Thursday, September 29, 2016

ToopAir – It’s time for take off!

On 13 April 2013 ToopAir took its maiden flight in the sky. Before Australia knew about drones, we were opening our eyes to the huge possibilities that this could potentially have in the real estate world. Always looking for new innovations and ideas, we had heard about this leading edge technology and quickly imported our first drone from the US, ready to go on to take some incredible images of property.

Reflecting on this, it is fascinating to see how quickly the world is moving! In 2013, for the everyday Australian, drones were not an economical purchase. Now you can buy a recreational drone for as little as $80. CASA was once something you associated with commercial aeroplane pilots, and hearing that there was such intensive training, costs and that you actually needed a pilots licence to fly a 'toy' like this, it all seemed absurd.

On Thursday the legislation around drones changed. There was a substantial shift in how these aircraft could be used, and we've witnessed legislation catch up to this technology which has 
now become commonplace. 

There is no doubt over these last three years there has been an acceptance of new technology and we are now beginning to see drones intertwine into our everyday life. Around the world, hotels have signs around their grounds saying 'No Drones Please', and the pace of this space and how it is moving will see some big changes in how we live.

Back in 2014 Anthony Toop was quoted, "The drones will hit the air, they won't go away, CASA will catch up with the legislation. It moves so quickly they will catch up. Drones will be huge."

At Toop&Toop we have been thinking about how drones will change our lifestyle and landscape for a long time, how we would love to use this technology, but also just how important it is to respect the environment around us, and the responsibility that comes with flying a device like this.

So... how are drones changing real estate?
There is no doubt that in real estate emotive marketing is key. Being able to capture imagery 
of a home from all its best angles, to truly show 
it off and provide another visual touch point, can enhance the emotional connection for potential buyers. 

Adding to strategic marketing in this way helps communicate to buyers on an emotional level and helps them visualise themselves in the home and fall in love with it. It's no secret that the more buyers we connect with through marketing it will encourage more competition. And, when there is strong competition for a home, combined with the right sale strategies, then we as agents can deliver exceptional sale results for our clients.

Team Toop are so excited about the new possibilities this drone legislation change brings. We can now bring our drone photography back in-house to our award-winning marketing studio. We will have flexibility and total control capturing amazing video and photography for our clients, providing unique marketing options when selling homes. Bringing this in-house also means that we are able to do this with the utmost respect and care for the community around us.

We can't wait to get our ToopAir drones off the ground and continue to take real estate marketing to the next level! 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The ‘break-lease plague’… investors it’s time to build your immunity!

Attracting and maintaining quality tenants is quickly becoming the Holy Grail to investors as we unfortunately see lease breaks on the rise across the country. Speaking with a leading Brisbane agent earlier this month, it appears Adelaide is not the only state affected.

So why is this the case? In markets such as Adelaide and Brisbane it appears to be a 
dual attack.

The first component is interest rates. With interest rates being so low, many tenants are realising that the gap between the cost of renting and the cost of buying is becoming smaller. This is not as prevalent in the larger cities, such as Sydney and Melbourne, as the average purchase price remains at historical highs. However in a market such as ours, we are seeing a number of tenants making the move to home ownership.

The second component is tenant-buyers. This winter the Adelaide market has been starved with extremely low numbers of properties available to purchase. During this period many sellers have turned to renting as they simply could not secure a property in line with the sale of their home. They are now looking to re-enter the property market as we head into the busier spring period.

So, as an investor, how can you build 
your resilience?

As investors, sometimes we can forget that the property is actually going to be someone's home. Many tenants are looking for a place where they can relax at the end of the day, as well as enjoy on the weekends. Our team are seeing first hand how features such as an open plan living room, outdoor entertaining area or an ensuite in the master bathroom can make a big difference.

Here are some practical tips to get you on 
your way:

- Start small. Look for any item in the home that could be updated. This includes appliances such as a dishwasher, ceiling fan or air-conditioner, this doesn't need to be reverse-cycle, even a wall unit can make a big difference!

- Replacing things that look 'tired'. Items such as old curtains, tattered blinds, light fittings or cupboard doors.

- And if you want to go one step further... a coat of paint or laying fresh carpet will instantly make the home feel brand new. 

These are just a few tips that can help investors transform the look of a room and make a property feel like a home... whilst also improving its longevity and value.

This spring season steer clear of the 'break-lease plague', and be sure to put your property's best foot forward to help secure and maintain a quality tenant. For more information on how you can build your immunity, call our team today!

Suzannah Toop

Thursday, September 15, 2016

ToopVault hits 6,700 members!

On Tuesday, we were so excited to see our ToopVault click over to 6,700 members in our buyer bank! ToopVault is the chance for serious buyers to see Toop&Toop properties before everyone else and has been extremely successful in marketing and selling clients' properties.

Databases are talked about in real estate constantly, however unfortunately not everyone in our industry truly understands 
how to operate a database and how to unlock its serious power to produce valuable results. Our four full time IT programmers work on our databases daily because we have found that when you have a full understanding of database strategies and implement these correctly, the results are incredible!

The ToopVault is proof of this!
In our business alone we could quote a range of different database numbers. Our master database of 84,650 people is considered in itself impressive from a pure numbers point of view. However the question is, how valuable is this information when it comes to each client's property sale? How does this large number help? You quickly realise, it is irrelevant!

