Arabella Hooper has clawed her way to top position in REB’s 2022 Top 50 Agents SA rankings after she slashed days on market and grew her sales volumes by 47 per cent over 2021.
The Adelaide Hills-based Harris Real Estate property consultant leapt from number three last year to top position in the 2022 South Australia ranking, which she attributed to gaining significant momentum in the market. Her average sale price rose from almost $877,000 in 2020 to $1.2 million in 2021.
Meanwhile, her total value of residential properties sold skyrocketed from $92.8 million in 2020 to $136.5 million in 2021, while days on market plunged from 44 to 27 days.
“We’ve definitely seen a big transition from private treaty sales through to auctions,” Ms Hooper told REB when asked about what has contributed to the improvement across the rankings’ metrics.
“With the market generating momentum, we were able to see some amazing sale prices coming through. We’ve managed over the years to claw up the ranks in terms of selling higher priced properties.”
The annual rankings and associated report are an initiative of REB in conjunction with Momentum Intelligence to recognise the top-performing residential real estate agents in South Australia.
The rankings are compiled using a range of metrics, including the number of properties sold, the total dollar value of properties sold, and the average sale value.
Each agent is ranked comparatively across these three metrics against their peers based on their combined scores.
Buyers value seclusion, privacy
While the market has broadly propelled the median sales price, Ms Hooper said she has always targeted the higher end of the market.
“I think we’re now seen as the specialists at that end of the market and have become more of a go-to for buyers,” she said.
“That’s certainly assisting us in our striving towards the higher price points and attracting higher price point listings to start with.”
Ms Hooper has sold a diverse range of properties over her career, including units and houses, dairies, vineyards, lifestyle properties, and equestrian estates.
Last year, she largely sold small, secluded, acreage properties in Stirling in Adelaide Hills, which she said offered “escapism” to buyers.
“Because I’m a lifestyle specialist, there’s definitely been a huge movement for buyers wanting more space, privacy, and seclusion as a result of COVID-19,” she said.
“The pandemic has diverted buyers from wanting to be close to work to allowing them to realise the benefits of being removed and working from home. All of these things have opened up opportunities for them to live elsewhere.”
While properties have continued to offer significantly strong values, Ms Hooper said the market has slightly tightened or “normalised” as a wider population contracts the coronavirus.
A tech-savvy buyers’ market
The disruptions that resulted from the pandemic (including a ban on property inspections and in-person auctions) have meant buyers are now more willing to make purchase decisions without physically viewing the property, Ms Hooper observed.
“They’re okay to make an educated decision based on high-quality videos or FaceTime, or even sending family along to the houses,” she said.
Alongside this, her business has adopted electronic documentation and digital signing tools such as DocuSign.
“There’s been so much technological advancement because of COVID just because people couldn’t go anywhere,” Ms Hooper said.
“That has streamlined our business and has definitely helped us. Buyers too are more tech-savvy and prepared to make decisions instantly as a result.”
Treat customers with respect
When asked what advice she would impart to other agents seeking to become a top-performing agent (and secure a Top 50 Agents ranking next year), Ms Hooper underscored the importance of providing strong customer service, particularly amid the booming property market.
“Make sure you treat buyers with a lot of respect and really help them in this market,” she emphasised.
“Sometimes agents can become a bit complacent in a good market, and perhaps not provide the same level of service as when the market is tight.”
Ms Hooper added that buyers have long memories and tend to remember “how you make them feel” when gauging whether they should transact with an agent.
She concluded by advising agents to harvest their current listings and stock to ensure that they have a bulletproof listed and just-sold process.