Thursday, March 30, 2017

Award winning innovation 
a seller’s dream!

Last week in Canberra, Toop&Toop was recognised as Australia’s #1 Real Estate Agency, and acknowledged with three major awards at the 2017 Real Estate Institute Australia (REIA) National Awards for Excellence. We were honoured to receive awards for excellence in Innovation, Communications and as Large Residential Agency of the Year. We were also inducted into the Hall of Fame for Innovation after winning this category for the last three years.

To take out this hat trick on a national level
is the highest privilege in Australian real estate. We are so proud of each and every one of our team members who continually strive
for excellence. Their outstanding service to
our clients, passion for innovation and ability to set new standards is incredible. We’re also so thankful to the South Australian community and all of our clients for their continued support.

These national awards recognised us for our outstanding business achievements, corporate communications and marketing activities, and the development of ToopVault, a smartphone app and system that provides buyers the opportunity to view Toop&Toop properties before they hit the public market.

It was fantastic for this Toop-created innovation to receive national recognition as such a powerful way to connect people with homes and add real value to our clients in their selling and buying experience.

One of the cornerstones of Toop&Toop is innovation. Our entire team’s culture is made up of finding new ways to provide an unmatchable real estate service, which is why being recognised as leaders in this space across Australia for the third year in a row, means so much to us. 

ToopVault is not only a fantastic tool for buyers, but also a very important tool for sellers. It allows our clients’ homes to be marketed in a unique way, unlike any other agency in Australia! There are plenty of early advice products out there, but ToopVault takes this service to a whole new level. The power of this tool comes from the ability to communicate and market a home immediately from the day we are appointed. When our team meets with you, they can take photos of your home on the spot, write a brief description, then upload this into our system and launch the property instantly to ToopVault... all before they even leave your property! This is then matched to our ToopVault members who have the opportunity to view and purchase the home before professional marketing begins or before it is released publicly.

Currently we are finding that buyers are frustrated. There is a shortage of properties
on the market and interest rates are at an all time low, resulting in huge demand. This means that buyer’s time in the market is growing longer as they are continually missing out. Feedback over the last 18 months has shown us that our ToopVault buyers will see past small things required to get a home ready. They understand that they have an edge on the market with an opportunity to see a property before others and are able to make their decision about a property quickly before it being ‘snapped up’ by the public.

Mandy Doolan, our Sales Agent in the Inner West, has had remarkable success with a number of homes selling prior to hitting the public market in 2017.

Mandy said, “With buyers being so savvy and with fast access to so much information, it’s great that our vendor understood our recommendation of putting her investment property on ToopVault prior to completing works at the property before the planned marketing campaign. With numerous recent successful campaigns in the Inner West we knew many purchasers were eagerly awaiting a new release on ToopVault. With only a few private appointments the property was sold for a top price to a purchaser that had missed out on a similar property in Mile End.”

ToopVault’s strength is undeniable… we currently sell over 20% of our properties through this process! While we know that nothing in real estate is certain, one thing that ToopVault has proven, is that for sellers it can equate to savings, is a discreet way of selling a property and is an immediate way of targeting qualified buyers.

So whether you’re thinking of selling and would like to find out more about how many ToopVault members we have looking for a home in your area, and how we can leverage this demand to achieve a premium for your property, be sure to speak to Team Toop this weekend!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Airbnb… Is this the end for Property Managers?

Airbnb have well and truly established themselves in the global hotel and accommodation market by offering an online service connecting property owners and guests, without the need of a third party such as a hotel or real estate agent.

Therefore it came as no surprise to our team at Toop&Toop, when last week it was announced that Airbnb are looking to expand into the 
long-term rental space. It seems like the next logical step for the tech-giant, and one that could allow them to capture a significantly larger portion of the housing market.

So looking at the likes of Uber and Netflix, the big question is... will traditional Property Managers or real estate agencies cease to exist?

We think the industry will survive, but traditional processes of real estate will have to change. There will be those businesses that adapt and shift with the times and those that don't. Of course, everyone will be aiming for the former.