ToopVault, our specific database for active buyers, is growing by over 100 members a week. Why? Because people currently in the market for property recognise that it is adding genuine value to them as buyers. They hear about property before the public, are able to refine their search criteria, view on any device (including exclusive extra features on our Toop&Toop iPhone App) and choose how often they receive their property alerts from us.

As a result our clients' homes are the winners!
In 2015, ToopVault sent out 510,828 Vault email alerts and 25,554 App notifications to our registered members... that's 1,474 notifications per day! We had an average of 6,526 buyers click through to our clients' specific property web pages for more information per month. That's 225 buyers per day wanting to see the full description, floorplan, photos and videos of our clients' homes.

We sell an average of one property a week through the ToopVault saving our clients time, hassle and marketing costs. In turn helping buyers finally get ahead of the competition and purchase their dream property.

Taking the time and investing in the resources to understand how information can best be used is where your agent can add huge value to your selling strategy. If you would like to find out more about how many ToopVault members we have looking for a home like yours, and how we can leverage this demand to achieve a premium result for your property, be sure to speak to Team Toop this weekend!

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Investors, want to add to your portfolio? Now is the time to act.

The days are getting longer, the weather is warming up and gardens are coming to life. Spring is officially here and sales agents across Australia are preparing for what is typically the busiest period in our industry.

This is the time of year where homes start looking their best and we begin to see an increase in activity in the property market. There are more properties available to buy, 
and purchasers finally start to experience some relief, following the lower stock levels seen over the winter months. So what does this mean for investors looking to add to their portfolio?

Now is the time to act. And here's why...

More options.

As we head into spring there is generally more choice in the market. Not only in terms of the number of properties available in your price range and chosen area, but also the property type that you might be interested in (for example townhouses or units). This gives you a greater ability to 'crunch the numbers' and compare the different types of properties on offer to ensure that the investment fundamentals add up. 

Capture the busy period.

Purchasing a property in spring provides the right amount of time to prepare your new investment to hit the rental market. With typical settlement periods of 30, 60 or 90 days on your property purchase, you are in the prime position to make the most of the December/January peak rental period. This includes planning a marketing strategy to ensure you can make the most of the 'new year rush'. This is the time of year where we see the largest amount of activity from tenants looking to secure a new home, and you can capitalise on the relocation activity that occurs. 

Interest rates.

With the Reserve Bank of Australia keeping the official cash rate on hold this month at 1.5%, they remain at the lowest levels we have seen. With home loan rates starting from 3.7%, funding is as affordable as ever and is helping investors achieve optimal returns.

So if you're thinking about entering the property investment market or perhaps boosting your property portfolio, now is the ideal time. Our Property Investment team are here to help guide you through the investing steps, so you can make the most of the current buying conditions.

For a confidential chat, please feel free to 
give me a call personally on 0413 594 285. 
We'd love to help you achieve your investment goals this spring!

Suzannah Toop

Thursday, September 01, 2016

The strongest foundations are built brick by brick…

'Real Estate Disruption' has hit headlines again this week, this time with news of a UK online real estate agency, Purple Bricks, entering the Australian marketplace. With a marketing budget of over $17.2 million set aside to launch their product here in Australia, it is clear they are hoping to have a serious go at trying to make it in our Australian real estate market.

Innovation has always been at the core of Toop&Toop. We are continuously pushing the boundaries in our industry, so rather than fearing what this latest disruption could mean, Team Toop are intrigued. We are interested to see how this mass transaction model could roll out and what we could learn from it.  

I worked in the UK real estate market when I lived in London and experienced just how different their marketplace is to ours and I was quite shocked at their professional standards. Agents do not need to be licensed, or hold any qualifications in the UK and as a result, the value and expertise most agents provided to clients was very low, so I was not at all surprised when this marketplace was disrupted. The qualifications, licences and skills that South Australian real estate agents must possess are some of the 
most advanced in the world. 

This week, the questions that we have been discussing within our Toop Innovation Lab are: How can we take on board what customers in the UK enjoy from this online experience? Do we believe there is a need that will transfer to Australia and specifically our Adelaide market? Will clients actually see benefits in this offering?

Most importantly we looked at the promises being made, the trade-offs that come with 
them and the potential risks they could cause 
clients. We questioned, when does online convenience start jeopardising a sale result?

Through these discussions one thing became very clear... this business model claims to be 'low cost' and 'money saving' but it is not focused on our core role - how to get our clients the best result and most money possible for the sale of their property. 

As a local family business, it has been tricky to get our heads around how such a mass platform will work in Australia where our marketplace is very different. Toop&Toop has been built on family values, and the foundations of our team and business are made up of relationships, care, empathy, passion and pride in our abilities. Global players with bold promises and huge generalisations worry me, because people may be lured by this advertising and overlook the importance of what an agent is hired for: Negotiating and Marketing. 

These are our two biggest roles and the two most significant skills that will ensure you get the best possible price for your home. These critical factors are human factors... they can't be automated or mass engineered. They require highly trained, skilled professionals who are able to empathise with any situation and understand the needs of their marketplace because they care about the outcomes. 

No one knows what the future of this space holds apart from the fact that change is inevitable. Toop&Toop has built our innovative culture into the business brick by brick. We have 31 years of solid foundations and are excited about the opportunities to learn and adapt to our ever-changing environment where we can provide an unmatchable service that even the biggest global giants are unable to offer.