Every capital city has them. Middle-ring suburbs where well-established agencies become firmly entrenched.
Like a well-worn groove in a favourite armchair, these existing businesses reach a ‘comfortably familiar’ stage where they’re convinced there’ll be little risk from fresh new players coming in and shaking up their market.
That’s what 34-year-old Steven Kremer saw in Brisbane’s Centenary Suburbs, just 12 kilometres southwest of the city’s CBD, and it prompted him to launch his brand, Kremer & Co.
“I think this area has been undersold for a long period,” Mr Kremer said.
“You go across the highway from here to Kenmore or Chapel Hill and every listing is perfectly presented and well-advertised – so sale prices each month tend to go up and up and up there.
“It’s time to have the same here in the Centenary Suburbs too.”
A new life
Canadian-born Mr Kremer was just 14 years old when his family arrived in Australia and, before long, they were hooked.
“Six months in and we all agreed, this was where we wanted to be. Why would you leave? The weather is great, and it’s not crowded. I’ve struggled to find anywhere else that’s better than Brisbane.”
Mr Kremer joined the real estate industry in 2006, becoming part of a well-established local agency, where he hit the ground running.
“I was lucky enough to work with a big team in Brisbane’s west initially, and we did a huge amount of business. I got thrown into the deep end very early, so it was sink or swim. Fourteen years later I’m still swimming, so I must have done something right.”
Mr Kremer has continued to service Centenary throughout his career, working for a range of businesses from big-brand companies to small independents.
But, ultimately, none ended up being a good fit. It was time to start something new.
“Every agency group has its positives and negatives. What we’ve tried to do is take all the great things we’ve seen and put them together to create a better business,” Mr Kremer said.
Kremer & Co launched on July 1, after almost a year of planning, and Mr Kremer’s long-term approach paid immediate dividends.
“We’d been opened for just six weeks and, in that time we’ve listed 12 properties and sold nine.
“We know the area back to front. I’ve just bought a house and it’s 17 doors up from our office space.
“If I’m not at work then I’m at the grocery store or at the local shop or at the kids’ swimming lesson. Whatever we do, we do it here.”
Mr Kremer and his wife have also renovated a number of homes in the area, so they know what it’s like from the property owner’s perspective.
“I always find that’s a great strength as a local agent -we’ve done it too,” he said.
Support = success
Mr Kremer’s ethos is one of meticulous planning. After all, if something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.
He began a conversation with Dan Argent at UrbanX to see if the platform’s suite of administrative support, networking and business mentorship would suit his goals.
It turned out they were an ideal partner for his venture.
“I don’t want to be spending hours on trust accounts and admin and all the behind the scenes stuff.
“I used to think if you’re an agent, you’re an agent, and if you’re an office owner, then you’re an office owner, but the platform Dan’s started allows me to be both.
“I’m not really the office manager – all that’s looked after by UrbanX and for a fraction of my gross commission compared to other models.
“In fact, the UrbanX platform is exactly the platform that every agency and big franchise preaches they will provide you – every single one says, ‘We’ll look after this and that,’ and my response has always been, ‘Sure you will, but you’ll charge somewhere around 50 per cent of my commission to do it.’
“Also, no one was calling me to list their home because I worked for a particular office. Those days are gone, so why pay a huge franchise fee?”
Mr Kremer said another great thing about UrbanX is they always deliver.
“UrbanX are seamless and do things with the same attention to detail and urgency as I’d do them.
“From the day I met Dan’s team, I have not had one thing late or wrong. Everything has been perfect, and nothing has been too much to ask. There are zero pressures on me to do anything. All I have to do is list and sell. It’s absolutely streamlined.
“And the way Dan’s building a community within the platform is great. We’ve already had get-togethers with other UrbanX agents – hearing about different people’s career paths and their lives. I get more out of that than any other ‘agency event’ I’ve ever attended in my career.”
Mr Kremer said it’s obvious UrbanX is future thinking at its best.
“This industry is so different from what it was when I started 14 years ago… its even different from what it was last week. Things move so quickly and if you don’t have your finger on the pulse, you’ll get left behind.”
For more information, check out www.urbanx.io
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