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Phone 888-461-3930 | Fax 310-751-7068 | No portion of this issue may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without prior consent of the publisher. Top Agent Magazine is published by Feature Publications GA, Inc. Although precautions are taken to ensure the accuracy of published materials, Top Agent Magazine cannot be held responsible for opinions expressed or facts supplied by its authors. To subscribe or change address, send inquiry to Published in the U.S.


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Business Growth Hack: Absorb Your Clients’ Stress! Your business coach or a CRM software sales rep has probably described a number of products or services to help you grow your business. But sometimes the easiest way to increase the deals you’re closing is to simply be present for your clients. In doing so, you’ll find have the power to decrease the stress they feel. And when you decrease their stress, you increase your value to them, leading to new referrals and organic growth. 4

You may be thinking, “I have enough stress; how can I find the emotional bandwidth for other people’s stress?” But consider this: As their day-to-day point of contact in this life decision, you are already a strong presence in your client’s lives. Why not allow yourself to be the only seemingly calm part of this process? By asking them what’s on their mind, by truly listening, by showing that you truly understand and even by rolling up

Top Agent Magazine

Top Agent Magazine

your sleeves to relieve some of their grunt work, you’ll prove yourself invaluable. Think of yourself as the equivalent of an anti-anxiety pill to your clients. All you have to do is form a few easy habits.

Laura and Raj, their agent and their loan officer soon came to learn that Laura’s 80-year-old mother may eventually move in with the family. This news not only helped the agent best meet Laura’s and Raj’s needs for a new home; it gave both the agent and the loan officer opportunities to go above and beyond for their clients. Their REALTOR® connected Laura with a senior services nonprofit near Laura’s mom’s current home that may be able to assist the family. And their loan officer outlined various, detailed options to Laura and Raj make smart, long-term financial decisions. Meanwhile, the agent and loan officer earned the trust of Laura and Raj, who felt less worried about the future.

Listen – really listen – with patience Behind every home purchase or sale is a person or a family with a uniquely complex set of needs, motivations, objectives and priorities. Asking the right questions and truly listening to the answers are the easiest ways to learn how to make clients’ lives easier. In doing so, you not only show that you’re interested in them as people, but you help yourself discover ways to surprise your clients with service. Take “Laura and Raj,” for instance – a couple in their 30s who wanted a larger home because their family of five outgrew their first home. By patiently getting to know Top Agent Magazine

Empathize Don’t be afraid to describe your own personal experiences as a homebuyer or seller, explaining how you felt at the time; let your client know you “get” it. The agent who is willing to open up and let buyers and

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sellers know that they personally understand their needs and concerns will connect with clients quickly, break down barriers and help the process move smoothly. Chayan Alavi, Broker/Owner of Alavi Agency in Long Beach, California, challenges himself and his team to ensure that every action of every day serves others. “If we can put ourselves in other people’s shoes with empathy, then we become stellar professionals and great human beings, too,” he says. “I like knowing that we remove the sales pitch from real estate and make it all about the customer.” Chayan and his team focus on customer advocacy and building trust. But they don’t take trust for granted. Instead, they know trust must be earned and nurtured over time.

Roll up your sleeves “You can’t be afraid to do anything!” says Matthew Todd of d’aprile properties in the Chicago area. “People know there’s nothing I won’t do to get the job done.” He has 6

mowed clients’ lawns, walked dogs and personally cleaned someone’s 8,000-squarefoot, $2 million home for a showing one day after his seller left the house. Two days before another closing, Matthew’s client was unable to move large amounts of unneeded furniture out of the house he sold. No problem! Matthew joined or created five online garage sales; sold or gave away most of the client’s belongings and had the remainder hauled away before cleaning in time for the closing. “The first time I sit with a seller on listing presentation or the first day I take someone on a buyer’s tour, they know I’m ‘all-in.’” Meanwhile, in the Cincinnati area, Aaron Denton of Summit Funding considers himself and his team members to be concierges for their borrowers. “We’re like personal assistants,” says Aaron. “People are happier when you remove the stress.” Included in their standard services are researching moving quotes; arranging and organizing movein day; scheduling utility transfers; assisting with children’s school registration paperwork; and even connecting buyers with local resources like daycares. If “rolling up your sleeves” isn’t your strongest skill, then an easy alternative is to get to know professionals in your area who can do these tasks for you. In the end, remember that by listening with patience, empathizing, and being willing to go the extra mile, you have the power to remove the stress your clients would experience without your help. When clients feel cared for, they remember the agents and partners who helped them.

