Case StudiesElite Agent

In his own words: Peter Shiplee, LJ Hooker Mosman

Passion, dedication, and ‘a bit of fun’ are the keys to success for 36 year old Peter Shiplee of LJ Hooker Mosman. With a personal auction clearance rate of 100 per cent this year while working the ultra-competitive areas of McMahons Point, Kirribilli and Milsons Point, Peter is living proof that you can be successful in real estate, give back to the community, and still ‘have a life’. Profile by Samantha McLean.

What was your first job, and what was the most important thing it taught you?

My first job was when I was ten. I got a job in the local butcher’s, cleaning the shop. It was great; I loved it. I was earning eight dollars an hour as a ten-year-old, and that was a lot of years ago so it was good money. I remember getting a bollocking from this big old butcher because I was half an hour late, and I put him half an hour late. So the job did teach me to be on time!

What do you like most about your work now?

Probably the buzz. Money is always a consideration because that’s why we all work, but with this job, it’s more the challenge and the thrill of the chase in listing a property, and then finding the right person to buy it, and moving both into a position where they are delighted with the transaction. Where the buyer thinks they’re getting a bargain, and the vendor believes you have maximised their price, that is the biggest thrill of the job.

I’ve been told your clearance rate is 100 percent so far this year. How do you maintain that?

I think it’s a constant education of the buyer, and constant education of the owner. A lot of people would call thatconditioning, but it’s not. It’s more presenting the buyer with the information that they need to make a decision. I’ve found – I don’t know whether it’s being a ‘country boy’ – that most agents, especially in this area, tend to hide what things have sold for, whether it be good, bad, or indifferent. As soon as somebody walks into an Open for Inspection, you help them review all the comparable sales in that neighbourhood and then they make their own decision from there. And then it’s just obviously getting a level of trust, more than anything.

You started selling real estate in 1996 in port macquarie. How is selling real estate in the city different to selling real estate in the country?

I think the main difference is the speed or pace of dealing with a city seller or a city buyer. It’s more they want information now, they need it quick, they need it concise. Get in, get out. I think my average meeting now is about 45 minutes with an owner when you’re trying to list a property. In Port Macquarie, it used to be two and a half to three hours because you would go and have a cup of tea with them; you sit out in the garden; you get to know their family. Here, you have got to be very concise; still friendly, but people don’t have the same time in the city. But, again, that may be a generation/timing thing as well. We have become a lot faster-paced with technology. So, come to think of it, I’m not sure if that was a ‘country’ thing because we’re talking about a decade ago now! I didn’t get a mobile phone until about 1998-99. Everything was office-based. You worked nine to five. You didn’t really do after-hours appointments, because that was family time.

what do you find most challenging about what you do now?

I think the challenging part will always be listing properties. That’s always going be a hard thing. In terms of this area, especially, there are some exceptional agents out there. So you have to be top of your game every time you walk out of the office. It’s not like in some areas, where you’ll have one or two good agents, and you know you’re going to come up against them. You get intimate knowledge about how they do things. here you might have seven or eight agents who, in real terms, you would unquestionably work with if you were in the same office. And if you’re selling your own home , you’d be considering those agents as well. so that’s definitly the most challenging part.

If you had a ‘secret sauce’ or a superpower, what would it be?

I can’t give that away! (Laughs) Every agency and every agent is going do things slightly differently. I think it’s more delivering to the client what they need to know, and putting it in a way where you’re not just telling them what they want to hear. You actually have to be strong in your approach and tell the truth. In the end, it’s not only going to help you get the property sold but, more importantly, it’s going to help the client actually maximise their dollars without giving them that ‘pie in the sky’ thought process. You are only going to disappoint them if you set the wrong expectation.

I think my secret ‘superpower’ as you put it (laughs) is being a chameleon in a way, matching your personality type to somebody else but also being true to yourself. If you don’t agree with something, you’ve got to be able to make them feel at ease that, yes, you’re taking on board what they’re saying, but then steer them in a direction which will obviously achieve an outcome which is right for them in the end.

What does success look like for you personally?

Probably on a day-to-day basis, it’s more when the client surprises you in terms of a thank you card or a personal referral. Often – because of the send-forget society where everybody’s busy – you get the thank you over the phone and think, ‘I did a great job. They’re happy.’ You start moving on to the next property. But when clients suddenly walk into the office with a bottle of bourbon, or say, ‘Look, if you’re ever going away to this place, you can borrow my holiday home,’ for instance, it’s those little things which make your day worthwhile.

What does a typical day involve for you?

In our office, we have 15 sales staff. One of the directors will literally be here at 7am and leave at 7-8pm at night. Then we’ve got other guys who have three or four kids; they start at 9:30 and they leave here by 5:30. I’ve tried each approach over the years, and now I’ve worked out a system where you work damn hard when you’re ere and make every minute count, but then make sure you have your life outside of work as well. So I think my typical day is pretty frenetic! I don’t stop – even when people are chatting in the office, it’s “Guys, I’m busy. I’ll talk to you after work.” It’s a ‘get in and then you get out’ attitude because otherwise this job can consume you. We work six days a week. Nobody takes a day off during the week, so it’s full on.

As for my day, I wake up at about 6:30 in the morning and do a 15-minute challenge, which I reckon everybody should do. It’s ten push-ups, ten sit-ups, ten squats all in the space of a minute, but repeated over 15 minutes. So every morning, you’re doing 150 push-ups, 150 sit-ups, 150 squats. When I was first introduced to it I thought, ‘There’s no way I could ever do this.’ I started off at five. So five push-ups, five sit-ups, five squats, and then you get the rest of the minute off. When the clock ticks over, you start again.

Then it’s always breakfast. Breakfast is the most important thing. But then I’ve chosen a café in my local area where I go to every single morning. I go and sit there for 20 minutes, half an hour; have a cup of coffee; talk to the guys who are working there. It’s a family-run business. They are all Greek, so the whole family works there. They talk about me to their clients. Their clients talk about me to their friends. And because I’m always seen there, people stop me – even if they have no intention of selling or buying. They will ask me, “What did this sell for? What did that sell for?” It is a way of getting my reputation out there. And then it’s nonstop at work.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?

I think it’s ‘don’t procrastinate, just do it’! And also that famous expression ‘Fortune favours the brave.’ If I could go back in time, the amount of times I said, “I’m going to do that. I really should try that”, but I never tried it and always regretted it. And now I’m just starting to try those things, and at 36, they’re a lot harder to do now. So I think fortune favours the brave; and it’s so true in your personal life but more so in your work life. I take it back to making a phone call. Everybody gets phone call reluctance; you have that fear, “What will I say? Oh, I’ll leave it tomorrow. I’ll leave it till ten o’clock,” instead of saying, “I’ll just ring them now. If they say no, they say no.” It always happens, and you just think, “Why haven’t I called them?”

What’s next for you in terms of your personal goals?

A short-term goal is to list more property. I do have a number, but I never disclose that to anybody bar my boss or my mindset coach. My goal is to list the right number per month, where I’m busy but not too busy. Then it’s an assistant; getting one or two assistants to take away things that I’m obviously not good at (and I know what they are!) And then a long-term goal is to ultimately buy into this business and start teaching and mentoring the younger guys. I do want to teach and pass on what I’ve learned, and build something for myself.

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