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The real challenges of buying and selling a home, as told by one of your clients

29 September 2017 Demii Kalavritinos
Alex Whitlock, Momentum Media

In this episode of Secrets of the Top 100 Agents, Tim Neary is joined by Momentum Media director Alex Whitlock to discuss his personal experiences and the challenges he faced when selling and buying his home.

Alex recaps his first experience of selling how own home as well as the experiences he had with selling agents and buying agents and how his own experience as a sales man has impacted his experiences with selling agents.

In this episode, find out:

  • His decision making process when choosing agents
  • The positive impact of keeping in touch
  • How trust grew from small beginnings


Tune in now to hear all of this and much, much more in this episode of Secrets of the Top 100 Agents!

Make sure you never miss an episode by subscribing to us now on iTunes!

Full transcript

Voiceover: The top 100 agents are the best of the best. Listing and selling more than any other agent in Australia. These are the practises, actions and beliefs of the most successful agents in Australian Real Estate. Raw, honest and completely uncut.

Tim Neary: Good day everyone, it's Tim Neary here. I'm the editor of Real Estate Business and host of The Secrets of the Top 100 Agents podcast. Thanks for tuning in.

                So we're going to do something a little different today. A nice opportunity has come across my desk today. One of my colleagues here at REB has just been through a moving experience, which meant that he's dealt with buying agents, and with selling agents. It'd be a nice opportunity to talk about those experiences, and working with those two agents.

                So I'd like to welcome to the show today one of the Directors here at Momentum Media, it's Alex Whitlock. Hello Alex, welcome to the show.

Alex Whitlock: Hi Tim, thank you very much for having me.

Tim Neary: Terrific. So, let's just get started. You've just been through this process of moving. Let's start at the beginning. Why did you decide to move? And why did you decide now?

Alex Whitlock:  I'm probably not your regular home buyer/home seller. I'm quite fast in making decisions, maybe don't think things through too carefully. I just came home one day and I thought, "I want to move house." Some things that have been niggling. I've been in the place for four and a half years. Some things have niggled over that time. The location, I wasn't happy with this. I live in Pymble, in New South Wales, which is 15ks up the road from Sydney on the north shore. The little area of Pymble I lived in is stuck on the side of the Pacific Highway. When I first bought the house I hadn't realised, as probably some other buyers, some of the little subtleties with the property and the location. No shops on that side, no parks. You've got to go through two sets of traffic lights to get on the Pacific Highway, and then you're stuck on the Pacific highway, which is a retched highway from hell.

                So, I thought, "I've had enough." Talked to my wife, said, "I'd like to move." There was a culmination of dissatisfaction with the property. There's no mobile coverage there, the place was starting to get a bit shabby. It's in the bush, so there's a bit of rot, and just a few things starting to accumulate. I also, when I bought it, I bought it within my means at the time, and it was probably the cheapest property in Pymble, and still is. I'm now in a situation where, I'm 50 years old, it's probably going to be my last purchase, I hope. So, I wanted to look at something that really met my current scope for borrowing. And somewhere where we're going to settle down for the next 10, 15, 20 years. So, that was the motivation.

Tim Neary: Okay. And then knowing you as I know you, you woke up one morning and said, "It's happening today."

Alex Whitlock:  "Damn, we're off. Theresa, bad news. Kids, pack your stuff."

Tim Neary: Exactly right.

Alex Whitlock: That was it. I do like to make decisions quickly. I'm probably not your regular vendor or buyer, but ... So, that's the way I'm wired. So then, for me, it's interesting, it occurred to me, Tim, that I've actually bought and sold quite a lot of investment properties over the years. This is the first time I've ever sold my own home. It's really bizarre. Hadn't occurred to me.

Tim Neary: And that set off a bit of a series of events, didn't it?

Alex Whitlock: A chain reaction.

Tim Neary: A chain reaction. We were talking off air, and you used a great analogy, you said, "A train track running along." You were dealing with selling agents, you were selling your property, and you were looking to buy a property at the same time.

Alex Whitlock: Same time, yes. Which is usually the case for most people.

Tim Neary: Which is usually the case, yeah.

