Thursday, July 30, 2015

Presentation is paramount - but there is a science to its success!

In today's real estate market it's clear how important property presentation and styling has become and how much this can impact a sale.

Sellers across Australia are seeing an increase in returns on their investment in this area. However, you only need to look closer to home and visit open inspections on the weekend to see the significant impact this trend is having in our Adelaide market. Approximately 75% of residential properties for sale now incorporate some form of professional styling.

There is no denying that home styling adds to the bottom line of the sale price and there are many case studies of fantastic outcomes for properties. These case studies are well above what the clients expect... I was one of them last year when I sold my property in Parkside. The styling and presentation of my property, I believe, had a very significant impact, and I worked out that this would have added 10% to the property sale price!

So, with presentation and styling increasingly adding to a property's return, why do we hear stories of some sellers spending $15,000 and receiving little to no return, while others can spend $8,000 and more than triple their return?

There is a science to this... and, as real estate agents it's where we can step in to help you! Return on investment (ROI) for presentation isn't just luck. Employing an agent with experience and market knowledge can really add valuable Intel in this area to help you maximise your sale price!

Many agents and sellers understand the concept of home presentation - making sure a property appeals to the maximum number of buyers, giving a maximum chance of competition and a maximum chance of achieving a premium result. There are also many articles written about this area, discussing strategies such as removing family photographs, personal items, de-cluttering, hiring furniture and giving the property a fresh paint etc. It all adds to broadening your property's appeal. We believe there is more science to this to give you the best chance of a high ROI.

The big questions we get asked as agents are: How much should I spend on preparation? Where should I start? How much money do I need to spend to maximise the return?

This isn't a one-size-fits-all approach. There will be different answers to these questions for every property, however, they will all start with the same approach. This is 'starting with the end in mind.'

The science to working out how much you should spend and what preparation you should do, starts by working together with your agent and talking through who you believe will be the most likely buyer of the home.

What does this person look like? What is their lifestyle like? What do they do in their spare time? What do they want from their new home? A big clue, and an exercise we go through with our sellers is looking back to when they bought the property and remembering what attracted them to the home. Often the buyer profile will be very similar.

Once we get a clear picture of who the buyer is, the presentation plan of how much to spend and what to concentrate on to maximise returns becomes much clearer.

For example, if we were selling a modern townhouse in Norwood, we would look to attract young professional couples as we are finding they are looking in this area at the moment for this type of property. If the property had an old run down boundary fence it could significantly impact its attraction of this type of buyer to the property. Whereas, if you had a character 'renovators delight' property in the same area, with the same condition fence, the buyer profile is very different. This is a property that is extremely attractive to developers or renovators so fixing the fence before sale would be a waste of money.

While this is a relatively simple example, it can get very strategic and working through this process with experienced agents to highlight who the buyer will be and what they are likely to value provides huge insights and clues for vendors on how to optimise their returns, which is key to achieving great results!

Adding this level of science to selling your home is very cool! If you are thinking of selling and would like to talk through presentation strategies to optimise your sale, make sure you chat to one of our team this weekend. We would love to help!  

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Home-grown talent through to Australasian Championships

It's been all about auctions in the real estate world these past couple of weeks, as the Real Estate Institute of South Australia (REISA) held their inaugural Auctioneering Championships on 16 July.

The best of the best battled it out in fierce competition. Subjected to a panel of interstate judges and incredibly tough mock auction conditions, Bronte Manuel was announced South Australia's Auction Award winner on the night. Bronte was one of the Riverland's real estate icons and came to Adelaide 12 months ago to join Toop&Toop. The REISA Auction Championship success followed his Golden Gavel win in 2014 (run by the Society of Auctioneers and Appraisers) and he is the new sensation in South Australian Auction circles.

Bronte's national profile of excellence is now rising fast and the win of the REISA Auction Award puts him in the South Australian real estate history books, at just 26 years of age. The recognition and prestige of this award is far-reaching as Bronte now carries the torch for South Australia in the Australasian Awards.

Why do we see these awards as so significant? 

