Boost Your Profile Without Breaking The Bank


It is no secret that success in real estate is largely attributed to your reputation and profile. The agents that invest in promoting themselves and their track record often benefit from listings generated through repeat business and referrals. Having a strong profile in your local marketplace is critical in maintaining stock levels, momentum and positive word of mouth.

With the introduction of social media and digital marketing, there has never been a more cost effective and efficient way to promote and expand your profile and broadcast successes. Gone are the days where agents need to rely solely on costly print advertising that is quickly consumed and outdated, instead digital options are long serving, affordable and measureable. There of course is a need to maintain an effective marketing mix to promote yourself as an agent, however the reach, longevity and engagement that can be achieved with digital marketing could potentially reduce your budget or allow you to expand your audience without extra expense.

The key to promoting yourself and improving your profile using digital marketing is all about allowing your target audience to see the real you. Less emphasis is required on the brand and more focus on showing the human side of you within your business but care should be taken in regards to what you share, as social media can be dangerous and permanent. Utilising several digital and social media platforms will expand your reach and improve your conversion rates.

A few simple points to get you started are;
•    Have a digital and social media plan prior to launching and stick to it
•    Have your target audience in mind and tailor your content to suit your audience
•    Show an authentic and human version of yourself – first impressions last
•    Post quality content in moderation – you can over-communicate
•    Invest wisely in paid advertising and measure your responses
•    Invest time in creating your content and ask your audience for feedback


A candid letter from a real estate agent


Dear Seller,
I am writing to thank you for entrusting me with the sale of your home. I understand that your home is most likely the most valuable asset you will own in your lifetime and therefore I assure you I will do my very best to achieve the best sales result possible, however there are a few items we need to discuss before we embark on this journey together.

1.    I know other agents will offer to pay for your marketing and charge you less commission, however the strategic marketing that I will do for your home is designed to create competition for your home and therefore achieve a higher price in the long run. While my commission rate reflects the negotiation skills and expertise I will bring to the sales process which again will secure you a better result.

2.    I don't expect you to give your home away. I understand that buyers will try and undercut the price of your home, but trust me through the process, I will negotiate you the best result while also considering current feedback from the marketplace. I do however need to present all offers to you as part of my obligations as your agent and I need you to remain open minded and willing to communicate regarding the offers presented.

3.    I understand you're feeling stressed about selling and it's perfectly normal to feel this way but please allow me to execute my plan the way that I know will work and let me guide you through the process knowing that my experience is what you're paying me for and I won't let you down.

4.    Other agents will contact you during the sales process and what may tell you will be exactly what you want to hear, but believe me when I say I'm committed to this job and will not rest until we achieve a positive outcome for all parties involved. I work for you.

5.    Remember why you chose me. As an agent, it is most likely you will never like me more than the day you sign up to sell with me, that is a difficult part of my job. I do stress to you however to remember why you are selling with me, I've shown you that I'm trustworthy, honest and experienced enough to deliver. Now let's navigate through this in partnership and we've got the best chance at success!
I look forward to working with you on the sale of your home and am grateful for this opportunity. Now let's get this job done!


Predictions For 2017


As 2016 quickly draws to an end, we start speculating on what 2017 may have in store for all those associated with the property market. While this year has seen the auction market really progressing with higher than average clearance rates and record prices achieved across the South East Queensland and Northern NSW markets, the fact of the matter remains, stock has been tight. With less housing on the market, it has been a tough year for agents having to work harder, negotiate commissions and justify their fees more feverishly than recent years.

The consumer confidence has certainly improved, with investors flooding back into the market, interest rates remaining astonishingly low and average time on market reduced as buyer competition intensifies, particularly within the entry level market. This sets us up for a promising 2017.

While indications suggest interest rates may rise, even if the Reserve Bank keeps them where they are, the big four will most likely start pushing upwards. Lenders in general will continue in their prudent fashion, with low or no deposit home loans still achievable through the right lenders and with the right preparation on behalf of buyers. The level of stock will likely increase come end of February to the start of March, as prices remain steady or increase slightly. The demand from interstate buyers will continue throughout the New Year and will improve property values in the South East Queensland region. The development and economic growth in markets such as the Gold Coast as they look towards the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the Sunshine Coast as they become a big city by the sea will drive increased demand in these locations. Demand from overseas buyers is also set to peak on the back of increased tourism and activity in the international markets. Detached housing will perform well, as demand increases and the over-supply of units continues particularly in the Brisbane CBD area.  

