Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Real Estate Jungle...the best and the worst seems to come out in people when the going get¹s tough.

First, let's start with the best....by Saturday night at 11pm I was on a massive high, having had 100% success rate with my 3 property auctions, 2 huge open inspections, a lightening change into 'tails' and onto auctioning at the PinkYellowBlue Ball for Flinders Medical Centre Foundation. What a night, a record attendance of 730 guests, a record $75,000 paid for a single item with Gordon Pickard's Triple 8 boat! Wow, what a thrill!

At my Rose Park auction on Saturday we had 10 registered bidders and a 40 minute auction ending a long battle - yet with a great outcome for all parties, well over the reserve....it sure was a battle! Could the boom be back?

The market is as tight as a drum with spring releases down substantially on volumes last year while buyers are generally tough and conservative. There hasn't been an oversupply created so far this spring... which usually occurs at this time of the year. Weird dynamics. There are buyers everywhere - but they're playing it hard. Sellers are frustrated that they're not (generally) getting sales in line with their expectation, and until they meet the new market pricing , they don't receive any offers. Then the twist: buyers are missing out because they're playing hard ball with vendors and are trying to be too tough. How do you figure that?

It isn't actually a buyers market, yet it is tough. But… at the right price, there are plenty of buyers. So the market is actually settling in to a new phase now.

OK… The Jungle - part two of this story. I've been in real estate since 1978. Even in those days, agents had a certain code.  Not the professionalism expected of today's agents, but there was an order. One of the biggest NO NO's was (and still is) to "go behind the sign". This is an industry term for direct soliciting… for attempting to take business away from another agency even though it is obviously listed by that company, and doing so without invitation from the seller.

This Code was important to 1) protect sellers from being harassed, 2) protect seller privacy, 3) show respect for a sellers choice of agent, and 4) show respect to fellow agents. Wednesday, I spoke to "C.W." from a city based franchise office - after having left a message for him a week earlier. His business cards have appeared on the front doors of our clients' houses with what looks like a hand written message saying  "sorry I missed you, please give me a call regarding your property". I was shocked with the conversation that ensued when I spoke to "C.W." The Real Estate Institute of South Australia (REISA) Code of Conduct only applies to members, so be aware, not every one is a REISA member. "C.W." assured me he would continue placing cards on seller's property doors!  Sellers, you have a right to be left alone. You are at liberty to initiate as many invitations and opinions as you wish, but that needs to be your call.

If you're in business, a Commonwealth Bank customer or just interested in the economy, be sure you see Ralph Norris' exclusive interview with me on Fireside Chat at www.toop.tv.

We need houses to sell, so call me on 0418 824 188.  Time is running out for 2011...

Anthony Toop Twitter: @Anthony_Toop anthony.toop@toop.com.au

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Awards Awards Awards.....do Awards really translate to better results for our home sellers and landlords?

To answer that - you need to understand what it is that drives an organisation. What the people inside an organisation think and how they act. I believe awards give clear insight into the culture of a business.

It's no secret that Toop&Toop have a 26 year history of winning awards. It was after several years in business when we began to win our really big awards... including the coveted Australian Customer Service Award.  This was a decade prior to the real estate industry commencing their Awards program in 2005.

An incredible highlight for me was receiving a personal letter of congratulations from the Prime Minister. Last year being awarded the pinnacle of SA awards, the 'Robert Torrens Award', for service to the profession, winning National Agency of the year twice and being first inducted into the Agency Hall of Fame were all very close seconds.

This year, to be inducted into the 'Community Service Hall of Fame', while my brother Lew was awarded the 2011 'Community Service Award' was a special and very proud moment for me too. As a home grown South Aussie, these awards hold a particularly special place.
But how does this all relate to you. What relationship is there between Toop&Toop doing better things and getting better results... and how does that translate for our clients and customers?

It's all about culture. It's about creating an atmosphere where being the best is important. About being proud and motivated to go that extra mile. It's about knowing that every year we choose to put ourselves up against any new or improved competition. It's the only true benchmark we have to judge ourselves against and to drive positive change constantly. There is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide… the results are the results.

It's about being scrutinized by the judges, leaders in our own Community. It's about bearing all and letting audits be conducted behind all the smoke and mirrors....this is intimidating and revealing for all our team, but they do it willingly.

Claims are easy, reality is tough, and all claims have to be substantiated. The tough stuff… we don't always agree with the judges decisions, but that's the price of being subjected to often subjective assessment.

Sure anyone will admit you can fluke it once in a while. You can maybe win when you are fresh and exciting, you can impress the judges on the day.....BUT....the one thing you can count on, it's just not possible to win these awards year in year out with out running a damn good business.
So, do in fact, awards relate to better results for our home sellers and landlords?

In our case it's a resounding yes. Our culture of performance, our commitment to innovation, our self imposed standards of customer service and our pride are all linked to being the best operators in the Nation and world leaders in Innovation in real estate. We know quickly when we are off the pace, we know when we are kicking goals.

While we have pretty much Hall of Fame'd our way out of our 'FAMOUS' categories in the REISA competition, we still have much work to do.  We need to change our business to win for our clients against the changed market conditions.

2012 we are focused on lifting our service levels to new nights, harnessing new technology and stepping up our training. We are passionate in (& love) achieving results when competitors can not. We are completely absorbed in lifting the bar.....and if we achieve our goals, the awards will follow.

So to all that have had the courage to enter these awards, whether finalists or winners – congratulations you deserve the recognition.

At the end of the day, our greatest judges of all are YOU!

follow me on Twitter @Anthony_Toop or call on 0418 842 188

Thursday, October 13, 2011

First Home Owners are back!

What a surprise, this past 2 weeks the first home buyers have come out of hiding and are back at the open inspections and firing up.
Why??
It seems that the new market conditions have seen prices soften to such an extent that this group now feel it's time to jump in and get on with things. There may be some logic to it as well.
My view is that people (markets) will only put their lives on hold for a short while… eventually any market acclimatises to the prevailing conditions and then away it all goes again.
There are some other factors too... Spring releases in 2011 have not been as prolific as they could have been, while buyers are currently securing their new homes at around 2005-06 prices. With the next interest rate movement likely to be down.... perhaps the mood has changed indicating here is an opportunity to jump into the market.
Markets are incredible.
How do unrelated buyers act on mass like this, it's as if there is a secret communication system operating out there?   Whatever has happened
– it has been exciting.
As for the rest of the market, it is settling down to a new NORM.  It's really just back to the good old days - where a home must represent good value and where buyers are not rushing around, they are looking around.
Our sales team have (and are still) relearning how to sell - most agents today have never had to do this.  It's all settling down now as reality sets in for all.....buyers, sellers and real estate people are all having to adapt to these new norms or they are getting out of the "game".
Be sure to see our 100th episode of Toop.TV this week, where you can experience first hand one of Adelaide's most incredible homes.  So whether you're a First Home Owner or have done this a couple of times… call me on 0418 824 188 to get you started.