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AUSTRALIA EDITION

If it’s Good for the Soul,

UNTANGLING THE BIDDING WAR: A Buyer’s & Seller’s Perspectives

IT’S GOOD FOR THE BUSINESS

THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD: How to List High When Neighbors Are a Nuisance

FEATURED AGENTS

MICK DOLPHIN DENISE HAYNES LINCON McLAREN ANDREW WOOD

COVER STORY

ANDREW OOSTENBRINK


AUSTRALIA EDITION

MICK DOLPHIN How did Mick Dolphin become one of the most 7 in the well-known, trusted and respected agents Dandenong Ranges? Mick studied horticulture in school, but was always interested in real estate as well. He invested in several properties to test the waters and realized he had a passion for the business. Twelve years ago he became a licensed agent. After spending a decade gaining experience at agencies, he purchased First National Real Estate Ranges where he leads a team of estabANDREW lished agents. Mick and his team serve the OOSTENBRINK Dandenong Ranges east of Melbourne, as well as their foothills. “It’s a mixture of residential areas on small allotments to 100 acre proper19diverse,” Mick says. ties—so it’s quite

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MICK DOLPHIN

local restaurants. “Our area is very communityoriented, so if I walk up the street people often know me or my family. That’s part of the reason that people move here—not only is it picturesque, but there is a strong sense of community.” When it comes time to market listings, Mick understands that most buyers begin their search for a property online. He has a high quality website and a large database. “I’m a big believer in our database,” he says. “At least 50% of our buyers come from past clients.” He posts each listing on all the major real estate portals, and conducts a thorough marketing campaign via Facebook and other forms of social media. He 23 15 to 25 properties at a time, usuallyc carries ranging in price from $300k to $1.8 million.

20 LINCON M LAREN DENISE HAYNES ANDREW WOOD

As a fourth-generation realReal estate Mick has been living in the Dandenong Ranges for 32 years andLincon McLaren, Owner of McLaren While McLaren E Top Agent Denise Haynes – owner Chief among them are her thorough, savvy marketin is known for his expertise and the excellent service he provides. What’s his favorite part of the job? “The thing I Andrew love the most professional, has a hundred Real Estate, is a consummate profeswith the higher-end, lux of R&R Property, with three offices almost always translate into fast sales for top doll An impressive two-thirds of his business comes from repeat and is seeing a past client who is incredibly withhistory how thein property years ofhappy family committed to and providing hisexclusively, that they areallstill eager to referral clients. What keeps his former clients eager to spreadsional transaction turned out who hassince achieved goal—even ifprint in both Stroud and Bulahdelah, NSW photography is utilized and mate histheir great grandfather opened buyers andahad sellers with very point – with the benefit o the word about Mick to their and family? He professional focuses hismany they originally no idea howthe they would&do so. I on really enjoy – isfriends a consummate who by professional designer, ensuring that each listing Wood Co. Collins Street in interactions with clients on their goals rather than on pushing abestusing my expertise and professionalism to get them to the point real estate advocacy available. marketing strategies. “T Melbourne during the truly cares about the well-being of her theybest light, every time. These having listings are early then 1900s propa sale. “Our conversations are about their needs, where they areAs awhere want toinbe,” heMacarthur says. Mick lovesthe satisfied market number leader the most important thing During hisdeft teenage years, Andrew many clients, and goes to extraordinary of internet sites, and usage of social me wanting to go, or if they are upsizing or downsizing. We spend clients who are happy to recommend him to their friends and worked at tioned his family’s local real on estate – the fastest growing district in all of prominently R more time talking about that kind oftothing than the actual house,”customer family. To are giveseen back to the community that hasbuyers given him so lengths provide unparalleled by as many potential as possible. DENISE HAYNES LINCON McLAREN ANDREW WOOD office in and Victoria, then went on to Australia – Lincon’s honesty, integcom, “and a consortium he explains. But as a result, Mick is able to help his clients find much, he and his team sponsor local schools cricket teams. service. Whether working with a buyer pursue real estate at university the perfect home—or the perfect buyer. Inand his free time, he lovesknowledge, to garden and aspend time focus with his industry tionally, Lincon ensures or a seller, Denise’s many rity years ofandvast The appreciation Denise’s clients feel her is bes Upon they graduation, he for hittothe wife their two children. As a family, travel overseas combined with his steadfast commitlight through the ground use o experience and her status as a fourth-generation local situate her by the scores of five-star reviews she has receiv running, making his debut in commer To stay in touch with past clients, Mick sends Christmas cards countries such as Fiji and Vietnam where they donate needed ment to giving back to his community, haveNow, translated into after a launching Drone shots, floorAndrew plans cial realtoestate. thirty years his Mick career, and to helpful quarterly newsletters with market updates,inreaches supplies underserved schools there. For theincluding future, perfectly provide expert real estate advocacy these scenic, website ratemyagent.com.au, this one: “A reputation as an agent whoinalways puts his clients’ best Partners, interests forfor each listing areservice also e has built Wood Property known its personal out by phone to let them know if there’s a house for sale plans to continue streamlining structures within his organizarural communities. with numerous agents in the area, Denise stood ou the“client forefront of toevery for top dollar in a c their neighborhood, and hostsatfun nights” showtransaction. his tion so that and as his grows, each of hissales agency’s integrity, highly offerings. due to business her valued knowledge, experience andclients passion for r appreciation. He’s also very involved in the community and will receive the same excellent service. “We want to ensure In 2004, Denise in clients searchwhen of ahe’s careerat change - walked aof our region. It happy is Andrew because of her tight exceptional marketing enjoys seeing–past shops or in ofinto each are heknit says. Based in clients Melbourne, heads a us!” teamwhat of twelve Prior tooutentering theeating world real estate, Lincon and to hisrecommend wife When asked he e

