Viewing by month: February 2009

Don't Shoot the Messenger

There are many times in life where through no fault of our own, we find ourselves as the bearer of bad news relating to an incident with which we had nothing to do. However often in this situation that small detail is overlooked and we find ourselves being punished for a scenario out of our control. This shoot the messenger syndrome can be particularly prevalent in the world of real estate; increasingly this is so lately as the effects of the economic slowdown continue to be felt and like any less than great situation, many of the worst affected look for someone to blame.

Regularly Agents get to share wonderful news with clients, but being the bearer of bad news is sadly also part of working in real estate. No-one ever likes to tell someone something negative. Well, unless you really dislike the person, and then telling them that they have food stains down their shirt before they go into a meeting can be somewhat satisfying, but on the whole, having to share bad news with others doesn’t top most people’s favourite things to do list. That said, there’s never any excuse for avoiding a client because you don’t have something positive to relay. Everyone deserves the truth, and in a timely manner. Unreturned phone calls, ignored emails and generally being an enigma of an Agent is not only frustrating for your client, but it’s rude, unprofessional and will garner you a reputation that you won’t want, but will possibly deserve.

One of the biggest problems we’re currently facing in the real estate industry is unrealistic expectations of vendors when it comes to the value of their home. Many vendors, although well aware of the current economic volatility, do not expect this to translate so close to home as to affect the price they think is achievable for their property. Similarly if a property is taking longer to sell than a vendor anticipated, explaining the reasons why, or that no-one showed up for a home open, is an unpleasant but unavoidable part of the job.

It’s not easy being a seller in this climate, but often it’s not easy being a real estate agent either and being the bearer of bad news is never an enviable position. An Agent should be professional and well versed enough to present bad news in the most positive way possible, but sometimes there’s no way to sugar coat the facts, so I ask - please try your best not to shoot the messenger!   
0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 27/02/2009 at 10:20 AM | Categories:

The Lucky Country

As I am sure many of you are doing, I am keeping an avid eye on the real estate market, both at home and internationally. It’s kind of hard not to when we are being bombarded with conflicting reports from the papers about how dire or how well the industry and those in it are coping. But despite the turbulence in our own market, I have to say that generally Australia’s real estate bubble hasn’t yet burst. One of the major reasons cited for this amongst property analysts is that during the boom here, we didn’t build as many properties as markets elsewhere. For this reason alone it is expected that Australia won’t see the huge price declines that other countries are experiencing. Even if the market may be a little more deflated than at the beginning of last year, we are certainly not in as bad a position as elsewhere and I believe we can definitely still be considered the lucky country. 

When it comes to the real estate market and we think about those who have been hit the hardest, the United States springs to mind immediately for most of us. Some states of the US appear to be suffering more than others, one of which is California where home foreclosures rose to over 236,000 by the end of last year – this type of crisis is almost inconceivable for most of us living in Australia. 

Although almost everyone in the industry has a differing opinion on what the real estate market will do next, (actually even those not in the industry seem to be predicting the future!) I have found that one of the most interesting things about the impact the economic downturn is having, is that it’s not been predictable at all. Within Sydney for example, we are finding some suburbs are booming whereas others have slowed down significantly. Rules definitely cannot be applied across the board, but the current market certainly presents opportunities and CENTURY 21 is working to make the current climate a positive one for all of our clients. We are seeing many buyers and investors make their way back in the market, and with rental yields continuing to increase and vacancies continuing to decrease, property is still a smart move.

0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 26/02/2009 at 8:46 AM | Categories:

Real estate and technology

Something that struck me as I sat down to write today’s blog (other than several members of my staff) was just how much technology has been embraced by, and has changed, the real estate industry. Take blogging for example, and now that I too am a blogger I feel I can speak with at least some level of understanding! Even a couple of years ago, this way of communicating was nowhere near as accepted and relied upon as it is now.  

CENTURY 21 prides itself on being leaders in the technological field, and we have always sought to empower our agents and salespeople by providing advanced solutions to accessing and using data. Internal systems that members of the public don’t get to see provide our offices with up to the minute data and listings information, and the ability to instantly upload properties not only to our site, but major real estate search sites nationally. Our business systems also enable our franchisees to monitor every aspect of their business from where ever in the world they happen to be, no matter what time it is day or night.  

