Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sellers...has your local real estate agent become like a new family member? Do they almost live at your place??

Official time on market is blowing out on many sellers' properties, to the point the real estate agent either feels like they have become a part of the family OR they stop calling you. Agents no longer know what to say to their sellers any more. This is the new world of real estate.

Generally by this time in the sale process (after the initial 90 days), all of your advertising money is spent! Resentment on both sides builds and things can get tense. Arguments break out between the owners, and long periods on market often result in stress and an 'out of control' feeling.  So much work preparing for endless inspections both agent and owner can be completely over each other. You know by this time it is time to change things around.

Well there is some great news if you have been on the market for ages, and you are serious about selling. There are simply heaps of buyers, and with the right approach, a positive attitude and good market knowledge - a sale is very close.

Toop&Toop have teamed up with suppliers and we have developed new selling and advertising packages. This includes press, online and pumped up Sales Partners. We are becoming experts on refreshing and invigorating stale, over exposed properties.

Toop&Toop are tracking with far more vigilance the active buyers and we are stepping up to the challenge with incredible new and innovative marketing and selling. As mentioned, our award winning and patented VirtualAgent selling system is being re-built around the new iPad and smart devices and is in final testing in the field. VirtualAgent is BACK, better and faster than ever, working 24/7 for our Sales Partners, assisting them to make sure they do not miss a single active buyer that is a match for your property.

Both buyer and seller get a win. Buyers get VIP viewings before public release of new properties, and get first notice of price changes... Sellers have pinpoint access to the right buyers, pre-qualified and known to us as "ready to go."

Toop&Toop have consistently been selling properties between 30% and 45% faster than the average agency. Average days on market for other agencies in our office areas are (1) Norwood 109, we are at 66 average days on market, (2) Hyde Park 90 days, we are at 55, (3) Glenelg 104 we are at 54, (4) Golden Grove average is 129, we are at 95, (5) Stirling 115, we are at 67 and last but not least Victor Harbor at 141 days, we are 136 average days on market.

Even more telling is the number of agents not achieving sales at all - the pain is real. Rather than leave the sales team to fend for themselves, we are throwing everything at reinventing selling, and backing the team in.

So...we are all about solutions. If you're sick of it, we want to hear from you. Call me now and let's change things up a notch. Toop&Toop has its 27th birthday on the 8th of May and we built this business in markets way tougher than this...this is easy street compared to then. We are back...reinventing selling. We want to hear from everyone who is struggling to sell - whether it be yourself, your neighbour, your colleague or your best mate - because if you feel it's time to get serious, then it really is time to get Toop&Toop.

Special packages for long-term sellers are ready to go now - sell before winter, let's fire things up.

Call one of the team, call me, anytime – now is the time to get serious.

Anthony Toop Follow me on Twitter: @Anthony_Toop or call 0418 824 188

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tough markets, intense competition, record fee discountingÅ is this an industry imploding?


This is a changing of the guard. This is an industry in full scale crisis, where traditional real estate agents are clinging on for dear life with the only lever they know: by discounting fees, while innovation, technology and changing consumer needs are forcing the modernization of a profession that is living in a time warp.

It has already happened to Travel, Insurance, Finance and Share Brokers...the Car industry have also reinvented themselves and now it is our time...the Real Estate Industry. No doubt about it.

This week, my wife Sylvia and I signed off on another massive investment in our future. Since returning to the business as CEO on the first of July last year, after a period out of the business, we have essentially created Toop&Toop 2. The break was what was needed to get perspective, to view the business from the outside in, and provided both Sylvia and I with an invaluable viewpoint.

Over the coming May, June and July months, prior to the mad Spring period, months of preparation, planning and hard work will come to fruition. We will have 1) totally changed our Customer Service Platform (CRM), 2) consolidated four data bases into one, 3) re-launched  our all new rebuilt 2012 website, 4) created an entirely new online facility for clients (which is top secret for the moment), and 5) will have launched an entirely new product for our Landlords. 6)We will have harvested Tenant enquiries for greater letting speed, 7) re-engineered our communications flows using just released technology, and 8) launched our 2012 iPad based sales system, that is our all new VirtualAgent selling system.

