Alex Waters, who was named Rising Star at the 2014 Real Estate Business Awards and spoke at this year’s AREC, has left Crawford Realty Karratha to open Realmark Karratha.
Mr Waters told REB that he considered going it alone but ultimately decided he needed the support that a franchise could provide.
“I wasn’t naïve enough to think that I knew everything and it was going to be really easy to just open a new office,” he said.
“I also wanted an innovative and fresh brand. There’s a lot of capital investment required to make that happen if you’re going to start up your own brand.”
Mr Waters became an agent in May 2013, and has since used a saturation marketing strategy to establish a market share of 37 per cent in his regional Western Australian community.
He said he never planned to become a principal when he entered the industry, but ultimately built up the confidence to strike out on his own.
“Being a sales agent for someone else is quite a safe thing to do if you’re doing well,” he said.
“My advice to anyone thinking about doing it is – as long as you’ve got $50,000 to $100,000 – just do it. There’s ways to get extra money if you need it. We’ve had to have an overdraft with the bank to get us through, but the light is already there at the end of the tunnel.”
Realmark Karratha has three other staff – a sales agent, a property manager and a fulltime virtual assistant in the Philippines.
Mr Waters said he sees an opportunity to capitalise on his marketing presence and strong sales database to create a healthy stream of regular property management revenue.
“In our area, there are about 6,500 properties in Karratha and 4,000 of those are rented out. So there’s a massive pool of available properties to manage,” he said.
“I’d say 90 per cent of owners in our area – and when I speak to other agents in Melbourne and Perth they say the same – aren’t 100 per cent satisfied with what their property manager is doing for them and that’s where the opportunity lies.”
Meanwhile, Mr Waters said he also plans to open a virtual assistant company in February. It will be based in the Philippines and will serve real estate agencies.
He is also looking at opening an office with Capita Finance, which is a sister business of Realmark.
[Related: Most agents plan to open their own business]