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Profiting in 2013

By Staff Reporter
18 December 2012 | 1 minute read

Planning is an integral part of any successful business, although it’s particularly critical for real estate agencies operating in what is one of the most competitive industries in Australia. Every little edge an agency can get over a competitor can mean the difference between profit and loss, and success and failure.

Yet principals, often swamped with the varied and complex challenges of running a business, can find it hard to factor in the time to plan properly. It’s for this reason that Real Estate Business, using its extensive news gathering capability and industry relationships, has uncovered the trends that are likely to have a significant impact on real estate agencies in 2013.




The bottom line is important to any well run real estate office, but how can principals ensure they control costs without losing out on what matters most?

FLAT PROPERTY markets have necessitated a stronger emphasis from principals on controlling costs, and this will no doubt continue into the New Year. Shaun Bassett, head of the residential real estate segment at Macquarie Relationship Banking, says there are a number of the ‘usual’ costs that need to be monitored. These are:

ADVERTISING COSTS - how much is being recovered from the vendor and how much is collected up front?

STAFF SALARIES - in current sales markets, salaries need to be linked to income generated (or the principal will take a pay cut);

PROJECT SPENDING - especially in IT/online presence – do the potential returns/cost savings justify the expenditure in the current market, or is it just nice to have?

In terms of improving operational efficiency, he says it’s imperative principals look to automate more tasks. “For instance, receipting and reconciling for rent – this should not be a manual process anymore,” Mr Bassett says.

The agencies that are surviving, and in some cases thriving in this market, are those with a real focus on the ‘controllables’ within their businesses and their environment, he says.  

“Some agencies have attributed their inability over a sustained period to turn a profit and manage their cash flow to poor sales market conditions and a weaker economic environment.

“These are the agencies relying on the ‘uncontrollables’, which are those factors that an agency has no control over – for example, an improved sales market and economic conditions – to turn their business around. These agencies are faltering and in some cases exiting the industry.

“Our 2012 Residential Real Estate Best Practice Benchmarking report further evidenced this theme of focusing on the ‘controllables’:

  •    The average property management commission rate improved from 7.1 per cent (2009) to 7.6 per cent (2012)
  •    The average sales commission rate charged to vendors improved from 2.5 per cent (2009) to 2.6 per cent (2012)
  •    The average rent roll grew substantially (375 properties under management in 2009 to 436 properties under management in 2012)
  •    The percentage of fixed costs covered by recurring property management income in an agency improved from 48 per cent in 2009 to 55 per cent in 2012 (dropping the reliance on sales revenue to cover fixed costs)

Jason Roach, Westpac head of real estate services, says in relation to monitoring wages, principals should firstly assess whether staff are contributing to either an agency’s revenue or service.

“Identify if they meet your expectations of performance,” he says. “If they don’t, determine what remedial action can be taken – training, mentoring, coaching, new role, exit – and assign a timeline to complete that.

“That process requires involvement from the staff member, too. They need to be aware of any changes or investment in your business.”

Watching your cost of funds should be another task for 2013.

“Consider (more) actively managing your balance sheet, including matching the term of the assets on your balance sheet versus the term of the funding,” Mr Roach suggests, adding that with fixed interest rates at particularly low levels, it is probably time to speak to your financial adviser about how you can be making the most of the yield curve.



Agents must be aware of a client’s privacy rights heading into 2013

AGENCIES THAT continue to market to consumers without their prior permission will encounter increased resistance in the coming year, Ian Campbell, director and principal analyst at IC Growth Consulting, says.

“Probably my biggest concern for 2013 will be privacy,” he says.

“It’s becoming the number one issue for consumers in the future.

The internet and social media has brought privacy awareness, or the awareness of how to protect one’s anonymity in cyberspace, much more to the fore.

“We’re already seeing signs of it," he says. "The Victorian government introduced legislation which took off vendor names from the government data.

“That’s just the beginning.”

Mr Campbell says agencies who ‘churn and burn’ their local markets will be the losers as consumers make their displeasure known.