Agents will need to remain extremely active in terms of prospecting and database work, while the need to extensively market properties to achieve the best prices will become a focal point for vendors. Agents are encouraged to use the auction arena to give serious buyers the opportunity to compete for the property of their choice. While remaining vigilant in systems and processes, agents will need to be completely aware of the expectations from sellers and buyers in the 2017 marketplace. Sellers want to be assured they are obtaining the best price for their property and will require agents to justify their fees, so having strong dialogue and evidence as to why you are the best agent for the job will be essential.

In summary, I am excited to be approaching 2017 with optimism and enthusiasm. I am looking forward to revealing some great new projects I have been working on and helping past, present and future clients to achieve some great auction results in the New Year.


Competition – The Key To Auction Success


You will have heard many auctioneers talk about ‘competitive bidding’ as this is essentially the main reason that auction properties sell for a premium price in comparison to private treaty sales. The success of an auction at the end of the day comes down to well-managed competition between interested parties. Australian studies have shown that the factors impacting an auction outcome include starting bid values, bidding increments and the number of bidders. Obviously the more bidders the better, as you have more buyers competing for the property, however more than 4 bidders proves to be the ideal number to generate the best result. Consumer behaviour drives the auction process, the desire or primal urge to outplay and ultimately win are the emotions that drive the price upwards. The role of an agent in the auction process is therefore to showcase the property in the best light, engage with prospective buyers and create a competitive vibe or atmosphere on auction day. Auctions to some degree are about value for money and good buying in the current market, however the premium prices come down to competition, human nature, the will to win. Understanding this concept can help develop a stronger campaign and strategy on how to approach and handle the auction process.

If you are interested in training in how to pitch, develop auction strategies or improving how you manage an auction campaign, then contact me now to book your next training session!    


Going.. Going.. NOT GONE!


We have all been there. You have been waiting in anticipation throughout the entire four week auction campaign. You have worked with your auctioneer and followed every process from the Auction101 text book. You woke up excited on auction day and started to feel the nerves stir as the crowd grew. All the work was done, all that was left to get the sale under the hammer….

Going… Going… NOT GONE.

Ouch! You didn’t achieve the result you had worked so hard for and the property has been passed in. So, what went wrong and what to do now?

Essentially, nothing went ‘wrong’ - when a property is auctioned, there is never any guarantee that the property will sell under the hammer. Statistics do show auctions will get a result within fewer days on market and for a higher price than a private treaty, however it is not always sold and done on the auction day.  

If your property was passed in, it is not all doom and gloom. It is time to get to work. It may just be some solid negotiating is required in the few days post auction, or it might mean going back through and touching base with all the buyers that have enquired during the campaign as they simply may not have been able to bid under auction conditions. The most important thing is to hold your composure. Be prepared to discuss a list price with your seller immediately post-auction and take action on updating your marketing as soon as possible. Your efforts in the few days post-auction will determine your outcome, so don’t sit back and get caught up in the disappointment, keep your momentum and convert your passed in auction property to a sale!


Auction Season In Full Swing


This spring we have seen a significant lift in the auction market across all markets, particularly in the capital cities. I am excited about the clearance rates we have been experiencing with momentum building as we enter the warmer months of the year.

Across the country, the number of homes taken to the auction is sitting steadily around 2,500 properties per week. The volume of auctions is slightly lower than this time in 2015, however the success rate is significantly higher. Last week alone we saw a clearance rate of 80.2% which is actually the highest clearance rate recorded this year, in comparison to just 64.9% last year. The only frustration for agents and auctioneers out there at this stage is the lack of stock on the market and available to take to auction. There is so much buyer activity and auctions are clearly generating results, it is just a matter of getting the listing onto the market.

In Brisbane, last week just under 200 properties were auctioned with early week results showing over 50% clearance rates, while Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast showed strong results, closer to 60% clearance rates.

It is an exciting time for our market and for those agents willing to auction. The success rate is better than we have seen for years and prices being achieved are setting records across South East Queensland. I personally haven’t seen a better start to auction season and am looking forward to continuing the momentum and generating more success stories for my clients. If you need to brush up on your auction skills, talk to me about booking a training session now, you will be ready to capitalise on the activity in the marketplace in no time!


Bah Humbug... Or Is It?


Walking around the shops recently made me painfully aware that Christmas is just around the corner. While it is not that close that it justifies the carols playing over the sound system or warrants the 10 foot Christmas trees covered in decorations, it is a reminder that the festive season will soon be upon us. What this means in the real estate world is that deals start to become about ‘being in before Christmas’. This urgency and deadline makes auctions more attractive now than any other time of year.