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Top Agent Magazine

MARK ALLAN Top Agent Magazine


“People sometimes feel that there’s a bit too much show going on in real estate and they find it refreshing that I’m very straight to the point.”

MARK ALLAN People tell Mark Allan he is different from most real estate agents. Looking at his three decades of success in Sydney area real estate, it’s easy to see why. Fascinated with properties since his schooldays, Mark entered the business in 1981 and over time has remained true to his goal of providing boutique-style service. At Mark Allan Properties, which he founded in 1999, Mark and three additional professionals provide the kind of attention their clients deserve. “I personally look after all my own clients,” says Mark. “People sometimes feel that there’s a bit too much show going on in real estate and they find it refreshing that I’m very straight to the point.” Sincerity and transparency are the hallmarks of Mark’s style, as is his personal 8Copyright Top Agent Magazine

touch and a genuine nature that lets people know they’re in good hands. “Running a boutique allows me to manage time better and help clients make decisions that are in their best interest.” In the end, performance matters most. “If you get the job done, they come back or ask you to look after their friends, their neighbours or their son or daughter.” Working 100% on referrals, Mark covers a wide area around Sydney. He is not linked to a territory or a specific suburb, but Mark lives in Sydney and covers many communities around the Harbour, the North Shore and the beaches, with specialisation in waterfronts homes. When viewing those, he and his clients enjoy time on the water aboard Mark’s SACS S900 sport RIB. Top Agent Magazine

Although Mark willingly and eagerly covers a wide geography, he takes a selective approach to business. “It’s difficult to sell passionately if you don’t believe a project has merit,” he says, noting that clients and agents need to operate as a team. “I have to click with the people I’m going to sell for, so I’m very selective.” This works for everyone and helps Mark provide the undivided attention his clients deserve. “I don’t pass any of my clients on to anybody else.” Top Agent Magazine

Dedication to each person’s needs is paramount, as is organization, plus working hard and working smart. “If you wake up in the morning and you don’t know what you’re going to do today, you might as well go back to bed!” Mark keeps daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual plans, monitoring them regularly and keeping himself organized to avoid mistakes. Time management and a systemized approach to staying in touch with clients ensures that people remember him Copyright Top Agent Magazine9

when they or someone they know needs to buy or sell. As for marketing his business, Mark’s performance does that task for him. He refers to himself as the “anti-agent” – an introvert whose only active promotion is the tailored web and local marketing of clients’ properties. It’s refreshing, in fact, that he won’t discuss his community involvement; any giving or volunteer work has nothing Copyright Top Agent Magazine Copyright 10

to do with networking or earning business. To Mark, doing so would be insincere. In that way, Mark may refer to himself as “old school.” But in spite of the “grey beard and wrinkles” that he calls signs of “experience and wisdom,” nothing about Mark’s approach is outdated. In fact, his lack of worry over Top Agent Magazine

Mark refers to himself as the “anti-agent” — an introvert whose only active promotion is the tailored web and local marketing of clients’ properties. what other agents are doing speaks to his cutting-edge mindset. “If you do what everybody else does, you get the same results everybody else gets,” he says, adding that while he loves the competitiveness of sales, he competes not with other agents but with himself. Top Agent Magazine

Personal drive and eagerness to continuously learn while evolving organically has proven effective over Mark’s three decades of business growth. “I am not an empire builder,” says Mark, who believes there are not enough independent agencies. “Good, independent Copyright Top Agent Magazine 11

Waterfront inspections in style! businesses do not have to be small,” he says, adding that just as important as success is life balance. For Mark, the long-time study of philosophy, along with his love of boating, the outdoors and a newfound appreciation for

meditation and relaxation therapy, help him share the best version of himself with everyone he encounters. “There’s also a sense of service to community that comes from this,” he says. “I’m fully committed to my clients.”

