Elite AgentFeature Interviews

Focus on 2019: What the top agents are doing

The 2018 realestate.com.au AREAs recognised some of the best in the business this year, and while Ercan Ersan took out the title of Agent of the Year (and our cover for 2018) we talked to all the finalists as well. Grant Smith, Chris Hassall, Jeremy Wilkinson, Holly Komorowski and Kelly Jones reveal what their secrets to success this year have been and where they will be focusing their efforts in the new year.

Grant Smith

Director, Century 21 Grant Smith Property

What’s the market like in your area?
The Sunshine Coast property market is a strong performing region with extensive growth and development. The region is experiencing growth in the health sector with the new hospital, as well as expansions to all major shopping centres. Being on the coast, just an hour north of Brisbane, there is strong appeal for retirement and families, being outside the Brisbane CBD but still with convenience and a lifestyle appeal. Buderim, where our office is located, is a consistent growth area with access to private schools and university.

What’s one thing you’re doing better now than you were 12 months ago?
We’re in the service industry, and in a competitive market you need to have value and offer what other agents aren’t in terms of assistance in the process of selling. Our role is no longer just to list and sell property but facilitate the journey to achieving the best net result for our clients. Communication is key and we are keeping in touch more than we ever have with buyers and sellers.

Looking forward to 2019, in what three areas will you aim to grow your business?
In order to grow you must continue learning. It’s crucial to continue to expand your views and ideas in an
evolving industry. It is important to embrace innovation but not get caught up in gimmicks, as well as constantly evaluating the best way to ensure our clients are getting the best results.

What keeps you at the top of your game?
I have always had a strong involvement in our community. Giving back and supporting the community is fundamental in achieving continued growth. I constantly research the markets of leading performers, learning how we can reflect their values and marketing in our region in ways that will generate results for our clients. I have always had a strong repeat and referral business, so it’s important to involve and thank the clients in your business.

If you could change one thing about the real estate industry, what would it be?
I believe that as much as agents must keep informed and educated to best perform, if I could change one thing it would be for sellers to have a better understanding of cost versus value. All agents have the right to charge the same commission but it’s experience and negotiation skills that reflect value. It is one of the only industries where it doesn’t cost extra to have the best represent your sale for free until they have sold it. So it’s changing the focus of negotiating the best commission structure upfront to having the best agent represent your sale until a contract is agreed.

Chris Hassall

Director, Buxton Bentleigh

What’s the market like in your area?
Prices have come off 10 per cent across the board but there are still a lot of buyers in the market. The properties that are priced correctly, as at any time in the market, are still selling.

What’s one thing you’re doing better now than you were 12 months ago?
Working even closer with buyers. We’re spending more time with the buyers now to ensure we get them to our vendors’ auctions.

Looking forward to 2019, in what three areas will you aim to grow your business?
We will continue to have a big focus on buyers and working closer with them, as well as keeping our vendors updated on what’s happening in the market on a daily basis so they can make better-informed decisions. We will also continue to train our staff to better handle negotiations.

What keeps you at the top of your game?
Daycare and school fees! My inner competitiveness. I love my job and treat it like a sport. Our competition and my friends in the business also keep me motivated.

If you could change one thing about the real estate industry, what would it be?
We’re always trying to change the perception of a real estate agent in our marketplace, providing an honest service and working harder and longer to create happy advocates in the marketplace. We want Buxton to be the go-to company for everyone in the area.

Jeremy Wilkinson

Director, Harcourts Launceston

What’s the market like in your area?
Our market in Launceston is the strongest I’ve seen in 15 years. Tasmanian and interstate purchasers are bouncing off a very good Hobart market and heading to Launceston to get better value and great returns.

What’s one thing you’re doing better now than you were 12 months ago?
Making time to seriously prospect. This takes motivation and determination, and most agents fall down on this very quickly.

Looking forward to 2019, in what three areas will you aim to grow your business?
I’ll be focusing on the basics, with more prospecting and phone calls as well as continuing to build a stronger social media presence.

What keeps you at the top of your game?
Having nice, short family breaks once a month. It’s nothing fancy, just a few days away as I work six days a week.

If you could change one thing about the real estate industry, what would it be?
Everyone should have tertiary education or similar as we are a very important part of our clients’ lives. This would ensure only the best and most committed are able to practise in our industry.

Holly Komorowski

Director, home.byholly

What’s the market like in your area?
As a whole, Canberra is a little tricky at the moment as a result of the flow-on effects of market corrections or downturns in the larger, eastern capitals of Sydney and Melbourne. However, we are still finding solid performance in the older suburbs such as Ainsley, Braddon and Campbell, with buyers attracted to their established nature and proximity to the city.

What’s one thing you’re doing better now than you were 12 months ago?
We’ve increased the amount and improved the style in which we use video as a tool to communicate our brand, our stories and the homes we sell. As the business is expanding we’ve also focused on working as a unified team.

Looking forward to 2019, in what three areas will you aim to grow your business?
As always, the first thing we focus on at home.byholly is not resting on our laurels. We know there are always areas we can improve and build on. Next year we plan to build on our brand recognition as well as expanding our core marketing areas.

What keeps you at the top of your game?
Without a doubt, the collective culture at home.byholly keeps everyone focused and performing well. We love what we do and work is never a chore. We focus on celebrating the stories of our clients and the homes we sell; you can never underestimate the power of high energy levels and good exercise.

If you could change one thing about the real estate industry, what would it be?
People’s perceptions of real estate agents. We are working on changing the stereotype in everything we do, whether it’s our profile pictures, the way we market our properties or the type of marketing collateral we use.

Kelly Jones

Director, Jones and Co Property

What’s the market like in your area?
The market in my area is very consistent and fair. The sellers and buyers are very much on par with price points

What’s one thing you’re doing better now than you were 12 months ago?
The one thing I am doing better at the moment is keeping the business consistent and on-brand.

Looking forward to 2019, in what three areas will you aim to grow your business?
We’re looking for growth in our rent roll and business development. We’re also looking at recruitment and growth in our sales and development division, as well as running more educational programs for our clients around development, subdivision and flipping property.

What keeps you at the top of your game?
I keep healthy with great food and exercise. I run or ride most days with a couple of strength workouts each week. A healthy body is a healthy mind. If you are focused you will always be on top of your game.

If you could change one thing about the real estate industry, what would it be?
I would change the requirements for entry into the jobs and stagger the licensing. I think we need more traineeships in the industry. We have a large burnout rate and I want people to learn how amazing this industry is and create a great future in the business.

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