ANDREW OOSTENBRINK

CONTENTS

4) THERE GOES THE 17) 3 MIND–BENDING NEIGHBORHOOD: HOW TO PHILOSOPHIES local real estate office and inquired about a possible job. “At first drive toTO go sales, abovemanagement, and beyond us that we ach on apartment andfor leasing. opened a childcare centre, which focusing is still currently operating and in first points toAccordingly helping h they said no,” she recalls. “Then a couple of days later, they rang record sale in such a short period of time…She pr much of Andrew’s work partners alongside investors and devel its eleventh successful year. “But realYOUR estate is where I’ve always as the most rewarding LIST HIGH WHEN NEIGHBORS EXPAND PROFESSIONAL opers, and he relishes the chance tothroughout provide clients ofwhole all kinds with me up and asked if I’d like towanted work for them a couple of days a clear communication the proce to be,” says Lincon, “so in 2012, when the child care being able to create a u comprehensive service. and “When we’rehelpful workingadvice with investors, ARE A NUISANCE PERSPECTIVE week. That’s how I got started:business makingwas teaup and doing andsure realistic, offered towea andcoffee, operating andthe we were it would survive, not normal,”on hehow explain

work to increase and maximize annual return and capitaw filing, and that sort of basic stuff.” Denise’s aptitude for constantly price for our home. We were thrilled I decided to getintuitive my real estate license. I just jumped in hook, line poolabsolutely table, bigand screen te growth,” he says. “Whether we’re managing properties making the real estate industry resultedand in sinker.” a quick Finding ascent 21) toimmediate agent status, Denise achieved andBIDDING we couldn’t be environment happier.” w success, he quickly opened his buildand an UNTANGLING THE things simpler for tenants through our apps high use of tech 13) IF IT’S FOR andGOOD her “start from the bottom”own origins with aansolid officeproviding and now her oversees equally-dedicated teamour of network five ofcomfortable. a place or working within investors andIt’s developers Anology, BUYER’S & SELLER’S foundation which she has built agents, an impressive career. reciprocates that appreciation, and goes ou weIn think Denise about their needs, gather knowledge, and provide the righ licensed twoWAR: property management professionals and one long-term relationships. THE SOUL, IT’S upon GOOD March of 2010, Denise opened R&R Property, which has since let them this. Whetherhisshe’s out ho guidance for them.”know Andrew spearheaded worksending in the commercia office administrator. Continued growth is inevitable, however. PERSPECTIVES To find out more about Mick Dolphin,real email MickD@rangesfn.com.au, FOR THEgrown BUSINESS estate sector phoning for twentymoving years, and heLincon’s stillor draws uponfor thatthe rigof to employ a current roster eight team all of cards, them directly, simply convers “Theof Macarthur hasmembers, approximately two hundred families plans of professionalism, depth of experience, and property knowledge in call 0429 684 522, or check him out online at rangesfn.com.au whom share her client-first business ethos. whenenough she runs into them street at localm in every week,” he says, “so there’s certainly growth for ontothe grow theirorproperty both residential and investment sales. “It all comes down to under works hard to maintain these cherished relations us to open a second office, and maybe two, three or even four.” new agents who share hi standing clients and their needs,” he says. “As a team and a business When trying to assess a real estate agent’s abilities and the quality also deeplybased ingrained themselves into the local tuallyMagazine open additional Copyright Top Agent we provide a service on our experience. Our day-to-day busi Phone 310-734-1440 Fax 310-734-1440 of service they| provide, there When is perhaps than sponsorship and a branded presence at multiple askedno to better accountmeasure for the success of McLaren Real Estate continue providing theeva ness delivers operationally, but the most valuable service we provide – their clients, rate of and referral hovers anCountry impressive has become synonymou their percentage of repeat and referral thesebusiness constitute thearound annual theyneeds, most recentl is our advice. We consider our Show, clients’ where situations, and goal mag@topagentmagazine.com |ninety www.topagentmagazine.com and distill ourbooth knowledge into – Lincon firstthen to the relationships and tailored advice that will make a a vast majority of R&R’s business. “I percent think it’s becausepoints I’m really painting forhechildren. difference for them. To speak“As to ana individual’s needs, you need to hismanner agents the community they our customers,” saysdevelop Denise,within when asked to consent No portion of thisdedicated issue maytobehelping reproduced in any whatsoever without prior ofrepresent. the publisher. Top Agent understands all ofshe’s thegroups factors at play—and whatadmits we do best.” proud Rotarian, and through different networking within account for the impressive level of loyalty her clients demonstrate When not working andthat’s Denise that’s Magazine is published by Feature Publications GA, Inc. Although precautions are taken to ensure the accuracy of–published the Macarthur,” he explains. We are massively involved in giving more than pursuing phys as they return again and again and refer friends and family – she enjoys nothing materials, Top Agent Magazine cannot be held responsible for opinions expressed or facts supplied its authors. When it comes to the by listing process, Andrew and his team leave back the community. oldcall days of agents in going passion around for photography. Above all members. “I work the time,” shetolaughs, “and you The might no detailindulging unaccounted her for. Beginning with high quality photog To subscribe or change address, sendallinquiry to mag@topagentmagazine.com. letterbox-dropping are long Today, me a workaholic. I like to get door-knocking back to peopleand as quickly as I raphy can, that with hergone. husband andit’s young takes priority showcases properties in their daughter finest light, Andrew and Published in the U.S. getting into the feedback, psyche ofhis your which online marketing approach to teamlocal then community, turn to their dynamic and communicate with them byabout constantly providing not we do through them with youth sports league reach wide-ranging exposure. “All of our systems aarebook cloud-based just for my sellers, but for the buyers as well.”just being there for Denise, who is currently authoring on ho and high-fiving we like to maximize efficiencies how we do business,” sponsorships and other things, just moms and home for the most dads money, inhas fairly simple planshe f Top Agent Magazine says. “From tenant apps and CRMs allow us to stay close with andofthe players and that coaches a long way.” There are, of course, a multitude other factors havegoes played her business: to continuethat expanding, while sacrific buyers and sellers—we provide a high level of contact.” Likewise a role in Denise’s continuing and ever-expanding success story. amazing customer that and hasdevelopers long beenover her the ca work with a variety service of investors Lincon and his company strive Andrew’s to maintain those relationships, www.

