Thursday, May 29, 2008

Introducing our new CEO...

Introducing our new CEO... Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Bellini, Raphael, Botticelli … great artists from a time when classic art was reborn and masterpieces were forged. The Renaissance.

As the real estate market changes, so do we. At Toop&Toop we’re entering a time of change and growth – our Renaissance era.

To lead the charge we’ve appointed an individual with 25 years of professional CEO, operational experience. I’d like to introduce our CEO, Ian Darbyshire.

Ian was born and raised in England. He finished school and studied Biochemistry. How does a bio chemist end up in Real Estate you ask? Well keep reading!

Ian’s first job after university was with a pharmaceutical company (ICI) where he got the computer bug (a good variety that is!). There was no turning back now. He was approached by Unigate Dairies to build a new computer system for their existing production as the Factory Manager and then grew the business by building a new dairy based plant. Six years later he was ready for the next challenge.

Little did we know that Ian has been in our lives for some time…true! We will never pour a drink from another juice, fizzy drink or other PET bottle without thinking of him. From 1985 Ian spent four years working for ST Ivel Ltd as the Factory Manager where he lead the team who made this bottle. The marketing tests were held in New Zealand, and with a few side trips to Australia – he knew he would one day live here.

In 1993 Ian was offered his first Managing Director role working for B.E.T. / Rentokil. Initially presented with a brief to ‘Close the Yorkshire Factory’ – by three years in he had turned this factory around to making a healthy profit and had grown the business by adding high value technology based services.

The years moved by and Ian became the CEO of Bennetts, and insurance broking business which he bought and ran as a family business. It has 24 branches with a sales team 300 strong. They implemented new systems to support the customer service experience while launching new products (loans, leisure and homecare).

On selling this business Ian joined Connaught Compliance Ltd as the Group MD (this is where the Real Estate comes into it!). Responsible for 80,000 customers and 3,500 employees, they specialized in engineering services, risk management and his team looked after rental properties ensuring they were maintained and compliant.

Now Ian, his wife Jacqui and daughter Megan have moved to Adelaide and will soon be joined by their son James.

It’s a big welcome to the whole of the Darbyshire family, and Ian we’re excited to have you on board with us here at Toop&Toop. We’re looking forward to our Renaissance!

Anthony Toop, Managing Director <>

© Toop Real Estate Group

Friday, May 23, 2008

Adelaide - The next Perth?

Adelaide - The next Perth? Across the nation all eyes are coming to rest on Adelaide. Why? Because when it comes to the property market, Adelaide is in a strong position to see plenty of growth.

We are on track to be the next ‘Perth’

Back in 2001 Perth, who had always been undervalued by the rest of the nation, embarked on what was set to be the biggest real estate boom they’d ever experienced. A huge growth in mining caused an urgent necessity for skilled workers in Western Australia and resulted in an increased demand for property. Investors jumped on board, taking their returns from the increased commodity prices on the share market and putting them to work in the property market. In the space of 6 years Perth saw their median house price increase from $180,000 to $450,000, a huge rise of 150%!!

So how does Adelaide compare to Perth?

Adelaide has always been undervalued by the bigger cities and in recent weeks even regarded as ‘a back water’ by our eastern cousins! The facts are that our mining boom is just beginning and house prices in Roxby are already showing the effects of the increased demand. Strong Defence contracts in place is seeing increased growth flowing out from the region surrounding the Edinburgh RAAF Base, with a prime example being the immense re-development of Port Adelaide – the last major city undeveloped port in Australia. South Australia’s Agriculture and Aquaculture industries are also set to attract skilled workers and further the growth of the property market.

At this current point in time Adelaide is recording a median house price of around $360,000 – sitting in sixth position behind Sydney, Canberra, Perth, Brisbane and Darwin respectively. Although interest rates are currently holding the market tight, our Real Estate market remains in a fantastic position to be able to surge forward with continued growth and enter another boom time. For the next 3 to 6 months we’re predicting that the market will remain stable, but if rates drop hang onto your hats – we could be in for a great ride!

Anthony Toop, Managing Director <>

© Toop Real Estate Group

Friday, May 16, 2008

The start of a new era!

The start of a new era! We’re 23! Last Thursday the 8th of May, the Toop team joined together for a “Hello, Goodbye & Happy Birthday” celebration.

Within an ever changing Real Estate market, we’ve experienced the highs and lows, booms and recessions and at all times Toop&Toop have remained a strong, successful family business.

Over the years our business has grown from being just 2, Sylvia & myself, working from our home in Toorak Gardens, to now – 23 years later – having six offices across the state and 135 professional, dedicated employees. Talk about a growth spurt!

Right now we navigate yet another turn in the market. The easy ‘boom’ days of selling are over for now, and the more challenging ones are approaching. With this turn Toop&Toop are forging ahead stronger than ever – it’s the start of another new era or, as we like to call it ‘Toop Chapter’.

We had a hectic 23rd birthday - we officially opened our new ‘home’ called HQ, celebrated our birthday, had a great ‘farewell’ for one of our most loved Toop family members and in the same breath, we ‘welcomed’ a person who’s name is synonymous within our industry for best of the best practices.