“In the past the real estate agencies, particularly the ‘churn and burn’ type agencies, have done everything in their power to try … and invade [consumers’] privacy.

"They’ve used marketing databases, they’ve used everything they can get their hands on.

“That, as a commodity, I think will disappear. Consumers will drive that. They will start to frown upon anyone who starts using their private information without their permission.

“Bad agencies will waste a lot of time and money, and will ‘churn and burn’ their markets if they continue to go about non permission-based marketing techniques versus agencies that really engage, get permission and add value.”

A bit earlier this year, prominent industry trainer Peter Gilchrist lamented those agents who continued to undertake letter box drops and door knocking for business.

“Who wants an agent knocking on their door,” he asked. “I’d rather have Mormons knock on my door. You’re an agent, no one wants to be your friend.”

Mr Campbell added that savvy agencies will combat this phenomenon by spending more time ensuring their buyer database is up to date, accurate and offering maximum value.



Across the real estate industry we have seen a flood of recruitment drives from major and independent groups proving staff retention has never been more important

JOEL BARBUTO, managing director at Gough Recruitment, expects a positive 2013, although this means “the war on talent will continue”, he says.

The specialist real estate recruitment company, which has offices in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide, along with Singapore, expects sales agents, property managers and property manager BDMs, to be in hot demand next year.

He says he has noticed principals, faced with a tougher sales market, moving more towards property management to help bolster their income.

“They’ve seen a few tough sales months, so property management is becoming more important to them,” he says.

This, in turn, continues to put heat on finding quality property management staff.

“Good people aren’t moving, and there is a lack of talent overall,” he says.

“At any given point in time we have 60 property management roles in Sydney. Some jobs are taking eight weeks to fill, and they’re listed with multiple recruitment agencies.”

Nationally, his firm currently has 120 property management job vacancies.

The only good people that are moving are being headhunted, he continues, with the remainder often too nervous to leave their current employer for fear of not finding another job.

Moreover, some of the good property managers have simply had enough of what he says can be a “crappy job”, leaving the industry altogether. This further dilutes the talent pool. This dearth of talent is likely to lead to salary increases next year, Mr Barbuto says.

The hospitality industry is one potential source of fresh talent, he continues. Employees in this sector are used to hard work, long hours and low pay.

Another industry segment ripe for new employees is professional services, including the REIT sector, which is experiencing major retrenchments at the moment. These employees are looking for a lifestyle and career change, he adds, and would consider working in the real estate industry.  

Looking ahead, he says principals should – where possible – invest in quality sales managers and/or performance managers in order to ensure their staff is being looked after and they receive the feedback and guidance that many of them now crave and expect.

Jason Roach, Westpac head of real estate services, says hiring the right people requires an investment of time and money – around five per cent of revenue should be provided for training and education.

“You should always be scouting for the fastest, strongest and fittest team members,” Mr Roach says, and 2013 won’t be any different. "This does not commit you to hiring them, but it does assist you in staying close to the market place and competition.”

Mr Barbuto is already seeing some principals enhance their chances of securing top quality talent by creating an HR role within their agency, with a view to developing ‘people banks’ – a list of people they can approach should a vacancy arise.

Mr Barbuto says this was particularly evident in Sydney, where some leading boutique agencies were aggressively seeking new staff as they expand their businesses.

National licensing, which is due to come into effect on July 1 next year, could also be a boon to agency principals, provided they start looking beyond their local patch for new staff.

“It could encourage candidates to move interstate,” he says. “As it is, many in the industry already tend to move from Melbourne to Perth, or Sydney to the Gold Coast, or Perth to Sydney. But many principals still think on a very localised level. They should be looking interstate as well.”

In a word of caution, Mr Barbuto says principals must sharpen up their interviewing and recruitment skills, as applicants will increasingly want to interview principals.

“Candidates interview principals on what the organisation is like, on what training and development opportunities they offer.