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There Goes the Neighborhood:

How to List High When Neighbors are a Nuisance Troublesome neighbors are a relatively common issue that agents come across. You can control the image of your client’s property and you can control your listing presentation, but you can’t always control what’s happening on your client’s street. How do you diffuse difficult neighbors that could lower your bottom line or embarrass you in front of prospective buyers? 4

First of all, it takes tact and a gameplan. With that in mind, let’s consider a few ways you can maintain a listing’s viability and competitive edge—even when bothersome neighbors are involved. Here are a few common neighborly scenarios agents encounter and how to diffuse them to your advantage.

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How do you diffuse difficult neighbors that could lower your bottom line or embarrass you in front of prospective buyers? It takes tact and a gameplan.

as a courtesy introduction to the neighborhood. While it may seem like needless busy work, it can dramatically improve prospective buyers’ perceptions of the area. Plus, you may positively ingratiate yourself with neighbors in the area and demonstrate your above-and-beyond service to your clientele in the process.

Is the neighbor’s landscaping an eyesore? Here’s your recourse. Most towns and cities have established ordinances regarding yard upkeep. If any of the properties adjacent to your listing are wildly overgrown, littered with junk, or otherwise in a state of obvious disrepair—take it up with the city. Rather than get directly involved at first glance, you might loop in city officials whose job it is to monitor clean-up efforts on rundown yards and properties. If this doesn’t work, you may have to take a more hands-on approach. Start by thinking small and operating from a place of authenticity and neighborly service. You might explain to the neighboring tenant that you’re listing and offer to mow their lawn Top Agent Magazine

Are there foreclosed or abandoned homes on your client’s block? Do your homework. It may take a little research and digging to figure out the banking entity that owns a foreclosed home, but it’s well worth the effort. Banks are typically required to maintain foreclosed homes on at least a basic level. If you’re worried about

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squatters, an unsightly façade, or general disrepair of a neighboring foreclosed property—go to the source. Sometimes banks take their time in hiring a third party to maintain a foreclosed property, but with some proactive prodding on your part, you may be able to speed the process along and resolve eyesores even before prospective buyers come calling. Remember: the squeaky wheel gets the grease. An improved bottom line will be your reward for those few prodding phone calls and emails.

Noisy, nosy, or annoying neighbors? Don’t be discouraged. Obnoxious neighbors can really rain on a seller’s parade, especially the kind of neighbor 6

that takes their less-than-stellar behavior to their porch, front yard, or sidewalk. While this sensitive issue may seem daunting, there are a few official channels you can utilize to thwart the issue before getting personally involved. If the neighborhood in question is governed by an HOA, you might take it up with them. If the troublesome neighbor is harassing passersby or taking to the sidewalk—in other words, public space—then you may be able to involve local authorities in worst-case scenarios. Of course, it’s always possible to talk to troublesome neighbors faceto-face, but do so with caution and with safety as the priority. Always reason gently and empathetically, utilizing I... phrasing, instead of accusatory You... phrasing. After all, some neighbors are clueless about their impact on the neighborhood and may adjust their behavior after being called out. If the issue persists and no third-party authority can help, then you may have to disclose the neighbor’s issues to prospective buyers, depending on the disclosure laws in your region. While this may seem like a blow, you can at least rest easy knowing you pursued all the potential avenues for resolution available. Likewise, your client will likely appreciate your thorough efforts to resolve the issue. While troublesome neighborhoods can bring down an optimistic mood when listing a property, sometimes being real estate is all about being resourceful. With diligence, digging, and a little follow-up, you just may be able to resolve some of the issues plaguing your neighborly plot.

