Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The $1million questions: SELL, BUY OR RENT?

The $1million questions: SELL, BUY OR RENT?

Pretty much every day someone will ask...“Do I sell now, buy now, or rent?” or “Will the market improve next year?”

The depends.  Although there are generational opportunities right now for those who know what they’re doing.

The 6 most common buyer/seller scenarios:

1) Selling (and not buying):

Being completely out of the market is risky. If the market suddenly kicks you can be left behind financially. There would however be very few “in the know” that see this as a risk in the next couple of years. Your decision will depend on your level of optimism for a turnaround.

2) Selling and Buying (downsizing):

Downsizing is best done in a boom market, but remains a relatively neutral move, irrespective of market conditions. Selling your high value property for a discounted amount forgoes potential tax free capital gain. Your new property will also substantially increase in value.

3) Selling and Buying (upsizing):

Upsizing is best done in a recessionary tough market – and the tougher the better. You will be well in front upsizing in this market. Save on costs, better choice of property and lower cost changeover. Capital gains are not paid on your principal place of residence, so the bigger and better the home, the more tax free capital gain you get. Absolute dollars in your pocket!

4) Buying additional property/investments:

Buy when everyone else needs to sell - better choice, better conditions and savings will be significant (or the quality of the property will be superior). Savings on fees and property purchase price all increase your rate of rental return.

5) Not Selling (no longer moving):

This is a common decision if you are unhappy with the price buyers are willing to pay for your property. You risk the loss of your marketing investment, and beware that any future capital appreciation will be from the price that you would have sold for - NOT from your current expectations. When the new cycle begins, remember - all other properties will have also moved in price! Your best option (assuming you are financially able) would be to buy the next house at today's lower prices and rent it pending your future move.

6) Moving but not Selling and not Buying:

RENTING YOUR PRECIOUS HOME...BEWARE! If you are delaying the sale of your much loved family home and decide to rent it rather than meet the market, be aware that even the very best tenants are not going to treat the home as you have. After all, they are paying you good money for the accommodation. Your home, once rented, makes you a small business operator. Factor in wear and tear, realise it will no longer be your "private home" and be wary of possible capital gains tax issues.

To minimise risk and optimise your potential, be sure you have it professionally managed. Invest in great management; it will be the best protection you can offer your investment while you wait for the next property cycle.

In many cases, these are literally $1million questions…be sure to do your homework before making any of the above decisions!

I hope this helps....

Anthony Toop

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Gimmicks...oh dear, here they go again!

It seems every time Toop&Toop release a major innovation we get a reaction from competitors.  Although it’s become quite tedious, I guess I should feel honoured. One thing it does do - it makes me reflect.

I recall a ‘gimmicks campaign’ that was run against Toop&Toop about 20 years ago. In those days I used to get upset that competitors couldn't understand the need for our industry to keep reinventing itself.

Well two decades later a lot of the big names have gone, such as BW Carey, Brock Younger, Brock Partners, Gaetjens, Ian Mill, Woodham Biggs, Theodore Bruce and Myles Pearce, just to name a few.  As recent as last week Brock Real Estate Pty Limited was placed into administration.

Taking their place are international players hijacking our local industry. Fresh independent players are also entering the market – only time will tell if we all have the stamina and capital to succeed. Vitality and energy are essential to any business, and I am proud to see Genevieve and Suzannah bringing a strong, fresh and energetic succession through Team Toop – they certainly have real estate DNA. Personally I love the challenge of taking on the big guys and the new entrants. Strong competition is an essential ingredient to excellence, it motivates and drives Toop&Toop, but a far second from the thrill of providing our clients the benefits no others can.

I believe the community wants choice. I believe we, as an industry, have to deliver competitive international best practice - PLUS A LITTLE MORE - in order for us to earn our clients’ long term support. Innovation and moving ahead of the curve, I feel, is going to be the difference between being around in a decade or not. 

When it comes to getting results, no one is disputing that a good agent can get their client a sale - that's a given. What is not a given is the quality of the result.  Key clues to look for are the level of property price discounting required to get the sale and/or the time it takes to find the right buyer. These are critical KPI's we use to benchmark Toop&Toop's performance, along with our customer satisfaction levels.