Running an auction campaign reduces the time on market, flushes out buyers within the initial four week period and achieves a quick settlement, giving everyone involved the chance to move, unpack and settle in before the silly season arrives. Now is your opportunity to confidently pitch auctions and make the dates work in your favour. As you approach listing presentations over the next month, keep auction front of mind – it will be your best selling method from now until the New Year.

During the next few weeks, overcoming auction objections could be as simple as pulling out a calendar and explaining the timeline for results. It not only gives your sellers a quick result, it also puts you in a good position financially for the Christmas break and a buffer as the market slows for the few weeks post-Christmas. So, as you are painfully bombarded with all things Christmas in the coming weeks, remember – this could be your opportunity to finish 2016 with a BANG! 


The Auction Fear Factor


The Auction Fear Factor!

There is little doubt that the objections associated with both buying and selling at auction come from a place of fear. Buyers fear they will make a mistake or an impulse decision due to the speed and pace of an auction. While sellers fear they are going to be forced or pressured into taking a price lower than they are comfortable with on the day. These ideals have been pushed and perpetuated in the marketplace by the media and other anti-auction campaigners. So, how do we get around the fear factor?

The answer is simple, education. Many sellers that are uncomfortable with the idea of auction will voice this quite sternly and often the conversation stops there. Instead, we need to handle that objection just as we would any other. Ask questions, probe further, find out what their real motivation is behind not wanting to auction. You may just find that all they need is to be stepped through the process and provided with information about how they are just as safe under auction conditions as a private treaty sale. This goes for buyers too. Of course there are circumstances that deem buyers ineligible to bid at auction, but for those that can but are too scared to do so are quite possibly missing out on some great opportunities due to a nothing more than a lack of education.

My recommendation to you, don’t let the fear factor take over a process that we know works, and works well. Dig deeper, get to the root of the issue and see if you cannot educate the buyer or seller through the objections. It might just change your auction campaign conversion rate and have a great impact on your buyers and sellers alike.


No Display Price


No Price Is As Good As An Auction

I heard an agent say recently that advertising a listing without a price is as good as an auction campaign. Their theory was that you ran a strong campaign, withholding the price and allow the market to interpret their own price and generate competition between interested buyers, just as an auction campaign would. Unfortunately this concept couldn’t be further from the truth. A private treaty listing without any price indicator is as good as a silent listing that is not being marketed at all. Research shows that over 66% of buyers will simply ignore a property without an advertised price (excluding an auction listing).
In this industry, we see all sorts of techniques that avoid displaying a price, whether it be ‘Make an Offer’, ‘Price Negotiable’ or ‘Please Contact Agent’. For buyers this would have to be one of the most frustrating parts of searching for a property as they have no way to evaluate whether the property falls within their budget or not. Hiding the price also does no favours for the agent, with studies showing properties listed without a price experienced longer days on market and fewer enquiries.

An auction campaign doesn’t display a price yet it runs to a distinct time frame. Buyers not eligible to bid under auction conditions can wait to see if the property is available and present their offer immediately following the auction. While buyers that can bid are put in a position where they publicly and openly compete with other interested buyers and this ultimately dictates the price. There is a deadline, urgency, competition and ultimately the best price wins. You do not get the same conditions from a private treaty sale without a price. Instead you deter over half the prospective market, you frustrate potential buyers and ensure the listing sits on the market for a longer duration.

My advice, if you want to withhold the price, run an auction – get the market in a frenzy over the property and drive the price upwards through competition. If you are listing as a private treaty, price it right, make the listing approachable and relevant to your target market and generate the higher prices through quality negotiation techniques.


Is Marketing Money Dead Money?


Ask any real estate agent and they will tell you that one of the hardest parts of their job is explaining to a seller why they should fund the marketing campaign for their home. Sellers have been led to believe that the property marketing simply boosts an agents profile or that they are profiting from the marketing items and therefore object to the expense, genuinely expecting an agent to cover the costs. Quite often sellers opt for a free or low cost agent over an agent that is asking for a serious marketing budget. While this seems like a good way to save money, it could be the biggest mistake a seller could make and could end up costing thousands!

The cost of not marketing a property effectively well outweighs the initial investment. Research done by Corelogic RP Data demonstrated that campaigns utilising both online and print marketing achieved up to $50,000 more and resulted in fewer days on market than properties without advertising. This research examined sales data from across the nation and has essentially proven how important quality marketing is in relation to getting the best return from selling such an important asset.  

To achieve optimal results, an integrated marketing strategy, custom developed for that property should be implemented. The target market should be identified and the marketing campaign should be about reaching the most likely prospective buyers. It is all about effectively using contemporary and traditional marketing mediums to achieve a result. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ marketing campaign, but rather they should be tactical and individualised to each property and the agent should be knowledgeable about every marketing product they are recommending for the marketing campaign.