Alex Whitlock: I'm talking just as a buyer/seller. So the first things that I need to think about, and that the process for somebody who's in a move in their property is, for me is, A, I want to move. B, where do I want to go to? I want to move to Turramurra. Next, okay, I've got to sell my house, so then I've got to get an agent. And then, after that, I've got to start looking at properties. And then moving through to an eventual sale, and an eventual moving in. So, that was the sequence. Going back a little bit in that. I've made a decision to move, I want to go to Turramurra, I now need an agent.

Tim Neary: And the reason why I thought this would be a good podcast to have is because we talk to agents all the time about their best experience. What they recommend to do all the time. So it's a great opportunity now, because we've got somebody that's on the other side of the coin, so we can match those two together.

                So let's talk a little bit about your experiences with agents.

Alex Whitlock: I'd love to. I bought this place ... Just to give a bit of background, so I bought this place four and a half years ago. I obviously dealt with ... and I didn't sell my previous place, I kept it in my property portfolios and investments. So, this is the first time I've gone through the selling process. But, I did deal with selling agents.

Tim Neary: The first thing you did was sell, didn't it? You put your house on the market. How did you choose the selling agent?

Alex Whitlock: So when I bought four and a half years ago I went through this process of dealing with selling agents. There were many of them who I've forgotten, because they've just faded away. Even the chap I bought the house off didn't stay in touch. There's one young agent, who is called William Chan, who works for Savills, and he stayed in touch with me over that four and a half year period of time. It's quite interesting because William, I didn't actually go and visit, I didn't meet William. I didn't actually go and visit one of his houses. But I can remember the phone call

Tim Neary: He just stayed in touch with you.

Alex Whitlock:  I inquired about a place, which I think he had on the market in Gordon, and had a phone conversation with him. He kept me on his database. So I got a phone call from William, maybe a year and a half after I'd bought my place, he followed up. The only agent who actually put in a phone call. Said, "Alex, look how you settled into the place. I know you're at 39 Ashmore Avenue, would you be interested in an appraisal?" Of course, at the time I wasn't, but I thought, "Oh, okay. Look, I'm not looking to sell, William." He said, "But, look, no harm in knowing what your place is worth."

                So, William came round. I was in my usual weekend state of shorts, and scruffy T-shirt, and slight hangover. The place was a tip, like it always is in my place. William came in, had a walk around, we got chatting. Just a nice guy. Very respectful, very polite. He's coming into my house at the weekend, not pushy, and had a look around. I said, "Look, I'm not selling." He went away.

                He'd send me an e-newsletter every week, which I rarely look at because I wasn't in the market. But then William, just a number of times, followed up, and we got to ... and I got to ...

Tim Neary: This is gold by the way, because you talk about databases with the agents all the time, and the best practise is, stay in touch. So here we're hearing from the other side.

Alex Whitlock: Oh, absolutely.

Tim Neary: He just stayed in touch.

Alex Whitlock: Stayed in touch.

Tim Neary: He wasn't pushy, he was personable, he came to see you, he made an effort.

Alex Whitlock: So I don't know, Tim, what other agents do. Because none of the other agents really stayed in touch, including the guy I bought from. But William, I would get his e-newsletter, so he would ... He'd promote, look into how properties that he's marketing ... But he'd give some market insights as well. I'll just digress for a second. Just recently I had a problem with plumbing in my house, and this is part and parcel of getting ready to sell. So, the plumber that I chose is a plumber who, just for one reason or another, did one job for me and sent me an e-newsletter. Now I've never read that e-newsletter, but when I came to getting some plumbing done, I thought, "Oh, I'll go to On The Go Plumbing." Because all I've got to do is go to my email. Even though I've never read what ... I don't want to read about his plumbing stuff, but you know.

Tim Neary: Had his contact details.

Alex Whitlock: Had his contact details. I said, "Mark, get your newsletter." And I told him, I said, "Fantastic move. The reason I'm calling you, is because I have that touchpoint with you, on a monthly basis."

Tim Neary: Stay in touch.