Looking to the latest announcement, Airbnb has the capacity to connect Property Owners to Tenants. They are already doing this for holiday accommodation so it won't be difficult for them to enter the long-term rental space.
But what happens once the Tenant is placed in the property? 

Common issues can include the house being damaged, the rent not being paid on time, or there might be ten people living in the property and not the professional couple that was stated on lease. This is where the tech-giants typically bow out and wipe their hands clean. 

Once a Tenant collects the keys, we understand that by law they have taken possession of the home, creating certain rights to the property and triggering the tenancy legislation. We envisage changes to the current arrangement - for example I imagine all the terms and conditions traditionally in a lease would become available online. However I believe the current extensive rights and responsibilities is something that will be difficult to push to one side. If not because of the formal legislators, but more importantly because many Tenants and Landlords will want to continue to receive the protection it offers. Unlike Uber, where consumers are simply taking a 10-minute taxi ride, these rights are governing where someone lives (the Tenant) and someone's biggest asset (the Landlord). 

So where will it all fall?... I don't think anyone knows exactly. 

Nonetheless keeping an eye on what is happening in this space is important. Being nave to changing consumer needs, or believing that a tech-giant won't be able to enter the market has already proven to be the wrong way to think.

If businesses can adapt and use tools and online platforms to create greater efficiencies, we believe they will survive, so long as they continue to add value to their customers. At the end of the day, the consumer is the ultimate decider. Tech-giant or no tech-giant - customers will decide to move where they feel the best value or service is offered.

Suzannah Toop

Thursday, March 16, 2017

From phonebook to Facebook... the power of social media!

Times are changing in real estate, and fast. We are globally connected 24/7 and are communicating with each other in more ways than ever. 

With over 300 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute and the introduction of live streaming on Facebook, everyday people are reporting news in real time. With 80% of us checking our phones within 15 minutes of waking up in the morning, consumers are increasingly getting their news through social media platforms such as Facebook. So what about real estate?

Just 25 years ago there was no internet, no mobile phones, no websites, smart phones, 
text messages or email. Communication was limited to window displays, newspaper advertising and word-of-mouth from agents and vendors. Fast-forward to today, the communication channels available are phenomenal and are increasing every day! 

Some real estate agents are panicking, some are in denial and others, like us, are excited about the social media revolution!

Social media has been a game changer for all businesses in today's society and it's growing at an extraordinary rate. In 2010, there were 0.97 billion people using social media and in January 2017 the latest figures now show 2.78 billion users worldwide! The numbers are so big they are hard to comprehend. 

Facebook is by far the biggest platform with 1.86 billion monthly users and 1.15 billion people logging on daily. YouTube comes in second, followed by WhatsApp, WeChat and Instagram. 

So how does the biggest communication movement in history impact real estate here in South Australia? If you break these statistics down to a local level, an astonishing 61% of South Australians are Facebook users! 

With so many South Australians on multiple social networks, real estate agencies need to completely understand these platforms and how to powerfully and effectively advertise on them, as well as help vendors leverage their own networks to create maximum exposure for their property and optimise the sale of their home.

Social media has flipped the traditional six degrees of separation on its head. Facebook has calculated with current social media platforms, the degree of separation is now at 3.74! Meaning, you are connected to the whole world via three friends! It seems crazy, but this global reach is literally at your fingertips and with the right marketing execution it can be a valuable ingredient in showcasing your property.

When choosing an agent, it is now vital to ask them about their social media strategy. Team Toop has been leveraging social media since its evolution in the early 2000s. Our experience in video, digital and social media marketing has led to many of our clients' properties 'going viral' (a term that means a post has generated a great deal of attention through a high number of likes, shares and comments) with these property posts organically reaching up to 20,000 people within a matter of hours!  

This is a truly effective and exciting way to showcase your property. If you are thinking of selling, make sure to talk to one of our team today and find out how we use social media in our award winning marketing mix to make your property stand out live, to the world!

Thursday, March 09, 2017

The Top 10 list. Friend or foe?

Property is in the media almost daily, and it's not hard to see why.

