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The greatest takeaways from AREC day 1

By Kyle Robbins
29 May 2023 | 13 minute read
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Australia’s biggest real estate conference, AREC, has kicked off for 2023, and REB is in attendance to keep you up to date on all the major talking points from the momentous two-day festival of real estate.

Hollywood actress Reese Witherspoon kicked off the event at the Gold Coast Convention Centre with a discussion with real estate coach and event MC, Tom Panos, touching on a myriad of topics, including the power of marketing and overcoming fear and nerves when starting to ramp up social media channels.

“Don’t worry about it!” the Academy Award winner declared to a room of nearly 4,000 of Australia and New Zealand’s finest and brightest real estate agents who hung on her every word with intense curiosity, adding agents shouldn’t “put pressure on themselves to create perfect”.


Ms Witherspoon, a mother of three, explained to the engaged audience the power of turning to teenagers as guidance for where the future is heading. Describing how, instead of attending the movies at weekends as she did at their age, her children have spent their time on YouTube, an insight which she revealed had a role in dictating her business’ future planning.

She compared a failure to adapt to and adopt updated technologies and manners of conducting business, such as utilising social media channels to amplify their presence, as like “riding a bike [when] they’ve invented the car”.

“Adapt or die,” was her message.

As a mother, Ms Witherspoon discussed suffering “mom guilt”, when work consumes life and sometimes forced her missing momentous occasions in her children’s lives, but in a heart-warming touch, the Four Holidays star said these instances inspired her to reposition her attitude towards work by ensuring that instead of projecting the negative aspects of her role onto her kids, she selected a positive about her day to relay to her children.

Ms Witherspoon parted with countless other pieces of wisdom during her hour-long session, to be unpacked by REB over the coming weeks.

With the crowd warmed up by Ms Witherspoon, Ryan Serhant had an easy task in keeping their attention hanging on to every word. An agent on the Mount Rushmore of New York real estate, he revealed the secrets he utilised to build his billion-dollar empire.

An original member of the hit TV show Million Dollar Listing New York, Mr Serhant’s core ethos, present throughout the entirety of his talk, was the power of mindset and “control[ling] the image [you] present to other people”.

With the room packed to the rafters of elite Australian and New Zealand agents eager to learn from one of America’s finest real estate operators, Mr Serhant recounted his rise from a small agent living commission-to-commission in a tiny apartment in Koreatown to “someone” securing major sales.

“If I am walking into the room where no one knows me, why not walk into the room as the Ryan I am uncomfortable with,” he said, touching on the importance of presenting the version of yourself you want to be.

“Play like you already have the money in your pocket,” the Houston native declared.

In and among his powerful mindset teachings, to be unpacked over the coming weeks, Mr Serhant also delivered his key sales strategies — including the three P’s — and using urgency to inspire clients off the “couch of indecision”.

While the opening acts may seem hard to follow, what remained of the opening day of AREC’s 25th year was a celebration of elite real estate performance, touching on a range of topics including personal growth, maximising sales and marketing, and a cheat sheet for optimising your social media presence delivered by a flock of leading agents including Madison Sutton from the NYC Agent, world-renowned real estate coach Tom Ferry, Sarah Bell, and Australia’s number one agent according to REB’s rankings, Alexander Phillips.

In a panel hosted by Tom Panos, Mr Phillips was joined on stage by the “GOAT’” of Australian real estate: James Tostevin, Marcus Chiminello, and Phil Harris.

Some of the insights from their conversation can be found here.

On the property management front, Fiona Blayney kicked things off with her take on “Once Upon a Time”, while Yemi Penn gave a very personal account of the importance of showing up — stressing the importance of rebellious curiosity.

Longview’s Megan Taylor also offered her expertise — giving some insight into the lessons learnt through Longview’s impressive trajectory to 4,000 properties under management, while Brodie McPhie shared the behind-the-scenes of being a new business powerhouse.

REB will continue coverage of AREC’s 25th year over the coming weeks.

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