To learn more about Mark Allan, visit or go to Facebook, email or call 1300 000 600 (T) 61 419 777500 (M) www.

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Top Agent Magazine

Why Millennials Are Now the Hottest Segment of the Buyers Market

and How You Can Attract Them to Your Home There are many factors when it comes to knowing how to sell your home to the Millennial generation. Millennials are becoming an important part of the buyer market, and to fail to cater to their needs will cut you off from a large and important segment. But, why have Millennials all of a sudden become interested in buying houses when they were perfectly content to rent for the rest of their lives? Top Agent Magazine

Top Agent Magazine


A number of factors contribute to what has recently made Millennials the hottest segment of the Buyers market. One factor is the improved job outlook for Millennials. Millennials took a serious blow during the recession. Unemployment in this group soared to 14 percent, compared to the 9.6 percent for the population as a whole. But, in recent years that number has been decreasing, with unemployment for Millennials being 9.3 percent this past year. Rising rents are also contributing to making Millennials more interested in purchasing homes now. Rents have risen so much that buying a home now just makes more sense. Half of all renters spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing. Millennials are becoming increasingly stressed over the constantly increasing financial obligation to something that isn’t even theirs to own. The near-historic low mortgage rates are luring Millennials towards purchasing a home with their promise of affordability. When compared with the skyrocketing rental rates, buying a house looks even more enticing. Another factor helping Millennials get over the hump of purchasing a house is the lower down payment requirements. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are now offering new loan programs that require as little as a 3 percent down payment. This may just be the last push the Millennials needed to turn toward buying a home rather than rent. So, now that we’ve established that Millennials are finally joining the Buyers market, the next thing that it is important to understand is what exactly Millennials are looking for in a home. What kind of floorplans do they prefer? What locations are they interested in? Here are some of the essentials that Millennials are looking for in a home: • Updated Kitchens and Baths: Almost everyone wants to buy a

home with new kitchen and bath fixtures, but this is especially true for Millennials Buyers. Millennials are going to spend most of their savings on the down payment and furnishings, leaving little room to update the Kitchen and Bath, which are also the most expensive parts of a home to


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Top Agent Magazine

update. Millennials who are on a budget simply won’t have the money to sink into those areas. An updated Kitchen and Bath is sure to bring in a younger crowd. • Big Kitchen with Open Floor Plan: For Millennials, the kitchen has

become the room where they hangout in addition to the family room. This is why having an open space that can transition easily from the kitchen to the TV room is high on the list of things Millennials are looking for in a home. Along a similar vein, Millennials are attracted to an open floor plan rather than one that compartmentalizes the home. This has to do with how Millennials entertain. Millennials want their guests to flow through the rooms and mingle together, rather than be sectioned off in different rooms.

• Home Office: More than 13 million Americans now work from home,

and if you look at the trend, that number is only going to increase as the time goes on. With technology steadily increasing, more Millennials than ever have the flexibility to work from home. But, the home office isn’t just for someone working from home full time. Having a separate space dedicated to work helps people concentrate and focus on work while they are at home. They can separate themselves from the activities going on around the house and have a quiet space where they can set up their workday, plan a presentation, hold a meeting on Skype, or even pay bills.

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• Less Maintenance: Many Millennials work different schedules that

don’t conform to the 9 to 5 workday, as well as full social calendars. This doesn’t leave them much time to clean a big house. Lawn services and low-maintenance front yards are particularly appealing, as they take less responsibility to still keep the curb appeal high.

• Energy-Efficient Appliances: Millennials have been educated on

keeping the Earth clean from the time they were born. They want to do their part to help the environment and appreciate the long-term cost savings that come with it. Energy-efficient appliances and greener ways to heat and cool the home might end up being the tipping point that makes them choose one house over another.