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ANDREW OOSTENBRINK

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Andrew Oostenbrink and business partner Steve Song of the Belle Property franchise serve the BDA, Carindale, Cannon Hill, Carina, Carina Heights, , Belmont, Mount Gravatt East, Mansfield, Wishart, Mackenzie and Gumdale. Gravatt East, Mansfield, Wishart, Mackenzie and Gumdale. Belle Property’s number one Queensland Principal, Andrew Oostenbrink started working in real estate five years ago in booming Holland Park. He did so well in his first year that he began to build a team in his second year. By his fourth year in the business he decided to open his own agency. He moved to Carindale and he and his then-sales associate, now business partner Steve Song bought the Belle Property franchise for Carindale and the surrounding suburbs. Two years later Andrew and Steve have an office team of fifteen personnel. “I’m really loving it,” Andrew says. They now serve the BDA, Carindale, Cannon Hill, Carina, Carina Heights, , Belmont, Mount 8 Copyright Top Agent Magazine

Over the years Andrew and his business partner Steve have sold approximately 110-120 properties each year. In 2019 they are on track to sell a little under 180 properties. An impressive 60% of Andrew’s business comes from repeat and referral clients. What keeps his clients coming back and eager to spread the word about him to their friends and family? Andrew has a strong sales background and great leadership skills. “Steve and I have a strong advantage in the market,” Andrew says. Steve is Chinese and fluent in Mandarin so can serve the Chinese market well. Andrew also has an interior decorator and stylist on the team who styles every single listing for photos before it goes on the market for no additional cost. Top Agent Magazine


“Our listings look incredibly attractive,” Andrew says. “We try to appeal to all the six human senses of our buyers. Our marketing has that edge that gets the buyers to the open homes.” Once the stylist has styled the property so that it looks its best, Andrew uses all the resources available to get the word out about the listing. “The Belle Property brand is strong in the marketplace,” he explains. Andrew advertises listings in the Belle Property magazine, which has a circulation of approxiTop Agent Magazine

mately 80,000 and attracts premium buyers. He posts each property on all the major real estate websites and social media, and often purchases full page ads in the local South East advertiser. 9 Copyright Top Agent Magazine


Andrew and Steve each have a sales associate who works tirelessly on the back end of the business to ensure each sale goes smoothly. That allows Andrew and Steve to personally attend every open home and contract negotiation. “That’s where the money is made, that’s Copyright Top Agent Magazine 10

where the magic happens that we offer our sellers, so we guarantee that to all of our sellers,” Andrew says. Andrew often has 12 to 18 listings on at a time, ranging in price from $300K to $1.6 million. Many of his properties sell within 25 days. Having a team enables personal attention for each and every listing, and allows Andrew to offer the benefit of their strong buyer database to sellers. “But we are after the best price, not the quickest transaction,” he says. What’s Andrew’s favorite part of the job? “I like the sales game. I’m a natural competitor,” he says. “I’m proud of my wins, but I’m humTop Agent Magazine


bled and grateful for what I’ve learned over the years.” He also enjoys coaching and training other agents to achieve their goals, and bringing change to the marketplace as a new agent. To give back to the community, Andrew Top Agent Magazine

and his team sponsor the St. Joachim’s School, a private Catholic School in Holland Park. They donate the marketing spend of each sale—which ranges from $3,500 to $4,000— back to the school. They also sponsor Sausage Copyright Top Agent Magazine 11


Sizzles at local food shops. “We are pretty active all around the area,” he says. In his free time, Andrew enjoys spending time with his gorgeous children, who are six and eight years old. “We love the ocean and we go camping. Those are things I really enjoy.” For the future, Andrew and Steve will move their business to the West-

field Carindale shopping center, a 600 square meter office with great frontage. “Some people say that’s just crazy big, but at the end of the day, if you don’t look into doing the things that others aren’t prepared to do, you’ll never travel roads that no one has ever taken,” Andrew says with his characteristic smile.

To find out more about Andrew Oostenbrink, contact him by mobile phone at 0404 477 836 or at his office at +617 3349 2774. You can also check him out online at belleproperty.com/carindale http://

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If it’s good for the soul,

IT’S GOOD FOR THE BUSINESS

Visibility, name recognition and knowing you’re supporting the community that makes your success possible are good reasons to take part in community service. But how is it that some people seem to be able to give time to charities while running their own businesses, managing their own families and households, exercising regularly, attending sporting events and concerts, eating well and sleeping seven or eight hours a night? The truth is, not all agents are able to do everything so easily. But more important is the fact that no one needs to do everything all of the time. The trick is to make sure that, whatever you do holds meaning. REALTORS® and mortgage professionals who seem the most gregarious in their community outreach are those whose giving seems to fill their own souls. When their Top Agent Magazine

volunteer efforts or donations directly impact causes they or their clients care deeply about, “giving back” becomes energizing. Jason O’Quinn of Prime Lending in Dallas Texas, for instance, says that his family’s ongoing work building homes for some of the poorest families in Honduras fills him immeasurably. “It rejuvenates me,” he says. “There’s quite a dichotomy between the houses we build there and the houses we finance here,” he says. “It refocuses me, going from financing $1 million homes in Dallas to physically laying cinderblock for $10,000 homes in Honduras. Everything has more meaning when we sacrificially give of our time, talent and treasure.” The longtime “big picture” for Colorado REALTOR® and property manager, Linda

