, conduct auctions, manage property, lead teams, manage staff and come to grips with new technology and social media. It’s a steep learning curve. Recent international research predicting which new agents would succeed found a key factor was willingness to continuously learn.  Those most likely to succeed sought comprehensive training.  Those who failed generally did the minimum to get – and keep – their licence. The REIV has traditionally offered the

Crucial: Jim Stamatis, of Ray White Manningham, says understanding media platforms is essential.

Agents Representative Course and the estate agents licence course, Certificate IV in Property Services (real estate). But Jodi Sanders, REIV’s general manager, learning and development, says agents want more.  They want advanced courses to enhance their skills and broaden their business base. To meet this, REIV has undergone stringent government auditing to offer

six new, advanced courses this year. Three accredited Certificate IV courses beginning this year are Marketing, Small Business Management, and Business Sales – as well as Frontline Management which began last year. There is also a new Diploma of Conveyancing and, soon, a Certificate III in Business Administration. Ray White Manningham, winner of an REIV Residential Marketing Award for Excellence last year, welcomed the new marketing course. “Potential property buyers can become wary of an over-marketed home, while a poorly marketed home may not sell for months,” director Jim Stamatis said. “Ultimately, the agent is striving to sell your home for the highest price in the shortest time possible.  Understanding the various media platforms including digital, print and social channels of advertising will be crucial in developing a successful marketing campaign and targeting the identified audience.”

reiv’s new courses to boost agents’ skills z The Marketing course offers a choice of specialties including direct marketing, public relations or international marketing. Learn to plan promotional activities, conduct marketing communications for target audiences and improve client relationships. z Small Business Management is aimed at those wanting to open or who already have their own business.  Receive help to develop a business plan and vision, cash-flow projections and performance measurements.  The course can also lead to study

of areas such as human resources and management. z K  nowledge is selling power and that lies at the heart of the Business Sales course. Address the reasons for buyer reluctance, set sales targets, learn about cross-selling and up-selling (do you know the difference?).  Even body language is covered – are you deterring potential clients without even realising it? z F rontline Management is on offer because agents have told REIV their licensing qualification prepared them for work as an agent, but did not teach the leadership

skills to run a business, REIV’s Jodi Sanders says. “Just as a skilled teacher is not always a competent principal, so being a top sales agent does not supply all the skills needed to become a director in effective control or even open your own business.” z C  onveyancing offers another career transition path with some offices wanting to offer conveyancing and some wanting to better understand it.  Learn about property transactions, the legal system and practical business skills. The Estate Agent ❘ March/April 2014


Course Schedule

Courses to sharpen those skills The REIV continues to run a wide range of courses aimed at those involved in the commercial and residential sector of the property market. These courses specialise in sales, property management, owner corporation, business broking, auctions and more. We have scheduled the following CPD-approved courses, designed to help all members in maintaining their skills and knowledge base.

Upcoming Specialist Courses:

For more information, email or visit

Intermediate Owner’s Corporation Management

Upcoming Leadership and Best Practice courses:


Date of Class

Time of Class

Gender Smart Selling

Thursday, April 3, 2014

9am - 12.30pm

Managing Performance at Work

Thursday, April 3, 2014

1.30pm - 5pm

Sales Fundamentals


Date of Class

Time of Class

Introduction to Auctioneering

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

9am - 5pm

Commercial Property Management Thursday, April 10, 2014 Fundamentals

9am - 5pm

Preparing for, and presenting at, VCAT

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

9am - 5pm

Thursday, May 15, 2014

9am - 5pm

Thursday, April 24, 2014

9am - 5pm

Career Kick-start - Residential Property Management

Tuesday, May 6, 2014 Friday, May 9, 2014 Tuesday, June 3, 2014 Friday, June 6, 2014 Tuesday, May 20, 2014 Career Kick-start - Residential Sales Friday, May 23, 2014 Residential Property Management Tuesday, May 27, 2014 Refresher

9am - 5pm 9am - 5pm 9am - 5pm 1.30pm - 5pm

Commercial Property Management Wednesday, May 28, 2014 9am - 5pm Fundamentals Intermediate Residential Property Management

Friday, May 30, 2014

9am - 5pm

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 9am - 5pm

Advanced Owner’s Corporation Management

Monday, June 2, 2014

9am - 5pm

Coaching & Mentoring

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 9am - 5pm

Advanced Residential Property Management

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

9am - 5pm

Effective Conflict Resolution

Thursday, May 1, 2014

9am - 5pm

Advanced Auctioneering

Wednesday, June 11, 2014 9am - 5pm

Time Management

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

9am - 12.30pm

Recruit to Retain

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

1.30pm - 5pm

Thursday, June 12, 2014

9am - 5pm

Introduction to Owner’s Corporation Management

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

9am - 5pm

Effective Meetings

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

9am - 5pm

Better Business Broking

Wednesday, June 18 2014 9am - 5pm - Thursday, June 19, 2014

Customer Service

Thursday, June 26, 2014

9am - 5pm

Residential Sales Refresher

Friday, June 20, 2014


The Estate Agent ❘ March/April 2014

9am - 12.30pm

Course Schedule Specialist Business Broking

Better Business Broking (2-day course) A two-day program designed to provide a thorough understanding and knowledge of business broking procedures. Day 1, you will learn about the initial seller inquiry and the listing process. Day 2 will cover understanding the financial statements and accessing a realistic price.

Commercial & Industrial

Commercial Property Management Fundamentals   The Commercial Property Management Fundamentals course is designed for those residential property managers who have a portfolio of commercial properties or those property managers who wish to move into the field of commercial property management.