“They might have 10 interviews. Principals who turn up with no CVs and no questions [and not prepared] – that will no longer work.

“They’ve got to sell the job.”



A common theme amongst senior executives in some of the country’s biggest real estate groups, leadership is what they believe separates success from failure

ANGUS RAINE, CEO at Raine & Horne, believes leadership is now more critical than ever as principals strive to keep their teams together ahead of the next property market surge, which he’s confident will come.

“If you give someone strong leadership they’ll invariably stay with you,” he says. “If they leave, it’s usually not about the money – they’ll tell you it is, but it’s not.”

Mr Raine has also noticed a shift towards younger, more qualified principals.

“There’s a higher level of tertiary qualifications in the industry, and it’s not all about that but it certainly helps,” he says.

Brian White, chairman of Ray White Group, says he has noticed an improvement in how principals are leading their teams.

“The way some of our offices are engaging their staff in discussion and debate as to how they can improve their business, some of that has been very, very impressive,” he says. “That comes back to good leadership. Some people often think of real estate offices as an investment, a little bit like selling a particular product – ‘All I have to do is run an efficient office and the product will sell’.

“Real estate doesn’t have any of that, [instead] it’s a reflection of the owner.

“The most impressive thing I’ve seen in recent times is principals understanding leadership issues, and making an effort to excel.”

Related to good leadership, Bryan Thomson, Harcourts Australia Group’s head of real estate operations, says it’s important for someone who is respected to drive accountability within an agency office.

“The key to success in 2013 for agency principals will be the same as it always has been. Principals must have a rock solid business plan, including short- and long-term goals, with actions in place to drive their business towards these goals. In a real estate business it is too easy to become mired in the day-to-day operation of your business and lose sight of the outcome you are driving for.

“Once this plan is in place and you have a vision that your team … are committed to then the implementation of actions to achieve the planned outcomes becomes much simpler.”



Real Estate Business asked the leaders of some of the country’s biggest groups about their primary focus for 2013. Here’s what they had to say:

“It’s more [about] empowering the consumer. I think for a long time now the consumer doesn’t want to be told, ‘We’re the best, we’ve won all of these awards…’ So, what our tools will be, and they’re going to be rolled out in January and February next year, is about giving the consumer more information.” Angus Raine, CEO, Raine & Horne

“We’ve invested a lot in technology as most companies presumably have. How we integrate that into good practice is the key … it’s the easier ability to communicate [that will be a focus]. The old story that you related to people when they came in, and when they finished that process you said goodbye with a bottle of wine and maybe a hamper… we see that as very old fashioned.”  Brian White, chairman, Ray White Group

“We will continue to build our digital footprint to improve the customer experience, which kicked off with the launch of our Facebook presence in 2012. This page (amongst other things) provides the public with the opportunity to 'Ask hockingstuart' any real estate question they may have ... we are also investing heavily in developing the 'end-to-end' system that will, over time, reduce administration costs attached to running a real estate business, greatly improve management reporting and significantly improve communications with our end customers. Finally, we are looking to improve the leadership skills of our principals and managers across our offices.” Nigel O’Neil, CEO, hockingstuart

“We will continue to develop our proprietary technology platform, Harcourts One. Our own Harcourts Academy will continue to be a focus of our internal growth platform as we look to continue to develop our people. In specialist areas, the continuation of our international luxury brand, Luxury Property Selection, will offer significant opportunity … to drive performance and success at the top end of the market. Our rural and regional joint venture brand, Landmark Harcourts, is really hitting its straps and 2013 will see us move further towards a leadership position through regional and rural Australia.” Bryan Thomson, head of real estate operations, Harcourts Australia Group



In 2012, social media strengthened its hold as the dominant force in the online world. Twitter gained over 500 million users, Instagram gains one user every second and two thirds of the Fortune 500 companies have a Facebook page. But where to from here? Steven Cross reports

IT ISN’T even worth questioning the relevance of social media anymore, says Stewart Bunn, national communications manager at First National Real Estate.