These eight initiatives are all to leverage the latest low cost global marketing on a scale never contemplated, creating an online place where customers come together to sell and rent properties; ideal platforms tailor made for agents never dreamt of a decade ago.

The launch of new generation Smart TVs this week is certain to unleash another round of innovation, which will no doubt have an equally profound impact on our industry as the launch of the iPad and Smart Phones had. Toop&Toop are Global pioneers of online video. We passionately believe that the power of video in real estate has only just scratched the surface of what is to come.

Back in October 2009, we launched Toop.TV. Questions have been unrelenting as to why a real estate agency would have a virtual TV station, a studio and production facility. Those questions are being answered now as the iPad and Smart Phones/TVs emerge and video takes over from photos as the totally new hot communication vehicle.

So, if you are after what worked in the 1900s, then stick to the traditional operators. But can you believe some are still reliant almost exclusively on black and white press ads and old fashioned online Internet mediums?? All the best…but be aware, times have changed. Even their discounting won't make up for the potential loss of market penetration in finding your best buyers where your final marketing costs and extended time on market will kill you. Toop&Toop days on market are statistically proven to be up to 40% LESS than industry average - that's a fact
Consumer needs are moving at lightening speed, and Smart Phones, Smart Televisions and the explosion of the iPad have caught agents with their pants down. The pace of changing consumer needs is so intense. In my 35 years in the business I have never been so inspired...it is VERY EXCITING TIMES FOR REAL ESTATE AGENT

Our Autumn marketing mix is dramatically different to 2011, our Spring marketing mix will be changed again to move where the customer is going...this is exhilarating stuff.


The world is no longer flat. Bring it on.

Anthony Toop Follow me on Twitter: @Anthony_Toop or call 0418 824 188

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Parrots, dogs, monkeys and sheep... could these all be part of the real estate circus???

With market challenges decimating the real estate industry, selecting the right agent to sell your property takes on a whole new meaning. There have been droves of agents recently finding the real estate industry just too tough…and getting out. On 7th March, 2012 in "InDaily", REISA President quoted "just in agencies alone, we have lost around 20 per cent of the 2000 licenced agents, let alone support staff."

I think part of the problem is the consumer not accepting a new breed of robotic agents who seem focused on scripts and dialogues rather than on knowledge and experiential practices. I feel so strongly that industry training would be better focused on active listening, negotiation skills, marketing skills and strategies and genuine interest in delivering high levels of customer service connecting the right people with the right houses "for them"! There has been a new wave of training material that has sprung up to cash in on the pain and suffering of the floundering sales industry with quick fix answers to the new and difficult market conditions. Have you ever pulled up alongside a well dressed, suited person at the traffic lights and seen them talking to 
themselves, yet they're not on the phone? 

They are most likely to be in real estate sales, listening to CD's or iPods and rehearsing over and over like a parrot - reciting the latest scripts and dialogues from the week's latest real estate training guru. These current training trends are creating an industry of parrots, dogs, monkeys and sheep:  parrots - have no idea what they are talking about... "if the vendor says this, you say that…" ; dogs - people trained to do real estate tricks without question; monkeys - they look like they know what they are doing, but some clients get caught engaging monkeys because they are only prepared to pay peanuts, and finally the sheep - the followers, because every one else is doing it, it must be right. Good people, yet poorly trained, are now exiting the profession in droves because they are financially no longer able to survive it, offering so little value to clients that they have been working for peanuts. Well I feel strongly that our profession needs a wake up call. 

Let me explain. 

To excel in this industry, I believe we need to be the most informed about the market and the law for our clients. We need to have the best market intelligence, know who the buyers and sellers are, where they are looking and what they want in order to make their purchase decision. 

Rather than parrot training, I believe property sales people need knowledge training, life skills training, communication and engagement training, and negotiation skills. As a profession, our focus needs to be on smart and passionate individuals who genuinely want to help people through one of the largest decisions of their entire life.

