Success Leaves Clues – Inside Story On McGrath Real Estate Agents REB Top 100 Agents
Following the announcement of the Real Estate Business (REB) Top 100 Agents list for 2022 where thirteen McGrath Estate Agents were named, we caught up with just some of our award-winning agents to find out more about the hard work behind their success, and how they are achieving their goals with the McGrath brand.
Ruma Mundi – McGrath Stanhope Gardens, NSW
Not long after that, a merger and rebrand saw Ms. Mundi become part of the much larger McGrath West | North West | Hawkesbury brand.
Speaking to REB about her decision to join the business, the industry heavyweight said “it’s been actually incredible to be part of this new team, new energy, new vibe.”
And it clearly did nothing to disrupt her momentum, having sold more than $171 million worth of properties over the 12-month period from 142 transactions, with each property spending just 21 days on market, on average.
She credits the two decades she’s spent in the local community for the huge volumes she is able to achieve, revealing that 90 percent of her work is repeat and referral, with prospecting “key to our business”.
Highlighting the importance of staying “extremely” engaged with the community, she stressed that her success has come from continuing to build her brand and doing things to keep herself top of mind with both potential buyers and sellers.
“One of the key things that I've always done is sponsor my local teams, have fundraising and connect with the community and then keep your face out there.”
“That's like soft prospecting,” she considered.
She also knows the value of giving potential clients a memorable experience: “Whenever you deal with people, whether it's by enquiry, by inspection… just leaving them a little bit more informed than when they first met you.”
Even with all of her success, Ms Mundi admitted she sometimes reflects back on her own journey and asks the question: “How did I do it?”
“Being a woman and a mum, and being a homemaker as well as the selling agent, our work is really cut out for us as females in the real estate space,” she commented.
For her, it’s all about having a good team.
She sees value in only surrounding herself with the best people, staying away from drama, and “being highly effective in the time that we have at work” as integral to her achievements.
As for her decision to align her own team with the McGrath business, it was a simple one: “I’ve got two daughters and I just wanted to free up my time operationally and had to zero in on what I loved the most, which was taking care of my clients and assisting families in listing and selling properties.”
As much as she had loved leading her team for the past decades, she said it had been an “easy step” into the McGrath-run business, calling Mr Stathopoulos an “incredible leader”.
“It is like a step back, but a leap forward in terms of our growth as the business – and it’s great to be part of this phenomenal growing business that we’ve got now!” she shared.
While the initial six months since moving to McGrath were labor-intensive, Ms Mundi said she’s now started moving the weight off her shoulders.
“For the first time in 16 years, it’s a whole new world just to be able to list and sell and concentrate on my campaigns, as opposed to doing everything all the time.”
When she initially made plans for the merger, Ms Mundi was expecting her volumes to take a hit.
But now, with more bandwidth to allocate to listing and selling, she’s got even grander plans, setting her sights on another 10 to 20 per cent volume growth over the 2022 calendar year.
From her perspective, "the next two years can be better than the last two years if professionals just continuing focusing on what they need to do."
And despite spending less hours at work, it’s an exciting time for Ms Mundi, who revealed she is also looking forward to seeing what else she can do better.
“This also gives me time to do the things that I'm not focused on,” she shared, listing off some further aims for the coming year, including getting her reviews and testimonials in order, focusing on social portals, and even getting more into the coaching and mentoring space.
To agents looking to achieve the kind of success that this top-ranked agent has achieved, Ms Mundi offers the following advice: “Always be learning, always be growing and always be solutions focused”.
Alex Jordan – McGrath Paddington, QLD
McGrath Estate Agents’ licensed real estate agent Alex Jordan assumed the number one position for the second consecutive year in the REB Top 50 Agents Queensland 2022 Queensland, after his total dollar value of residential property settlements jumped by almost 53 per cent between 2020 and 2021 to $246.1 million.
Focusing largely on riverfront and luxury homes in the inner western suburbs of Brisbane with average sale prices ranging from $2 million to $10 million, Mr Jordan sold 130 properties in 2021 (up from 97 in 2020), while his average days on market declined from 45 to 40 days in 2021.
Mr Jordan attributed his successes to favouring a client-centric approach over a transactional one and acting as a consultant and adviser for his vendors.
“When we meet with clients, we advise them selflessly for their benefit. It’s not always about the sale,” Mr Jordan explained to REB.
“Sometimes that advice may be not to sell their property. Many people that we spoke to early last year were considering selling but we advised them against it because we saw the strength in the market.
“That advice turned out to be very profitable for them because we eventually ended up selling the majority of those properties later in 2021 and most of those vendors benefited by several hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
Alongside this, Mr Jordan said market knowledge around his geographic areas of focus in Brisbane enabled him to advise vendors and buyers with confidence, which has allowed them to make appropriate decisions.
“We know the market very well in this area, as well as the properties and businesses. We know the owners in that area. We know everything about it, including the schools and other amenities,” he said.
Mr Jordan also has acumen in construction, zoning, and design and how each of those elements contributes to a property’s appeal.