“A barrier to entry remains the somewhat blinkered view that social media is not worth the effort unless there’s a direct correlation with listings,” he says.

Mr Bunn says First National were one of the first networks to truly embrace social media.

“Three and a half years ago the whole business world was just beginning to feel its way into the space. So, we had to learn how to lead by example. This wasn’t so difficult with Facebook, but Twitter proved more challenging. Then we added blogging to the mix. The three combined created significant demands on already stretched resources but, as with all new ventures, they become a natural fit in the overall business mix over time.”

Jhai Mitchell, originally an internet marketer and web designer, started as a BDM at Elders Toongabbie, in western Sydney, but now works across two Elders offices as the internet-marketing business manager.

“People like me are going to be more and more common,” he claims.

“I believe you need someone in your office to harass agents for content, who knows the local area and can create original content for your blog.”

It is the blog that will become the e-marketing tool of the future, according to both Mr Bunn and Mr Mitchell.

“Those who’re blogging are doing very well, getting a lot of enquiry, creating a lot of buzz and aiding their SEO,” said Mr Mitchell.

And while the core of your online marketing should be your blog, agents should use Facebook and Twitter to distribute the blog.

“The most advanced members at First National localise their content streams with ‘tweets’ about local results, news and community-based events,” said Mr Bunn.

“It’s not to find out about your latest listings – that’s what websites are for. The vast majority of agents are ‘tweeting’ nothing but the addresses of their latest listings.

“If customers can find everything they’re looking for on one of the major real estate portals, why on earth would they follow a single agent’s Twitter channel?

After Facebook’s bungled IPO, the site is searching for new ways to generate income, and has begun charging users for certain features, such as ‘promoting’ posts, which Mr Mitchell believes is destroying outreach.

“Twitter and Facebook are really only mediums for you to spread your blog. It’s great to have little interactions, but social media is the gun and your blog is the bullet.

“You need to aim it in the right direction or you’ll have no impact.”

Nathan Sahyoun (pictured), principal of LJ Hooker Paramatta, is an avid social media user and has combined his office Facebook page and his myLJHooker portal into a local community hub.

“People use Facebook differently and engage with us at a community level for a longer period of time… For example, in social media we try not to talk about buying or selling, but to focus on our community and market conditions so we can maintain that more casual engagement. We try to blog every day, and then once a month we send out the ‘Hooked Up’ newsletter. We also try to mix things up and begin our newsletters with a giveaway. We recently gave away a gift voucher from a local business to a person who posted a photo of a house they love.”

“Next year we want to focus on more hyper-local community content. We cover a fairly large geographical area and our content online so far has been focused only on Parramatta, which is our core area.



Dr Andrew Wilson, senior economist at Australian Property Monitors (APM), has these predictions for the Australian economy and property market in 2013:

  • Unemployment rate to remain below six per cent
  • The All Ordinaries index to grow above the 4,500 point mark
  • Jobs growth outside the mining sector will come from the general construction sector in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth
  • Interest rates to remain steady, although they will begin to move up by the second to third quarter
  • In terms of the rental markets, they will be highly active – Perth driven by population growth, and less active but still strong in Sydney, driven by housing shortages. Solid yields and capital growth prospects should also drive Brisbane’s rental market
  • Property investors to target Brisbane, Sydney and Perth. There will also be a general shift to bricks and mortar investment, with the self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) sector to be highly active
  • The prestige markets will heat up in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane – this will be based on value buying momentum, as these markets have been oversold over the past four years.
  • Perth shows the most potential for property price growth – there’s significant supply/demand imbalance emerging



As office running costs continue to rise and environment-related concerns grow across society, a number of real estate groups are taking the initiative when it comes to building more efficient and sustainable businesses

LJ HOOKER says it focuses its principals on a program called ‘3Ps’, for power, petrol and paper.