Recent articles have included; property experts announcing that the property market is outperforming their expectations in 2017; just this week, the Victorian state government announced they are abolishing Stamp Duty for first home buyers purchasing a property up to $600,000; and locally that the demand for homes in South Australia increased by 7.1 per cent 
over the past month (and 10 per cent over the past 12 months).

With so much going on, it's no surprise property articles are appearing in the media almost weekly. With 'Top 10 lists' and 'Hot Spots', everyone wants to keep their finger on the pulse with what the market is doing, and where they should be buying.

But don't be misled.

One of the latest property headlines to hit the media was 'Adelaide Investment Hot Spots', highlighting the top 10 'most in-demand' suburbs in Adelaide. These include (in order) Redwood Park, Melrose Park, Marino, Modbury Heights, Morphettville, Reynella, Dulwich, Sheidow Park, Everard Park and Marion.

As a current resident of Dulwich, I'm very pleased with the results! But with my investor 
hat on, they seem very varied.  

It's got me thinking, what are these lists actually telling us? And what else should investors ask their agent if they are looking to rely on these lists?

Essential questions are - what are the rental returns in each suburb? Are house prices on the rise? And most importantly... What was the sample size? Results can easily be skewed when there is little data available. 

At Toop&Toop we are out in the market every day. With our seven offices and property management team of 35, we see things first-hand, and well before data appears in a Top 10 list.

So what are we finding?

The market is strong right now. A number of properties (just this week) leased after their first open inspection from the coast through to the inner east and inner west with optimal rents being achieved. Our vacancy rate remains at an all-time low (and has been for some time) and there is little property available to rent. As a result, many tenants are opting to renew their lease to stay in the property so these homes are not getting onto the rental market, adding to the already tight market conditions. These insights are first hand, live from the field... but are not picked up by the property reports or Top 10 lists.

With affordability as our biggest drawcard and impressive yields, Adelaide remains the capital city of choice for many investors, both locally and nationally.

If you are looking to purchase an investment property, now is a great time to be entering the Adelaide market. But before you do, make sure you know what's happening. If you want the full picture, give our team a call today! We love talking property and are here to help you find your next investment. 

Suzannah Toop

Thursday, March 02, 2017

ToopVault hits 8,000 members!

We are so excited to see our ToopVault hit 8,000 members in our buyer bank - a number that has doubled since this time last year! Our ToopVault is the chance for serious buyers to see our 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 not everyone in our industry really understands how to operate a database and how to unlock its serious power to produce valuable results. Our full-time IT programmers work on our databases daily, because we have found that when you truly understand 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... for example our master database of over 112,000 people is impressive from a pure number point of view, however the question is, how valuable is this information when it comes to the sale of a client's property? How does this large number actually help? You quickly realise, a mass number is irrelevant unless you can funnel the information specifically to when and what these people really want to hear. 

ToopVault is our specific database for active buyers and is growing by over 100 members a week! Why? Because it is adding genuine value to buyers. They hear about property before the rest of the public, they are able to refine their search criteria, view on any device (including exclusive extra features on our iPhone App) and choose how often they receive their property alerts.

As a result our clients' homes are the winners!

In February, ToopVault sent out 65,168 emails 
to our registered members... that's 2,327 emails per day! 8,707 buyers clicked through to our client's specific property web page for more information. That's 311 buyers per day wanting 
to see the full description, floor plan, photos and videos of our clients' homes.

We sell properties every week through the ToopVault, saving our clients valuable time, hassle and marketing costs. Apart from this, we're also helping buyers finally get ahead of the competition and purchase their dream property. It's a win-win! 

The ToopVault is ever so quickly becoming one of the most awarded innovations in real estate, and last week we were thrilled to have won top honours for Innovation Excellence of the Year at the Australasian Real Estate Results Awards. These awards recognise and celebrate outstanding achievers in property throughout Australia and New Zealand. We were so proud of this achievement for the ToopVault, created purely with the intention of giving our clients' an added benefit! 

If you'd like to know more about the ToopVault or how you can add huge value to your selling strategy through our databases, have a chat to one of our team out on the ground this weekend.