Property management network series held across the state Interested in topical, relevant and valuable issues? You are invited to attend our exclusive Property Management Knowledge Network series. We will cover a range of topics throughout the year which will take place in various locations across the state, including metropolitan and regional areas. You will have the opportunity to update your industry knowledge while networking with colleagues, peers and industry representatives. Melbourne Metro: May 7              Topic:

Emotional intelligence: learn how not to sweat the small stuff


4pm - 6pm (3.45pm for registrations)


Rydges on Swanston, 701 Swanson St, Carlton


$40 for REIV members $50 for non-members

Residential Property Management

Preparing for and Presenting at VCAT This one-day course will equip you with the tools and knowledge with which you can prepare and present a case for the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. This knowledge will assist you to prepare and proceed with a case at VCAT while upholding the professional standards of the real estate industry.

Bendigo: May 28                    

Residential Property Management Refresher

Geelong: August 13                 

This is a short course specifically designed to help you understand your compliance obligations concerning current documentation and will highlight the common faults made by property managers when completing forms.


3.30pm - 5.30pm (3.15pm for registrations)


$30 for REIV members $40 for non-members


3.30pm - 5.30pm (3.15pm for registrations)


Quality All Seasons Hotel, 171 - 183 McIvor Hwy, Bendigo


$30 for REIV members $40 for non-members

Melbourne Metro: August 28              Leadership and Best Practice


Cultural generations - are you doing and saying the right thing?

Gender Smart Selling


4pm - 6pm (3.45pm for registrations)

In this program, participants will explore gender differences and their implications for the real estate sales environment. This information will then be used to develop strategies that will enable them to refine their sales processes to increase their flexibility to more effectively meet the needs of prospective and existing clients and increase their sales effectiveness.


The Rocks: Morris Street, Williamstown


$40 for REIV members $50 for non-members

Wangaratta: October 9                    Time:

3.30pm - 5.30pm (3.15pm for registrations)


$30 for REIV members $40 for non-members

Coaching & Mentoring This workshop looks at effective ways to coach your employees and increase their productivity as well helping them realise their true potential. Setting goals and building relationships sits at the core of effective coaching. How well you coach relates directly to how well you are able to foster a successful working relationship with your employees.

Melbourne Metro: November 27                     Topic:

Q&A panel with experienced property managers


4pm - 6pm (3.45pm for registrations)


QPO: 186 High Street, Kew


$40 for REIV members $50 for non-members

The Estate Agent ❘ March/April 2014


Course Schedule

REIV Certificate IV in Property Services (Real Estate) Wednesday Classes – Beginning March 2014