While marketing fees can equate to a considerable upfront cost it should be viewed as an investment and a way to secure a better price with less stress. The lowest fee marketing option might just jeopardise the sale price significantly and overall cost a seller thousands.


Agent Free Sales – Does It Save Or Cost You Money?


The real estate market is currently being bombarded with ‘DIY’ solutions for selling your property. This concept means cutting out the agent and is enticing sellers with the idea they will be saving money on commission by completing the sale themselves. Sounds simple enough in the advertisements but when you really take a look at the process you are actually jeopardising the sale of the largest asset you will own in your lifetime. An experienced agent can significantly impact the final price achieved in the sale of your home, impacting the overall profit margin from the sale.

In the current market, selling your home requires more than a signboard, online advertising and a kit with relevant documentation. It requires an expert. An experienced agent will utilise a tried and tested formula from start to finish in the process of selling your home. Initially they will reach out to a database of qualified buyers that are ready to purchase that they have compiled through their previous sales activity, a selling tool that no individual seller will have access to through a DIY solution. An experienced agent will then implement a customised marketing plan for your property that will reach the target market that will be willing to pay the highest price for your property. As part of this marketing plan they will then need to handle all the enquiries that come through from prospective purchasers. Many DIY sellers overlook how time consuming it is to sort through the enquiries to find the right buyer, ending up wasting countless hours on emails, messages and phone calls that never eventuate into a sale. A good agent will manage the enquiries until they find the buyer willing to pay the highest price and will use their negotiation expertise to secure the best offer and the best possible terms and conditions. They will also apply their knowledge and skills to manage the legal side of the sale, protecting you from any costly issues that may arise and give your contract the best chance of reaching settlement.

While it seems appealing to ‘save’ the money by not paying an agents commission, it really is an investment that you should think very carefully about. An agent dedicates many hours work to preparing a property, marketing a property and managing a sale to achieve the best price possible for your home and ensure you remain protected legally and personally. Their commission payment is not only for the hours they work but also for the skills, knowledge and expertise that they offer throughout the process which realistically impacts your profit margin. A decision that you think could save you thousands could really be costing you much, much more.


5 Quick Tips For A Successful Auction Campaign


The following article provides five easy tips that can improve your approach and your under the hammer success rates.

1.    Communicate clearly, concisely and accurately.

It is vital within the auction process to facilitate clear, concise and accurate communication. Quality communication essentially begins with the pitch to the vendor in regards to why they should auction their home, continuing through to organising photography, preparing your copywriting through to liaising with prospective purchasers, to interacting with your auctioneer – make every interaction count!

2.    Don’t take the easy way out with vendor paid advertising.

It is no secret that property advertising works. The larger the targeted audience you reach, the more likely you are to find the buyer or buyers that are willing to compete for the property. This is an ideal scenario for an auction and a critical aspect in driving the price upward and achieving the best result, so be sure to pitch the best strategy every time – you have to ask the question!

3.    Be the expert.

We have all experienced a sales person that when asked a question stares blankly at you, or refers to the product brochure for the answer. What is your reaction when this happens? They instantly lose credibility. In this modern day, where information is literally at our fingertips via the internet and research is much faster and easier than ever before our expectations are also higher than ever before. Buyers and sellers alike expect the sales person to be a product expert, so do your homework!

4.    Treat an Open Home like show time.

Open homes are not only an opportunity for interested buyers to view the property but they are also a chance for prospective sellers to interview their potential agent. You never know who is walking through the front door at your open home, so all visitors should be treated as if they are your next client, it is show time!

5.     Tell the neighbourhood.

For every auction campaign the neighbourhood should be notified throughout the campaign. The minute you list the property for auction they should know. Whether you make phone calls, doorknock or letter box drop the area, you need to communicate the auction prior to the campaign launch. Throughout the campaign, the neighbours should be invited to the open homes or wine and cheese nights. Neglecting to invite the neighbours can mean you not only miss out on prospective buyers but also prospective sellers and that will hit you in the hip pocket!

By following these tips you will achieved the following;

  • Confidently sold the auction process to your vendors
  • Implemented the best marketing strategy to drive the highest volume of enquiry
  • Gathered local information to essentially make you the expert within the area
  • Impressed the sellers, buyers and all other visitors at your open homes
  • Interacted with the local neighbours and created a current database of prospective sellers
  • Successfully sold the property under the hammer or negotiated a great price post auction

All of which will lead to increased business for you in the future. Congratulations.


Timing Is Everything

Metro Independent Real Estate Auctioneers David Holmes Timing Is Everything.jpg

One of the most important elements to auction success is timing. There are so many factors and elements that need to be perfectly sequenced and executed in order for the plan to come together to deliver the desired results. Timing truly is everything.