Part of the reason for this is that we recognize that people in the real estate market are increasingly turning to online sources for information, both from the business owner’s perspective, and that of the client. This is a situation not unlike that for many other products and services. People want information when it suits them. If you decide at 2am that you want to look for a property, then the internet allows you to do just that, and we want to be there when you do.  

On that note, I hope you’ve noticed our online advertising on both and Domain, offering you a free property appraisal. Why not log on and have a look, or you can head directly to to take advantage of this great offer.

6 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 25/02/2009 at 8:18 AM | Categories:

Career Change

Did you know that on average an Australian will change their career ten times? TEN TIMES! I found that figure quite staggering I have to admit, and I wondered if I was just old school and dedicated for sticking out my role in real estate for the best part of my life, or if I’m just not trendy enough to be part of that ten career trend. I tend towards the first option. But seriously, I have to admit that I love real estate, and that’s why I’ve been in the game for so long. However, coming across that statistic did get me thinking about careers, and why I got into this industry in the first place.

Many people say there are certain types of people that are better at certain types of jobs, and for the most part I have to say I agree. After all, stereotypes aren’t created in a vacuum. People who end up as nurses tend to be caring, people who end up as lawyers aren’t afraid of a fight and so on. I can also admit that as far as stereotypes go, we in the real estate industry definitely have our own, although when I look at the CENTURY 21 Australia network I strongly dispute them of course!

When it comes to looking at personality types and career choices, I do take real estate as a pretty good example. If someone who isn’t driven, passionate and very much a people-person enters this industry, chances are they aren’t going to last that long. I can admit that when the real estate market was booming, which it was until the end of 2008, real estate did become somewhat flooded with agents and salespeople who weren’t necessarily of the required breed. When everyone has money to buy and there is plenty on the market to sell, it’s not necessarily your level of skill that makes you successful. However, the economic downturn we are experiencing globally has definitely resulted in a bit of a weeding process in the real estate industry, and it’s certainly separating the true professionals from the rest in this industry.  

There are several factors compounding what I suppose is a natural selection process. Lenders have tightened their requirements and money isn’t being loaned out on such a free-flowing basis as it has been previously, plus those buyers that can afford to be in the market are looking for bigger and better deals, but not everyone selling their home is prepared to accept the new, often lower pricing that they need to consider. Then, as if that isn’t enough, some of the agents who have seen a drop in business are taking on other jobs and are working in real estate part time, not really what you want when you are trying to sell your home!

But with these less than ideal members of the industry beginning to feel the strain, you will be able to spot the true professionals.  The type of people you want helping you with your real estate decisions will be the ones who are still keeping their cool, playing by the rules and getting the job done.  
2 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 24/02/2009 at 8:58 AM | Categories:

Feng Shui Your Home

For Christmas, I was given a book on how to feng shui your home. I was thinking about the odd nature of this gift as I drove my V8 to work this morning. It’s odd because most people who know me don’t really think of me as a new age kind of guy. Also odd because did you know its actually pronounced fung shway? Who would have thought.  

What is especially interesting about the whole thing is that it made me realise that because I work in real estate, and for CENTURY 21, I think people must just assume that:

a)       I’m a 21st century kind of guy; and

b)       I’m as interested in my own house as I am in the actual real estate market.  

Let me assure you, neither is true. But, because I am a nice guy, albeit a stereotypical Aussie one, I made a show of flicking through the book of magic household furniture moving I’d been given, and it occurred to me whilst I did, that many a person does believe in the power of this feng shui stuff, and that maybe there were a few elements I shouldn’t mock quite so quickly.  

So, because I am a nice guy as I mentioned (and not because I am new age) here are the top three of the tips I could find within this precious gift.  Apparently money plants are the go for increasing your prosperity, but you need two. One at the front door to bring the money into the house, and one at the back door to keep it inside. I will be heading to the nursery after work. It can’t hurt.  