Friday Classes – Beginning July 2014

9am-5pm at the Camberwell Campus

9am-5pm at the Camberwell Campus


Classes start

Date of Last Class


Classes start

Date of Last Class

Agency and Risk

March 19

April 2

Agency and Risk

July 4

July 18

Property Management

April 9

April 30

Property Management

July 25

August 15

Property Sales

May 7

May 28

Property Sales

August 22

September 12

Appraisal and Auction

June 18

July 9

Appraisal and Auction

October 3

October 24

Agency Management

July 16

August 6

Agency Management

November 7

November 28

Tuesday Classes – Beginning May 2014

Wednesday Classes – Beginning September 2014

9am-5pm at the Camberwell Campus

9am-5pm at the Camberwell Campus


Classes start

Date of Last Class


Classes start

Date of Last Class

Agency and Risk

May 13

May 27

Agency and Risk

September 3

September 17

Property Management

June 3

June 24

Property Management

September 24

October 15

Property Sales

July 1

July 22

Property Sales

October 22

November 12

Appraisal and Auction

August 12

September 2

Appraisal and Auction

November 19

December 10

Agency Management

September 9

September 30

Agency Management

January 28

February 18

Evening Classes – Beginning July 2014

Tuesday Classes – Beginning October 2014

6pm-9.30pm at the Camberwell Campus

9am-5pm at the Camberwell Campus


Classes start

Date of Last Class


Classes start

Date of Last Class

Agency and Risk

Tuesday, July 1

Thursday, July 17

Agency and Risk

October 28

November 18

Property Management

Tuesday, July 22

Thursday, August 14

Property Management

November 25

December 16

Property Sales

Tuesday, August 19

Thursday, September 11

Property Sales

January 27, 2015

February 27, 2015

Appraisal and Auction

Tuesday, September 30

Thursday, October 23

Appraisal and Auction

February 24, 2015

March 17, 2015

Agency Management

Tuesday, November 11

Tuesday, December 2

Agency Management

March, 24, 2015

April 14, 2015

REIV Certificate IV in Frontline Management BEGINNING April 2014

BEGINNING October 2014

Classes 9am-5pm at the Camberwell Campus

Classes 9am-5pm at the Camberwell Campus


Classes Date


Classes Date


Monday and Tuesday, April 14-15


Monday and Tuesday, October 20-21

Customer Service

Mondays, April 28 and May 5

Customer Service

Mondays, November 10-17


Monday, May 12


Monday, November 24


Mondays, May 19-26, and June 2 and 16


Mondays, December 1-8-15 and February 2, 2015


Mondays, June 23-30


Mondays, February 9-16, 2015


Mondays, July 7-14


Mondays, February 23 and March 2, 2015

BEGINNING August 2014 Classes 9am-5pm at the Camberwell Campus


Classes Date


Wednesday and Thursday, August 13-14

Customer Service

Thursdays, August 21-28


Thursday, September 4


Thursdays, September 11-25 and October 2


Thursdays, October 9-16


Thursdays, October 23-31


The Estate Agent ❘ March/April 2014 – your first source for REIV events in 2014

Oc, opo Marketing Rebecca Griffiths, T20

Making a name for yourself: Why branding succeeds or fails


Source: Virgin Australia

he truth is, your customers are only going to stick around until something better comes along. There’s simply too much choice in today’s market. To survive, you have to make sure your brand is either liked or loved; and to lead, you have to be trusted. Ultimately, your brand needs to mean something to your customers. You want to be in the position where your market calls you. Not the other way around. To achieve this, you need to have a complete understanding of branding. In many ways, branding means the same thing for real estate agents as it does for every business. It helps define what you do, how you do it and why: why does your organisation exist? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? Why should anyone care? You’d be surprised at how many companies struggle to answer these questions, or simply choose to ignore them. Most don’t know that their “why” is actually the key to their success. Your market needs to be aware of what makes you special. Customers need a reason to call you over the other guy, and keep calling. That’s your “why”. Someone who gets it right is Richard Branson. When he launched his airline he asked himself the question: “Why should flying be so boring?” The brand ethos of Virgin is summed up in this simple strategic focus. Over the years, we’ve noticed branding has become one of the most overused and misunderstood terms in the business world. Put simply, your brand identity results from every single experience or contact a person has with your company, whether it is over the phone, through a magazine, at auction or on social media, for example. If you’re part of a large real estate corporation, your branding will be established at a national level. However, your customers don’t see you as a

Richard Branson: Virgin is one of the most recognised brands.

whole, they see the office they walk into. That’s where they experience your brand. So it’s important you live the brand values at every touch point. To keep this top of mind, imagine what your customers would say about your business if you weren’t in the room. Strong branding helps you focus internally on the activities, initiatives and behaviours you really value.

‘Branding isn’t difficult, yet, remarkably, we’ve seen companies ignore their branding completely’ It attracts customers, talent and capital. It prioritises projects and programs to help you avoid having to make it up as you go along. All this creates consistency that, in turn, builds impact. Let’s take a look at what great brands have in common. They excel at what customers truly desire, their brand stays relevant over time and their pricing strategy is based on their customer’s perception of value, not their own. Their brand is properly positioned, their brand hierarchy makes sense, their brand is consistent across all marketing

programs and they make use of a full suite of marketing activities. They give their brand proper support over time and they regularly monitor the sources of brand equity with ongoing customer feedback and research. Branding isn’t difficult, yet, remarkably, we’ve seen companies ignore their branding completely, effectively relinquishing their brand ownership to the market. Their brand is then out of their control, which is dangerous. To proactively build your brand identity, you must have these four foundational elements: a set of relevant, consistent core messages; a visual brand identity of logo, fonts, colours and imagery that effectively communicates the essence of a brand; an agreed set of brand behaviours; and an integrated plan to communicate the brand. In summary, branding not only has to tell people what you do and how you do it, but most importantly, it must continue to sell people on why you do it. “Why” gives your customers a reason to like, love and ultimately trust your brand. Once you have that, you have loyalty. Then you’re not just surviving, you’re leading. Take charge of your branding today. The Estate Agent ❘ March/April 2014



Learning takes a leap forward under energetic GM Jodi Sanders was an executive with a heavy-hitter weight-loss company before employing her leadership skills with REIV



The Estate Agent ❘ March/April 2014

Bill McAuley

orking for a weight-loss company and developing training programs for real estate agents may seem worlds apart. Not so, says Jodi Sanders. Jodi, REIV General Manager, Learning and Development, has spent much of her career in training and executive roles with Jenny Craig. “With weight loss you help people to achieve dreams and it is very much the same thing in real estate. This is about training the agents who help people live the Australian dream,” she says. Brooklyn-born Jodi, who grew up in New York and New Jersey, joined REIV 18 months ago. After leaving her Melbourne-based international directorship with Jenny Craig in 2006 after a change of ownership, she headed management education with the Australian Institute of Management. She then developed her own organisational consulting, training and coaching company. Jodi worked with many Australian and International organisations across commercial and not-for-profit sectors. The REIV was a client. So, too, was Channel 7, including its AFL production team, and while helping it develop leadership and communication skills she became a football fan, supporting husband Mike’s team. Although there is no sign of black-and-white memorabilia in her office, she admits: “I am now a oneeyed Collingwood supporter.” Jodi’s early working life was a far cry from her present business leadership and training role. After studying theatre and stage management to masters level at university, she taught acting to models from a division of the internationally renowned Elite agency,

Jodi Sanders: Training real estate agents who help people live the Australian dream.

and worked as a talent scout. She began in sales for Jenny Craig in 1989 when the company had been open only two weeks in New York, becoming a manager after seven weeks, it became

Qualifications make you more marketable and enable you to pursue other avenues so busy her six predecessors couldn’t handle the pressure. She worked her way up to Director of Operations and Training for Jenny Craig International – that is, Australia and New Zealand –

moving to Melbourne to take up the post in 2003. But it wasn’t her first involvement with Australia. A casting agent who saw one of her university plays invited the cast to be in “a little Australian film – payment was $20 and a free lunch”. She rounded up a group of friends who headed for the Brooklyn Tunnel shoot in five cars. “My car got lost. We thought, well nobody will ever hear of that movie anyway and so we spent the day in the city shopping. The movie turned out to be Crocodile Dundee, so lots of my friends from uni are in it, except the ones in the car with me.” After 17 years with Jenny Craig, key