An auction campaign is not just a sales person presenting a property to the market; it is a science, an art form, a well-executed plan. It takes time, attention to detail, design and preparation to effectively implement an auction campaign. The agent truly holds within their hands, the power to deliver a result that will not only meet but exceed expectations of the vendor and the marketplace alike. In fact, more sales record prices are recorded through the auction process than any other sales technique.

Perhaps this is why so many agents and sellers find the auction process daunting. It is the walk into the unknown, the exploration of unchartered territory without so much as a price guide. By removing price from the equation, there is a loss of that sense of security or safety, for both the agent and the seller. However it doesn’t have to be this way. By removing price and exploring this incredible science, this beautiful art form that is auction, there are so many new possibilities in the picture.

An auction campaign generates more interest, it is a simple fact. Quite often this has been attributed to the larger, more extensive marketing campaigns that go hand in hand with an auction. Yet there could be more to it than that. The mystery, the suspense, the curiosity within the marketplace can all be stirred by a well-executed auction campaign, that teases the buyers, taunts the neighbours and draws the crowds come auction day. It is this process that also promotes competition and urgency, driving prices upwards, the key objective of the auction process.

The timing however is of the essence in delivering that knock out result. The agent must coordinate the pre-marketing preparation, photography, copywriting, training the seller in presenting the house for an open home. The agent must know the right moment to launch the marketing campaign, when and how to respond to enquiries pushing and probing for an indication on price. They must balance the nerves and the excitement of the seller, while preparing them mentally for the big moment that is auction day.

Throughout this journey it is important for an agent to be prepared, expect the unexpected, communicate with their seller and most importantly team with an auctioneer that can add value and orchestrate the best outcome on the day.

The team at Metro Auctions, see auction as a science. They see it as an art form. Not just another property being presented to the marketplace. It is this level of customer care and precision in the process that can ultimately deliver record sale prices, satisfied sellers and superstar sales people. Metro Auctions are experiencing in providing perfectly timed support through a three point auctioneer involvement strategy that essentially puts the agent in partnership with the auctioneer. It is this impeccable timing that allows the partnership to deliver the best results and satisfied sellers.

For the team at Metro Auctions, it is all about timing.   


Brisbane Family’s Fortune After Selling Home of 45 Years

David Holmes of Metro Auctions calling 6 Dewsbury Sreet. Picture: Tara Croser /  Article Link

David Holmes of Metro Auctions calling 6 Dewsbury Sreet. Picture: Tara Croser / Article Link

A large family home at Mount Gravatt East, purchased for $20,000 by Stephen Hassett’s parents, has sold at auction for $690,000.

It was the first time in 45 years the four-bedroom, highset brick home at 6 Dewsbury St was on the market.

On Saturday afternoon, selling on behalf of his mother, Mr Hassett said the sale of the property would help pay for his mum’s nursing home bond.

Mr Hassett’s father passed away last year and his mother had a fall two months ago leaving the family with no choice but to sell.

“I grew up in this house with my brother, and our family are the second owners of this property,” he said.

“It (the auction) was a really nervous time for me. Now it takes a lot of pressure off everyone knowing mum can go to the nursing home,” Mr Hassett said.

More than 50 people gathered at the front of the 645sq m block, including 16 registered bidders.

The first bid started at $500,000 with auctioneer David Holmes, of Metro Auctions, bidding at $600,000 on behalf of the vendor. More than 20 bids were made during the auction.

Century 21 Coastal Caloundra agent Gavin Duncan said the house sold for a “good price”.

“Everyone’s happy here today,” he smiled.

Earlier in the day, a small crowd braved the winter chill at the auction of 27 Drury St, West End.

The classic character Queenslander sold for $1.08 million in front of around 20 people, eight of whom were registered bidders.

Bidding opened at $880,000 and crept up in $5000 and $10,000 increments until it hit the $1 million mark.

A man bidding on behalf of his brother-in-law attempted to seal the deal with an offer of $1.02 million; he failed at that attempt but eventually secured the property after outbidding four other active parties.

He said trying to outprice the competition by upping the previous bid by $20,000 at $1 million was an unsuccessful tactic.

“It didn’t work,” he laughed.

“It was like, ‘Oh well, what other tricks have I got?’”

Auctioneer David Holmes, who also called the sale of 6 Dewsbury St, said it was a prime example of a knockout bid.

“He had deep pockets and said he wasn’t going away,” Mr Holmes said.

Mr Holmes was initially surprised by the small turnout but it was a matter of quality over quantity in terms of numbers.