Another prosperity tip – put a mirror in your kitchen. It seems that if you can’t see the kitchen door when you are standing at the stove, then you should place a mirror in any location that will catch the reflection of someone coming in. My book tells me it’s good feng shui to see people coming through the doorways of any room you are in. Luckily for me the only time I spend in the kitchen is when I’m stationed in front of the fridge and I’m sure if anyone else crept in I’d see them reflected in the stainless steel. Surely that’s close enough.  

And my final tip is especially helpful because not only does it apply to the study at home, but you can translate this bit of feng shui to your work, which realistically is actually where I spend most of my time. (I wonder if the money plant thing will work with an office door and a window...) Anyway, the tip is - your style of desk should match what it is designed to achieve, because in feng shui world your environment mirrors who you are. Desk size is also crucial and big tasks need a big desk, so I am sure you can imagine the sheer size of mine!  

Okay I think that’s enough. I best stop before I get the urge to blow-dry my hair or something. Happy feng shui-ing!     

2 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 23/02/2009 at 9:11 AM | Categories:

Buying a House Online

Surfing the net last night, I stopped to do a bit of shopping at my favourite online wine store, and as I finished up the transaction I started to think about how many of us now shop online. In particular, what still amazes me about online shopping is the types of things we’re prepared to purchase without actually having any physical interaction with the product beforehand. And that got me thinking about buying real estate. I started to wonder how many people would actually be comfortable buying a home online and if, as the internet continues to become an increasingly prevalent component of our lives, the number of people purchasing homes online will increase dramatically.  Since the recession hit internationally we’ve all heard the story about a property in the USA that sold online for $2, but when it comes down to it, a property you’re actually going to live in is the biggest single purchase most people make in their lifetime. For that reason alone, a completely online purchase doesn’t match many a customer’s need to interact with their potential home in a real-life way before they make their final decision.

Of course the internet is the ideal place to source information about property, we know that. Online real estate sites have rapidly become equal to, if not having superseded, the use of hardcopy publications to source property information. The trend of online auctions is beginning to take off too, but at this point we’re finding the majority of people are logging on to watch the event as research rather than participate as an active bidder. Technology allows buyers not only to view the property, but with the likes of Google mapping and Street View, you can see the location and even to take a virtual tour down the surrounding streets. Many of our CENTURY 21 offices are introducing video to their online listings, so prospective buyers can also tour the home before actually touring the home, if you get what I mean. The online space provides such a comprehensive overview of most of the real estate on the market today, CENTURY 21 is finding that those buyers that are coming through have basically already qualified themselves as genuinely interested. Often an inspection is the final step in their decision, but it’s still a crucial one, and that’s why I think it will take some time for online home sales to increase.  So until such a time until technology advances even further - and who knows, maybe we’ll end up with interactive 3D home walk throughs available - virtual property is another way to score your ideal home online. I take heart in the fact that although I may not be able to afford the mansion in Maui I’ve been looking at online, I may just be able to create something similar for myself in that funny website Second Life…

1 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 20/02/2009 at 7:44 AM | Categories:

State of the Market

As I type this, my second blog, I wonder how many people are in a similar position to myself, not in regards to the blog of course, but still trying to work out not only where the majority of last year and the first month and a half of this year went, but also how on earth things in the real estate game changed so dramatically, so quickly.  As turbulent a journey 2008 has been for the real estate industry, I do believe that as a whole, realtors have headed into 2009 with optimism and the strength needed to grow the industry back to where we’ve been. There was recently a time when real estate was considered an easy career choice for many, and it’s true that in any industry it is easier to be successful in a boom. The recent economic slowdown is in many ways a good thing for those people on the property market – natural selection is now coming into play and it is the true professionals who are remaining strong and committed, and those are exactly the type of people you want to deal with when buying or selling a property.  

In particular, if you have money to buy, now is a great time to be doing so. I believe we may still be yet to see the market reach its lowest point before beginning the steady climb back. This first quarter is going to provide some great investment opportunities nationally as the market continues to feel the effects of the current economic volatility.  Across the nation there have been an increasing number of properties coming onto the market, and many of these look to be true bargains for the astute buyer. The ongoing rate cuts we are experiencing as well as the government’s First Home Buyer initiatives introduced late last year has resulted in an increasing pool of first-time buyers. In the industry we have already started to see the effects of this. Buyer confidence in all areas of the market is slowly being restored, and I am positive that we will continue to see smart investors returning in these early stages of 2009.