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Todd, for instance, has included giving back to the community, whether serving as a lead carpenter for Habitat for Humanity, making deliveries for Meals on Wheels, or pitching in for the sake of baseball. And through her lifelong passion for baseball, she harmoniously blended her personal interests, her work and her community service. For many years, she was so involved Little League the local league named a new field after her. “I cried for 3 days after they told me that!” She and her husband also started a scholarship fund for junior college baseball players and serve as a host family for the rookie league of the Colorado Rockies, putting up newly drafted players in their home. For Florida REALTOR® and property manager, Mario Gonzalez, neither his business nor his primary community outreach would exist without the other. A retired U.S. Navy pilot, Mario formed his brokerage, Navy to Navy Homes, when he saw a need for military personnel to find affordable homes to purchase. “We got into it to help, but that led to a full-blown real estate business.” Besides providing opportunities for investment and homeownership, the company donates 35% of every commission to Homes for Heroes, veterans’ groups, or organizations benefiting fire, police, medical organizations, churches and homeless shelters. “We’re small, but we give so much back that we were the top Homes for Heroes company in Florida and

top-five nationwide.” But he does none of this for the attention. His friends may call him the “Humble Hero of Heroes,” but helping is Mario’s passion. “To be such a small business and be the top Homes for Heroes affiliate is mind boggling!” Like Mario, for many, the best service takes place in simple and quiet ways. Illinois REALTOR®, Susie Scheuber, for example, takes a humble approach to giving back. Although she donates a portion of every commission check to the Children’s Miracle Network, she doesn’t discuss this with clients unless they happen to ask. “I do it because I want to and because, to me, giving back is the right thing to do when you’ve been fortunate in business and life,” says Susie. We all know how inertia works; the more energized we get by certain behaviors, the more likely we are to continue those behaviors. For some top agents, community outreach has become such a natural routine of their daily lives that they never find it burdensome. A good way to add community service into your life, therefore, is through the causes that mean the most to you. For starters, consider giving a small donation after closing to the charity of your client’s choosing. Learning the different causes that they care about just might foster a new mission for you.

If you have a unique story to share about how your community outreach has impacted your life and your business or inspired others, click here for consideration in our magazines: www.topagentmagazine.com/nominate-a-real-estate-agent-to-be-featured 14

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MICK DOLPHIN How did Mick Dolphin become one of the most well-known, trusted and respected agents in the Dandenong Ranges? Mick studied horticulture in school, but was always interested in real estate as well. He invested in several properties to test the waters and realized he had a passion for the business. Twelve years ago he became a licensed agent. After spending a decade gaining experience at agencies, he purchased First National Real Estate Ranges where he leads a team of established agents. Mick and his team serve the Dandenong Ranges east of Melbourne, as well as their foothills. “It’s a mixture of residential areas on small allotments to 100 acre properties—so it’s quite diverse,” Mick says. Mick has been living in the Dandenong Ranges for 32 years and is known for his expertise and the excellent service he provides. An impressive two-thirds of his business comes from repeat and referral clients. What keeps his former clients eager to spread the word about Mick to their friends and family? He focuses his interactions with clients on their goals rather than on pushing a sale. “Our conversations are about their needs, where they are wanting to go, or if they are upsizing or downsizing. We spend more time talking about that kind of thing than the actual house,” he explains. But as a result, Mick is able to help his clients find the perfect home—or the perfect buyer. To stay in touch with past clients, Mick sends Christmas cards and helpful quarterly newsletters with market updates, reaches out by phone to let them know if there’s a house for sale in their neighborhood, and hosts fun “client nights” to show his appreciation. He’s also very involved in the community and enjoys seeing past clients when he’s out at shops or eating in

local restaurants. “Our area is very communityoriented, so if I walk up the street people often know me or my family. That’s part of the reason that people move here—not only is it picturesque, but there is a strong sense of community.” When it comes time to market listings, Mick understands that most buyers begin their search for a property online. He has a high quality website and a large database. “I’m a big believer in our database,” he says. “At least 50% of our buyers come from past clients.” He posts each listing on all the major real estate portals, and conducts a thorough marketing campaign via Facebook and other forms of social media. He usually carries 15 to 25 properties at a time, ranging in price from $300k to $1.8 million. What’s his favorite part of the job? “The thing I love the most is seeing a past client who is incredibly happy with how the transaction turned out and who has achieved their goal—even if they originally had no idea how they would do so. I really enjoy using my expertise and professionalism to get them to the point where they want to be,” he says. Mick loves having satisfied clients who are happy to recommend him to their friends and family. To give back to the community that has given him so much, he and his team sponsor local schools and cricket teams. In his free time, he loves to garden and spend time with his wife and their two children. As a family, they travel overseas to countries such as Fiji and Vietnam where they donate needed supplies to underserved schools there. For the future, Mick plans to continue streamlining structures within his organization so that as his business grows, each of his agency’s clients will receive the same excellent service. “We want to ensure each of our clients are happy to recommend us!” he says.

To find out more about Mick Dolphin, email MickD@rangesfn.com.au, call 0429 684 522, or check him out online at rangesfn.com.au www.

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3 Mind-Bending Philosophies to Expand Your Professional Perspective

Beyond the day-to-day duties that make your business tick, so much of success is derived from the principles you put in place to guide your business. The foundational tenets you subscribe to can make or break your business for the long-term; they not only influence how you complete routine Top Agent Magazine

tasks, but also impact your growth, your ability to manage a team, and what the future might hold. With all that in mind, here are three philosophies to remember as you strategize your professional life—whether you’re mapping your monthly goals or creating an overarching plan for growth.

