Nick Moloney likes to do things differently.
In his seven years selling commercial real estate for Raine&Horne Commercial North Sydney, the sales director has learnt a lot through trial and error.
Thankfully, there have been more wins than failures.
One of his greatest success stories has been holding ‘open for inspections’ for commercial properties, particularly strata offices, on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
OPEN FOR INSPECTION
Nick says he introduced the OFIs about a year ago and buyers have responded well, despite the fact OFIs haven’t typically been used in the sector to promote commercial properties.
“Traditionally speaking, commercial agents don’t work Saturdays,” he explains.
“Traditionally, commercial agents don’t do open for inspections, but we do them because they work well for us.
“It’s a process and a structure which, generally, buyers have already been conditioned to, in the context of residential sales.
“So, it was quite easy for us to tell people that a property is going to be open for inspection on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
“Generally, buyers have been really open to the concept.”
Nick says, while the method has been a resounding success, it’s not suitable for all commercial properties.
“You generally wouldn’t do an open for inspection for development sites, particularly if they’re just blocks of land, but it works for your high-frequency turnover commercial strata offices,” he says.
The idea to introduce OFIs came to Nick when the number of listings his team was carrying soared and it wasn’t possible to arrange private inspection after private inspection for all of them.
He says introducing the OFI process has allowed the team to become much more efficient and there have been strong benefits for vendors as well as buyers.
“It allows the commercial buyers to see the competition that is there and it creates a different sentiment and environment, which allows us to get better results,” Nick says.
“It also gives the clients a bit more structure as well.
“It’s a good process for them to understand what level of interest there is, because if you’re doing a number of OFIs and you have not had any buyers through, it’s pretty evident that the appetite from buyers, for that property at that price, is pretty low.
“Then, we’ve also got the benefit of having the other properties that we’re advertising at the same time and using them as a point of reference.
“We can say to the client, ‘This property over here is getting an average of two to three groups through per open, but you haven’t had any in three opens, so we need to look at changing something if we want to get something done’.”
A GREAT RESULT
One sale where Nick got the job done well was when he sold the Elite Agent headquarters, for a building record, for editor Samantha McLean and publisher Mark Edwards.
(Don’t despair, your favourite real estate magazine, podcast and newsletter aren’t going anywhere!)
The office space in North Sydney sold to a foreign buyer that needed to purchase commercial property to satisfy their visa application for Australian residency.
To close the deal, there were a few hurdles to overcome, including needing a translator and a Foreign Investment Review Board Application.
“We did take a bit of an educated risk on the fact that they had provided an offer that was well above what we were expecting to get,” Nick says.
“But it came with the risk that it was conditional on the FIRB application.
“We assessed their situation, where they were at with the application, and decided that it was a worthwhile risk.
“We initially estimated that it would take potentially four to five months for the application process to be finalised, but we ended up getting the whole thing wrapped up in just under three months.
“It was a good result for all.”
Nick got his start in real estate seven years ago, joining Raine&Horne North Sydney in the commercial team.
His grandfather had also been a commercial agent before moving into small property development.
It was the family connection, combined with the freedom commercial real estate provided, that attracted Nick to the fold.
“I think the main attraction was, and still is, effort versus reward,” he says.
“If you really want to, there is an opportunity to do extremely well in a business context as well as a financial context.”
Nick says he sells commercial properties starting at $450,000, all the way up to $50 million and they range from strata offices to development sites and occasionally residential development stock.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, he says demand for commercial properties in the North Sydney area had remained strong, but stock levels were lower than normal.
If the COVID situation remains relatively unchanged in NSW, heading towards the end of the year, Nick expects stock levels to pick up in early 2021.
“People may have been putting things off at the moment, with not really knowing what may or may not be going to happen,” he says.
“If confidence builds on the back end of this year and people start seeing more transactions, and the buyers remain, I think there are going to be a lot of people looking to do something in early 2021.”
SINK OR SWIM
Nick says when he first joined Raine&Horne Commercial North Sydney, it was sink or swim time and he had to learn the game quickly.
“I did all the training videos, watched plenty of Tom Panos and Josh Phegan, and there was lots of trial and error,” he recalls.
“There was a lot of personal script and dialogue training and lots of talking to myself in the mirror.”
And learn Nick did, before buying into the business in 2017, where he works alongside CEO Duncan Grady and managing director Jay Sheffield.
Nick is clear on where he hopes his career will progress to in the near future.
“My motivation is to try and be one of the top, if not the top, performer in the network,” he says.
He also sees his role as one of a mentor to his team and to others who are new to the real estate fold.
“We’ve got a couple of people coming up through the company at the moment, and it’s all about providing them with the support and foundation they need so that we can expedite their career and they can do as well as they want to, as fast as they want to,” Nick explains.
When it comes to giving advice, Nick’s philosophy is clear.
“There is no right way. If it works for you, then do it.”