Elite AgentOPINION

Staying ahead of the curve in 2022: James Bell

To say 2021 has been yet another crazy year would be an understatement, but for Century 21, it’s been a year of achievement, celebration, and success. Chief Executive Officer, James Bell, reflects on the year that was, and his plans for 2022, as we enter a state of semi-normality.

While the property market has exploded over the past 18 months as we’ve navigated COVID-19, the pandemic has also brought significant challenges to the real estate industry as a whole.

Finding our way around the COVID landscape hasn’t been easy, especially in the hardest hit states of Victoria and NSW, where real estate businesses had to find ways to not only stay viable, but also remain profitable.

The Century 21 corporate team spent much time during those trying months to ensure the right structures, processes and procedures were in place to help franchisees come out unscathed.

Another challenge for our industry at large was the lack of stock, which saw real estate agents and offices fighting for a significantly lower level of product on the market.

I’m proud to say Century 21 offices managed to excel in this regard, having four record months in a row across the network in terms of volume and stock. 

We’ve seen a significant increase in the number of sales made and market share, which is an incredible achievement in the current climate.  

We have also worked very hard this year on our tech stack, implementing significant integrations across our platforms, and providing our offices with tools that enable them to offer an impressive service to their consumers, as well as scale their operation without a massive cash outlay.

One of our most significant achievements in the year was Century 21 topping the list in Canstar Blue’s annual real estate agent review.

This was important for our team because the list is based on the views of consumers, rated on topics such as problem resolution, communication, knowledge and advice, value for money, contract handling, marketing and overall satisfaction.

This is testament to what our offices delivered on the service front throughout 202l.

More impressive was that we also added 18 new franchises to the C21 network during such challenging times, which is a great outcome for our team.

Looking to the future

As we look forward to 2022, we hope to continue to leverage the success we achieved in 2021. This will involve integrating our technology platforms to more of the tools used by our franchisees, achieving even wider reach for the C21 brand to generate leads for our offices, and delivering training and education that improves the skills of every member of C21 network.

The biggest challenge for next year will be a change in market conditions, and we’ve already seen the start of this towards the latter part of this year.

The heat has come out of the market, meaning buyer inquiries will start to slow.

To combat this ever-changing real estate landscape, we purpose-built a training program that will take into account any shifts in the market and enable our agents to deal with those changes, while continuing to provide outstanding results to their consumers.

Training is critical, and we plan on ramping things up even more in the new year as we bring in a number of external coaches to work with our offices and agents across the disciplines of leadership, property management, sales, and administration.

We have also set ourselves ambitious growth targets off the back of the results we’ve had this year and have great confidence that these will be met.

We’ll be looking to make sure that Century 21 is ahead of the curve in 2022.

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James Bell

James Bell is the Chief Executive Officer of Century 21 Australia.