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1

Treat Your Business Like a Business

One of the perks of working in real estate is that you’re often able to create and manage your own schedule and volume, but that doesn’t mean you can skimp on the technical details of being your own boss. No real estate professional worth his or her salt would forgo empowering tools like a business and marketing plan, or spreadsheets to track cash flow and expenses, or regular profit-and-loss statements, or fiscal year budgets and projections. Taking these measures may appear daunting at first— and completing them will certainly require discipline and a learning curve—but harnessing valuable data and information can intelligently inform your professional decisions, strategies, and long-term growth.

2

Achieve a Holistic Understanding

When schedules are busy, it sometimes feels like enough to reach the end of the week’s to-do list. But, if you’re planning on a lasting career built on year-to-year growth, it’s not enough to account for the short-term. By creating daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly, and five-year goals, you’re outlining and quantifying your progress. While your quarterly and yearly goals may be clear in your mind, what about five years from now? Perhaps you’d like to add to your designations, or incorporate a new team member, or add an additional branch. No matter how you envision your profes18

sional future, the first order of business is to create a timeline. Once you have a clear deadline in mind, it’s far easier to build out the steps and calendar necessary to achieve your goals.

3 Specificity is Empowering While you may have a general sense of where you’d like to see your business go in the next few months or years, it’s hard to work toward or attain a goal that’s abstract. To make the most of your time and efforts, you must identify and understand precisely what you’re aiming toward. For instance, instead of planning to add volume to your enterprise, outline a specific, attainable number to work toward. Or, if you’d like to add an administrative staff in the years to come, consider the details of this decision—the money it would take, the type of people you’d want to hire, how many hours per week they’d work, what tasks they would complete, etc. Adding hard details to your goals not only makes them more realistic, but progress is more easily made when you have specific items you can cross off your to-do list along the way. While there are no 100% fool-proof or guaranteed routes to success, shifting your mindset from the present and the abstract, to the specific and the long-term can have a major impact on your chances of success. Instead of dreaming of being more productive or successful, do yourself a favor and craft a gameplan you can bank on.

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DENISE HAYNES Top Agent Denise Haynes – owner of R&R Property, with three offices in both Stroud and Bulahdelah, NSW – is a consummate professional who truly cares about the well-being of her many clients, and goes to extraordinary lengths to provide unparalleled customer service. Whether working with a buyer or a seller, Denise’s many years of experience and her status as a fourth-generation local situate her perfectly to provide expert real estate advocacy in these scenic, rural communities. In 2004, Denise – in search of a career change - walked into a local real estate office and inquired about a possible job. “At first they said no,” she recalls. “Then a couple of days later, they rang me up and asked if I’d like to work for them a couple of days a week. That’s how I got started: making tea and coffee, doing the filing, and that sort of basic stuff.” Denise’s intuitive aptitude for the real estate industry resulted in a quick ascent to agent status, and her “start from the bottom” origins providing her with a solid foundation upon which she has built an impressive career. In March of 2010, Denise opened R&R Property, which has since grown to employ a current roster of eight team members, all of whom share her client-first business ethos. When trying to assess a real estate agent’s abilities and the quality of service they provide, there is perhaps no better measure than their percentage of repeat and referral clients, and these constitute a vast majority of R&R’s business. “I think it’s because I’m really dedicated to helping our customers,” says Denise, when asked to account for the impressive level of loyalty her clients demonstrate as they return again and again and refer friends and family members. “I work all the time,” she laughs, “and you might call me a workaholic. I like to get back to people as quickly as I can, and communicate with them by constantly providing feedback, not just for my sellers, but for the buyers as well.” There are, of course, a multitude of other factors that have played a role in Denise’s continuing and ever-expanding success story.

Chief among them are her thorough, savvy marketing strategies that almost always translate into fast sales for top dollar. Professional photography is utilized exclusively, and all print materials are created by a professional designer, ensuring that each listing is shown in its best light, every time. These listings are then propagated to a vast number of internet sites, and deft usage of social media ensure they are seen by as many potential buyers as possible. The appreciation Denise’s clients feel for her is best made evident by the scores of five-star reviews she has received on industry website ratemyagent.com.au, including this one: “After consulting with numerous agents in the area, Denise stood out from the rest due to her knowledge, experience and passion for real estate in the region. It is because of her exceptional marketing techniques and drive to go above and beyond for us that we achieved an estate record sale in such a short period of time…She provided us with clear communication throughout the whole process, was honest and realistic, and offered helpful advice on how to achieve the best price for our home. We were absolutely thrilled with the results Denise achieved and we couldn’t be happier.” Denise reciprocates that appreciation, and goes out of her way to let them know this. Whether she’s sending out home anniversary cards, phoning them directly, or simply conversing with them when she runs into them on the street or at local businesses, she works hard to maintain these cherished relationships. R&R has also deeply ingrained themselves into the local community via sponsorship and a branded presence at multiple events, including the annual Country Show, where they most recently set up a facepainting booth for children. When she’s not working – and Denise admits that’s a rare occasion – she enjoys nothing more than pursuing physical fitness or indulging in her passion for photography. Above all, spending time with her husband and young daughter takes priority. Denise, who is currently authoring a book on how to sell one’s home for the most money, has fairly simple plans for the future of her business: to continue expanding, while sacrificing none of the amazing customer service that has long been her calling card.