Alex Whitlock:  So, back to my choice of a selling agent. So, I felt that this young man had, A. Okay, there's a number of things here for agents who are listening, I got to know him. Now I wasn't selling.

Tim Neary: At the time.

Alex Whitlock: Over the course of a four year period.

Tim Neary: Four years.

Alex Whitlock: I got to know him. As well as his regular newsletter, he put in phone calls to me. And each time you speak to somebody over the phone, and he came and met me, you just get to know them. I made my decision two or three years ago, that when I sold my house, that I would sell it with William. That was the decision I made.

Tim Neary: Were there others at the time that were staying in touch.

Alex Whitlock: No.

Tim Neary: So he was the only one that stayed in touch.

Alex Whitlock: He stayed in touch. And I didn't give him any shred of hope or belief that I was going to use him to sell, or that I was indeed looking to sell on. My decision to sell was a snap decision. So I called William, I didn't speak to any other agents.

Tim Neary: He was playing the long game.

Alex Whitlock: Playing the long game.

Tim Neary: And we hear that over and over again. And this is great testament to that. That this is the long game, this is the way to play it.

Alex Whitlock: For me, as a vendor, I had a relationship with him. He'd stayed in touch over four years. Now, it's a commercial relationship, but it is a relationship. I felt familiar with him. I also started getting insight into a sense of his personality. He's a very humble, very genuine, very smart guy. Because I'd talked to him on a number of occasions I felt there was sincerity there, as well as being a commercial objective. So, I made the decision sometime ago that when I sold I would sell with William. I didn't talk to any other sales agents.

Tim Neary: You didn't tell him that at the time, you gave him no hope.

Alex Whitlock: I phoned him up out the blue, and said, "William, I've got some news for you, I'm going to sell my house, and you're going to sell it for me." And he came round. So, that was the process. This is the one half of the coin. So, William came round, and I was sitting there in my rather shabby, tatty home. For me as a vendor, to give some insight into my feelings. The whole selling process is really horrible, and that's how I felt at the time I decided to sell. What I know now, having gone through the whole process, it's 10 times worse. I didn't want to redecorate, I just wanted to sell my place. William was insistent that I did certain things to get my house ready for sale.

Tim Neary: Because it would be fair to say, wouldn't it be, when you take the decision to move you've almost exited the house. Then you've got to come back to it, and spend more time with it.

Alex Whitlock: Spot on. I think psychologically, you're absolutely right. So, I'd gone through the process looking to spend money. The house was cold, the house was damp. The house had a lot of windows, floor to ceiling windows. It had got Cathedral roofs, everything that made it very hard to heat. It looked great when I went along and had a look at it, as soon as you live in it, it's miserable. So, I'd gone through the process of looking at getting it double glazed. To try and retain some of the heat in the Winter, and try and keep some of the heat out in the Summer. But the amount of money I'd have spent I'd have got zero ... I was told again and again I'd get zero return for that investment. So, I make a commercial decision. I don't want to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars renovating something that will add no value. So, it's time to move.

                The paintwork was tatty, it was still the same paintwork when we moved in. And me being a bloke, I didn't notice the shabby carpets, I didn't notice the tatty paintwork. My wife did, but I didn't want to hear. "No, no, no, it's okay. Look at the views. Look at the trees. Look at the birds." So.

Tim Neary: That's what you're looking at

Alex Whitlock: So, when William came round ...

Tim Neary: So William comes in, and he comes up with his eye.

Alex Whitlock: Obviously he looks, and he goes, he says, "Alex, you've got to get this redecorated."

Tim Neary: He starts giving you some professional advice.

Alex Whitlock: Told me. And I said, "William ...", And because I work in the media, because I am involved with Real Estate Business, because we also have Smart Property Investment as a title. We've got the mortgage titles, I said, "I'm in your hands. I'm going to do what you tell me to do. I have a belief in agents, and if you tell me ... and I also have belief in you, because we've got a relationship that's gone over four years, and I know that you are very smart, very forward thinking, and I'm going to put myself in your hands. If you tell me what I need to do, because I trust you." Trust is a key thing, Tim.

Tim Neary: Big word.