0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 19/02/2009 at 8:03 AM | Categories:

Sales Results - Are They Dependant On The Market ??

Welcome to my first ever blog from Century 21 Solutions and no doubt it will be an exciting journey particularly when we look back at where we all started and where we have got to...THE PROCESS. I certainly hope you enjoy the content. Sales Results - Are They Dependant On The Market ?? Very often you here of great results happening in the 'good times' and as we know the real estate market like most sectors has had a tough time of late. But guess what ? The market values across the country have held themsleves up with PROPERTY VALUES remaining stable throughout this great country of ours. What has changed is that today the consumer gets to work with true professional salespeople and particularly at Century 21 we pride ourselves in the quality of our people. You see homes sell in all market conditions, people always need a place to stay, people transfer, upgrade, downsize, you name it someone is doing it. So the point is is not about the market but more about THE PROCESS we undertake in marketing your home that counts. At Century 21 Solutions we pride ourselves in having a structured system (THE PROCESS) that ensure we get you the Sales Result you want no matter what the market conditions are doing....We Produce Outstanding Results in All Market Conditions. Attitude, Commitment & Process determines the outcomes. Until next time have a great day..keep smilingSmile

0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 19/02/2009 at 6:43 AM | Categories: CENTURY 21 Solutions -

CENTURY 21 Annual Awards !

CENTURY 21 Joseph Tan Real Estate recently attended the CENTURY 21 Australia Annual Awards to celebrate and recognise achievements in 2008. 

The Annual Awards were held on Valentines Day (14th February) at the Harbours Edge in Darling Harbour.  There was great food, great entertainment, and great company to be had on the night.

CENTURY 21 Joseph Tan Real Estate were recognised with the following:

4th Quarter Awards 2008:
Joseph Tan - Diamond Award
Joseph Tan - Top Principal in NSW
Joseph Tan - 2nd Principal Nationally
Davin Tan - Quality Award (Outstanding Customer Service Award)
Davin Tan - Diamond Masters Club
Anil Mehta - Bronze Award

5th Top Office in NSW - based on GCC

Annual Awards 2008:
Joseph Tan - Double Centurion
Joseph Tan - 2nd Principal Nationally - based on GCC

Centurion Office
2nd Top Office in NSW
5th Top Office Nationally

We would like to thank our local community for their continued support and patronage in 2008.  We look forward to furthering our involvement in the Hills District community in 2009.

1 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 17/02/2009 at 3:56 PM | Categories: CENTURY 21 Joseph Tan Real Estate -

Welcome blog

So here we are well into 2009, and here I am starting my CENTURY 21 blog. Sadly I am commencing with discussion of tragic circumstances, as I think every Australian’s thoughts are currently either on, or not far from, the bushfire crisis and the victims of what is being called Australia’s worst natural disaster. The immediate and significant support for these people from the Australian public has been overwhelming and shows the camaraderie and compassion of this nation, particularly in times of need. When even the banks are coming on board to offer mortgage and interest freezes, possibly even the wiping of loans for those who have literally lost everything, it makes it even more apparent just how big a crisis this is, and the long term effects of this disaster for so many people is inconceivable.  

One thing the last week has driven home for me is that at the end of the day, material possessions are replaceable and it is the loss of human life that is the greatest cost in a time such as this. We are seeing so many stories come to the fore of brave property owners who chose to stay and defend their homes, only to lose both their houses and their lives. Even a family home is not worth a life, and the debate to allow home owners the choice to stay during fires of this scale still rages. Material possessions are lovely to have but at the end of the day a house is just a house, and for the majority of the population it’s the people and the love in a house that makes it a home. If these lives are saved and these relationships are able to continue, the rest can be rebuilt.  

I have been so pleased to see that many of the CENTURY 21 Offices have taken the initiative to organise their own fundraisers to contribute towards the disaster relief, as have so many other institutions and companies around the nation. Please donate generously to whichever appeal is your preference, and hopefully the victims of this disaster will be able to rebuild their lives and their homes very soon.  

0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 17/02/2009 at 2:22 PM | Categories: