From chaos comes opportunity. That’s an adage Tim Foote thoroughly believes in.
During the Global Financial Crisis, the highly decorated Belle Property Mosman principal quadrupled his business.
In the second half of Coronavirus-ridden 2020, the agency tripled the number of sales it would normally record in the six-month period after Tim brought in somewhat of a secret weapon.
That weapon came in the form of former Ryde area expert and high volume specialist Stefon Bertram.
Tim says applying the strategies and processes of a high-volume agent and agency to the prestige market was a marriage made in real estate heaven.
“We started on this adventure in the middle of the year and the second half of the year was particularly good because of applying Stefon’s processes into our marketplace, as well as his leadership and thinking into our business,” he explains.
“We grew our market share from nine per cent to 25 per cent in six months and the goal is to increase that to 35 per cent (this year).
“Across the board we’ve also tripled the number of transactions that we’ve done.
“The last six months of last year was a time of massive change, but our adage was ‘chaos is the opportunity’.
“During the GFC we quadrupled in size, during this pandemic we’ve tripled in size and rather than seeing those things as things to be fearful of, we actually stepped into them and found the opportunities.”
Prior to Stefon joining the team, Tim had three agents at Belle Property Mosman, but that has now risen to five agents and three associates.
Greater team numbers automatically mean they can service more sales, but Tim says it’s the evolutionary selling structure they’ve adopted that means they can do more transactions with a greater level of customer service.
“Rather than a business full of agents, we are a team that works together,” Tim says.
“The way we divide up the market creates experts in every part of the market, as opposed to a principal who’s a head honcho and many others who are performing at a lower level.
“We have lead agents and we have associate agents, and our associate agents look after the whole team.
“It means our consistency of service is better because it doesn’t matter which agent you deal with, the experience is the same.
“It also means we’ve got more manpower in terms of being able to look after buyers, being able to provide inspections and information that an individual agent approach just can’t do.”
Tim achieved two of the most expensive house sales from properties listed on realestate.com.au last year.
The Popov Bass-designed home at 26 Plunkett Rd, Mosman, came in as the sixth highest sale when it sold for $20 million, while 49 The Esplanade came in 10th at $17.8 million.
At number one was 42 Vaucluse Rd, Vaucluse, which sold for $24.8 million.
Tim attributed the sales to nurturing long-term relationships with clients, taking a proactive approach to finding listings and being prepared to do things differently to meet client needs.
“With the vendor at Plunkett Rd, we had sold that property to him four years ago after first selling his property,” he says.
“We’d also sold other properties over the years, I first met him 20 years ago.
“So this was all about understanding the value of a relationship. I could quite easily have met that person 20 years ago, but not fostered that relationship.
“It’s all about realising that keeping in touch with people over a long period of time bears great fruit.”
Tim says when he was a young agent building a client base, he identified a core group of 1000 people he wanted to do business with and called them every quarter to update them on the market.
That strategy has evolved over the years, and while Tim now personally deals with a smaller number of people, the team has far greater reach.
He says the sale of 49 The Esplanade was one built on the back of the Plunkett Rd transaction and through making repeated contact with the vendor.
“We created that sale by reaching out to the owner of that property a number of times,” Tim says.
“They weren’t ready to sell necessarily, but we were able to talk about how we might be able to do something off-market, and they liked the sound of that, which progressed their thinking to them ultimately being a seller.
“Also, 26 Plunkett Rd is only 500m away, and we’d just sold that for $20 million so we were able to let them know what we’d done.
“Often, one result stimulates people with similar properties to consider selling.”
Tim says the sale of the two high-end properties were anything but standard and putting the deals together required strategic thinking.
“The settlement time on 49 The Esplanade is longer than normal and the structure of the deal is different to normal,” he says.
“It’s important to listen to what people’s drivers and motivations are, and then think about what the solution is that satisfies those things on both the buyer and the seller side of the equation.
“When I first started, my boss at the time used to say, ‘when you get an offer of acceptance, you’re only 50 per cent of the way there’.
“That’s so true. You’ve got to realise that the deal isn’t done when you’ve got an offer of acceptance, you have to then be able to see the deal through until it’s unconditionally exchanged.
“At this level, that can mean really getting into the contract to ensure that legal hiccups don’t trip up a sale.”
Tim says the Mosman market continued to perform strongly at the end of last year and started the same way this year.
In fact, there was no real slow down as you would traditionally expect in December and January.
He says 2021 for the Belle Mosman team is about consolidating on the new processes they implemented in the second half of last year.
His parting advice to new agents in the prestige sector is that it takes time to build a strong reputation and relationships with people but earning that trust is vital.
“If people trust you, you will do well,” Tim says.
“If people don’t trust you they will write you off completely.
“The prestige sector is a fairly well-connected community and a small community, so your reputation is incredibly valuable.
“The way you become trustworthy is simple – you do what you say you are going to do.”
Keep an eye out next week for our piece on Stefon Bertram, including his tips on breaking into a prestige market.