Alex Whitlock: Key thing. Because I trusted William. And if William said, "Alex, you've got to spend the money." I'm going to spend the money. I know he's going to look after me, and I know he's going to do right for me. So, that's the process. So, William said, "You've got to get it redecorated, you've got to get new carpets down, you've got to get it styled, and landscaped. You've got to get it looking like a shiny new pin to get the best sales price." I said, "Oh, look, I'll just get the paintwork patched up. The carpets will be okay." Because, I didn't want to go through all the expense and hassle. But I then thought ...

Tim Neary: You did it.

Alex Whitlock: I trust him, because I know he's telling me, dead set 100% what I need to do

Tim Neary: Yeah, I'd like to just pause there, and just focus on that. You trusted him.

Alex Whitlock: I trusted him.

Tim Neary: And that trust was the important thing. He got that trust from you.

Alex Whitlock:  He'd earned that trust.

Tim Neary: He had earned the trust, and that was key. And then you said to him, "You tell me what to do and I'll do it." So he followed through on that trust.

Alex Whitlock: He did.

Tim Neary: He did the right thing.

Alex Whitlock: So then from my experience again, so I've signed the documents, and there's going to be a process, so that takes place. And like I said, I've never sold my own home before, so I'm not experienced with this. For me as a vendor, then William hands me over, introduces me to his team, they're a reflection of him. I find dealing with his team absolutely seamless, and enjoyable. And they're good, and they're organised. Did a lot of the communication through WhatsApp, and I'm not a WhatsApp person, but I got used to using WhatsApp. It made it very fluid in terms of dealing with Zoe his assistant.

Tim Neary: And you didn't feel like you were being palmed off at any stage?

Alex Whitlock: No. No, I didn't. That's a very good point, because I didn't know that I wouldn't be dealing with William, in the initial ... I thought, being naïve and not having dealt ... Having not sold a house before, I didn't know there would be a team supporting him. But my experience with that team, I built as good a relationship with Zoe, as I developed with William. So, these guys are a team, there's no disconnect in terms of ...

Tim Neary: And that's probably testament to William as well, in terms of running his team.

Alex Whitlock: It's cohesive.

Tim Neary: So his team is part of him.

Alex Whitlock: They've got the same DNA, they have the same focus, they've got the same heartbeat. So, dealing with Zoe was as pleasant and as straight forward as dealing with William. So, then I'm dealing with William's team. So then I would into the miserable process of redecorating, and it was horrendous. Fixing up the stuff I need to be fixed, getting the carpets in, getting all my crap out so I could style it. Dealt with a styling group that William introduced me to called Evolve, who were fantastic. Look, I'm hoping to get those on at some point to have a chat with you.

Tim Neary:  Must get them on, yeah.

Alex Whitlock: I'm not going to get too bogged down in the styling side of things, I'd like perhaps for you to talk to them later. The essence is Tim, I did what William told me to do, because I trusted him.

                So, running concurrent with that, to jump to the other side of the coin for me now as a buyer. So I've signed up the agreement to sell, so, of course, I start looking. I'm then in a position like most vendors, where all your money is tied up in your house. Then my residual resources were just getting drained for redecorating, and for carpets. So you end up in this situation where you're starting to look, because you're going to move.

Tim Neary: You need to go somewhere.

Alex Whitlock: Well you want to go somewhere.

Tim Neary: And you want to go somewhere, yep.

Alex Whitlock:  So you're starting to look and, of course, people are selling now, and then you've got a six weeks settlement period, you may get a little bit longer. So, you've got this really very stressful and bizarre situation, very disruptive experience. The reason I'm telling you this is because you've got Real Estate agents on both sides of this emotional journey. You've got your anchor in many ways, in terms of your selling agent, who is really supporting you. Anchor's not the right term, makes it sound like he's holding you back. You've got your support in the selling agent who is guiding you through that selling process. You're then out in the Wild West with the sales agents who want to sell to you. And it's very interesting, so you're obviously going to the open homes. They have a job on behalf of their vendors to sell the property, to get the best price, to generate interest. And also to steer their own vendors, in terms of getting their property in the best state possible, to attract enough interest to sell.