At LJ Hooker Mosman, office manager Kim Marmara says, “Joining up to the 3P’s over six months ago focused our attention on making our office more sustainable and reducing our overheads. We contracted the power component of this to Ecosave and they made the job straight forward and simple for us.

“The Ecosave project managed the work completed in the office which included, amongst other things, changing light fittings and lamps, installing light sensors, timers on the hot water system and window displays.”

As a result of engaging Ecosave, one of the 3Ps preferred partners, LJ Hooker Mosman will save 19 per cent on their power bill annually.

LJ Hooker’s head office has also sought to cut its expenses. The company increased its efficiency at its head office and in its regional corporate offices – franchise offices are measured separately – and saw an average reduction of 7.5 per cent in energy use last financial year.

“The team in our WA regional site reduced their energy use by 33 per cent,” LJ Hooker CEO, Georg Chmiel, says. “All these initiatives were low to no cost. With energy prices going up, we need to continue to build a culture of efficiency so we can save more on our bills.”

Clients can also benefit, he adds. “If we can help consumers reduce the cost and impact of operating their property, then we become the only agency in the market to give them something that adds to the value of their property and puts money into their pocket every month,” Mr Chmiel says, pointing to the company’s www.liveability.com.au website as tangible evidence of this.

Another to focus on sustainability and environmental concerns is First National Real Estate, which in November signed a pledge that will see the cooperative network stop using paper made from woodchips from Australia’s native forests.

“Australia currently has an excess of plantation wood available, so it makes sense to us that woodchips for pulp and paper should come from plantation wood which is a viable, sustainable and economically feasible alternative,” said First National Real Estate national communications manager,

Stewart Bunn, upon signing the Ethical Paper Pledge.

The cooperative group is also eager to reduce its carbon footprint. “Logging native forests releases huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere and globally speaking, accounts for 20 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions,” Mr Bunn said.



New risks and greater opportunities will evolve from an agent’s online reputation, as the internet continues to open up communication channels between clients and agents

THE CHANCES of having your reputation badly dented by ‘online attacks’ from previous clients looks set to grow in the year ahead, as more consumers use social media and various review websites to vent their spleen about the products and services they’ve used.

According to a Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising poll released earlier this year, consumer opinions posted online are the second most trusted source of advertising. Recommendations from people known to the consumer took first place.

Only recently, US-based property manager and real estate coach Todd Breen told the BWT ‘Re-Engineering Rent Roll Growth’ seminar in Sydney that agents who ignore bad online reviews put their business at risk.

Mr Breen told attendees that after 10 online reviews were made on a website, they will appear at the very top of a Google search, right next to the map that shows where you’re located.

“So what you need to do is push your clients, at the appropriate time, to go online and review your services,” he said.

“We call these referrable moments. Like when you’re signing a lease or renewing one, after a quick and easy repair job, when a tenant gets their bond back in full, or when you’re concluding a contract.”

But with so many review sites, Mr Breen admitted clients usually won’t be bothered submitting more than one online comment.

“I suggest taking it out of their hands… I provide my clients with a QR code to scan, which links them to my own site for them to write their review just once,” he said. “Then we go and put that on each of the review sites.”

“It’s great for the consumer who just won’t close; you can send them online to compare you and your competitor’s reviews, and since you’ve been pushing so many of your happy clients there, you have a good chance of winning the business.”

Stewart Bunn, national communications manager at First National Real Estate, says if agents are the victim of a ‘cyber attack’, their first move should be to ask the ‘attacker’ to phone them to discuss their grievance.

“With Facebook, thank the aggrieved for bringing their complaint to your attention and ask them to contact your office so the problem may be resolved to their satisfaction,” he says.

“It is very unwise to delete their negative comment, as this may encourage them to take their commentary into a sphere over which you have absolutely no influence.”

Never try to resolve the issue in social media, he adds.

“If, however, you have been posting blogs, [‘tweeting’ and] maintaining a regular social media stream of information, Google will have indexed that positive commentary and the strength of any profile attack will be minimised,” Mr Bunn says.

