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Real Estate Business asks some of the nation’s best principals to share a recent business change and how it’s helped them

Richard Movsessian CENTURY 21 South Coogee, NSW

Richard Movsessian, director of CENTURY 21 South Coogee in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, was sick of buyers wasting his time.

“A few years ago people were making offers and after accepting it, they’d say they have put in several other offers to other properties… as the market softens, buyers make excuses not to commit to a purchase.”

So Richard began ‘qualifying’ his buyers.

“We get all their details and particulars, like who their solicitor is and who their broker is, so we can qualify them and make sure they have the finance.”

Of course, this adds an extra hurdle for potential buyers who might skip the hassle and move on.

“If we’d see four or five offers before, now there’s only one or two,” he says.

“But we know we’re dealing with a qualified buyer. So by requesting they give us their drivers licence, we can find out who they are and where they live, speak to their broker to make sure they have the funds, and liaise with their solicitor to make sure they are at a capacity to exchange.

“We found it has absolutely changed our offer to owner scenario from around 50 per cent, to about 95 per cent,” he continues. “With a qualified offer, we produce a cheque and a contract. When we go into a client’s home we say, ‘We have a genuine offer’.”

David Medina Elders Real Estate Goulburn, NSW

The tug-of-war between agents advocating for auctions or private treaty rarely leaves the major cities, but one principal says he is cleaning up as his is the only office in a regional centre that pushes to sell under the hammer.

“Our business is a 100 per cent auction business,” says David Medina, director at Elders Real Estate Goulburn, in NSW.  “And we’re pretty much the only agent out of around 30 agents who is auction focused. Everyone else prefers private treaty.

“We try to specialise in what we do, and not be everything to everyone.”

But Mr Medina has a winning formula which has made him one of the best principals Elders has to offer. “We run as an effective business unit, and pool all the money. And let me to tell you, it works unbelievably well.”

Having a team service a property during an auction campaign has obvious benefits, but the trick is to have a team that complements each person’s strengths and weaknesses.

“I’m a trail of destruction, I’m a listing freak,” he says. “But when it comes to paperwork, I can pick it up one minute and the next it will be lost,”David admits. “So you need to surround yourself with people who complement your weaknesses. The lady who works with me, Louise Elliot, is my backbone. Without her I would not be able to perform my job to anywhere near the standard I can now.”

Besides Sydney and Melbourne, most capital cities struggle to host large numbers of auctions on any given weekend, however Mr Medina knows this gives him the advantage in his area.

“There are probably 10,000 homes in the Goulburn area, [serviced by] around 30 agents. For us, auctions work well because all of our vendor paid advertising (VPA) is paid up front.

“We can offer our clients much shorter ‘days on market’, which is currently around 20 per cent lower than any of our competitors in Goulburn.”

Mr Medina says it all comes down to not being afraid to ask.

“Vendor paid advertising shows the commitment from the seller that they want to get the job done,” he says. “I think everyone says, ‘You’ll never get it in a regional area’, but that’s not true, they just don’t ask. I don’t think it’s right for agents to fund vendors’ marketing. The agent has bought into the property, and we’ve got enough to bankroll in this industry, we don’t need to fund someone else’s home.”

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