Finalists for AREAs 2020 announced including new data-driven recognition

The finalists for the 2020 Annual REA Excellence Awards (AREAs) have been announced, with top agents reporting record years, despite the Coronavirus pandemic.

The REA Group-hosted awards consist of 15 awards across the three key themes of innovation, service and marketing excellence and community.

Winners will be announced on the 17 February.

For the first time, the 2020 AREAs also include awards that are powered by REA data, including the coveted Top Residential Agents award where the top 100 finalists in each state have been announced, with the top 10 in the running to take out the award in each state.

McGrath Ryde agent Michael Dowling is a top 10 finalist in NSW following a stellar year in 2020, despite the impact of COVID-19.

“We sold 160 properties in 2020, which is double what we did the year before,” he said.

“The last six months of last year we did 105 of those transactions, which was epic.”

Mr Dowling said during the COVID-plagued months of March, April and May he took properties off the market, took advantage of rebates the advertising portals were offering and relaunched the homes in June.

McGrath Ryde agent Michael Dowling

“It was like having a clean slate,” he said.

“Owners were uncertain, but we went to them with a plan to relaunch their properties at a time when we knew there was no supply out there but we were seeing a lot of buyers.

“When we relaunched those properties, we were having 30 one-on-one inspections for each of them.”

Mr Dowling said it was an honour to be recognised as a finalist.

“All of the agents in there are really well respected in the industry, and it’s pretty cool to be talked about in the same breath as Alexander Phillips, Jason Boon, David Walker and guys like that.”

In Victoria, Buxton Highton Director Tony Moorfoot is a top 10 finalist after his best-ever year in the industry.

“I sold about 135 properties, so 2020 wasn’t all doom and gloom,” he said.

“It’s been getting busier year-on-year, and the last four to five years I’ve been selling about 100 properties a year, so it was a significant increase.”

Mr Moorfoot attributed the increase to the COVID-effect of buyers leaving Melbourne in favour of more regional areas but said he also put in a lot more work to secure those sales.

“There were no open homes; it was all one-on-one inspections so you’d spend three to four hours at a property at a time,” he said.

“Being nominated is a great honour and something to look back on to show all of the hard work was recognised.”

Other new data-driven awards include the Top Commercial Sales Agent, Top Commercial Leasing Agent, Apartment Campaign of the Year, Builder Campaign of the Year, and Land Campaign of the Year.

The Residential Agency of the Year award remains submission-based, with finalists including Di Jones Real Estate, ous.property and Cunninghams Real Estate.

“This incredible achievement has acknowledged ous.property as one of just three finalists out of 122 agency nominations across Australia – sharing the finalists’ podium with two other notably sizeable and well-established agencies in NSW,” ous.property Director Laz Ouslinis said.

ous.property agent Emma Clark and ous.property director Laz Ouslinis celebrating the recent sale of 6 Lawrie St, Henley Beach

Mr Ouslinis started ous.property in South Australia’s Henley Beach South in 2015 determined to offer an agency with a “different recipe” for real estate.

“The real estate business has changed a lot in the past 20 years,” he said.

“An agent used to walk in the door with a briefcase full of information, but now vendors say, ‘we don’t need the information, we know what next door sold for, we know what around the corner sold for, and we’ve been to the bank and got an appraisal of our property’.

“So we had to be the modern agent that offered something different.

“We offer service, we’re experts in our field, we offer excellence in marketing, digital marketing and retargeting products and we educate people about the processes and what happens behind the scenes from negotiating through to sale.”

For more details on the AREAs and a full list of finalists, visit theareas.com.au.

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Deputy Editor at Elite Agent.