Oc,Management opo

lessons remain with her: “I learned how to focus individuals to determine their motivation and identify their needs and that is something I consider to be one of my strengths today. “I developed great habits and positive leadership skills,” she says. “I have always thought that what has made me a successful leader is the belief that training and developing your staff is one of the core things that allows them to feel they are in an environment where they can do their best work.” In keeping with that is her desire to ensure REIV’s programs and events are top quality. They all count towards continuing professional development (CPD) points – something Jodi believes is critical. But she favours flexibility. “We recognise that learning comes in myriad ways. We have expanded the CPD program to include events and even self-guided learning, for example writing articles that could be published for the REIV or serving on REIV committees.” Jodi has taught corporate governance in an MBA program but, in keeping with her belief in the long-term value of qualifications, she recently completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors graduate course. She did so by correspondence and empathises with

‘My car got lost. We thought, well nobody will ever hear of that movie anyway and so we spent the day in the city shopping. The movie turned out to be Crocodile Dundee’ those without the time to attend class. “Qualifications make you more marketable and enable you to pursue other avenues, so I will ensure REIV increases those opportunities for members, wherever they are,” she says. Jodi is passionate about making REIV courses specific to the real estate industry, saying: “Everything we are doing is about making people more proficient at the work they do and advancing the profession.” Since she began at REIV, it has added seven nationally accredited advanced qualifications and more than 75 short courses. Attendance at events is up and Jodi has revamped two of the REIV’s signature events for the year – the extremely well-received REIV conference and the sell-out gala awards night. “These awards give Victorian agents the chance to celebrate their profession and their achievements,” Jodi says. Jodi sees real estate as a career that is possible at any age – REIV’s oldest student, who completed an agents


representative course, was 80. And she really enjoys and speaks highly of the agents she deals with: “I find most agents very responsive to learning, warm and caring, often going out of their way to support charities.” There is an emphasis on helping families and their local communities, says Jodi, who loves to cook for and spend time with her own family – husband Mike, son Zachary, 18, and daughter Kylie, 13. (She also has two stepchildren, Corinne, 18, and Tayla, 16). As a goal-oriented person, Jodi appreciates those who work hard and have the tenacity to want to achieve results. She loves her REIV role and hopes to build on it by sitting on boards and continuing to remain open to learning new things. “I believe expanding leadership skills requires building self-awareness and adding to knowledge and I am committed to encouraging REIV members in every step of their professional journey,” Jodi says.

Alex Dimitriades

The greatest ever play about real estate Exclusive REIV Member Offer: Enjoy two free drinks and a show program with your two full price tickets. Use promo code ‘REIV’ when booking and simply collect your vouchers at the Box Office. Corporate entertainment and sponsorship options are also available. Contact Tiffany Lucas at MTC on 8688 0950.

Major Partner Opening Night

5 July – 9 August

The Estate Agent ❘ March/April 2014 GlenGarry-Real Estate Inst-QPH AD_FA.indd 1


13/03/2014 1:27 pm


Sam Cawthorn, who lost his right arm after a near-fatal car crash, says struggling businesses have plenty to learn from his experiences. Amy Birchall reports

Look for silver lining

Sam Cawthorn: After a horror crash, the 26-year-old Launceston dad was not expected to walk again, but he overcame his shocking injuries – including losing an arm – and gives motivational talks on how to turn adversity into advantage.


n business, a crisis might involve losing a major client or key staff member, or receiving negative press coverage that impacts on sales. For businessperson, keynote speaker and philanthropist Sam Cawthorn, crisis involved falling asleep at the wheel and colliding with a truck with such force the right side of his car was shorn off


The Estate Agent ❘ March/April 2014

and paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene. Although the then 26-yearold Launceston father of two was eventually resuscitated, his right arm was amputated and his right leg was severely damaged. Cawthorn suffered six broken ribs, a lacerated liver, a punctured kidney and

collapsing lungs. He was told he may never walk again. Rather than dwell on living with a permanent disability, Cawthorn saw an opportunity to create a better life than the one he had before the accident. Seven years later and fitted with a bionic arm controlled by a smartphone app, he’s using those experiences to


‘We all need to realise that everyone goes through tough times, whether that’s a financial crisis, a natural disaster or a conflict at work. Everyone goes through crises. The toughest of adversities can ignite growth, turn crisis to opportunity’ show businesses how to use crises as opportunities for growth. As an expert in resilience and corporate turnarounds, Cawthorn has worked with brands such as Google, Exxon Mobil and Toyota. He says transforming a corporate or personal crisis into success isn’t as difficult as it might seem. “We all need to realise that everyone goes through tough times, whether that’s a financial crisis, a natural disaster or a conflict at work. Everyone goes though crises,” Cawthorn says. “The toughest of adversities can ignite growth, turn crisis into opportunity.” He says some of history’s greatest companies started in financial recessions, and points to wellknown brands such as Procter & Gamble, CNN, Hyatt Hotels and IBM as examples of businesses that were started during economic downturns. “More recently, the company that was on target to make $1 billion in sales faster than any other business in history, Groupon, was started in 2008 in the midst of the global financial crisis,” he says. Cawthorn is also the author of Bounce Forward (Wiley, 2013), in which he shows managers and individuals how to use crisis to their advantage. “The core message of the book is that overcoming crises isn’t about bouncing back,” he says. “I have a problem with that term, because it implies that we’re moving backwards rather than towards a better outcome. “In my own life, my rehab team focused on getting me back to my previous job, and the same environment. “But something had changed in me, not only physically but emotionally,

too. I wanted to focus on going forward.” He says many businesspeople struggle to adopt a similar attitude. “I once heard Gerry Harvey, CEO of furniture retailer Harvey Norman,

speak about waiting for the good old days to return,” Cawthorn says. “He suggested that all businesses run in cycles; business people just need to hang on and the good times will return and they can bounce back. “But too often we look at the good old days. Businesses want to return to pre-global financial crisis days. “That’s not going to happen. Stop looking at bouncing back and start bouncing forward.”