Tim Neary: And it's a good point that you make also, Alex. You talked about it being a stressful place to be in, a stressful position. And that's coming from you, you said earlier that you were in your 50s, you said you are 50. And your experience of that. You've bought and sold property a lot in your years.

Alex Whitlock: I have.

Tim Neary: With that background, you still found this, because it was your own home I guess, that it was a stressful period to be in.

Alex Whitlock:  It's quite an emotional period to be in, and that's good and bad. Going seeing properties ... I love properties, it's in my blood, I absolutely love property, and looking at places. I just really enjoy the process of going round the open homes. I love looking on the platforms, see what's being marketed. You've got that experience where you look, and you say, "Oh, look at that." And again, without getting too bogged down into ... There's so many different moving parts to this, but the photography is so important in terms of the listing. Because as a vendor, it is the photography that draws you in. There's also the copywriting as well, and the description.

                So, you've got this first touchpoint with a selling agent, and also the physical property through your experience through the marketing. So, then you and your partner, or you on your own, go through, and you look and go, "We're going to go to see this one." And you've got a tick list of number of bedrooms, and location, and so on and so forth. But you obviously end up with this, "Oh, we like this, and we like this, and we like this."

                So then the next experience is, you go along and visit. And that's an interesting experience as well, because you've got your relationship with the property as you drive down the street, as you get out of your car, as you walk down the path.

Tim Neary: Curb appeal, as it's called, yeah, yeah.

Alex Whitlock: Curb appeal. So you've got that immediate, almost aligning up in your mind of your experience with the photographs, with the curb appeal. But you've then got this experience where you have an agent who is there to great you. And as a human being, and everyone has the same chemical reaction when they meet another human being, a like, or a dislike, or a benign sort of feeling. So, that's quite an influential thing when you meet the agent. And I've met some agents who I built rapport with, or should I say, who built rapport with me, and were very good at it.

Tim Neary: Let's talk about that, because that's getting now into the next phase, isn't it? The buying agent.

Alex Whitlock:  Yes. So, you've got someone who greets you at the door. They want to get your details, because they want to follow up. They will quite quickly gauge. I reckon they can tell when people walk down the path, whether they're a good prospect or not. I suspect, I don't know. I'm a salesman, I make my decision quite quick. I'm guessing, I'm not an agent, but I would imagine that they work out pretty quickly. They can probably tell by the way that people look, how much time they spend, whether they make a thorough look around.

Tim Neary: Couple of questions their asking.

Alex Whitlock: Trying to pretend not to be interested.

Tim Neary: Or the buying starts.

Alex Whitlock:  Yeah. I think the good agents will have a chat to you, or if you are keen you will engage and have a chat to them. If you're not interested you clear off.

Tim Neary: What was your experience with these buyers agents? Some you obviously ... Quite went ...

Alex Whitlock:  Selling agents. With the sales agents when I'm buying.

Tim Neary: Yeah, some you obviously liked, and others you didn't like. What did the ones that you liked do well?

Alex Whitlock:  It's a very, very, very, very good question. I'm going to have to think as I talk. One of the things for me, because I'm also ... This is an interesting point, because I'm selling, one of the things that the sales agents, as well as trying to sell me a property, they also want to win my listing. So this is very, very, very, very key. So good agents are always looking for ... Every agents looking for a listing. So, when they ask you about what your situation is, are you selling? And I say, "Yeah, my house is going on the market." Very quickly there is an immediate, "I want to win this listing as well."

                So, I'm a big believer in storytelling, I think it's important, it's the way that I go through life. I think it's the best way to articulate your position. So, I'll give them my very brief story about how I chose my sales agent. So I'd say, "Yeah, this guy stayed in touch for four and a half years. He's built a relationship, and I decide I was going to give him my business. And so this chap has won my business." That was my precised version. Now some people would say, "Alex ..." There's one of the stand out guys, who I know you've interviewed before, I've decided I'm not going to mention. I mention William's name, because he's sold my house, but I'm not going to mention any of the names.

Tim Neary: The others. Yeah, I think that's fair.