Real estate is a tough and demanding business that few people have the combined knowledge, talent and commitment for. Skill, knowledge, compassion, life experience and passion are all essential ingredients. 

If I continue with the animal analogy, a quality agent would include the innovation, compassion and intelligence of a dolphin; the pride, style and independence of a horse; the memory and sustainability of an elephant, and the speed and finely tuned senses of a tiger. 

So, when interacting with your next real estate agent, paint a mental picture of who you are really dealing with. This may help you to make an improved and informed decision as to who is best to represent your interests. 

Who do you want to deal with in the future? A parrot, dog, monkey or sheep...or a dolphin, horse, elephant and tiger? Mmmm. 

I passionately believe now is the time to reinvent ourselves. This is the time for innovation and to rethink what we want to be in 2020, when the world of real estate will be so very different.

Anthony Toop

Follow me on Twitter: @Anthony_Toop or call 0418 824 188

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Spontaneous buying... it was rife in the Boom.

The irony of the boom is that spontaneous buying of property was a feature of the boom years, yet this was the time where there was the most risk of paying too much, and therefore where there was a real chance of losing money.

Greg Hocking (a mate of mine and a name that all of Melbourne will know in real estate) lists this as one of his greatest regrets after selling his Hocking Stuart business: "I should have taken more of my own advice," and went on to say he always encouraged clients to get on with their property purchase. For him, he felt he had missed the boom, in the boom, and he had missed the boat, in the bust. His clients made millions from just getting on with it, and he missed out.

Reality is, to pick the bottom of a market is impossible, and at best is just intuition or an educated guess. One thing you can be certain of - we know buying at the moment is pretty damn good buying for a host of reasons. Locally, including the impact of the mining boom, the arrival of the Defence Battalion, our lack of supply of houses and the relative affordability of SA property, many would argue we are in the bottom of the real estate trough right now!!

The Fleurieu market is hurting. The Fleurieu is a BLUE CHIP location for Adelaide holiday makers, tourism, country living and so it should be – it offers so much. A truly stunning location - the beaches are beautiful, the surf is amazing, fishing, water skiing, sailing, shopping, cultural and eco-tourist activities like bird and whale watching are world renown. World class wineries, restaurants and scenery add yet another layer of delights, but for all this, property is "dirt cheap."  It's wrong, it's out of balance... I think this is a generational opportunity.

The unique thing about buying on the Fleurieu is you have choices. Investors can choose long term leasing, or short term holiday letting.  Buying a beach side get away? A first home? Or just want to buy at an opportune time as an investor? Monday we want to see you at our auctions to experience this for yourselves.

During a research tour in the mining town of "Roxby", I heard first hand a resounding unexpected theme direct from the mining workers: "Give me cool weather, water activities (surfing and fishing in particular) and make it within an hour or so of a major airport." All stand out must haves. Victor Harbor and the South Coast is unequivocally a stand out best fit.

Think about it. Once the Southern Freeway is sorted, (do you remember how the Hills suburbs like Stirling, Aldgate & Crafers took off after the SE tunnel went in??) and given McLaren Vale nearly meets suburban Adelaide these days, Victor is virtually an outer Adelaide suburb.
For an extra 20 minutes in the car, you get a holiday resort environment, with country lifestyle yet large scale shopping  - AND currently sitting at the bottom of the property cycle at rural prices.

Toop&Toop have rounded up 20 properties for some serious sellers, and we have them open Easter Saturday and Sunday, with all 20 being auctioned; all onsite, 5 auctioneers, all day this Easter Monday. From mansions to shacks… and some land too, all going under the hammer.  Check out www.Toop.TV (episode 122) to see some of the ideal properties on offer and remind yourself how beautiful the region really is.

Why not jump in the car, take a day trip to Victor, return home with an investment property, or maybe your first home. If you have the capacity to buy, why not do it this weekend? The odds would be better here than at Oakbank!

Time for the return of the spontaneous buying on Easter Monday...
All at Toop&Toop wish you a safe and Happy Easter, and maybe a new surprise investment property too.

Anthony Toop Follow me on Twitter: @Anthony_Toop or call 0418 824 188