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How to market shipping container home expected to sell for $1 million-plus

The secret to Chris Ransley listing and selling a tiny Stradbroke Island home constructed from a shipping container is connections.

Situated atop Point Lookout on a 350sq m block, 123 Tramican St is expected to sell for more than $1 million, despite the fact it has just one bedroom, a bathroom and a combined kitchen and living area.

Ray White North Stradbroke Island Principal Chris Ransley said he sold the vendors the vacant block of land the shipping container home sits on a few years ago and had kept in touch with them since.

“As any agent who has been in the industry a long time would know, communication really is key,” he explained.

“I’ve kept in touch with the vendors and kept them on top of what’s going on in the market.

“As you can image, with this property I’ve always been intrigued with what’s going on, so I’ve popped my head in when I’ve seen them over on the island on the weekend, to have a chat.

“Now the time is right for them to move on and find another project.”

A decade in to his real estate career, Mr Ransley said he had long realised the key to generating listings was to work his database and build true relationships.

“Obviously there’s the core, fundamental job that you need to do, but the vast majority of the properties we are fortunate enough to list at the moment are coming through either return business or just prolonged relationships,” he said.

“They are commercial relationships. Don’t get me wrong, these people know that I want their money, but at the same time, one conversation out of 20 will be commercial.

“The rest will be informative, and the rest will be giving value to our relationship.

“Then once every 20 times I’ll ask for some value back.”

Mr Ransley said the modular home, created by PODCON from a shipping container, was largely built on the mainland and shipped over to Stradbroke Island and finished onsite.

Stradbroke Island is 30 kilometres southeast of the centre of Brisbane.

“When they (the vendors) were putting their planning permission through, the council really pinged them to keep it in keeping with the island aesthetics,” he said.

“So they weren’t just able to plonk a shipping container down and put some stuff inside. They’ve built a high quality, modular home in paradise.”

To look at the home, the only thing that gives away it’s former life as a shipping container is its rectangular shape.

The outside of the home has been lined with timber to create a facade that melds into the leafy surrounding landscape, while light-filled spaces with high-end fittings and fixtures await indoors. 

Huge sliding doors open on either side of the kitchen to capitalise on cross ventilation and to cater to the indoor-outdoor lifestyle Australia is famous for.

The home is being sold fully furnished and also includes council approved plans to turn it into a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home with two living areas.

The living and kitchen area of 123 Tramican St, Point Lookout.

The modular home is currently listed as a “property preview” and Mr Ransley said if a buyer wasn’t secured, the campaign would progress to calling for offers over a certain price point.

“Very early on a couple of offers came in over a million dollars, so that set the benchmark for us,” he said.

“We’re just waiting to find the right buyer for the right property, at the right time.”

Mr Ransley said it was critical to get the marketing for such a unique property just right and the focus was on a digital campaign with attention on the major portals and his database.

“We tend to try and stagger the launch of our properties and we know that the majority of buyers are either in our database or looking at realestate.com.au,” he said.

“More than 150 people have saved this house as a favourite on realestate.com.au, which is huge. 

“Usually 25 people would.”

Ray White North Stradbroke Island Principal Chris Ransley.

Mr Ransley said the Stradbroke Island property market had changed dramatically over the past 18 months, with COVID-19 accelerating people’s plans to make a tree or sea change.

He said before the pandemic it was normal for a property to take a year to sell, but the average days on market had now dropped to 30.

“The one thing we’re certainly finding with this market is, even though the market is hot and we’re selling stuff really quickly, we’ve got buyers, we are really finding that the buyers aren’t all in the database,” he said.

“There are a lot of window shoppers who are not wanting to receive your emails once or twice a week, but they are buyers, and they’re waiting for the right property to appear on the portals.

“But your database is only grown by the new inquiry that comes in and we’re receiving 100 inquiries a day about this house at the moment.

“That’s 100 people that are going into the database every day.”

Mr Ransley urged agents just starting in the industry to really consider why they are building a business and what model they’re going to build it on.

“It took me five years to realise how to do it,” he said.

“I probably went pro five years ago, set up a plan, had contact points and really started realising how important it was to work my database, stay in touch, know the numbers and be the professional in the market.”

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Deputy Editor at Elite Agent.