A day in the life of an Australian estate agent

Private Property South Africa
Property Professional

Harcourts Australia’s head office is located in Frankston, a bayside suburb with one of the highest turnover areas in Victoria, located approximately 40 minutes by car from the Melbourne central business district.

Tanja Neven-Jones heads up the Frankston Network in Victoria where she is both partner and General Manager at Harcourt’s award winning Frankston Heights Branch. She says the Harcourts mission statement: “Clients for life through the finest possible service.”, as well as leading edge technology, sophisticated systems, high levels of professional service and fun and laughter is what provides her and her team a daily philosophy for the task at hand. As a dynamic leader, she has proven her ability during 6 years of dedicated service to Harcourts, by moving up the ranks from sales consultant, to leasing consultant after maternity leave, before becoming Sales Manager.

A winner of many industry accolades herself, since her latest appointment as partner and General Manager, Neven-Jones has led her office in Frankston Heights to winning accolades including Best Presented Office at a State and National level, Number One Office, (Frankston) for the September 2009 quarter, and 3 of her team have been accepted into the prestigious Future Leaders Program. About agents entering the industry she says each state in Australia has different legislation, and agents must hold the state equivalent of an Agents Representative certificate, to work on behalf of a Fully Licensed Estate Agent. She says highly successful agents in Victoria are mostly real estate agents with full licenses, registered with the Real Estate Institute of Victoria, and adhere to maintaining sufficient contunious professional development points to uphold their knowledge to the industry standard. Describing the performance of a top rated agent in Frankston, Neven-Jones says her business partner Aaron Froling was rated in the top 10 for Harcourts Australia, who on average sells 15 properties per month.

Aaron, who focuses on prospecting and listing homes for sale, has the support of an administration assistant as well as a buyer’s agent who aids the showing of homes for sale and drawing up of contracts. For agents to achieve top selling performances she says that training is paramount in the property business. Equipped with a Bachelor degree in Arts -Education, making her ideally suited to training and mentorship of Business Development Managers in the group, she says the close relationships and high levels of empathy and trust forged with potential buyers and sellers is vital. In her opinion, developing good listening skills to hear clients’ needs makes the difference. For agents to develop sufficient skill to adopt their approach to selling in different markets, such as during the global recession as opposed to high performing periods during property cycles, Neven-Jones says their agents receive swift updates on any changes to the market through a data feed from their state office.

New agents who may not have faced certain market conditions, has access to the Harcourts Academy to perform up-skilling, and where training of new agents continues. She says the auction method of sale has proven to work well in all types of market places and conditions, and Harcourts have agents who are trained and familiar with the process and benefits of auctioneering. To uphold company service standards, innovation and commitment to using the latest available technology such as insisting on professional dusk photography for all properties represented, including floor plans, virtual tours with professional voiceovers, photo board displays and full colour brochures, is essential says Neven-Jones. Harcourt’s offices have plasma displays and plasma interaction, and house listings have unique quick response codes, displayed on ‘For Sale’ boards. Each property is available for 2 inspections per week, and ‘Invitation Only Open for Inspections’ are arranged for registered buyers. The majority of the Frankston clients would be considered working to middle class individuals looking for a family home, a first home or first investment in property. Neven-Jones says while Harcourts Frankston sells a combination of houses and units, they also represent properties that are larger development sites. She says: “The suburb where our office is located is one of the highest turnover areas in Victoria, we have a combination of units – strata title (Sectional Title in SA) and residential homes. The homes valued under $500,000 show the highest turnover and an average of 20 ‘days on market’.

Clients are served through Harcourts’ prominent marketing strategy of ‘online’ presence on the major real estate websites in Australia by way of paid ‘banners’ linking to its own website, further complemented by individual agents’ personal websites complete with their listings displayed. The print and social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin play a large role in the company’s its marketing strategy. Another Harcourts initiative is the use of ‘Mobile Agent’ - a smart phone application used by agents when out with buyers to access listings information. Email is also used, while text messaging include links to new listings or ‘thank you’ for attending an open house, with a link to that home as a reminder. Neven-Jones holds a collection of industry accolades awarded for top individual and team sales performances as well as office achievements, and the Sapphire Pin for $20 million in set sales - total property value.

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