• Hardwood Floors: Millennials don’t have the time or patience to clean

dirty carpets, especially those that own pets. Hardwood and laminate flooring is easy to mop up if there’s been a mess. The more time they can conserve, the better.

• Good Location: Millennial buyers are looking for homes that are in

proximity to public transportation and have a good walking score. Young Millennial buyers without children are more likely to want a location closer to the action of the city, while Millennials with children would prefer more residential areas.

• Technology: Technology rules the Millennial’s life. They do work on

their computers through an Internet connection and solely use cellphones for communication. They are going to ask about how strong the cell service is and about the Internet service provider. While these amenities are out of the seller’s hands, Millennials are still going to ask these questions, and you will need to know how to answer them.

Knowing what Millennials are looking for in a home will ultimately help you make the necessary changes that will attract these buyers to your home. Since they are the a serious segment of the market now, updating your home to fit their needs will lead to more buyers and better offers. So, get with the times and embrace the Millennial buyer. 16

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KYLIE WALSH Top Agent Magazine


KYLIE WALSH With a career that spans more than two decades, Kylie Walsh’s entry into the real estate industry was a natural transition. She grew up with steady exposure to the business, taking on part-time responsibilities when she was as young as fourteen. From there, she earned success as a sales agent, a property manager, and an award-winning principal—developing skillsets in multiple industry roles. When an opportunity arose to help lead Di Jones Real Estate’s expansion efforts in 2014, Kylie leapt at the chance to put her experience and passion to good use. Since then Kylie has fortified her reputation for professionalism, talent, and vision. As General Manager, she’s overseen the growth of the company to four locations and 100 team members. All the while, she’s cemented her commitment to supporting the team, its agents, and the customer experience of the companies valued clients who have enlisted their services. Kylie and the team at Di Jones currently focus on five key regions of the greater Sydney area: The North Shore, Eastern Suburbs, Inner City, Northern Districts and Southern Highlands. At Di Jones, Kylie focuses her efforts on building and supporting her team through delivering exceptional leadership, whilst ensuring clients and colleagues alike are given the resources to grow and achieve their respective goals. As General Manager, her duties range from creative problem-solving to developing staff and everything in between. At the heart of the agency, however, is the same abiding passion for the real estate industry and the opportunities it affords agents and clients alike. “What I most enjoy about my work is the ability to help others,” she says, “not only our team, but our clients, as well. Our company fosters values of passion, authenticity, family, and collaboration. This is true not only for our own team, but also for the community we have the privilege of serving.”

professional development plans ensures team members retain the industry’s best, while attracting great new talent. “We believe our leadership team is here to nurture and grow our agents’ careers, not compete against them. Therefore, we do not have any full-time principals,” Kylie explains. What’s more, community-oriented values dictate company culture at Di Jones, and this extends beyond the office, as well. As part of her role, Kylie helps organize and execute various partnerships and sponsorships in the local community. The Clown Doctors Association is a favorite cause, which injects some joy and levity into the lives of those experiencing health hardships. Kylie and the team also reach out through dozens of sponsorships throughout the year, fostering a sense of community on a local level. In Kylie’s free hours, she likes to get back to her country roots through horse riding and skiing during the winter months. She most enjoys spending time with her two daughters and family. As for the future, Kylie and the CEO of Di Jones, Rob Ward, have plans to continue developing the Di Jones brand, which will see ten locations by 2020, through acquisition of businesses and by continuing to offer the latest technological tools for agents. For now, she’ll continue paving the way for real estate professionals, while delivering quality leadership and lobbying for professionalism across the industry. With more than two decades of experience and a decisive eye toward the road ahead, the future is bound to be bright for Kylie Walsh and the team at Di Jones Real Estate.

