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Independence gives agents more freedom

06 November 2019 Lyall Russell
Craig Marshall, James Yahl and William Chan

There are many reasons why agents stick to a big brand, with support and technology being just a couple of reasons, but one new agency has decided to break away.

Craig Marshall, James Yahl and William Chan have teamed up to create their own agency on Sydney’s North Shore called Marshall.Chan.Yahl.

The agency has been open for two months, and the three of them had sold 19 properties within that time, which was made more accessible when clients came with them.

“William and I both pulled over 10 listings each [from our old agency]. Our vendors wanted to sell with us and not be passed onto someone they didn’t know,” Mr Yahl told Real Estate Business. “They were all really excited about the new brand.”


Mr Marshall has been in real estate for more than 30 years, and during that time, he owned his own business for several years before he joined Century 21. When he sold the business to Savills in 2015, he had the number one, two and four offices in Australia.

However, when his retention period came to an end, he had no intention to retire.

“I set up and planned to do it all again, and James and William came along,” he said.

The three of them had worked together for the past decade, and because they know how each other works, it was the obvious choice, Mr Yahl said.

“Will and I had a lot of options, and working for Craig for so long, we knew how he worked and how he runs a business, so it was a natural fit for us in teaming up.”

Not having the oversight of a larger organisation has not fazed them at all as they have been able to have more control and prioritise the vendor.

“Technology and the systems and everything is out there, whether you are independent or franchised, it is out there,” Mr Marshall said. “All the systems, databases, they are all accessible because there are people out there in the industry doing it.

“The good thing about being independent is we get to get what we want; we are not governed or dictated by an organisation or franchise telling us what we can do; we can actually pick and choose.”

This allows the team to adapt and change quickly, so when a new product comes out, they can activate it without delay.

“When you are in a franchise or corporation, there is a round table, and you have to wait and see... it could take a while for everything to get approved cause you are dealing with people who aren’t on the ground,” Mr Marshall said.

With Mr Yahl being the top agent in St Ives and Mr Chan a leading agent in the Chatswood area, the agency has not struggled to hit the ground running.

“James and I are out there putting signboards up, sold stickers, getting those result and you put these together, it makes the perfect recipe for success,” Mr Chan said.

After a slow period in Sydney, the team opened their doors at the right time.

“It is funny [because] the market changed almost when we started,” Mr Yahl said. “We have had our plans in place a little while, and we have come out of a tough market over the last 18 months. But the market change has coincided with us starting this business, which is exciting... but it is giving us the foundation to get going.”

Independence gives agents more freedom
Craig Marshall James Yahl William Chan reb
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