“The weather here in Brisbane, we’re not used to it so it probably kept a few buyers away but the buyers who were here were very serious,” he said.

David Holmes from Metro Auctions calling the shots on Saturday. Picture: Tara Croser

David Holmes from Metro Auctions calling the shots on Saturday. Picture: Tara Croser

Drakos Real Estate principal Chris Kazonis said the seller, who’s now based in Melbourne, was thrilled with the result.

There was a larger crowd at 11 Todd St, Ashgrove which sold under the hammer for $700,000 after bidding opened at $560,000.

Place Newmarket principal Mario Sultana said eight registered bidders were keen on the two-bedroom, one-bathroom cottage located on a 412sq m block of land and surrounded by bushland.

“We’ve had an overwhelming amount of interest in this Ashgrove home from young couples and families,” he said.

“It’s a blue chip suburb with great amenities in proximity so it’s no wonder it has sold quickly under the hammer.

“It’s been a well-supported campaign by the market and we achieved a great result today.”

The property was purchased by a family with plans to move in and renovate.

Metro Auctions Auctioneer David Holmes - Mount Gravatt 3


Surprise Auction See Little West End Home Fetch $1.1 million

Auctioneer David Holmes holds auction. Photos: Jason Quelch /  Article Link
Auctioneer David Holmes holds auction. Photos: Jason Quelch / Article Link

A cosy two-bedroom cottage nestled in a quiet West End street has surpassed expectations, fetching close to $1.1 million at auction.

The result stunned both agent and seller, whose reserve was smashed by $100,000 Saturday morning.

The owner, who recently moved to Melbourne for work, bought the property for $355,000 less than 15 years ago. It sold under the hammer for $1,080,000.

The rejection of a pre-auction offer of $930,000 turned out to be smart move by the agent and vendor, who felt the property could pull in a little more money under the hammer.

Selling the home had a familiar feel for Drakos real estate agent Chris Kazonis, who has now sold 27 Drury Street four times. However, this sale stands out from the rest.

The first was in 1981 for just $29,000, which reveals more than 3600 per cent price growth in 35 years.

A crowd of close to 40 people turned out in the morning chill with eight registered to bid.

The winners of the home were a young professional couple expecting a child.

Bidding on their behalf was a family member, who said the pair were looking forward to raising a family in the home.


Could Winter Be Your Best Time To Sell?


Brrrr…’s the beginning of winter and you’ve considered selling your house but all of the cardigan clad armchair experts are sipping their hot chocolate that sits atop their stable table saying, “Wait til Spring…nothing ever sells in Winter."

Perhaps a little dramatic but you understand the flawed concept that we’ve been dealt by various and dubiously qualified experts that the very best time to hit the market with your home truly is in Spring.  Where did this come from?  It’s hard to know exactly where this mythical notion originated but likely it was propagated in southern states that experience bitterly cold and miserable winters.

Bitterly cold winters with excessive rainfall, snow and the like are simply not our reality in south east Queensland.  Whilst we may have to stow the flip flops and opt in favour of a one piece versus bikini, the necessity to light the fire and don the wellies is very rare.

Every year, we see many southern buyers and investors migrate to our cherished neck of the woods to escape their harsh climatic conditions.  One only has to look at areas like Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and countless Brisbane pockets to identify the numerous southerners that have chosen to spend their hard earned cash in an exceptional location.

Every day, new and undiscriminating buyers wake up and hit the market with fresh eyes, a property guide stashed under the arm and a determination to seek out the best property for their scenario.  This buyer activity is absolutely not restricted to spring and summer only so why on earth would we consider the plausibility of hesitating to sell in winter when buyers are cashed up and keen?

Two essential things for any property sale are competition and emotion.  We need as many interested parties to connect on an emotional level with the home and then compete by either bidding to their maximum at auction or putting their best foot forward on a price marketed property.  Whilst winter may reduce the level of spectators, the savvy buyers will be looking to make their purchases year-round.

With qualified buyers in the market today ready to purchase, and the quantity of suitable homes lower than expected, the opportunity to sell at a very healthy level is very possible.    
In our market, winter will favour the seller.   This is a classic supply and demand equation.  If you can market your home in a time when there is less competition, you will likely sell in a shorter time frame and possibly at a better price.  Should you hesitate and wait until the masses decide to sell, your will have increased competition and your home may possibly be ‘the’ standout option for our buyers.

My advice to avoid the winter property blues is to work with a quality agent who specialises in your area.  A great agent will have a list of qualified buyers regardless of the season.  Utilise the auction process to get the best from a competitive situation and reap the rewards!