At Di Jones, Kylie is proud of the company’s tech-savvy approach to delivering services both internally and externally. Last year, they launched an all-inclusive technology platform that allows their agents to take advantage of an ecosystem of professional resources and marketing materials, while working from anywhere in the world. Their all-encompassing marketing strategies ensure all properties enjoy maximum visibility, often sourcing buyers from their extensive company data base with more than 100,000 contacts before full campaigns are engaged. “Whether a client has a $500,000 apartment or a $14,000,000 property to sell, everyone deserves their greatest asset to be marketed beautifully,” Kylie says. “Our marketing is not only beautiful, but our approach is also comprehensive. We understand where buyers are coming from, and we take a strategic, humanizing approach to every campaign.” As a leader, one of Kylie’s foremost goals is to support career agents. As such, the Di Jones Training Academy and long-term 18

To learn more about Kylie Walsh her website here, e-mail, call +61 - 408 - 471 - 595, or visit her Facebook page here. Copyright Top Top Agent Agent Magazine Magazine



to Attract Future Clients What kind of content are you sharing on your blog, website, and social media? Does most of it have something to do with buying or selling a home? While sharing the latest market information or tips on how to qualify for a mortgage, or when someone should buy or sell is important and demonstrates your value as a REALTOR®, it shouldn’t be the only subject you cover. If you only focus on real estate, you’ll be missing the chance to connect with future clients that might not be ready to move just yet. By sharing a lot

of industry-heavy content, you are only going to appeal to those who are currently in the market rather than a broad base of potential clients. To pull in those other future clients you want to provide fresh, interesting content that will appeal to those possible future clients that aren’t quite ready to move yet. However, you also want to still tie this content back into your business goals. So, how do you share content that will speak to a wider audience, but also still be relevant to your business?

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19 Top Agent Magazine


Talk About Your Philanthropic Activities

The philanthropic work you do to support your community says a great deal about who you are as a person. Many people will be attracted to working with you because of the charitable works you are involved with. While you may be hesitant to share these efforts because you feel it may come across as bragging, you also need to remember that sharing information about the charitable organizations you support will actually help those organizations. Many of them have small marketing budgets, so any free exposure you can give them helps to promote their cause. In fact, they want and need you to promote them. And you can promote them without coming across as a braggart. Focus your content entirely on the organization. Talk about why you support them, how they help the community, and how others can also get involved. This turns what could have been bragging into something that benefits everyone. n

Your Local Community

We humans are connected to each other through our community – our local sports teams, parks, churches, schools, and much more. What better way is there to connect with people in your community than to talk about your community? Demonstrate that you are an expert on your community, and bring that community to your followers. Share information about a local event; perhaps even share the actual event through live-stream video. Interview city officials to get the low-down on the latest development project. Share information with your followers about things they didn’t know about their community. Consult with local historians or the historical society to share interesting information about your community that your followers will want to read. You could even turn it into a series of podcasts or videos. n

Use Your Creativity to Connect

Find creative ways to engage your followers on the topic of real estate. Try engaging your followers in an interactive project such as posting photos of interesting front doors. Doors are the entry point into our homes as well as our private lives. The way we adorn our front door can give someone a sense of our style and personality. Ask followers to submit photos and choose one to post each Friday. Make sure to watermark each photo with your logo at the bottom and include an inspirational quote that ties back to the importance of home. You could also ask your followers to provide a little story or caption to go along with the photo that tells something about them and their home. These kinds of projects are interesting and unique, and clearly connect back to your business. n

Share Your Hobbies

Are you an adrenalin junkie who has bungee jumped from some of the tallest bridges in the world? Are you a foodie that grows your own organic vegetables and fruit? Do you have a 20

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Top Agent Magazine

secret passion for photography? Everyone has hobbies that they enjoy outside of work. When you look past the surface people become quite interesting. People also happen to find interesting people interesting, and tend to remember people based on their distinctive traits. We humans love discovering a person’s behind the scenes story, the mind behind the face. While you don’t want to talk too much about yourself, sharing pieces of your personal life and things that interest you can be a great way to connect with followers. By sharing interesting facts about your life, you will find that many followers will feel a strong, personal connection to you based on your hobbies and personal interests. n

Divulge Interesting Experiences

This is somewhat similar to the idea of sharing your hobbies. Sharing some of your more interesting personal experiences such as a fateful conversation with a stranger or an exciting adventure you had while in another country can be a great way to connect with followers as long as it also relates to some kind of life or business lesson. Talk about experiences you’ve had with clients or purchasing your own home. Experiences that relate to your business are great ways to connect with future clients in a manner that goes beyond the world of business. n