“Chances are that your assailant’s comments may not even make it onto page one of Google’s search results.”

According to Scott Shepherd, head of product at Rockend, it’s how agents respond to negative comments that will determine their success or failure.



Property management will continue to be a primary focus for residential agency principals in 2013, with some industry commentators pointing to investors as a key driver of sales

HOCKINGSTUART CEO Nigel O’Neil says the push towards property management comes, in part, from principals having a greater awareness of how their business should function.

“[They are] taking a broader look at their business to understand the profit, cash flow and asset creation impacts of decisions made,” he says.

“For example, many of our offices are increasing their focus on the property management side of their business, recognising how this will provide a financial buffer during leaner months, whilst also building an asset that can be cashed-in later on and/or used as security to borrow against if required.”

Graeme Hosking, the managing director at WA-based group Ausnet, agrees with this.

He says agencies in WA are primed for strong growth in this part of their business, on the back of an expected surge of investors into the local property market.

“The WA property market has generally been in recession for the last four years, due to a major market correction in prices," he says.

However, these competitive house prices, plus rising rental yields, are now encouraging investors – both locally and interstate – back into the WA property market."



Some critics said video listings wouldn’t last, but in 2013 video is set to be bigger and better than ever

VIDEOS LOOK set to remain popular with both consumers and real estate agents in 2013. Petra Sprekos, general manager at realestateVIEW, told the recent Real Estate Business Technology Roundtable that video listings are sought after by consumers.

“Video is consumer-driven and it is an expectation now,” she said in October.

“Traditionally, video was in the top end of the market, but now it has become more and more affordable for everyone to have a video. The consumer wants the most information; they think the agent is hiding information if they only put up three or four photos.

“In a few years time, if a listing doesn’t have a video then it will [undermine] the trust of agents.”

Tony Blamey, general manager of real estate at Fairfax Marketplaces, owner of Domain, agreed.

“You certainly get the feeling that in some parts of the industry there is a desire to withhold information with the belief, ‘If I withhold it, then a potential buyer will need to come to me’. But that is old-school thinking: the listings with video on Domain get about three to four times the viewerinquiries that a non-video property has.”

Grant Lynch, director, auctioneer and senior property consultant at Melbourne-based Allens Real Estate, is a big advocate of using video to market listings.

The agent, who is on track to have his biggest sales year since he entered the industry in 2005, said video will remain an important part of his marketing next year.

“I’ve seen enquiries double and even triple for properties with creative videos,” he says. “One video attracted over 90 groups to inspect the property within a four week period – a really dramatic result. Some interstate buyers contact us purely because they see a video and want to find out more about the area. It’s the most effective marketing tool we use.”

Importantly, Mr Lynch says the quality of prospect is improving, something that becomes apparent at inspection time.

“Even before they arrive, potential buyers are already engaged,” he says. “That’s unique to video. During inspections, people tend to chat about the video and feel comfortable asking questions, because they already know me a little. Presenting a video is a great way to break the ice and build those important relationships – and it’s fun.”



The consensus amongst industry professionals is that, for many areas, shopfronts are here to stay. But will they change? Real Estate Business interviewed two principals who have invested heavily in their shopfronts

LJ HOOKER North Sydney recently opened its new commercial and residential offices.

The commercial real estate arm of LJ Hooker North Sydney has been relocated to a ground-floor location, while the residential LJ Hooker North Sydney is now located separately in the nearby suburb of Kirribilli.

Garry Burling, principal of LJ Hooker North Sydney, said that shopfronts were a must when a number of factors were present.

“Sometimes it’s two or three people deep on the touch screens. You’d be surprised how many people stop,” he said.

Mr Burling’s investment comes not long after the new principal at Richardson & Wrench's office in the inner Sydney suburb of Pyrmont, Nick Countouris, also spent big on his own shopfront.

While some in the industry question whether shopfronts are necessary in an age where most homebuyers use online portals to source properties, Mr Countouris said having a shopfront helped generate interest among passers-by.