For more information about Denise Haynes, please call 0414 725 482 or email denise@randrproperty.com.au Top Agent Magazine

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LINCON McLAREN Lincon McLaren, Owner of McLaren Real Estate, is a consummate professional committed to providing his many buyers and sellers with the very best real estate advocacy available. As a market leader in the Macarthur – the fastest growing district in all of Australia – Lincon’s honesty, integrity and vast industry knowledge, combined with his steadfast commitment to giving back to his community, have translated into a reputation as an agent who always puts his clients’ best interests at the forefront of every transaction.

While McLaren Real Estate has organically become associated with the higher-end, luxury market, Lincon is quick to point out that they are still eager to provide any vendor – regardless of price point – with the benefit of their cutting-edge and highly successful marketing strategies. “Today, having an online presence is one of the most important things,” says Lincon, whose listings are positioned prominently on RealEstate.com, Homely.com and Domain. com, “and a consortium of other, smaller websites as well.” Additionally, Lincon ensures that every listing is presented in its best light through the use of professional photography exclusively. Drone shots, floor plans, and full four page, high-gloss brochures for each listing are also employed, almost always resulting in fast sales for top dollar in a competitive market.

Prior to entering the world of real estate, Lincon and his wife opened a childcare centre, which is still currently operating and in its eleventh successful year. “But real estate is where I’ve always wanted to be,” says Lincon, “so in 2012, when the child care business was up and operating and we were sure it would survive, I decided to get my real estate license. I just jumped in hook, line and sinker.” Finding immediate success, he quickly opened his own office and now oversees an equally-dedicated team of five licensed agents, two property management professionals and one office administrator. Continued growth is inevitable, however. “The Macarthur has approximately two hundred families moving in every week,” he says, “so there’s certainly enough growth for us to open a second office, and maybe two, three or even four.”

When asked what he enjoys most about what he does, Lincon first points to helping his clients achieve their real estate goals as the most rewarding aspect of his job. Second, however, is being able to create a unique office environment. Our office is not normal,” he explains with a laugh. “Our boardroom has a pool table, big screen television, recliner chairs etc. I’ve tried to build an environment where both my agents and my clients feel comfortable. It’s a place where we can hang out and build those long-term relationships.”

When asked to account for the success of McLaren Real Estate – their rate of referral business hovers around an impressive ninety percent – Lincon points first to the relationships he and his agents develop within the community they represent. “As a proud Rotarian, and through different networking groups within the Macarthur,” he explains. We are massively involved in giving back to the community. The old days of agents going around door-knocking and letterbox-dropping are long gone. Today, it’s about getting into the psyche of your local community, which we do through just being there for them with youth sports league sponsorships and other things, just high-fiving moms and dads and the players and coaches goes a long way.” Lincon and his company strive to maintain those relationships, and do so through a variety of innovative methods that transcend the typical email and newsletter methods. “We host two events each year for our past and present clients,” says Lincon. “We’ve hired cinemas and invited them to watch football matches or the latest movies. The last time we did it, two hundred people came to watch The State of Origin on the Big Screen at Narellan Cinemas. We have also hired a whole Captain’s Lounge at Australia’s biggest trotting arena at Club Menangle.”

Lincon’s plans for the future of his company are fairly simple: to grow their property management portfolio, to continue adding new agents who share his client-first business ethos, and to eventually open additional offices. Most important, however, is to continue providing the amazing, top-notch customer service that has become synonymous with the name McLaren Real Estate.

For more information about LINCON McLAREN, please call 4648 3777 or email Lincon@mclarenrealestate.com.au Copyright Top Agent Magazine

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Top Agent Magazine


Untangling the Bidding War: A Buyer’s & Seller’s Perspectives In a competitive marketplace, bidding wars become the norm. While this may put sellers in an excellent position to recoup on their investment, it can push buyers beyond their budgets and test their temperaments in the process. As an agent, how do you navigate both sides of the coin? After all, you want to net the best results for your client—regardless of which side of the closing table they’re on. To fortify your approach to a heated bidding war, here are a few ideas and insights to better clue you in on the perspectives of buyers and sellers alike. Top Agent Magazine

Buyer’s Perspective: Emotions Running High? Channel it. When the market is booming, buyers feel the pressure—especially when affordable inventory is limited. This can create stress, feelings of hopelessness, and impulsivity. As an agent, how do you channel this emotional energy into something positive? Consider asking buyers to put those anxieties and high hopes onto paper. Have buyers outline

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who they are, why they’re inspired to buy a home at this juncture in their lives, and how they see their lives unfolding once they become a homeowner (or repeat homeowner). Think of it as a letter of intent. Buyers benefit from taking abstract fears and dreams and articulating them on paper. Likewise, this document can serve as a valuable tool during a bidding war. Letters like these can help sellers with multiple offers make a personal, emotional connection with a particular buyer.

Sellers Perspective: Manage expectations. When multiple offers are rolling in on a property, it’s easy for sellers to get carried away. Numbers are flying, expectations are heightened, and sellers may become hypnotized by higher and higher offers and ideal outcomes. While it’s good to celebrate prime market positioning, it’s also important to maintain an even keel so that your seller’s mind is clear and they’re thinking rationally through their options. Sometimes the highest offer isn’t necessarily the sure thing. Manage your clients’ expectations by leading by example, offering a balanced perspective, and talking them through all potential outcomes so that they don’t only hone in on the best-case scenario. During a bidding war, tensions are running high for seller’s too, who will soon begin their next chapter in another home. Keep a cool head and remind your client to see the big picture, recognize that it’s possible for some offers to fall through, and to sit tight until the closing table has been successfully reached.

