Linton Allen has a real estate superpower – a photographic memory.
Not only can he match names to faces, he can remember potential clients’ number plates and which open home he first met them at.
Even if it was years earlier.
“I just remember everything,” he says.
“I’ve just got this weird thing in my brain where I can match people I’ve met to a house or the lock box code on their house I sold 14 years ago.
“It’s been good for me because people appreciate when you remember them, their houses, their grandparents, or their coffee order and all that sort of stuff because it makes things a lot more personal.”
An award-winning approach
Personalised service is something the Empire Property Solutions sales manager prides himself on.
He credits it with his success at this year’s Real Estate Institute of Western Australia Awards, where he took out the Top Unassisted Salesperson by Listings Sold and Top Unassisted Salesperson by Value Sold categories.
Empire Property Solutions, which has its office in Fremantle, also took out the Top Boutique Office by Listings Sold and Top Boutique Office by Value Sold awards.
To claim his awards, Linton sold 211 properties with a combined value of just under $160 million.
“I have market share in six suburbs,” Linton says.
“Coogee, Samson, Beaconsfield, Lake Coogee, North Lake and Spearwood.
“The reason I sell more than anyone in Perth is I’m a bit of a chameleon. If I’m dealing with a truckie, I’ll drop a few swear words, but if I’m dealing with an accountant and they say, ‘Oh, we want to offer $700,000, what’s the stamp duty?’ straightaway, I’ll tell them.
“The other thing is, when people pull up to my open homes, and I see their car, I know which house they’ve been at before, and I sign them in before they’re even at the front door.”
More than just a fun gimmick, Linton says his ability to remember people, names, faces and places enable him to make his clients feel special and, when you combine this with a fine attention to detail and a dedication to getting the best results for his clients, it makes him “likeable”.
“I think likeability is something that’s really underrated in real estate,” he notes.
“If people don’t like you, they’re not going to list their house with you; it’s that simple.
“If you’re all about you and not about your clients and their biggest asset, then it’s not going to work.”
In the beginning
Linton’s the first to admit he almost wasn’t successful in real estate.
Before joining the industry, he ran a newsagent and a cafe and while that stood him in good stead in terms of offering high-end customer service as a real estate agent, he had to win the clients first.
That proved tricky, especially in the first 18 months of his career with a national real estate brand.
“The first 18 months was horrible,” Linton recalls.
“I sold one property and did one conjunction, and my wife said to me, ‘Are you sure this is what you want to do?’”
With his wife’s words echoing in his mind, Linton asked her to listen to his listing presentation and provide feedback.
He expected she’d love his carefully curated presentation that detailed exactly what he and the agency offered.
He was wrong.
“My wife said to me, ‘I would not list my house with you’,” Linton recalls.
“When I asked why, she said, ‘You’re too scripted… You just need to be yourself’.”
A new approach
At a listing presentation the very next day, Linton completely changed his approach.
He dropped what he was ‘meant’ to say and went with his gut.
“I just had a chat with them about how long they had been in the house, what they each did for a job and what their kids did at school,” Linton explains.
“Then they said, ‘So where’s the paperwork? Let’s sign it’.
“It was then that I worked out that people don’t list with agencies; they list with the agent first and foremost.”
Linton has been in real estate for 17 years and has built his career one listing and one sale at a time, with a philosophy of being genuine and treating everyone the same forming the pillars of his success.
“I don’t care who you are, I don’t care how much money you have or any of that, if you’re a good person, I’ll talk to you regardless of status or suburb or any of that,” he says.
“I try and help people where I can and when people can see you’re genuine and honest and not bullshitting, and it’s not about you getting another signboard up, they just open up to you.”
The sale that counts
Despite his thousands of sales over the years, Linton says there was one this year that he knows will stay in his mind and heart.
Over the years, he has built a strong referral network with the Italian community in Perth, and he was called in to appraise an elderly man’s property.
The home wasn’t in great condition, and the neighbours had offered $1 million for it, but Linton thought it was worth a bit more, and he told Frank as much.
“I said, if I don’t get you $1.1 million, you don’t have to pay me a commission,” Linton recalls.
“So we put it on, had 34 people through, eight offers, with the lowest offer at $1,000,080… and I sold it for $1.42 million.
“Frank, who was a very quiet man, hugged me, had tears in his eyes and said, ‘Mate, you’ve changed my life and my son’s life’, and I told him, ‘That’s what this is all about’.”
The referral for Frank’s place came from a local grocers, and after the sale, Linton dropped in a gift hamper to genuinely thank them for the business.
“When people become advocates for you, that’s when you know you’ve made it,” he says.
A family motivation
Linton says he wouldn’t have the career he has today without the patience of his wife and his two boys, one of whom has mid-range autism, who fuel him with the motivation to keep going.
“If something ever happens to me, I don’t want my wife to be left with the burden of not having money,” Linton says.
“I want to give both my kids the best shot in life.”
Linton says if he could go back to Day 1 in real estate, he’d tell himself three things: talk to as many people as you can each day, always turn up on time, and if you say you’ll do something, you must follow through.
And what does the future hold for Linton?
“I certainly don’t want to be working as hard in five years,” he says.
“I probably want to be working a little bit smarter. I guess when I stop enjoying it, I’ll stop doing it.”