After being with us for the past 7 fantastic years, our CEO Karen Raffen is on the move. This month she has passed the baton over to our newly appointed General Manager of Sales, Mandy Wurth.

Now over the years you’ve learnt lots of bits and pieces about Karen, and although
it’s going to take a little bit of time for you all to get to know Mandy, allow me to provide you with a brief introduction to get things started…

As many people do, Mandy made her start in the workforce through the hospitality industry. Over 15 years she worked her way through the ranks from the day to day roles, through to the management of numerous specialised divisions. Mandy then moved on to co-own and run a couple of businesses before her passion for property compelled her to jump in and join the Real Estate industry. For 6 years she worked her way through the ranks of a family owned agency – experiencing Property Management and Sales first hand before taking over the reigns as the General Manager of Sales. For the last 2 years Mandy has held the position of General Manager & Business Coach for Lee Woodward’s dynamic training company, Prime Training. With a wealth of sales and industry knowledge, we know that Mandy will be a fantastic asset to the Toop&Toop team.

So to Karen – a huge thank you for your leadership over the years and all the best in your new ventures, you will be missed; and to Mandy - Welcome on board and hang on tight, it’s going to be an exciting ride!

With a new home, Toop HQ, and a new General Manager of Sales - there is nothing dull about life at Toop&Toop!

Anthony Toop, Managing Director <>

© Toop Real Estate Group

Monday, May 12, 2008

Big kids & their bikes - What a Success!

Big kids & their bikes - What a Success! On the 24th of April we layered on our leathers, warmed up the engines of our Classic bikes and got ready to rumble – all in the name of our kids. What am I talking about? None other than Variety SA’s inaugural V2 Classic Bike Run.

After months of preparation and anticipation we set out from the Torrens Parade Ground on our 4 day trip to our final destination, Penola. With 32 riders on their classic bikes and the Gliderol bus full of rowdy volunteers and supporters, I think the towns literally heard us coming! We made our way through Robe, Mt Gambier, Port Fairy & Port Campbell gaining huge support from the locals and somehow managed to dodge the rain clouds along the way.

Although a lot of fun was had by all, the real reason we were all there was to raise money for SA’s kids in need, especially the Neo Natal Unit of the Women’s & Children’s Hospital – a cause very close to my own heart as well as others involved. Well, we certainly did just that! Entrants of this first time event managed to raise a whopping $225,139 - with $50,000 of this raised on the road during the four day event. That’s almost a quarter of a million dollars raised for our kids – how cool is that!

What happens to the money now? Well Variety SA have pledged $100,000 to the Mini Miracles fundraising initiative for the Neo Natal Unit of the Women’s & Children’s Hospital and the balance of the funds will be dispersed to inspire hope and enrich the lives of children in our community.

A great big thanks to all those involved in this massive event. To the board who
gave their time so generously, to the staff at Variety SA – The Children’s Charity whose expertise on all things fundraising is second to none, to all the volunteers and people we met along the way for their immense support and of course to the entrants who were willing to be a part history…let’s make the next one even bigger and better!

We’ve already had a large number of entrants indicate that they are ready to sign on for the 2009 V2 Classic with one entrant paying $5,000 in an auction for next year’s #1 bike tag.

So now it’s off with the leathers and back on with the suits for most – but don’t forget us because next year we’ll be looking for even more support as we get ready to rumble once more for our kids.

Anthony Toop, Managing Director <>

© Toop Real Estate Group

Friday, May 02, 2008

Looking for a home with that little 'something extra'?

With a lot of challenging press out there regarding the property market we decided it was time to put a smile on your face and bring you something a little different… especially if you’re looking to buy.

If you’d like to live in something more exotic than a Villa, with more angles than a Tudor or more verandahs than a Bungalow, perhaps one of these quirky homes will take your fancy! These houses are more than a little out of the ordinary, and we’re sharing them with you courtesy of

Cactus House - The Netherlands
The balconies of the Cactus House apartment building in Rotterdam were designed to maximize outdoor gardening space for tenants.

Habitat 67 - Canada
These playful apartments in Montreal feature a unique building block design.

Gangster House - Russia
This soaring wooden tower in Archangelsk, Russia was built by local gangster Nikolai Sutyagin. He never quite got around to finishing its construction - he was jailed before the work was completed.

Cube Houses - The Netherlands
The Dutch seem to be building more than their fair share of interesting houses, as evidenced by these "cube houses" in Rotterdam. Architect Piet Blom intentionally tipped the houses 45 degrees on their side. Cutting edge? yes, but not good for those with vertigo.

Upside-Down House - Poland
This structure is not a mistake. The upside-down house really was built just as it looks. Designer Daniel Czapiewski created it as a critique of the "upside-down" nature of his country's former communist government. Located in Szymbark, Poland.

Although at Toop&Toop we don’t have any properties available that reflect these styles, we do have a range of gorgeous homes to suit every budget. So if you’re looking to buy logon to or give your local Toop&Toop office a call today!

Karen Raffen, CEO

© Toop Real Estate Group