Industry Insiders: A column featuring the experience and opinions of leading industry proponents brought to you by The Real Estate Voice.
Company or organisation The Property Management Coach
Job title Director
What attracted you to the real estate industry (and when)?
I started in real estate in 1984 with Blackburn & Lockwood after six years with the Australian Defence Force. The attraction was the people contact. I did their two-week training course and started with their sales office in Frankston, Victoria.
Nine years later, I realised I was a better property manager than a salesperson and the rest, as they say, is history.
What do you love most about the industry?
People and their stories; everyone has their own story and, if we listen, we can learn not just about them but also about ourselves.
My current role is in the coaching and consulting space. I get a special joy out of seeing my clients achieve their ambitions. Most of the people in this industry are hard-working, genuinely decent individuals and I’m incredibly proud to consider many of them close friends.
What do you consider your proudest moment or greatest achievement (in the industry)?
There have been a few and it’s hard to tell one from the other, but I still remember the feeling of elation when I got my full licence. From there, each time I see a client get recognition from one of their clients or from the industry, there is a feeling of satisfaction that I helped in some way.
Biggest challenges in the industry? How has the pandemic affected the way people buy, sell and rent property?
I think one of the biggest changes we’re seeing is the way we inspect property. Virtual tours and videos are becoming more acceptable, but people still need the “touch and feel” experience. What we must remember though is that this is a very personal chapter in their lives, and we need to build this into our client relationships, rather than seeing the sale/listing/leasing as a “deal”.
Latest real estate/economic trends affecting your state or region?
COVID. Rental property is getting harder to source in most areas in Melbourne due to movement restrictions, but also the advent of the new legislation with rental providers quitting the market. This isn’t going to change for a while as the additional imposts placed on them have made it less attractive to hold residential real estate as an investment, so we’re going to see rents rise in most areas outside of the CBD and immediate surrounds.
If I put on my other hat as a buyer and vendor advocate, lack of stock is the big challenge and will continue to be if we’re locked down – the relaxing of movement restrictions out of previous lockdowns has shown that demand springs back very quickly and if supply isn’t there to meet it, we’ll see another spike in prices in both Victoria and NSW – then affordability becomes the challenge.
How would you improve the process and incentives for property ownership, from an owner-occupier and investment perspective?
I think we need to adopt a more nuanced approach and get away from the cycle of grants and incentives. That’s because each time an incentive, such as a first-home owner’s grant comes into play, it leads to an increase in prices going up the chain.
Stamp duty also needs re-examination, as this is the biggest drag on purchasing power. However, again, we need to find a way of increasing supply so that we don’t have continual price spikes.
What’s the biggest misconception people have when buying or building a home?
That it’s easy – the legal and transactional side of the process is more complex than they realise. I think advocates are going to play an increasing part in the process as this awareness grows.
What tips would you give for future-proofing an investment?
Keep it well maintained. Tastes and times change, so refurbish as the property ages. Paint and carpet are the two key areas, but wet areas will also benefit from upgrades – what was appealing in 1989 isn’t always in style.
What should prospective buyers look for when choosing a property?
Now, this could be a long list! But in brief, the well-located property is always going to hold value better – look for proximity to transport, parks, shops, etc.; walkability is also going to be key as we move to different energy models, as will natural light and airflow.
In terms of technology and interaction, what do you think buying a home will be like in 2030?
The rapid uptake of technology has changed our professional lives in the past 18-24 months. There’s been a great acceptance of virtual inspections, and we’re conducting meetings remotely, with this trend continuing. As the decade progresses, we’ll see even more reliance on technology such as augmented- and virtual-reality walkthroughs; be guided through properties by robot-style “hosts” using AI and touchscreens, like iPads; and the transactional side of property will be much more immediate.
We will also rethink our relationship with property as our lifestyles change. This will affect our housing choices. We’ll most likely see a demand for personalised, flexible spaces, and the agents who succeed will be those who deliver these experiences before we realise that we want or need them.