sam cawthorn’s four steps on how to bounce forward, not back: 1. Crisis creates opportunity Sam Cawthorn says all crises create opportunity, but taking advantage of this requires redirecting focus on to what’s important. He uses his own experiences dealing with phantom limb pain as an example: “If I close my eyes I can feel every single one of my fingers on both arms. I can feel my wrists and my elbows as though it’s all still there, but of course it isn’t”, he says. “My right arm was amputated after the accident. “Sometimes it feels like the worst pins and needles and gets very painful. To deal with that, I had to redirect my focus. What we focus on is what we get, so if you focus on the pain – and everyone experiences pain in some way – of course it’s going to hurt. “I purposefully look for ways that I can be stimulated and motivated in other areas so that I no longer have to feel or experience that level of pain.” 2. Proximity is power Choose your employees and advisers wisely. Cawthorn says you are the average of your five closest friends, and that this applies to just about everything in life, including energy, productivity, bank balance and even weight. “In business your success will reflect that of the average of the five closest

business colleagues you spend the most time with.” 3. Leverage happiness that builds success Cawthorn says that positivity is the catalyst for success. “When we are positive, our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient and productive,” he says. “It’s no surprise then that happy managers are the most productive and successful.” Cawthorn says optimists see events and situations as temporary. “Even in the midst of crisis these people believe all things will pass and tomorrow will be a brighter day. Just because something unpleasant is happening now does not resign that person to a life of distress.” 4. Bounce forward, not backwards Cawthorn uses office photocopier supply companies, such as Xerox, as examples of businesses that have successfully bounced forward. “We’re seeing big changes in office environments as many organisations choose to go paperless. Printer companies had to reinvent themselves, and now they’re looking at multi-purpose solution-based services,” he says. “They’ve reinvented themselves to comply with changing times, and that’s absolutely crucial.” The Estate Agent ❘ March/April 2014


Member News

Low-cost, speedy resolution to disputes

Seminar guests show keen interest in role of Small Business Commissioner and lease negotiations


he role of the Small Business Commissioner, dispute resolution and lease negotiation were among the topics addressed by speakers at the REIV Commercial and Industrial Chapter’s Retail Leases breakfast seminar late last year. The breakfast seminar sold out within two weeks and the event was so successful the chapter has decided to schedule at least one of its breakfast meetings each year on this topic. Richard Simpson, who chairs the Commercial and Industrial Chapter Committee, hosted the breakfast and provided practical insights into retail leases. The guest speaker was Mark Schramm, senior manager with the Office of the Victorian Small Business Commissioner (VSBC), which aims to promote greater fairness in business. He spoke about the office and its speedy and low-cost dispute resolution process. The VSBC is responsible under the

Talking points: From left, Andrew Kennedy, Richard Simpson and Mark Schramm.

Retail Leases Act for dispute resolution. It also reviews government practices, investigates small business complaints and helps in resolving disputes. (See for more information.) The event also covered legal

aspects of commercial leases and the importance of their preparation and negotiation. Andrew Kennedy, a partner with Gadens Lawyers who specialises in commercial property transactions, led the discussion on the topic.

POLICY: Commercial Licensing battle with government REIV is extremely concerned about Victorian Government proposals that a real estate agent’s licence will no longer be required by commercial property professionals conducting large transactions. One of 36 anti-red tape reforms announced in January, it would be introduced this year and allow negotiation of leases and sales without a licence under the Estate Agents Act 1980. REIV has been negotiating with the government, including Treasurer Michael O’Brien and Red Tape Commissioner John Lloyd. Licensing is not only in the interests of members, but consumers too. 38

The Estate Agent ❘ March/April 2014

Licensed agents have extensive training to handle commercial sales, including dealing with contracts, legal and ethical requirements, minimising consumer risk, private treaty sales and conflict management. Many vendors do not have experience in large transactions and using a licensed agent provides a safety net. Payments for property sales are held in trust accounts, offering greater surety for vendors. Without an agent they are exposed to high financial risk and the potential for unlawful behaviour. Licensing was introduced in 1922 to protect consumers and create uniformity across the industry. The need for a licence

to sell residential, retail, industrial and commercial property has increased the levels of professionalism in the industry. New entrants would not be bound by the REIV code of conduct which promotes ethical behaviour. REIV is committed to accredited, wellrun, consistent industry-wide training for every stage of a career in property.  It is disappointed that it was not consulted in advance of the announcement of these proposals – a highly unusual situation.  In fact, REIV learnt of the plan only following media coverage and is now doing its utmost to have this move reversed.

Oc, Member opo News

Spreading wings can cause a flap

Young agents warned it takes more than sales skills to build own business


n agency principal who began in real estate as a personal assistant at 19 has warned successful young sales agents face pressure to open their own agency, but that is not always in their best interests. “We need to educate the next generation of people who want to open their own business,” Kristy Bartlett, general manager of Ray White Victoria/ Tasmania told EA. “I think that everyone thinks because they are such a good salesperson they should (open their own business) because everyone says, ‘When are you going to?’,” Bartlett says. “But sometimes they are better not to.” Bartlett was a guest speaker at the REIV Young Agents Chapter’s recent future leaders seminar in Melbourne, where members heard from the new generation of agents who have recently bought or set up a business. Bartlett, who became a director at 24, says the transition is difficult. “You have been the super salesperson who gets all the pats on the back to being the person who gives the pats on the back and you don’t really get any training.” Most agents wanting to open their own business thought they should do so in the area they were currently working because they knew the market and had a good database. “But that can cause conflict. I had a really good relationship with my previous agency so I opted to go elsewhere.” Bartlett told the seminar key factors causing young agents to fail in their own businesses were lack of a business plan, being under-capitalised and inadequate records systems, stock control and market analysis. Poor staff, lack of vendor-paid advertising, lack of competitive advantage and insufficient tax planning could also cause difficulties. Great principals were great leaders. They must be able to recruit, retain and develop their people, she said. “Earn the respect of your staff, they will then

