A banker for 20 years, it was a connection with Charles Tarbey and a desire to stop travelling for work which drew Jason Roach to real estate. Now he’s the principal of C21 Northside – Lindfield and a holder of the network’s prestigious Double Centurion status.
One of the striking things about Jason Roach’s career is that he hasn’t seen a property cycle. When he joined the industry, after 20 years working in the banking sector, the Sydney market was in a boom it’s only recovering from now.
“I haven’t been through one of these cycles. I’ve banked clients through these cycles, I’ve seen cash flow tighten, but I feel like I’m still fairly new at this,” says Jason about the current market conditions. But he’s obviously not struggling; he’s been awarded ‘Double Centurion’ status twice in his relatively short career, and he recently sold a property in Pymble for over $500,000 above reserve.
“There are fewer transactions, but that just means you need to find more people to talk to. I don’t have all the answers by any means, but I do talk to a lot of people. I talk to my friends in the industry, I talk to other business owners. You can’t sit in your office scratching your head. Sydney’s still a great place to live and there’s still demand.”
Jason opened the doors at C21 Northside – Lindfield three years ago. He credits his unique experience and career history as one of the driving forces behind his success, including the training he received in the banking industry which he’s brought across into his current role.
“The banks I worked for spent a ton of money on me in training, so I like training and we have a real training mindset here in the office – whether it’s doing something on a Friday morning off the back of a YouTube video or some sort of online platform, or we’re just having a round-table discussion about a transaction.”
“Banking is very structured, so I try and apply a reasonably structured mindset to what can sometimes be a pretty less than structured environment. In residential real estate you’re managing a lot of variables – people’s emotions and fears, nerves and all those sorts of things. So I try and bring a bit of calmness, like it’s OK, we’ve got a plan. Let’s follow the plan.”
Another thing Jason says forms an important part of his drive for success is being the principal of a relatively new office. Without a strong rent roll to back up his financials, selling property is literally the only way to keep the lights on.
“If I’m David Jones and I don’t sell a pair of shoes, then the doors don’t open tomorrow. Because I started the business from scratch I don’t have a big income stream, I don’t have a big rent roll. So I’ve got to bring a real urgency to every conversation, every transaction, every interaction with buyers, sellers, tenants, landlords and service providers. We need to bring a heightened level of energy to make ourselves the best agents to deal with.”
Urgency and energy form the backbone of a lot of what makes Jason successful. He doesn’t use his inbox as a queue; tasks are dealt with as they come in. He goes out of his way to start conversations and make connections. There’s a drive behind his work which makes it easy to see how he achieves the success he does, even if the market is cooling.
Another important aspect to Jason’s business is respect for the customer. C21 is a global brand, which Jason is quick to admit helps out with a lot of referred business, but the delivery on the service is still just as important to maintain the expectation which comes with working for a recognisable network.
“The most important thing is transparency and communication on both sides of the transaction. Vendor expectations are usually above market, and it’s about working with them, saying yes, I’ve got a plan, I think I can get us there; but don’t don’t promise a number that’s not there. Don’t sell too much blue sky.
“It’s the same on the other side; buyers want to know why the vendors are selling, what they want to sell for, what are the pros and the cons of the house. You need to be really transparent, even when you’ve got nothing to say, communicate. ‘I just want to let you know I don’t have an update for you today, but I’m still thinking about you’. In our portfolio we’re working on a dozen transactions at any one time, but Mr and Mrs Vendor are selling one property at a time.”
One hundred per cent honesty in all parts of the transaction, from the price to the interest, is the most important part of the sales process, says Jason. Even if the vendor doesn’t end up selling, that’s a better outcome than pushing them to a sale they didn’t want just because you didn’t want to lose a listing. This is how you get referral business and build a name for yourself as an agent people want to do business with. Even if your clients are happy for you to share the good, the bad and the ugly with them, they’re not going to be happy to hear the bad news you bring. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bring it, and every time you have those frank conversations you’re helping to build those lasting connections.
“There are all these layers that we have to manage, and I feel I’m in a really privileged position to do that. But you’ve got to give straight-up advice that serves the client’s best interests and not yours. If you’re worried about serving your own interests first, then you’re probably not getting out there and talking to enough people. If you were then you wouldn’t be worried about losing one fee.”