Our thirst to continue reinventing ourselves has never been greater and it has served us well so far. As we head into our 28th year I feel sure the youth and energy of the next generation will enable the passion of innovation and excellence to step up to even greater heights. 2013 is fully booked for our 3 talented in-house programmers, who will be exploring exciting new ways to improve our service while reducing costs to clients.

One massive point of difference is our structure. Rather than the traditional franchise model, we have a full service model. Each of our sales team run their own businesses - free from all the headaches of administration (finance, HR, marketing) and the pressure of overheads. This ensures a 100% focus of their energy on client needs. Our model allows us to move fast, innovate and present new marketing opportunities to clients before any one else in the market. Independent yet collective resources - and fully managed. 

Size matters! As the largest independent residential agency in SA (which gives us the clout with suppliers and the savings benefit our clients). we are also intimate and personal. We are efficient, enabling our services to remain competitive, despite the additional service offering to our clients.

Those decades of gimmicks (most of which have subsequently become industry standard) have not been in vain, as the stats highlight.  RP Data (one of the advisors to the Reserve Bank) along with the major portal stats, show:

1.   Toop&Toop currently have 25.12 % market share of sales in our 100 prime suburbs.
2.   Toop&Toop’s ‘time on market’ in metro Adelaide is 46% lower than the industry average.
3.   Toop&Toop’s Norwood office is #1 with interactions on Australia’s #1 property website, in SA.

If outperforming industry averages by these margins means being labelled ‘gimmicky’, and means we remain a powerhouse in real estate after 27 years while our competitors disappear, I am very comfortable with that.

I would argue it is because of the gimmicks; it is in fact our innovations that are exactly why we remain Adelaide's largest independent real estate agency.

Home grown, exciting, world class – Team Toop is a family style business passionate about South Australians.

Anthony Toop

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   Follow me on Twitter @Anthony_Toop

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Firing Sellers!

In the interests of preserving client assets, occasionally we have to fire a seller for their own good.

I never thought I would see the day that as real estate agents we actually have to stand up and be counted, we can no longer simply agree with our client – despite the enormous pressure we’re under to do so. This is the easy option but often totally the wrong option for them.  When it comes to professional advice, we need to walk the talk.

At the moment, inexperienced and weak agents simply agree with whatever a client says, and unfortunately, millions of dollars are being wiped off property values as properties become stale and overexposed on the market.  Property prices can plummet from overexposure.

You see... unless a property is priced correctly, marketed well and the sales person is switched on, houses sit on the market forever. With today's technology permanent public records (easily accessible) provide a graphic account of the sale process and there is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. Properties on the market for more than a few months risk being labelled as "duds" and can become extremely hard to sell.  We call this “marketing fatigue.” Property prices tumble and some go into freefall selling way below their true value. The exception is the very high end of the market – this is in a category of its own, with different timeline expectations.

So what do you do?

The first step is to assess your situation. Is the issue YOU? Or is it that you have received poor advice? Did you skimp on the marketing, select the wrong agent or have you presented the property poorly? Has your sales person run out of puff and needs changing?

One strategy used with enormous success is giving a stale property a "marketing makeover."

What's a marketing makeover?

Essentially, it involves completely reviewing the buyer audience, and targeting with pinpoint accuracy a market segment which involves new property photos, new property description, new property title or name and invariably a new sales person. This can all be achieved within an existing sales agency, providing the agency knows what it's doing and why it's doing it.

It’s entirely possible to turn things around - it's not too late. You need to be serious though, this is not a market to be "flying the kite" to only sell if you get a boom result, your property "BRAND" will be tarnished, or destroyed.

All agents are not the same. So this is a time to really do your homework, a time to be very strategic. This is not the time to simply say, "Oh well, we’ll give it a go." Get the right agent, the right sales person and the right marketing behind your sale... again, this is not the time to be a cheapskate nor be complacent.