Quite simply, it keeps us on our toes so we can continue to deliver premium results to our clients.

Entering industry and broader business awards has always been something we believe so strongly in. It's not the awards themselves, but the core belief that as Team Toop we should constantly strive to be better. Awards of excellence, such as this one, provide the vehicle to be measured against top performers. Often, it is the passion and drive that is shown in the lead up to competition day where the real significance lies.  

Representing South Australia, Bronte will go head to head with the best in Australasia in September. We have so many home-grown legends (from the hospitality industry to IT development) and there is nothing better than seeing local talent up there with the best. 

From all Team Toop, and I am sure from all South Australians, congratulations Bronte and go get 'em in September!

Suzannah Toop

Thursday, July 16, 2015

There's no place like home... Where opportunities can erupt!

This week the media has brought the Bali volcano eruption to the centre of attention. When events like this occur, our holiday experiences are at top of mind. Consumer behaviour can shift in quite a substantial way, which we see flow on to our industry. The great news is that the impact on real estate is very positive and it provides some fantastic opportunities for South Australian investors!

On Wednesday we held an investment seminar at our Victor Harbor office, and the effect from the Bali volcano media coverage is already starting to show in this market. When holidays are impacted by unforeseen events, interest levels in holiday places closer to home rise. We have already experienced a spike in buyer enquiry on our Fleurieu properties.

Our Fleurieu region is one of Australia's top sea change locations and property sales have been very strong over the last three months.

Disruptions like this remind us of how much opportunity there is to invest closer to home. This region is still providing great value to buyers, with the median house price currently sitting at $327,500 in Victor Harbor and we are witnessing solid investment returns for both long- term rentals (a current average 5.2% yield), as well as holiday homes.

With the peak holiday period 95% booked, and high season already at 80% occupancy (90% of these bookings are coming from Adelaide locals), the demand from people wanting to holiday closer to home is strong and we expect this to become even stronger.

As pace of life quickens, time becomes a very valuable asset. Safety and reliability of holiday plans are also becoming increasingly important. The Fleurieu region accommodates all of these consumer needs, the new Southern Expressway saves even more time for Adelaide locals and the area caters for all, including beach lovers, river enthusiasts and those who love country living... It's no wonder it is tipped as an investor hot spot!!

The Fleurieu is not the only area that is hot in the market at the moment; we have many properties in Adelaide on the Toop Vault achieving great results - many are not even making it to the market for their scheduled spring launch.

Speaking of holidays, we have a number of our sales team returning this week from some time off with their family (some who were also caught up in the Bali events). It is great to have them back, recharged, excited and already firing as we head into the spring selling season!! 

We are seeing listings increase and buyers will start to see these properties coming onto the marketing over the coming weeks... However, if you are looking for a property, make sure that you are registered as a VIP member so you are able to access our Toop Vault properties so you don't miss out!

There are some fantastic real estate opportunities across South Australia at the moment, making it such an exciting time to be in Real Estate! There really is no place like home! 

Monday, July 13, 2015

At Team Toop it's the little things that matter... Welcoming the latest addition to our family Toop&Toop Creche

In our world – the real estate world – traditional hours of 9am to 5pm simply don’t exist. This can amplify the challenge of finding that balance for each and every one of our team. Don’t get me wrong; the very nature of real estate is why our team love it. It’s fast-paced, unpredictable and it’s addictive. The determination to deliver outstanding results and customer service to our clients is the driving factor… but it can come at a cost.

It comes down to balance. Trying to fit everything in and find that equilibrium between work and home life can be a challenge for any working family. It’s different for everyone and different within each industry, but it affects us all. Genevieve and I are determined to find a better balance for our team in this amazing, but full on world of real estate.

We believe, just like we’ve seen in other businesses, our industry needs to be open to different ideas which allow us to bridge the gap between 24/7 work life focus and our families. A way to create happiness, balance and yet be professional at the highest level for our clients. 

We are extremely excited to introduce Toop&Toop Creche to our team.