“I think it’s important for agents to have intimate knowledge about the property, including the land and how much it costs per square metre, zoning of blocks, and what can be built on certain blocks,” Mr Jordan asserted.
Further knowledge about the intricate details of a home is also vital when interacting with vendors and buyers, he added.
“Having an understanding of construction costs and the different materials used and drilling down on the details like what stone is used in the kitchen, or what tiles and light switches are used in the property, and knowing their costs is beneficial when the time comes to deal with buyers,” Mr Jordan said.
“If the agent doesn’t have that in-depth knowledge of the product, they’re not able to convey the benefits of that home and maximise its value.”
Mr Jordan advised other agents to develop a geographic focus for their agency and build their knowledge around that area to succeed in their profession.
In addition, he encouraged agents to create a robust brand and profile, which should be done through “several layers”.
“Communicate with your community or property owners via digital marketing or social media marketing so that when the person who lives in your area considers selling their property, they think of you because you’re visible and a household name,” he said.
“It’s important to focus on that brand awareness and building a profile of credibility and integrity because consumers will gravitate towards agents who operate in that manner.”
Mr Jordan said he is aiming to build market share and relationships with the community in his areas of focus in Brisbane this year.
He was also quick to adapt to the rapid changes during the COVID-19 crisis by allowing prospective buyers to inspect properties through video walk-throughs by using their phones and gimbals.
Indeed, these tools allowed both interstate (Sydney and Melbourne) and overseas (Singapore) buyers to purchase properties in Brisbane sight unseen.
“We would spend 45 minutes to an hour doing video walk-throughs in every room, explaining the features and benefits of the property, which helped us seal a lot of deals,” Mr Jordan said.
To see how Alex Jordan performed across the key metrics in the rankings and who else made the list in Queensland, click here.
James Baker - McGrath Pittwater, NSW
For James Baker, coming in at number 66 on the REB Top 100 Agents ranking is a reflection of the work done throughout his whole career – not just over any singular 12-month period.
In conversation with REB, the McGrath Pittwater agent, principal and director who operates out of Avalon on Sydney’s Northern Beaches expressed the belief that his huge results in 2021 “was really a reflection of work that I did 10 years ago, or 15 years ago, or 11 years ago”.
Having sold 65 properties over the 2021 calendar year, for a total value of $222,215,511, the agent and business owner shared that while a strong local market helped, it was very much an accumulation of “past clients that we’ve done the right thing by coming back to us, referral networks, [and] people referring business to us”.
While conceding that it wasn’t necessarily hard to sell a property in 2021, Mr Baker does believe that “it still required a good skillset to get a great outcome”.
He credits much of his success to his personal team, his management team, and particularly, his business partner Adrian Venturi, of whom Mr Baker says without, he “wouldn’t have been able to achieve anywhere near what I achieve”.
“It’s that partnership we have together that’s really created this,” he reflected. “I’ve learned an awful lot from him and that has been part of the secret to my success.”
Looking ahead at 2022, Mr Baker is quick to acknowledge the changing sentiment already present in the marketplace.
“This year is about leaning on those skills that we learned 15 years ago,” he prefaced, acknowledging he cut his own teeth in the real estate profession on the cusp of the global financial crisis – a dropping market.
He understands there’s “a different skill set required during that period”, explaining how “it’s a lot harder for people to understand a dropping market than a growing market”.
“You are obviously educating vendors on where the market’s going. You’re helping them through the process. We’re almost therapists during that period for some clients,” he said.
And with the market pulling back again, Mr Baker shared that for himself, he’s “reflecting on what we did before, the skills we learned before”.
“Because it’s all about now navigating vendors through this journey.”
When quizzed on his own strategies that have led to his success, Mr Baker stated that it’s “not really a secret”.
“The key thing that has created my success has been thinking long-term with everyone that I deal with,” he shared.
“Whether it’s a purchaser or a vendor. Whether it’s another agent or anyone in the community, I’m always thinking long-term. This business is not about short-term deals.”
Further to that, he advised that the key to long-term success is not doing the wrong thing by people: “It’s about having integrity.
“It’s having that philosophy of integrity, honesty, open book.”
That long-term outlook is also what spurs him on day to day, with Mr Baker admitting that he’s never changed the way he works.
With a strong vendor pipeline always in the works, the highly ranked agent shared that he’s never stopped cold calling – although it’s now usually warm calling, especially when he can see the pipeline drying three to four months down the track.
He argues that elite agents can’t just rely on referrals – “You can’t at this level.”
“If you’re in the top 100, you’ve got to be business developing.
“I think that’s been one of the reasons for my success. There’s a rollercoaster ride for most agents [where] you’ve got lots of listing and then suddenly you’ve got none. To smooth that process out, you need to be thinking about the future all the time.”
To see how James Baker performed across the key metrics in the rankings and who else made this year’s REB Top 100 Agents ranking, click here.
This article originally appeared on Real Estate Business. Click here to view.