What and Who Inspires You

No matter what you’ve chosen to spend your life doing, you didn’t get there alone. You may have had a mentor that made a special impact on your life or someone already in the business that you looked up to and who perhaps inspired you to get into real estate. You may have found inspiration through a love of architecture or design. People want to know why others do the things they do. Sharing who or what influences you in your personal and business life is a great way to connect with followers. Recognizing that you didn’t get to where you are now by yourself shows humility, and talking about those people that had an influence on you shows others that you stay connected to the world and people around you. Connecting with potential clients is something that is essential to any REALTOR’S® business. If you’re doing the work to create interesting blog posts and make those connections, you want to make sure that you’re sharing the right kind of content to draw in those future clients. It takes a lot more than simply providing the latest market news. To get the most out of what you share, you need to provide a wide array of interesting content Top Agent Magazine

that will draw in a broad range of followers. Providing the right kind of content can make all the difference when it comes to connecting with future clients and building the right kind of relationship with them right from the start. Connecting through your website or social media and sharing more than just real estate advice will help you build confidence and trust with future clients before you even meet them.

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Modern Email Etiquette for Today’s Agents In today’s tech-forward culture, consumers are constantly inundated with promotional emails, alerts, invites, and social media blasts. As a real estate agent or a loan officer, how do you stand apart from the noise? What’s more, how do you stay relevant in a digital landscape that’s constantly changing? For starters, there are a few timeless techniques you can apply to up your skillset when it comes email and digital communication: asking questions that 22

inspire conversation, politeness, and following up regularly—to name a few. Likewise, there are surely new tricks you can add to your arsenal to stay ahead of the curve. Let’s outline a few ways you can refine and update your email etiquette to compete in today’s virtual marketplace.

Make your subject line count Too often, we labor over the content of our emails without giving much thought to subject lines.

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Top Agent Magazine

Though email is no longer a new-fangled invention, there are certainly ways you can modernize its use and take advantage of its ubiquity. However, these little headlines can go a long way in luring the consumer to open your email and ultimately click through to your website in search for your services. An enticing subject line should be short and sweet, ideally less than fifty characters. You might also include the name of the recipient, and be up front (though concise) about the subject matter of your message. Remember: the first thing a client will see is your name and subject line—be sure to make this prime real estate shine.

Think mobile Research tells us that 79% of Americans check their phones within fifteen minutes of waking up. In fact, much of modern day correspondence occurs by smartphone. Accordingly, you’ll want to account for email readability on a mobile phone. For instance, incorporating paragraph breaks for each new thought allows information to be parceled out in a palatable way for readers utilizing small screens. Also, any sort of graphic flair or links within your email should be shortened and streamlined for mobile consumption. Send yourself an email every now and again and access it from your phone—you’ll be able to double-check that all the elements of your emails are working well on a mobile platform.

Incorporate email tools There are excellent tools out there to enhance your email experience. With just a quick download, Top Agent Magazine

you can add spellcheck, a URL address shortening feature, or a delay option that holds emails for thirty seconds before they’re sent. Think about the possibilities! Haven’t you sent an email without including the attachment you intended, or realizing you sent correspondence to the wrong client? If that’s the case, a delay feature can help you save face and build in a window for error— just in case. Regardless of which tools speak to your email habits, there are plenty of add-ons out there that can revamp your digital correspondence style.

Use email to maximize your online presence These days, there are plenty of ways to communicate—email, text, phone, apps, and social media. When you interact through email, consider it an opportunity to invite your client to follow you elsewhere online. Ensure that your email signature includes unobtrusive, streamlined links to your social media accounts, professional website, or review page. This will build in an opportunity for clients to engage with your brand, and you may even add an online follower for the long term. Though email is no longer a new-fangled invention, there are certainly ways you can modernize its use and take advantage of its ubiquity. Keep these approaches in mind as you reenergize your email technique and fortify your communication in the digital era.

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