Based within our office, like the recently introduced Toop Wellness Centre, Toop Creche is a company funded service available to our entire team to assist them cope in their lives and be switched on and motivated. A place where they can confidently and effortlessly drop their children off before attending meetings with clients, calling buyers or tenants back after a busy weekend, attending Professional Development coaching or a Wellness Centre session. Our team can now ‘hot desk’ from Toop Creche as needed… flexibility is a priority and absolutely a key outcome.

Where is the Toop Creche? Based centrally to all of our offices, Toop Creche is at Kensington House, a convenient and family style professional service that our team can use as they need!

Why is this so important to Toop&Toop and our clients?

Striving for a balance between being experts in our field and our family is at the core of our values. One does not need to compromise the other. As kids, Genevieve and I were intimately involved with Sylvia and Anthony’s (mum and dad’s) work life. I remember coming into the office at 23 The Parade, Norwood and setting up on a desk pretending to sort through mail with a big COPY stamp in my hand. Genevieve and I took our jobs very seriously as we waited for mum to finish off a few things at her desk. Keeping a close eye on us was Jane Looker, now our General Manager of Property Management, who’s been with us for 18 years, and her son Jock is pictured below! 

Times are different now and our business has seen huge growth over 30 years, yet nothing has changed. Family values, and that balance we saw Mum and Dad juggle when we were kids is still a common problem and this balance is just as important as ever. Family is at the core of our business. Toop Creche allows for our team to experience the same flexibility in a professional way and ultimately allows them to offer an even greater service to our clients. 

No doubt Genevieve and I will also want our own family one day, and we passionately believe this initiative will help us when that time comes too. We have Team Toop babies happening everywhere right now. We love our new Mums and Dads and we want to remain part of their lives too.

Suzannah Toop

Thursday, July 02, 2015

“Talent wins games…Teams win championships”- M. Jordan

This week has been an exciting and defining week for Team Toop.  Our company values of over 30 years stood up when challenged. We are a business that is committed to excellence. We have high standards and high expectations of our team and we believe in character over talent. We invest extensively into our people and their development, and as a result we know the right people excel in this environment. 

As a business, it is these core beliefs that give us great confidence and an enormous amount of clarity when making what many would believe to be a tough call…

This philosophy of character over talent can sometimes be easier said than done in business…Financial performance ‘talent’ is what keeps the doors open. This often makes it hard to ask where the line gets drawn. This week, I found the answer... We found a point where performance becomes an irrelevant factor and actions and behaviours speak louder than words. The point where team culture is suffering and clients’ interests are impacted. When this occurs, that line becomes very clear.

In a service based industry like ours, your brand, your promise and your reputation is everything. We pride ourselves on our company values and our ‘golden rules’ (tell the truth, no surprises and do what you say you’re going to do.) When professionalism and ethics are in question, it has the potential to impact your whole business if you don’t address it. 

Our brand has been in the real estate business for 30 years and we are just getting started. We believe that while our focus on innovation and technology enables us to provide clients with services that others can’t, it is our team who understand the importance of these tools, embrace them and understand the power of working together, which sets us apart from our competition.

We invest heavily in our team in a number of ways. In 2013, we introduced our Wellness Centre and full-time Wellness Coach. This makes it easier for our staff to maintain their wellbeing and sustain their career in a fast paced, 24/7 industry… Which has one of the highest burn out rates in Australia. 

This year, we invested in a full time professional development coach who works one on one with our entire team on their business and career goals. Our Business Coach helps the team manage their time and maintain and benchmark their skill sets to provide world class service to our clients. 

We recognise and reward excellence within the team and believe that our collective wellbeing will always outperform any individual. We believe in being fair and treating everyone as equals. A culture that I hope our clients can see flow through to everything we do and everyone we work with. 

This week we made one of the toughest calls a business like ours can make... to put team, culture, integrity, and honesty above all else.

I’m proud we had the strength of character to make the big calls. Toop&Toop have put our team above individuals, integrity above convenience and our reputation above short term profit.

What a defining week for Team Toop, and even more importantly for our Toop clients.