Real estate insights: Guest speakers, from left, Andrew Scafidi, Michael Choi, Lilly Luculano, Jonathon O’Donoghue, Ash Marton and Zac Karvoun.

do anything for you. If you are not in love with your business, reignite it or get out. It won’t change by itself.” She also warned of the need to anticipate change in your business or face the pain of having it forced on you. Other seminar speakers included Zac Karvoun, from Alex Kar Bon Real Estate, who provided an insight into the right time to set up your own business, and Jonathon O’Donoghue from O’Donoghues First National. He spoke about buying into a family business and

the challenges of dealing with longserving directors. Auctioneer Michael Choi talked about his successful business, McDonald Real Estate Aspendale Gardens, then interviewed Ash Marton and Lilly Luculano from Ash Marton Realty. They emphasised the importance of employing a mentor and creating networking groups. Andrew Scafidi from Macquarie Bank wrapped up with information about the costs of setting up a business, arranging loans and managing cashflow.

members council: get involved The Members Council – made of up of representatives from each division, chapter and committee, along with the CEO and board – has done a selfassessment. The primary purpose was to open up communication between the board and members. The council meets about every six weeks with what chairman Matt Nichols calls “the killer topic” as the main focus. The topic is chosen by the council. The last one was “Determining the future and structure of the REIV divisions and chapters” and the next will be “Creating clear guidelines for how

a property should be presented at settlement”. Matt Nichols says there is considerable experience on the council but what is lacking is younger members’ perspective. “The younger members are the future of the REIV and we need their participation and insights, because younger members have different opinions, views and abilities. We really need young members to get involved. You could come along as a special guest to get an insight into what Members Council is all about,” he says. If you would like to attend, email Matt Nichols at The Estate Agent ❘ March/April 2014


Member News

Ditch the image, Geelong’s on the brink of big things Victoria’s second biggest city doesn’t deserve negative thinking, says the REIV’s Geelong Division chairperson Newly elected Geelong Division members: (from left) Samantha Davison (vice-chairperson), Joe Grgic (chairperson), Jason Barnett and Daniel Lamanna. Renee Reynolds absent.


eelong is on the brink of some great times: that’s the view of new REIV Geelong Division chairperson Joe Grgic, who says Victoria’s second biggest city’s negative image is ill-deserved. Grgic, of Harcourt’s North Geelong, leads the newly elected Geelong Division committee which is keen to see misconceptions about Geelong countered so buyers will be attracted to its affordable property. It is also developing an events program aimed at the city’s many young agents. “There is a whole generation coming through,” Grgic says.  “With changes in technology and the way business is being done, which has dramatically changed over the past 10 years compared to the 20 before, it is about being relevant. “There are many issues in Geelong


The Estate Agent ❘ March/April 2014

‘Over recent history a lot of agents have felt there is not a need to have REIV (in Geelong), whereas I feel there is a huge need. For any professional industry you need a professional body’ that can be discussed, from planning and business development to what is happening and why some people are less positive.” The division, which celebrated its centenary last year, has for many years relied on its traditions and a hardworking committee, in particular John Grabyn and Gina Tobolov. With these valuable members standing down, the committee was faced with the question,

“What are the current members’ needs?”. “Unfortunately, over recent history a lot of agents have felt there is not a need to have the REIV [in Geelong], whereas I feel that there is a huge need. For any professional industry you need a professional body,” Grgic says. “Some franchise groups do their own in-house training, but we aim to show them the value they can get out of the REIV.” Training activities and events, to be informative and fun, will be held at new venues and this year’s Geelong Division Marketing Awards will offer new categories and greater diversity. Traditional venues have been set aside and replaced with vibrant new sites. The Geelong Division’s 2014 events calendar began with a March 6 property management information session with representatives from VCAT and up-and-coming property managers talking about the importance of social media and personal profiling.  There will be an event focusing on self-managed super funds to provide useful insight for those looking at long-term protection and investment.  Technology will be the important topic at a meeting later in the year. The traditional past presidents/ chairpersons luncheon will be held on May 16.


Great offers available for REIV Members. To find out how we can help your agency grow, give us a call on 1300 695 645 or email

Best Practice

Crackdown puts trust obligations under spotlight C

Agents risk jail and fines if they misuse or fail to adequately manage their trust accounts

onsumer Affairs Victoria is stepping up its actions to ensure agents comply with their trust account obligations and that the interests of property buyers and sellers are protected. Agents who manage trust accounts must comply with the requirements of the Estate Agents Act 1980 and associated regulations in meeting their trust account responsibilities – and most do. Three who failed to do so have been jailed in the past 12 months – a sharp reminder of the serious legal consequences that can result from misusing trust account funds.

Jail for serious breaches

In November, Craigieburn agent Konstantinos Balasis was sentenced at Broadmeadows Magistrates Court to 12 months’ imprisonment, with a non-parole term of six months, and ordered to pay more than $200,000 compensation, after pleading guilty to trust account fraud offences. Mr Balasis took $346,900 from the agency trust account and failed to return it, and failed to pay home buyers and sellers deposits totalling $91,495 that he was holding on their behalf. He was ordered to pay $203,992 in compensation to the Victorian Property Fund, and $1400 costs. Numurkah estate agent Daniel McNamara was also sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment, with nine months suspended, for trust account offences. 42

The Estate Agent ❘ March/April 2014

‘If you are not managing your accounts properly, or misusing trust money, you can expect to be found out and to face the legal consequences’

The 40-year-old agent pleaded guilty to breaching the Act by fraudulently using about $155,000 in trust money. He was sentenced at a Melbourne Magistrates’ Court hearing on January 30, where Magistrate Mary Kay Robertson noted he would have faced two years’ imprisonment if he had not pleaded guilty.