20 Seconds of Courage!

METRO AUCTIONS — 20 Seconds Of Courage

Much like you, I spend a great deal of time every week prospecting for new business.  It is literally the same process that you would follow in order to achieve new listings.  I make relationships the priority and new business the goal.

For the past 12 months, I have been trying to get hold of one agency principal who point blank refused to engage me.  I have called, I have emailed, walked confidently into his office, left brochures, and at every junction, I have not been able to speak to him….until today.

I was finishing a training class at my gym and I saw him enter from the corner of my eye.  Once the class was over, I approached him (albeit a little sweaty and red-faced) and introduced myself.  Over the next 5 minutes we chatted about business, mutual connections and the state of the market.  I sent an email thanking him and his wife for their time at the gym and welcomed the opportunity to work with his team.  Later this morning, I received a call from the gentleman in question with an enquiry regarding availability to train his team and call auctions.

I had tried everything in the book to get in front of this man and it wasn’t until I was looking far from my best, around 6am and at the gym that my opportunity came to implement my 20 seconds of courage.  I could have again decided to call him later that day or send an email and would likely have ended up with the same dead end result.

Where can you use 20 seconds of courage today?  When you are driving around your farm area and see your next seller in the driveway after trying to get hold of them for months?  Could you use 20 seconds of courage when asking for world class VPA?  What about in an auction negotiation when you know that the courage to ask may yield a positive result?

Our business is straightforward – but it will take many 20 second bursts of courage to reach the next level!


A Certain Process In Uncertain Times...

I know that sounds a little dramatic but you get the point – the process of auction is certain at a point in the market when an appraisal price can be less than certain.

We are at an interesting time in the market. I had a principal tell me at the end of last week that when assisting his staff to do their listing presentations, he was finding it tricky to suggest a price range anywhere near accurate. He said that around 18 months ago, it was a lot simpler with fewer buyers around and those qualified just looking for bargains.

I couldn’t help but think that this just adds more weight to the very certain process of auction. A correctly executed auction process is an exceptional one that truly exposes the best buyers. With any auction campaign, there are several ways in which the property can sell. The first is offers prior to auction. The owner may consider an offer prior to auction from a buyer who is either very keen to remove the home from the market at their chosen price or who does not have the ability to purchase at auction. At times, in the absence of a good quantity of buyers, this may be acceptable to the seller if the offer is enough. The second way that we can sell is under the hammer. This is the best case scenario when there has been a dynamic campaign, ample interest and a number of registered bidders on the day. For the seller, it means that there is no cooling off or conditions to be met, just that the seller has a solid result. Post auction on the day and even in the few days after an auction, there is often good energy around the process, and buyers who did not have the ability to purchase at auction may now purchase with their conditions applied if the property didn’t sell. Lastly, after the auction, if a result has not been achieved, the property can be marketed at a price under a private treaty method. This is a last resort but can also attract new buyers with conditional interest if the price has been set to meet the market.

Conversely, the property can be marketed under a private treaty process. The questions around this are many at this point in time, as agents may be unable to accurately launch the property at the best point for the market. We understand that every seller has a wish price. This wish price can position the property at, under or over the market price. It limits the ability to gather feedback (such as over an auction campaign) and accurately target the correct market price. It runs the risk of entering the market at the wrong level and going stale, sitting above the market price or alternatively entering the market at below the market interest level and selling below the best possible price.

Quick Case Study — $50k Over Reserve

Last weekend, I called an auction for Kylie Tredrea in Bokarina, a beach side suburb on the Sunshine Coast. The sellers were initially hesitant about the auction process but took the advice of their professional agent. Throughout the campaign, there was great interest generated by the agent and some offers prior were submitted but advice was given to see the campaign through in order to go to auction. I attended the strategy set meeting with the agent and client and we left with a reserve set at $450k. This was slightly less than the highest offer but also gave the sellers the ability to potentially realise an unconditional sale under the hammer. On auction day, there were 10 registered bidders and a crowd of around 50 people. The result achieved on the day was an unconditional sale under the hammer at $500k – $50k over the reserve. The highest offer prior to auction was $465k. If the seller had taken the offer prior with a conditional offer they would have forfeited $35k profit and had an uncertain wait whilst the conditions were fulfilled over the next 14 days. I applaud the agent for her strong advice and flawlessly run campaign but the real heroes in this case study were the sellers who gritted their teeth, believed in their agent and held off until auction day.

My thoughts…win/win situation for all parties!

DAVID HOLMES Independent REAL ESTATE Auctioneer

Auction Stations!