Buyer’s Perspective: How do you authentically and convincingly convey your interest? When ten or so offers are in the mix, it can be hard to differentiate your buyer from the next. While numbers will obviously do a lot of the talking, you’d be surprised how much of a difference a 22

personal touch can make. Some popular approaches to standing out include personal letters—as mentioned above—tailored to the property. Was the property in question a family home for years? You might have clients detail their dreams of raising a family inside those walls, rather than tear the property down and rebuild something to boost the lot’s value. Including a family photo is also a good tact for personalizing letters in a bidding war. Likewise, little gifts included with your offer can speak volumes about your personality and due diligence as an agent. It may seem a little cheesy, but when sellers are looking at ten near-identical offers, those personal touches can really paint a compelling, personalized picture.

Seller’s Perspective: How powerful is cash? Data shows that cash offers—typical of investor clientele—double the chances of having an offer accepted. This goes hand in hand with waiving a financing contingency, which also helped boost the probability of an accepted offer, according to research. Cash is king, however, since offers that aren’t completely reliant on comprehensive financing seem to minimize risk for sellers, who are already eager to see a deal go through. Cash deals also tend to go through quickly, freeing sellers up to pursue their next property and move on to new horizons. While not every buyer has the ability to operate in cash, it’s a worthwhile consideration for those in ultra-competitive markets and with liquid capital. While the bidding process can be stressful for agents and clients alike, it’s important to remember that it’s a time of opportunity, too. If you want to make the most of it as a seller, data shows that a personal touch can endear buyers to their seller counterparts. For sellers navigating a competitive process, it’s important to keep a balanced perspective. For agents, here’s the bottom line: get creative, be resourceful, and use all the tools in your arsenal to achieve the best result for the clients you serve.

Top Agent Magazine ®

Top Agent Magazine


ANDREW WOOD As a fourth-generation real estate professional, Andrew has a hundred years of family history in property since his great grandfather opened Wood & Co. on Collins Street in Melbourne during the early 1900s. During his teenage years, Andrew worked at his family’s local real estate office in Victoria, then went on to pursue a real estate focus at university. Upon graduation, he hit the ground running, making his debut in commercial real estate. Now, thirty years after launching his career, Andrew has built Wood Property Partners, known for its personal service, integrity, and highly valued offerings. Based in Melbourne, Andrew heads a tight knit team of twelve, focusing on apartment sales, management, and leasing. Accordingly, much of Andrew’s work partners alongside investors and developers, and he relishes the chance to provide clients of all kinds with comprehensive service. “When we’re working with investors, we work constantly to increase and maximize annual return and capital growth,” he says. “Whether we’re managing properties and making things simpler for tenants through our apps and high use of technology, or working within our network of investors and developers, we think about their needs, gather knowledge, and provide the right guidance for them.” Andrew spearheaded his work in the commercial real estate sector for twenty years, and he still draws upon that rigor of professionalism, depth of experience, and property knowledge in both residential and investment sales. “It all comes down to understanding clients and their needs,” he says. “As a team and a business, we provide a service based on our experience. Our day-to-day business delivers operationally, but the most valuable service we provide is our advice. We consider our clients’ situations, needs, and goals and then distill our knowledge into tailored advice that will make a difference for them. To speak to an individual’s needs, you need to understands all of the factors at play—and that’s what we do best.” When it comes to the listing process, Andrew and his team leave no detail unaccounted for. Beginning with high quality photography that showcases properties in their finest light, Andrew and his team then turn to their dynamic online marketing approach to reach wide-ranging exposure. “All of our systems are cloud-based, and we like to maximize efficiencies in how we do business,” he says. “From tenant apps and CRMs that allow us to stay close with buyers and sellers—we provide a high level of contact.” Likewise, Andrew’s work with a variety of investors and developers over the years ensure his network is far-reaching. This also plays a central role in achieving maximum visibility for listings. “Above all else it is personal contact and relationships that are most important and makes the biggest difference,” he says.

important,” he says, “and most of that work is done on a very social level.” As a keen cyclist, Andrew often lends a hand through his cycling group, or through his two daughters’ primary school community. “It’s important to reach out to others through those groups and help someone who has a need.” In his free hours, Andrew most enjoys time spent with his wife and children, as well as heading out for rides alongside his cycling group. As for the future of his business, Andrew intends to keep momentum steady as his business continues to grow. “We’ve enjoyed very rapid growth over the past twelve months,” he says. “We’ve doubled our business this year and we plan to use the coming months to incorporate new technology that helps drive our day-to-day.” Now, with three decades of real estate insights behind him, Andrew Wood considers what he has come to enjoy most about this lengthy industry tenure. “It’s a very people-oriented business,” he reflects. “I’m able to work with all sorts of people and I’ve dealt with all kinds of projects. That kind of diversity is always exciting. Whether we are working with private individuals, companies, investors, or developers with huge-scale projects—there’s a very broad spectrum in this business. No matter the client, I most enjoy finding out what someone needs and figuring out the ways we can help.”

To learn more about Andrew Wood email andrew@woodproperty.com.au, visit woodproperty.com.au, or call +61 419 775 656 www.

Beyond the office, Andrew gives back to the community on a hyper-local level. “Working closely within our community is really Top Agent Magazine

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