Agent turns casual market update into record sale

One of Australia’s best agents has shown how acting as a trusted adviser for old clients can be turned into win-win sales transactions.

Clarke & Humel Property director Michael Clarke, who finished seventh in this year’s Top 100 Agents ranking, said he won a listing because he helped the vendor sell another unit in the same building in 2012 for a record-breaking price.

That result persuaded the vendor to recently request a market update, Mr Clarke told REB.

“We were discussing several properties and I told him, ‘If you’re going to sell anything right now, you’d do your penthouse’. It all came about from a generic market update,” he said.

The four-bedroom apartment in the Sydney suburb of Freshwater eventually fetched $4.25 million.

Mr Clarke said he’d known the vendor for 10 years, but didn’t win any business from him until 2012, when he sold the middle-floor unit in his three-unit building.

“I’d sold the second-floor property three years ago and that set a suburb record for an apartment at the time,” he said.

“However, the penthouse was a much bigger and better version of the downstairs unit.”

Mr Clarke said that once the decision to sell had been made, he was left with one of the most ambiguous pricing estimates he’d ever had to give.

“We knew it would be a massive suburb record, but we were also conscious of the fact that the previous all-time Freshwater record [for a unit] was only in the $2.3 million range,” he explained.

“We knew it would be north of $3 million; we were hoping for somewhere in the mid-to-high $3 million, but we [also] knew it could be anywhere from $3 million to $4 million.”

Mr Clarke said the final result came from two parties bidding competitively before the auction. The property was eventually secured by a local buyer from the Northern Beaches whom he hadn't worked with previously.

The home was sold in conjunction with Clarke & Humel co-principal Cherie Humel.

[Related: Clarke & Humel gets double win at Real Estate Business Awards]

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