“I completely agree that shopfronts are becoming less important. But that’s the reason why we wanted to really push this office to another level,” he told Real Estate Business in September.

“We still have properties up in the windows, but that’s not what attracts people anymore. We want to attract the attention of locals by having a presentable and tidy office.

“You really need to make people stop as they’re walking past and say, ‘Wow’ when they see the office, and having a café and a pub close helps, too.”

Charles Tarbey, chairman of CENTURY 21 Australasia, is an advocate of shopfronts. “I’m a big believer in remaining part of the community,” he said.

“I think when you remove your businesses upstairs, all of a sudden – unless you’re in the city [CBD] of Sydney where it doesn’t matter – you don’t have the people who are walking past and looking in real estate windows.

“It gives exposure to the brand, and [furthermore], commercial leasing space has become quite negotiable over the past few years. Some people might think it’s old fashioned, but I think the more shopfronts you see out there, the stronger you think the company you’re dealing with is.”



More than ever before, a client database will be paramount in keeping an agent ahead of the pack and in touch with their clients

IF PRIVACY concerns do become more pronounced next year, then it will be critical for agents to spend more time developing their (potential) buyer databases – in other words, the people who are much more likely to give agents permission to market to them.  

And this is particularly true for agents located in ‘flat’ markets, says Ian Campbell, director, IC Growth Consulting.

“You need one buyer per property, that’s all you need,” he says.

“We’ve had a decade of good buyer inquiry … realestate.com.au and the [listing] portals have made it easy for agents to generate traffic into their properties.

“Having a reliance on third party marketing portals to push traffic into your properties is separating the agencies.

“Good agencies are building good databases; they’re tracking buyers; they’re capturing the details; they’re monitoring their movements; and not only in the open home, or post open home when they’ve purchased and they want to make their next purchase.

“Those sort of agencies are really valuing a buyer, and valuing the potential that buyer represents in a market is going to give them a really goodedge … in tough markets.”

 “Data capture – it’s the biggest hole, the biggest leaking bucket in the industry. You don’t need every piece of stock in the market to meet every buyer in the market – you only need a small fraction because buyers will go to different properties.

“What happens is agencies aren’t diligent and structured and strict around capturing good information from those buyers.

“Just letting them walk into an office and out again, they’re missing an opportunity for a future sale because that buyer will become a seller.”

Andrew Cocks, executive director at Richardson & Wrench, agrees that principals must harness technology in this regard.

“The adoption of technology to assist with business processes and knowledge management is the key for long-term success,” he says.

“The ability to harness information for the commercial benefit of the business is one of the most important things a business operator can do, however it has been one of the areas where our industry has under-performed … every office needs to better harness and use the knowledge and information they have gathered.” “Data capture – it’s the biggest hole, the biggest leaking bucket in the industry” Ian Campbell



LEADERSHIP: It’s not about the money; effective leadership can keep teams motivated and together (Angus Raine)

SUSTAINABILITY: Saving the world can also save you money – LJ Hooker’s WA regional site slashed their energy use by 33 per cent (Georg Chmiel)

SOCIAL MEDIA: Social media is here to stay, and blogging in particular will become increasingly important to agents (Jhai Mitchell)

ONLINE REPUTATION: It’s time to start ‘banking credits’ in a social media bank. Those agents that are consistently engaged with social media are much more likely to shrug off any online profile attack (Stewart Bunn)  

SHOPFRONTS: Check who your neighbours are – your shopfront will have a future if it’s located next to the ‘right’ businesses (Garry Burling)

VIDEO: Consumers will soon expect videos with all property listings (Petra Sprekos)

CONSUMER PRIVACY: Agents who ‘churn and burn’ their markets will face strong resistance from consumers (Ian Campbell)

BUYER DATABASES: Data capture is the industry’s biggest leaking bucket, so stop letting potential buyers slip between your fingers – invest in a robust database, and take the time to fill it with qualified leads (Ian Campbell)

Profiting in 2013
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