So here’s a Toop's Tip: conduct a self audit of your sale, and if the problem is not YOU, get stuck into making changes, and the sooner the better. A perfect refresher time is the Christmas break. So if you’ve been on the market for ages, you can use this once a year refresh to start again - to “re-boot” if you like.

Here’s the sell job... Remember, when it's time to get serious, it's time to get Team Toop.

So if we fire a client, it's US protecting YOUR investment.

Anthony Toop

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   Follow me on Twitter @Anthony_Toop

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Real Estate Addiction… Beware, our new marketing is very addictive!

Move over pictures, video has well and truly arrived... and now it is big screen Real Estate TV... wow!

Those old enough will remember the internet was a text only medium. As speed improved, pictures became the next big deal. Now, video has totally taken control of online eye balls, and property sellers need to understand the power of this - or they will be the losers in today's competitive property market. Where customers find your video – now that’s the wild card.

This week launched their new video capabilities; now watch their stats take off... brag a whopping ‘400% higher engagement’ on properties utilising video - that is staggering but entirely consistent with our experience.

Our clients know the power of video property selling, as Toop&Toop have led the nation with video, along with the introduction of back in October 2009. We can, and have, turned dead open inspections into traffic jams.

Toop&Toop time on market is the lowest in the South Australian market. We now dominate and have without a doubt the best press ads designed for buyers. Toop&Toop lead in every major statistic when it comes to selling our client’s properties.

Why? How?

Real estate consumer advocate and host of ‘Selling Houses Australia’, Andrew Winter says new data backs up the experience of good agents and reflected changing consumer behaviour. See Andrew's full article here.

He has worked with RP Data to prove the right combination of press and online marketing leads to the fastest sales and the closest to asking prices. What he doesn't cover is the difference the combination of video and direct database selling technology achieves.

Toop&Toop's patented VirtualAgent® selling system leverages all marketing dollars and basically turbo charges selling capabilities.

We have a proven track record – we know how to integrate press (The Advertiser), online portals (eg. and, premium magazine publications (eg. ToopWeekly magazine & SA Life) and social media to drive VirtualAgent® our central managed database to connect property and people 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Valuable weekly content is generated through Toop.TV, a unique competitive advantage to create and retain long term relationships online, with thousands of qualified property people who are hungry for quality weekly property updates.

 We make no apology for having people totally hooked on our weekly Toop.TV show, the market update and the magical videos of South Australia's finest homes...our property is addictive.

Andrew Winter says he has countless examples of people who were browsing through the paper and stumbled upon something they loved.

… they check it out online and start to dig a bit deeper. They will look for the floorplan and see some more photos and from there they will decide whether it is worth their time to go to the open inspection physically. A print advertising campaign is also a sign that vendors are serious about selling”, Winter says.

Andrew Winter is quoting on a national level and based on quality agents. His comments do resonate.

So what's next for our clients? Sssshhhhh don’t tell anyone…but, for a sneaky InsideStory  preview of what’s coming up – be the very first in the world to jump on the biggest thing in real estate –  Toop&Toop are fine-tuning our SmartTV real estate app and we’d love your pre-launch feedback.

Have you got a Panasonic Smart TV? You can be the first to discover our world first marketing  -  download the SmartRealEstate app and browse through the best property on the market.   I haven’t seen it yet… because I don’t have a Panasonic - you guessed it, our programmers do!

Don’t have a Panasonic either – you can also get a sneak peak in your browser, go to

WARNING: this is addictive real estate.

Toop&Toop – 1st in real estate with a mobile website, 1st in real estate with a real estate app and now 1st in real estate with a SmartTV app.  Real Estate TV – here we come!

We love this stuff, we are passionate about real estate, it isn't a job, it is our life... and we will have you hooked on our seriously addictive marketing.

Anthony Toop

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   Follow me on Twitter @Anthony_Toop

NOTE – a special event:   Gen Toop is organising an InsideStory evening where we will demonstrate all of Toop&Toop’s differences for future sellers, those unable to sell, people thinking of getting into real estate, and for real estate people looking to have access to our technology. Email Gen at