Thursday, July 25, 2013

Jack of all trades… master of none!

That's a saying my parents used to refer to a lot when I was a kid. Now it means something - it has become very real to me this week. Jack of all trades is a business structure of the past.

Let me explain. This week I have been at the Real Estate Institute of South Australia (REISA), finalising my full agent’s license and in particular studying Agency Trust Accounting. This subject was the final unit to achieve my Diploma of Property Services – the qualification required to own a real estate agency.

Trust accounting is arguably the most important responsibility of all as a business owner. Clients’ money held in trust, and in our case millions of dollars, that the agent has the fiduciary duty to look after for third party stakeholders, buyers, sellers and landlords. Horror stories were quoted in our studies but there are also some very current industry stories circulating around this exact topic, with one office immediately closed and another having a sudden change of ownership.

Notwithstanding the importance of this subject, and the recent industry issues surrounding it, I found it staggering that only 4 out of the original 20 people enrolled turned up! Why would 16 out of 20 enrolled be no shows?

A sign of the times? Sales people too busy to become agents? Perhaps the appeal and responsibility of being an agent has gone?

Given the complexity and responsibility of running a real estate company today, it is becoming too demanding to be both the owner and the sales person.

As a person who has lived and breathed real estate from birth, I passionately believe that you can't wear two hats in this modern era. Best practice means 'run the business' or 'be a sales person'. Based on what has been going on in real estate in the real world right now... it is very clear there is too much responsibility to be in sales as well as running a real estate business.

We firmly believe that being a jack of all trades needs to become a thing of the past; to deliver the best service we believe you need to be an expert in any endeavour in today’s competitive and regulated environment.

There are only so many hours in a day, only so many areas of expertise you can master. So when push comes to shove… where will your sales person/agent’s priorities lie?

Will it be to run around to sign up a new listing chasing a quick buck, to get a sale across the line, or will it be to watch the finances, meet a landlord or assist staff with an urgent issue? At the end of the day if you spread yourself too thin, clients and stakeholders suffer.

Suzannah and I understand the dynamics and responsibility of all areas of the business and we invest in being the best qualified in the industry. We will make sure that Toop&Toop delivers world class service in all areas of our business. We will ensure that our team get the best support, best resources and access to the most innovative marketing of any agency.

In my view, and reinforced with this week’s REISA training, there are two clear choices. So what will it be… sell property, or run a real estate agency?

Genevieve Toop

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Real Estate is just about the people... or is it?

There is no question about it - selling and renting real estate is about the people, but it sure isn't JUST about the people. Technology, networks, business connections and knowledge have emerged as today's critical real estate enablers.

In today's world we deal globally with buyers, sellers and investors. Merely being a good person can't deliver the same results as a well educated, consistently trained, highly resourced and connected real estate person.

It has been a challenge getting our experienced and successful 'old timers' to recognise how critical working with databases and embracing online everything (including understanding the power of social media) is when bringing buyers and sellers together.

There are no longer any doubts about it... even our most staunch Toop&Toop traditionalists have seen the light; the benefits have become too obvious. A fragmented approach to real estate makes selling tough, while a collaborative team approach leverages results beyond all belief. A piece of paper with random names is no longer OK.

In 1997, Toop&Toop launched a technology based selling system VirtualAgent (patented in 2001). We were the first agency to utilise SMS messaging through the system to communicate with buyers.

Since February this year, all Toop&Toop Sales Partners became completely connected; all connected via iPads, all connected in real time, all out in the field with our second generation system - VirtualAgent2 (Va2).

The next element of Va2 is about to be switched on, and Toop&Toop's new generation selling system begins to fire up in earnest. Toop&Toop will again change the rules in real estate.

Our world has changed. The consumer has moved on again. Those who don't understand where the buyers and sellers communicate today are being left behind.

In 2013, Va2 is essentially a real estate version of By cross referencing multi-data sources using new technology smarts, we are beginning to follow buyer activity in order to better predict best match 'buyers to property'.

Va2 will reduce the annoying volume of communication buyers receive, while dramatically improving the likelihood of a correct match. The service Team Toop can offer South Australian home sellers will be amongst the most advanced in the world.

As a buyer, even if you are not intending to buy for months... be certain to be a part of our Va2 system.

We switch from Beta trials to live with the 1st of September our target date. Va2 is evolving fast.

So… the future of real estate is about great people, working with great tools; real estate is certainly not JUST about the people.

Anthony Toop

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

It’s official – SA is the top spot for sellers!