You have met with your agent and he has made some suggestions around how you should best go about selling your beloved property. Perhaps he has even mentioned the dreaded ‘A’ word – AUCTION!! Relax, let me explain in detail what the two most popular sales processes offer and why one may likely be the better option for your home.

Let’s start with the obvious; an auction in its purest form is a competitive buying arena where buyers attempt to out bid / out buy each other in order to win the property. You will no doubt have seen the staggering auction clearance rates in the southern states and perhaps even have watched massive prices being achieved on popular DIY / renovation TV shows. Not every auction is like this but there are still many convincing reasons that this is perhaps the most effective way to market your property.

The two most important ingredients in a successful sales strategy are competition and emotion. Emotion is what the buyers feel when they walk through the front door and connect with the home or find the property based on a location that they love or need to be in. Competition is the feeling buyers experience when they realise that there is another potential buyer who also likes the property. There are several ways of creating competition and emotion around a property and the first way is via open homes. At an open home, buyers are given 30 – 45 minutes typically to view a property. It is often here that a buyer realises that there are others interested in the property and this creates the competition.

An auction strategy opens the door to the idea that there is potentially more than one buyer for your property. It also creates urgency around the transaction on the seller’s terms. The seller provides the date, the deposit amount and the settlement time frame (terms) and asks buyers to front up with their best offer on auction day and battle it out against other buyers. This auction day competition is the best chance of achieving a premium as there is no ceiling on the price and a skilled auctioneer will create a comfortable buying arena where buyers are motivated to pay their highest possible price. It is rare that when a price is put on a home via the private treaty method that a higher than listed price is ever achieved. Usually, a lower than listed price is achieved.

The auction process in Qld does not list price ranges or price guides, meaning that buyers who may be shopping to a strict budget are encouraged to view the property, as they are not exactly aware of the asking price. It enables the buyer to connect with the home, the location and its offerings without making a decision based purely on the numbers.

Some reasons that some sellers may consider the auction process initially is that their property may be very unique and difficult to price. The auction process is effective in capturing buyer feedback throughout the campaign and will enable the seller and agent to work together to set a reasonable reserve and achieve a fair market price. Conversely, in the case that the home is an entry level home ideally suited to first homebuyers or downsizers, there may be many buyers trying to enter the market at this level. The auction process in this case will create the competition and achieve the highest result. For example, if your agent has appraised this style of home at $375,000, the private treaty process may achieve this price but without a sense of urgency and without obvious competition. If, however, 3 or 4 buyers were to compete for the home in an auction situation, the possibility of achieving two, three or even five thousand more is strong.

The auction contract is a cash, clean and unconditional contract meaning that at the fall of my gavel on auction day, the house is sold! On auction day, which is the date specified by the seller at the appointed time, all buyers must have completed their due diligence including organising any finance, researching titles and easements and organising building & pest inspections. There is also no cooling off period under auction contract conditions which should only give the seller absolute confidence in achieving the best possible price for their home in a very efficient time frame.

Throughout the auction campaign, which is typically 30 days, should a buyer make an offer that is hard to refuse, as the seller you can still accept this offer. It is, however, strongly advisable that the buyer fulfil any and all contract conditions prior to the auction day in order not to lose any campaign momentum should the contract fall over and not complete. The best strategy here is to encourage the buyer to attend the auction and make his/her offer via a bid under auction conditions.

In the scenario where you have stuck steadfastly to the process and the home has not sold, take heart! The auction process is just that, a process and not specifically an event. The data shows that up to 20% of the homes that do not sell under the hammer on the day go on to sell within 14 days of the auction. There can be a variety of reasons for this but the fact remains that the auction process with its urgency and date specific method has flushed out buyers to work with who may need to conduct additional due diligence, be offered extended or reduced settlement terms or organise finances.

A private treaty process of sale is vastly different to auction and can be effective in some situations. For instance, if the property has an overwhelming weight of evidence as to what the price should be or where the market would see it, a private treaty can be an effective method by which to sell. As an example, if a two bedroom unit on the second floor of a complex has had multiple identical units sell within a 12 month time frame, it is likely that purchasers and investors know approximately where the value lies. If the unit is not likely to have multiple interested parties, a private treaty process may be effective in attracting the best purchaser who is able to conduct his/her own research without fear of missing out.

The only myth I would like to dispel is the cost of marketing and advertising for homes sold by either process. Every seller who is serious about selling their property must commit to the best promotion of the house by a comprehensive mix of print and online media. Whichever method you choose to sell by, you want to achieve the highest price in the shortest amount of time. The only difference in costs between a correctly executed campaign via private treaty or auction should be the cost of a skilled auctioneer who can effectively extract every dollar from the market.

DAVID HOLMES Independent REAL ESTATE Auctioneer