Both Mr Balasis and Mr McNamara are appealing their sentences. In December, property manager Melinda McIntyre was sentenced in Ringwood Magistrates’ Court to four months’ imprisonment, wholly suspended for 12 months, for misappropriating $73,800 from a trust account. Victoria Police

Best Practice

prosecuted Ms McIntyre after a referral from Consumer Affairs Victoria.

new app a helping hand for renters

Trust account integrity

Consumer Affairs Victoria has released a new app, RentRight, which enables renters to communicate with agents via an iPhone or Android mobile device. Property managers should be aware of the app as it is available for tenants to use now. The new app allows renters to: ❚ Send template emails on issues such as repairs, including the ability to send photos; ❚ Budget to move into a property using a cost calculator; ❚ Get general information on renters’ responsibilities. RentRight has been made available on the App Store and Google Play. For more information about the app visit

Maintaining and managing the integrity of trust accounts, as required by law, helps to ensure public trust in the industry and protects consumers. If you are not managing your accounts properly, or misusing trust money, you can expect to be found out and to face the legal consequences. On 23 January, VCAT ordered City Residential Real Estate Pty Ltd and its director, Riad Mindraoui, to pay a total of $7500 after failing to properly supervise the agency’s trust accounts. The tribunal found that as the officer in effective control, Mr Mindraoui had failed to supervise the actions of his son, Nadim Mindraoui, who was working as the agency’s accounts manager when he misappropriated $160,000 from the agent’s trust accounts between December 2010 and April 2012. The tribunal ordered that City Residential Real Estate pay $2500 and Riad Mindraoui pay $5000 to the Victorian Property Fund. In July 2013 at Sunshine Magistrates’ Court, Nadim Mindraoui was sentenced to a community corrections order for 15 months, including a requirement to perform 60 hours of unpaid community service for trust account offences. Agents who operate trust accounts that hold money (for example, rental payments or deposits from the sale of property) during a financial year must: ❚ Have those accounts audited by a qualified auditor by September 30 (unless the Director of Consumer Affairs has agreed in writing to a variation of that date); and ❚ Submit the report to the director within 10 days of receiving it. Failing to lodge audit reports may

If you manage trust accounts, you can expect to be visited regularly and have your accounts scrutinised result in your licence being suspended or cancelled.

A risk-based approach

Consumer Affairs Victoria adopts a risk-based approach to ensuring trust account requirements are met within the industry. If you manage trust accounts, you can expect to be visited regularly and have your accounts scrutinised. New agents – who may be more likely to make errors and be unsure of their requirements – are particularly targeted for education about their responsibilities. Failing to submit a trust account audit within the required time frame is an offence and is considered a risk factor which results in further action by the regulator. Consumer Affairs Victoria recently sent letters to more than 350 agents with overdue audit reports, reminding them of their requirements and the

possible consequences of failing to meet them. In its letter, Consumer Affairs Victoria required agents to confirm in writing, within 21 days: ❚ Whether they had their trust account(s) audited and if so, by whom; ❚ If their trust account(s) had not been audited, when they would be and by whom. Options available to the Director of Consumer Affairs to respond to agents who fail to meet their legal responsibilities include taking enforcement action without further notice.

You can find further information about running your estate agency and your trust account responsibilities at consumer. or by contacting Consumer Affairs Victoria on 1300 737 030. The Estate Agent ❘ March/April 2014



Keep claims from causing you trouble Paperwork, inspections and addressing complaints can help you avoid liability for property management issues. By Nancy Rainbird


here have always been claims arising from property management, most recently a rise in claims involving railing and balcony collapses. Others include slips and falls during open-for-inspections and agents acting outside the scope of their management agreements. As Realcover’s Claim Manager, I have seen many claims that can be easily avoided by taking a few simple measures. Here is a summary of some claim examples and my top tips for avoiding liability.

Balcony and railings

There has been a marked increase in the number of reported injuries due to faulty or collapsed railings and balconies. As it is the owner’s responsibility to ensure the integrity of the structure and it is not always easy to detect rotten, decaying structures,

agents should be very vigilant about regular inspections and following up on any complaints. Any suspect areas should be investigated by an appropriate expert – write to the owner recommending

‘There has been a marked increase in the number of reported injuries due to faulty or collapsed railings’ this course of action be undertaken. If there is any chance of injury to tenants or visitors the area should not be used and the owners told that immediate rectification is necessary. Keep a paper trail of all emails to the tenants, tradespeople and owners. Making sure you follow up on your requests promptly is the key to a

successful defence. In the case of older structures you may periodically ask the owner to organise an inspection by a builder or engineer. Realcover has seen claims where the agent is waiting on tradesmen’s quotes and in the meantime an accident has happened. Agents need to ensure the area is not used and if the owner won’t co-operate, you should consider ending the management agreement.

Slips and falls

Slips and falls at tenanted properties and during open house inspections should generally be the owner’s responsibility, but it does not stop third parties joining agents to the proceedings. Be sure to point out any obvious hazards to the owner and ensure that owners have their own public liability.

