When veteran real estate agent Greg Pratt was looking for the support he needed to set up a virtual, independent office on the Sunshine Coast, he went straight to @realty.
With a career spanning 34 years, Mr Pratt was well aware that real estate was ever evolving and he needed support that was strong but fluid.
“The industry is no longer just about having an office with big windows, a prime location and profile in the newspaper or on television,” he said.
“These days you don’t need a shopfront, and if you want exposure on Domain or Realestate.com.au it just comes down to how much you’re prepared to spend.”
Mr Pratt said the coronavirus pandemic had accelerated the drive towards virtual and independent offices and about nine months ago he teamed up with a friend to open his Coastal Edge Real Estate on the Sunshine Coast.
“We wanted to be virtual, independent, but we also understand the value of having support,” he said.
“That is where @realty came into it.”
Mr Pratt said running a real estate business required the owner to wear many hats from technology, through to marketing and back-end support so the @realty OASIS platform was ideal.
OASIS – which stands for Online Agency Support and Integrated Systems – enables boutique real estate agencies and sole operators to access @realty’s national database and administrative services, while still operating under their own brand.
“With @realty I have the ability to own my own brand and the support of the @realty team from an administrative perspective,” Mr Pratt said.
“They operate a trust account, so I don’t have that concern and they also handle the administrative process of listing, selling and contracts.
“We also have the marketing support, which has been superb. I don’t need a graphic designer because with @realty I have a whole team.”
Mr Pratt said the business had seen massive changes since he started 34 years ago selling property in Ipswich, Queensland.
It was a friend that suggested he try his hand at real estate after six years in the Australian Army.
What followed were stints running offices in Ipswich, Toowong, Gympie and Darwin.
He said one memorable experience in Darwin illustrated why he loved working in real estate.
Soon after arriving in Darwin, a phone call came into the office from a vendor in Litchfield Park.
“She told me her dad had terminal cancer in WA and she wanted to sell her house so she could look after him,” he explained.
“In 12 months she had only three groups through and she was desperate to sell.”
Mr Pratt said he ventured out one afternoon to find 60 acres of barren land and a house that was “more barn than home”.
“I was told I would never sell it, but I got stuck in and launched an auction campaign after she committed to some marketing,” he said.
“We got 30 groups over several weekends. On auction day she invited all her friends and family – we had 50 people there – and it sold under the hammer.
“This woman was beside herself with joy. That is what real estate is all about – helping people.”
Mr Pratt said although Coastal Edge Real Estate is just nine months old, the business is making giant strides, with @realty playing a big role.
“You pay a small fee to be involved, you have your administration fee and have a seven per cent clip on commission,” he said.
“Once you reach a certain threshold you get to keep all your commission.
“At the same time, we get all the support we need.
“Yes, we are an independent brand but we are also part of a network with 600-plus agents. That assists when pitching to clients because they can see we’re part of a big group.”
@realty Managing Director JJ Taylor said it was a credit to the strength of the OASIS platform that someone of Mr Pratt’s calibre had made the decision to join the platform.
“Greg has vast experience with major franchises and systems and so he knows when something works and OASIS clearly works,” Mr Taylor said.
“More independents than ever are climbing aboard because OASIS is cost effective and does exactly what it says.”