Alex Whitlock: There were a couple of agents from Ray White. A young guy and a senior guy, who listened to my story. And you know what they said ... These were ... there are only a couple of agents who said, "Alex, you've picked a fantastic agent in William, he's a really talented young man, and I think you've done really well." I.e. we're not going to chase you for your listing.

                There are other agents where I tell my little story about William, and I liked him, and he's built a relationship, so he's won my listing. One of the other agents said, "So, what if I can get you $100,000 more." So, I thought, before I dissect that, "A, I've just told you a story, I've just told you why, that trust is important to me. That loyalty is important to me, and I'm a man of my word, and I've given this listing to this agent. You've just ignored everything I've said, and said, 'A, I'll get you $100,000 more.' Well, okay, so what? Are you going to sell the property then he sells it? So you can prove you can get $100,000 more. What a ridiculous thing to say."

Tim Neary: Absolutely, yeah.

Alex Whitlock:  So just back to your initial question. That relationship, respect is very important. So, there were a couple of agents from Ray White as a team who were the absolute epitome of professionalism. There was another young chap who works for Chadwick's who was also very, very professional. And I won't go into the other agencies and names, but there were some people who were completely and utterly disrespectful, who just made ridiculous comments about my choice of agent. Or were just ... ignore what I said, and just wanted to get the listing. So, I don't want to deal with those people as a vendor. So, anyway so that's ...

Tim Neary: Let's unpack that a little bit. So, respect is important, listening is important, and not making outlandish promises is important.

Alex Whitlock:  Wild promises. I'm a salesman, I've worked with salesmen for 20, 30 years, and I've been a sales manager, and I've listened to salesmen in my team. When I've been an employee, and there've been other salesmen around me, so I've learned about sales from grassroots upwards. So, when I first went into sales I would listen to people, just telling people on the other end of the phone whatever it was that they felt that they needed to say to win the deal. And I sat there, a story for another day, I fell into sales accidentally, and it terrified me. I thought I can't do that, I cannot sell that way. I didn't know if that was the right way or the wrong way. So, bad salesmen will say anything to get what they want.

                Now my personal response, when I hear agents making wild claims, or not listening to what I've told them. That to me is a massive red light about dealing with that person. I want as a customer, as a prospect, I want to be heard, to be understood, and to be respected. And that will earn trust for them as a sales agent. Now when I come to sell again in, I say 20 years, it'll probably be two years knowing me.

Tim Neary: You'll wake up one morning, "We're moving."

Alex Whitlock:  There are now a number of agents. Look, the guys from Ray White, I will probably go, not because William sold my house, and I'm 100% happy with what he's done. But I will probably choose the Ray White guy, because they've been so respectful through the process, that I will probably choose them next time, because, you know.

Tim Neary: Yeah, and to go back to your original choice of William. When you made up your mind three years ago to use William, even though you weren't selling, that of any idea of selling at that point. You knew you were going to sell sometime, but you didn't know when, or the detail. It was the long game.

Alex Whitlock: The long game.

Tim Neary: And it's the same with the Ray White people, they understand that now.

Alex Whitlock: So to give you more context and colour for agents. So, again, you end up on a circuit, and if you're looking in a tight-ish geographical area, you bump into the same people again, and they've got a number of listings. And the guys at Ray White particularly, I'd bump into them at different open homes, and I just like them. Like I say, A, number one, an initial contact of respect and professionalism was absolutely forefront with those guys. And sincerity, okay. So then it'd see them at another ... And they did all the smart stuff, they start to get an idea of, was I interested in this property? Was it within my price range? What was I looking for.

                You're guarded as a buyer, because you don't want give too much information away, because you want to keep your price and your spending power close to your chest. My range was reasonably wide. There's probably a span of maybe $500,000 that I was maybe prepared to go to. If I'd have found the right property, at the low end of the range I'd have gone in for that. And I would be willing to stretch myself at the other end of the scale. I didn't want to give too much away about what I had to spend.

                So, these guys, and some of the other agents, looked, identified what I was looking for. So the Ray White guys in particular then said, "Look, we've got a listing that's coming up. I'd like to bring you and your wife around to come and have a look before it goes on the market."