Top tips ❚ Follow up on all requests for maintenance. Pass these on to the owner and recommend the use of experts for suspect structural areas. ❚ Complete documentation is the key for a successful defence in any court proceedings, so make sure it is in writing or detailed file notes are kept – do not rely on giving verbal advice. ❚ Place liability back on owners when they refuse to invest in repairs and/ or maintenance by recording your recommendations in writing ❚ Ensure owners, contractors and handymen all have their own public liability insurance so it does not come 44

The Estate Agent ❘ March/April 2014

back on your professional indemnity policy. Make sure all certificates of insurance are updated annually. ❚ S tick to your scope under your management agreement – you are not accountants and/or tax advisers – all owners should make their own inquiries and ascertain their liability for land tax and statutory charges. ❚M  ake use of the modern technology that now exists to protect you against a claim and manage your risks by investing in the updated software – there are now some excellent apps available that can enhance time efficiencies and reduce risks.


New skills and new friends at REIV members’ events Members benefit from valuable networking opportunities and the chance to hear from some of the nation’s best speakers Recent events have included: the API/REIV State of the Market, REIV Women’s Series featuring guest speaker Christine Nixon, REIV Breakfast Club featuring Lindsay Tanner, The Digital Exchange and the Commerical & Industrial Luncheon.

Networking: Clockwise from top left: Christine Nixon presented at the REIV Women’s Series; participants learn news skills at the Digital Conference; Martin Reynolds of Jones Lang LaSalle; Nerida Conisbee of Colliers International; Robert Papaleos of Charter Keck Cramer; new connections are made at a recent REIV event; Neville Sanders, REIV President.

The Estate Agent ❘ March/April 2014



Living at the sharp end of the diabetes epidemic Long hours, poor diet and irregular exercise drastically increase the risk of contracting of type-2 diabetes. By Tom Skotnicki



The Estate Agent ❘ March/April 2014


t would take remarkably selective hearing to be unaware of the diabetes crisis affecting Victorians. The latest surveys indicate that well over half of the adult population are obese and therefore at elevated risk of suffering from diabetes. At the same time almost half suggest they have no concern about contracting diabetes.  It appears to be a disease that, because of its prevalence, is no longer feared by those at risk. Everyone is aware of someone who is coping with diabetes through pills or in more extreme cases insulin injections. There are also the fortunate few who have been able to avoid type-2 diabetes through diet and lifestyle changes. Over the years there has been a focus on juvenile type-1 diabetes, with many type-1 sufferers finding it difficult to lead normal lives as they struggle to manage their insulin dependency. That focus has to some extent been replaced following a tsunami of type-2 diabetes cases, representing about 85 per cent of all new diabetic diagnoses.  Type-1 diabetes remains debilitating for those who suffer from it and those who care for them. However, in many cases type-2 diabetes is just as serious.  Many people are undiagnosed and for some, drug regimes or insulin can insulate their bodies from the worst of the ravages. However, diabetes is the most common cause in Australia of amputations and can cause a range of symptoms including fatigue, loss of feeling in extremities, impaired healing from wounds, erectile dysfunction, blurred vision, leg cramps, heart disease, kidney disease and persistent infections. Diabetes Australia calculates that

The answer lies in developing a support network either within the workplace or among other agents for those with risk factors or who have already contracted the disease about 1.7 million Australians have diabetes and by 2031, 3.3 million Australians will have type-2 diabetes. A recent follow-up study into obesity, diabetes and longevity calculated the annual cost of the disease at more than $10 billion. Those most at risk of type-2 diabetes are those over 45, overweight and with elevated blood pressure. Family history is a high risk factor as are certain ethnicities. However, the risk profile is constantly changing with the rates of obesity and there are now many cases of children with type-2 diabetes. For real estate agents who often work long hours, eat irregularly and take

too little exercise, the risks are all too apparent. The answer lies in developing a support network either within the workplace or among other agents for those with risk factors or who have already contracted the disease. The exchange of ideas, availability of exercise partners, and discussion of diet and medication options can be enormously helpful. The problem with diabetes is that in many cases it becomes a lifelong regimen of measuring blood glucose levels, limited dietary options, taking regular exercise, controlling weight and often injecting insulin. It is easy to fall off the wagon and like most chronic diseases the effects may take some days or weeks to become fully apparent. The result is that glucose (a type of sugar) is often running around the bloodstream damaging cells because there is insufficient insulin being generated by the pancreas to turn it into energy. Alternatively, if too much insulin is injected to counter the effects of the higher blood glucose then the glucose levels can fall dangerously low, further compromising a range of organs.  Agents need to remain on the right side of the equation by being diabetes vigilant and encouraging their staff to do the same.   On the business side, the rise in the number of diabetics will increase demand for assisted living accommodation and for single-level homes. Tom Skotnicki is a type-2 (insulin dependent) diabetic.


REIV Mission Statement: To lead and represent the real estate industry and to advance the professionalism of its members.

What We Do


The Real Estate Institute of Victoria has been the peak professional association for the Victorian real estate industry since 1936.


More than 2000 real estate agencies in Victoria are Members of the REIV. Members specialise in all facets of real estate, including residential sales, commercial and industrial sales, auctions, business broking, buyers agency, property management, owners’ corporations management and valuations. REIV Members are located in city, rural and regional areas.

Twitter LinkedIn Search ‘REIV Networking Group’ Facebook Access REIV members rewards Book an event Register for a training course Access REIV sales data Purchase REIV forms Access REIV insurance services

Find out more about the REIV Telephone 03 9205 6666 ❘ Facsimile 03 9205 6699 ❘ Email Victorian country members only 1800 061 218

The Estate Agent ❘ March/April 2014



Great offers available for REIV Members. To find out how we can help your agency grow, give us a call on 1300 695 645 or email

The Estate Agent, March-April 2014  

The Estate Agent is the official publication of the Real Estate Institute of Victoria Ltd.

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