I have lived in South Australia for the majority of my life, however I never truly appreciated how lucky I was until I moved
interstate and overseas. We are
a state that has it all; from beaches to wineries, to easy cosmopolitan living. “Australia’s Top 10 Sellers’ Suburbs” report was released by this week and confirms that the rest of Australia must finally 
be catching on…

SA has 5 suburbs in the top 6! Across the nation, Parkside was the standout coming in at Number 1. This is a staggering result for our state. Walkerville followed closely coming in at 3rd, with Norwood in 4th position, Aldgate in 5th and Kensington Gardens coming in at 6th.  

This is unprecedented for our market, but I do have a theory…

Why the sudden interest 
in SA property?

If you look at the figures, South Australia is the most affordable mainland state in Australia. We have a consistent market which is very stable and we are in a geographically central location.

As Suzannah reported last week, Toop&Toop are finding that there is currently a lot of national and international attention on SA property. For example, people from Perth are investing in SA in droves, and we are told this is because WA is now seen as an overheated market. These buyers are attracted to our “low prices” and investment forums 
are directing investors our way. We are also getting attention globally. Since 1 June 2013, a remarkable 28% of our property sales were to international buyers.

At Toop&Toop we have introduced an additional selling strategy, ToopGlobal, to ensure that our clients do not miss these emerging opportunities. Our role as agents is to get the best price for your property. With today’s technology we have the ability to tap into these global markets and we have a responsibility to our clients to do so. If you would like to know more about ToopGlobal, just log onto

At Toop&Toop we are passionate about South Australian real estate. This latest report just further confirms what we have been seeing in the field; that we have some of Australia’s best opportunities and locals should be confident to invest in their 
own backyard.

Genevieve Toop

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Thursday, July 04, 2013

A Global Mindset... with a local focus

You've probably read a lot about International buyers in the media lately, but there are some facts that put all of this into perspective. It’s true that International buyers make up a very important part of a local agent’s future. It continues to emerge with increasing interest to us. 
Attracting the Global market has always been a core strategy for Toop&Toop. When it comes to my generation (sorry baby boomers!), we just think Global. It is nothing new. We have been brought up and educated where Global communication is normal. Doing business here in South Australia simply requires Global thinking, and we understand that Global contacts today are just part of everyday business.

Like others in Adelaide, we choose to make our lives here, but we do so understanding that we must think Global if our clients are to have the best possible outcomes. Today, one in four of Australia’s 22 million people are born abroad. In addition to this, the recent drop in the Australian Dollar has made our homes more affordable for overseas buyers. This is the silver lining.

We are serious about the future of Global business opportunities for our local clients. Genevieve and I are pursuing Global business and continuing to build our networks. We are attending the International YPO (Young Presidents Organisation) Leadership Conference in Asia this September. Here we will meet with leaders from around the world to discuss all things business 2020. Our aim is to actively create and maintain Global connections to ensure our clients have the maximum exposure to these emerging markets. YPO is an American based organisation with links to all corners of the Globe. 

Toop&Toop have connections and networks to International communities and we already have the resources set up to tap into this market. The strength of Toop&Toop's brand draws website enquiry from all over the world. Here is the proof. Over the past year, Chinese enquiry on our website has increased by 45%, with Hong Kong increasing by 46%. Closer to home, we have also seen an increase in traffic from New Zealand (32%).

So what are we doing to further access this International interest in our property market? ToopGlobal. 

ToopGlobal ensures specialised marketing to attract overseas buyers, as this market continues to gain more significance.

For example, we have launched the world's first Global Real Estate Reception which is easily accessible on the homepage of our website. People from all over the world are able to see us at work, LIVE and in real-time! Try it! More importantly, anyone can talk face-to-face to our Receptionists with the click of a button and ask any real estate question from wherever they are in the world.

We also have an International team that speak many languages. ToopGlobal is a resource targeted at International buyers to connect with us in their preferred language. This makes dealings with International buyers just part of what we do. These languages are listed on our ToopGlobal website.

It is clear the International interest in South Australia's real estate market is an important aspect to consider; however it is not the whole picture. We recognise that this Global focus needs to be balanced against absolute intimacy and passion for everything Local. At Toop&Toop we have a holistic approach to targeting key markets. We look for buyers for your home globally, nationally and locally to make sure we have access to every type of market, not just one in isolation. The level of International enquiry we have from our website shows that we have the prestigious global and local markets covered. With six offices strategically placed throughout South Australia, we expand across the state to allow maximum exposure to the Local market.

At Toop&Toop, thinking globally is an important part of our framework. Be sure to check out our website, watch our teams’ videos and see first hand our ToopGlobal live streaming of Head Office Front of House. This is an entirely new world of real estate. 

For more information, and to meet our Global Team, log onto our website, or visit

Suzannah Toop

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