                So, I met these guys again for a second ... I met the younger guy, the second time, and that was were, again, it's a very ... The human element is so important, because we chatted to him at the front of the house. And now it's the second time I'd met him, and I'd spoken to him on the phone, so a relationship is starting to evolve. And bear in mind I'm one of many buyers, he operates on behalf of the vendor. But he's building a relationship with me, he's investing his time with, A, a prospect who may buy a property, B, with somebody who further down the line, and he knows he's not going to get the listing this time. But you know what, he's again smart, building a relationship, relationship based sales person.

                I won't take you through all the interactions with this guy, but I start to trust him. I saw him at a number of different houses, and he became a consultant to me. Now I didn't buy off him in the end. And I had to say to him, I said, "Look, you're too good at your job." Dead set. There was a couple of properties he got me very close to buying, but the price went so far above what the guideline price was, I was just out of the market. I thought I'm not spending that amount of money on a ... And I phoned him up later afterwards and said, "You're just too good. I'm never going to buy of you, but you know what, next time round I'll look at selling with you."

                He became quite consultative to me as a buyer. I remember I was still with him at a property that was going to be a knockdown rebuild, and he spend a long time talking to me. And he said, "Where are you going next?" I said, "Oh, look, I'm going to go and have a look at a place in Turramurra, just arisen." And he said, "Oh, I really want to win that listing." He told me what he thought the price range was, and I ended up buying that property.

                My experience with him, with both those guys, more the junior guy in the team. I spent a lot more time talking to him. I wanted to buy off him, I really did. And whenever he would contact me and say ... Because I felt that as a buyer, he had an insight. I believe that he got an insight into my needs as a buyer. I know that he's operating on behalf of the vendor. So he would say, "Alex, there's a place cropping up which I think might be good for you." I would immediately be partway sold, because I felt that he understood my needs. So when I go and look at it, my lenses would be just that more favourably set towards the property, than just going along cold.

Tim Neary: Is it fair to say there was an element of trust that had built, that you'd built with him?

Alex Whitlock: Strong element of trust.

Tim Neary: So that came up on both sides of the coin.

Alex Whitlock: You know what, trust's one thing, I also liked him. I found him sincere to talk to, but he'd got personality. He was a warm, friendly guy, but professional. So trust needs to be at the heart of it, but I also liked him. I enjoyed bumping into him around the traps. The only regret is that he's too good at his job, so I could never have bought off him.

Tim Neary: Hey Alex, listen it's been ... And I know that it's all succinct for you ... I know this afternoon you're going to actually move house.

Alex Whitlock: I am. So I've got a long settlement on the place that I've bought, six months. I've got to go and move into a rented place for six months, which I haven't actually seen. So it's going to be quite exciting.

Tim Neary: Okay, alright. Well I know that you've got lots of work to do to get it done, so I won't keep you any longer.

Alex Whitlock:  Thanks Tim.

Tim Neary: But just wanted to say thank you for this. There's a couple of things that came up in the podcast as we were talking that really resonate with what we talk about with the top 100 agents. Around liking somebody, about building trust, about playing the long game, about working the database. And it's brilliant just to talk about these in the live, and to get your experiences.

Alex Whitlock:  And at the heart of it Tim, is a relationship, because trust grows from a relationship. And a relationship can be established quite quickly. Trust maybe takes a little bit longer. I know we need a round off. But on both sides of the coin I think building a relationship is something which is critical. And understand the DNA of what can start that quickly is very important.

Tim Neary: Alex, thanks for coming in.

Alex Whitlock:  Thanks Tim.

Tim Neary: It's been lovely to chat to you. Cheers.

Alex Whitlock: Pleasure.

Tim Neary: Remember to follow us on all of the social media stuff, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin. You can follow me too on [email protected] if you'd like to do that, realestatebusiness.com.au is where you'll find us. There's plenty of stories there on the business of Real Estate across the whole of Australia. Thanks again for tuning in, and we'll see you next week. Goodbye.

The real challenges of buying and selling a home, as told by one of your clients
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