50 Bright Ideas launched to help and guide Australian & New Zealand Real Estate Industries

It is a tough market out there and we know that many agents are finding business difficult. To assist agents and agencies on improving their business in these tough times, we have recently launch a free weekly email called ’50 Bright Ideas’ which will send a new business idea to agents each week. Each week we will email a new business idea used by one (or many) of the leading agents around the world. Having recognised however that an idea without execution is a wasted idea, we are also including suggestions on how to implement the idea into your business.

So in a nutshell, our ’50 Bright Ideas’ campaign is a FREE weekly email that all agents and agencies can subscribe to, that send you a great new business idea and suggestions on how to implement the idea into your business.

You can register for these Bright ideas by visiting http://50ideas.brightfox.com.au/ .

We have seen many companies selling similar information for well over hundreds of dollars. However we have decided to impart this knowledge for Free. When you sign-up for 50 bright ideas you will also receive 3 professionally designed HTML templates that you can use immediately – straight out of the box.

Of course we don’t think for a second that we are the only people with great ideas on how to run a real estate business, so if you have suggestions or would like to contribute to our weekly emails, we would love to hear from you. Simply email us at 50brightideas@brightfox.com.au.

Top Agents say – “It’s Lonely at the top!”

We are already nearing the end of February 2009. So the question is :

“How’s the Real Estate market been treating you – so far?”

Most of the Top Performing Real Estate Agents (some of whom are our clients) we talk to on a regular basis are  saying that the market is great.

In fact they say it’s Fantastic.

This is exactly the opposite of what the press and the real estate industry as a whole are saying, so I have no doubt that many people find this surprising. So the question is why. Why are these leading agents doing so well when most agents are not? The immediate answer we received was – “because there is no competition”.

They (top real estate agents) said that most of their competition was wallowing in misery about the

  • recession
  • property market going down the drain
  • unemployment being high
  • vendors expectations unrealistic
  • etc

Whilst the average Agents are pulling back their spending, these Elite group of Agents are in fact spending more in:

  • investing in better technology,
  • upgrading their websites and expanding online marketing,
  • adopting new systems and procedures to manage their businesses even better.

This reminds me of the advice given by Warren Buffett – “Buy when others are selling and Sell when others buying”. This mantra has been obviously profitable to the World’s Richest Man.

After discussing with these top producers and the rest of the real estate world, we (Brightfox) have decided to launch an educational campaign – 50 Bright Ideas to Kick start your business in 2009..

This will be launching soon, so if you are interested in learning what these Top guns are doing, keep an eye out..

PS: If you want to join the Priority Mailing list so that you can be informed about this launch, send an email to 50brightideas@brightfox.com.au with your contact details.

World’s Largest Real Estate Agency Ditches TV for Online!

Century 21’s CEO, Tom Kunz, announced in an online video interview (Watch the Video – link below) that in 2009 they have decided to pull their advertising budget from TV to focus more on Online marketing.

As Tom Kunz explains they have found that their Return on Investment was much better from their Online endeavours rather than TV or any other traditional media.

In 2008, Century 21 spent only 10% of their massive advertising budget online. However, recent research and testing has shown that their online expenditure was far more productive and efficient than the TV advertising.

We have seen quite a few Independent Agents embracing the internet very actively, however, this is probably the first time that a major Agency has taken any serious steps in this direction, publicly.

With Millions of Dollars being re-routed from the traditional advertising media to Online – it will be interesting times ahead.

What are your Online Strategies and how do you intend to implement them?

Online Real Estate Searches on the rise!

 

Based on a research we did on Google (see image below) the online activity by prospective buyers and sellers during the Christmas – New Year period went up – significantly.

 

 

 web_search_reagents2

 

Whilst most agents were busy with their time away with friends, family and loved ones, the prospective client (buyer / seller) was busy doing their own research on what properties to buy (and from whom) or which agent to use to list their properties with, etc..

 

The scary thing is – majority of these decisions were just being made from your websites and not from talking with you or looking at the fancy brochures or actual shop fronts.

 

Those Agents who have an online shop front that is professional, provides valuable information, easy search functionality, etc (see some great examples of professional websites) would have had a significant upper hand as compared to those who have less than acceptable websites.

 

With around 87% of Australian home buyers/sellers now using the Internet as part of their research process (Nielsen Australian Property Report 2008), isn’t it time that you invested a little more energy into your online marketing machine?

 

New Real Estate Sales Models

There have been a number of innovations to the traditional real estate sales model around the world in the last few years. There has been a signfiicant increase in the number of agencies that will sell a home at a fixed price, usually mush lower than prevailing commission % scales.

A very interesting model that is starting to gain significant momentum in the USA is a company called Redfin. They have been operating since 2006 and I think many realtors in the US thought that they would be a flash in the pan. They are however still going strong and by all accounts are growing.

The model is quite simple. They reimburse to a Buyer 2/3rd’s of the commission that a buyer would otherwise pay. So in circumstances where a buyer would pay 3% commission, 2% is reimbursed.

Buyers commission you might say! What is with that!

Well in the US it is very common for a real estate transaction to have up to 6% commission paid – 3% to a selling agent and 3% to a buyers agent. It is probably the highest in the world (certainly the highest in all of teh markets that Brightfox is involved in) for a standard real estate sale. You will have instances of higher commission paid on off-plan sales in places such as Spain, France and sometimes even in Australia, however this is always paid by the Seller.

So when looking at Redfin and contemplating the affect of a model like this in Australia you first need to realise that the US is starting from a very different place. I think we would all agree that there is a lot of space in 6% commission for some efficiency improvements / cost cutting.

I find the whole issue a very interesting dilema all round. There is no doubt that all property transactions should have a buyer and seller agent involved to best protect both parties. The concept that one agent can act for both parties is in itself impossible (the term ‘agent’ itself means to act on behalf of another party – with the law providing a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of that party. So how can a single agent act for two parties!) as well as being commerically unworkable. Both parties actually seek different outcomes (one a higher purchase price, the other a lower purchase price). However a 6% transaction fee on commission alone, not to mention stamp duty, legal fees etc, is simply not workable.

Without question the Internet is making it easier for buyers to determine a accurate purchase price for a property. Only a few years ago access to property sale data was the exclusive domain of property professionals. Now websites like www.onthehouse.com.au give it away for free. So I think that the advent of increasingly sophisticated anlaysis websites for buyers to use is perhaps the future for australian real estate rather than the Redfin model. We just don’t have that much ‘fat to cut’ to make the Redfin models commerically viable on a significant scale.