Viewing by month: August 2010

Appealing to the seniors market

It is no secret that Australia’s population is ageing.  An intergenerational report released by the Government at the beginning of the year predicted that the proportion of Australia’s population aged 65 and over will rise from its current 14 per cent to approximately 23 per cent by 2050. 

This changing demographic information represents a large opportunity for real estate agents.  Baby boomers and senior citizens are at life stages where moving (in many cases to sell the larger family home and downsize) can become more frequent. 

However in order to appeal to this older market, real estate agents must realize that in some cases, a different approach to marketing may be necessary. 

Firstly, real estate agents should focus on educating themselves about the housing options open to the seniors market.  While many older people choose to live in regular houses and apartments, others opt for especially constructed apartment complexes, or senior-living communities.  Real estate agents should understand all options available and be able to make suggestions based on the needs of individual clients. 

When marketing to the seniors market, try not to assume why a senior client is selling, or to what type of property they wish to move.  While it is true that many in the seniors market wish to downsize to a more manageable property, others could actually want more space, or a home of a similar size, for instance if there is the possibility of an adult child returning to live at home. 

Real estate agents should try to realise that the needs and wants of the seniors market regarding the types of property they look for could be very different to those of younger buyers and sellers and display an understanding of these needs when dealing with their older clients.  Senior clients may prefer lower maintenance homes with smaller gardens, where they don’t have to clean as much or do hard physical work.  Senior clients may also require homes that are close to health and medical facilities, catering to their changing health needs. 

When presenting to prospective senior clients, try to understand the attachment that many who have been in their homes for long periods of time may have.  Do not underestimate the power that sensitivity will have and try not to rush these people.  The process may take longer, however it is worthwhile to build up a relationship. 
In terms of communicating with your older clients try not to assume which mode your senior clients will prefer, rather take the time to work out which works best.  Some older clients will not like email, while others will find this the easiest form of communication.  Others could prefer the phone, or even personal visits. 

The process of dealing with clients in the seniors market can be a rewarding one, given that you as a real estate agent will often be assisting people through quite a significant life change.  Try to embrace this opportunity and if need be, approach marketing and selling differently where necessary. 


0 comments | Posted by Reality Bytes - Real Estate Training Blog on 25/08/2010 at 2:33 PM | Categories:

Staying safe as a real estate agent

As a real estate agent, it is common to find yourself in situations which are potentially dangerous – for example where you are alone or meeting people for the first time without knowing much about them.    Although most real estate agents go through their careers without any mishaps, it is important for all real estate agents to be aware of any possible dangers they may be confronted with and ways that these can be avoided. 

As a real estate agent you should always carry your mobile phone on you and ensure that it is fully charged.  Have important phone numbers such as the police, your office and a roadside assistance service on speed dial so that if they are easy to find and call if needed. 

On any occasion when you are out of the office for work, such as when showing a prospective buyer a house or meeting with a client, try to let somebody in your office know where you are, who you are meeting and what time you expect to be back. 

It may be worthwhile to make your work schedule available to others in your office.  Not only will this enable the effective organization of meetings, it will also let your office easily keep track of where you are during work hours.  Some agents, when out of the office, also find it can help to ring their office and ‘check-in’ at certain times. 

When conducting an open inspection, try to make sure that there is only one entrance/exit to the property available and that all other potential entry points are blocked off or locked.  Try to record the names of all the visitors to the property showing, and take care to make sure that everyone has left at the end. 

It is common for real estate agents to be on the road regularly, visiting the homes of clients and prospective clients.  As you are in a car so frequently, try to ensure that your petrol levels are sufficient at all times and that you have a good map book or GPS to avoid getting lost.  It may also be helpful to subscribe to a roadside assistance service, such as the NRMA, in case your car breaks down. 

Since many client visits take place after work hours, it can often be dark when travelling.  Always park in a well-lit area and keep your keys close to hand (if not in your hands) when leaving an appointment and approaching your vehicle. 

Remember to value your instincts – they can be very helpful.  If you have a feeling that something is not right, or for some reason feel uncomfortable, pay attention.  Even just a heightened sense of awareness in certain situations can help to keep you out of danger. 



0 comments | Posted by Reality Bytes - Real Estate Training Blog on 16/08/2010 at 12:45 PM | Categories:

Property Managers - understanding your smoke alarm obligations

It could be argued that the laws surrounding smoke alarms are some of the most important to consider when it comes to rental properties.  In the case of a fire resulting in damage or even loss of life, if smoke alarm regulations haven’t been followed to the absolute letter, there can be serious legal consequences for the property owner or even the property manager in certain situations. 

As a professional property manager, it is up to you to remain well and truly up to date with legislation concerning smoke alarms.  In many cases, property owners will rely on the property manager they have enlisted to inform them of, and even to supervise their property’s smoke alarm requirements. 

Although smoke alarm laws can vary from state to state, it is usually the landlord who is responsible for smoke alarms, not the tenant.  The Building Code of Australia sets out a minimum of one smoke alarm per property and at least one alarm on every level of the dwelling.  Smoke alarm laws also set out the required location of smoke alarms, technical specifications, the type of power supply they must use and the frequency with which alarms must be checked and batteries replaced. 

In most cases laws state that smoke alarms must be inspected within 30 days before any tenancy change or tenancy renewal.

Although every agency will have different practices, in the absence of appropriate training, it can often be a large, unnecessary risk for property managers to take on the responsibility of smoke alarm maintenance personally (or as a company).  Likewise it is often wise to advise the landlord (your client) to refrain from conducting their own inspections and deeming smoke alarms to be in a satisfactory condition.

In the case of major damage and/or loss of life due to a faulty smoke alarm, insurance often becomes void.  Although smoke alarms may look fairly uncomplicated, factors such as their position, power supply connection and required range of decibel output can be tricky to determine if you haven’t been trained in the area.

In your role as a property manager, if you sign off that a property’s smoke alarms are clean, in good working order and without damage, you could in effect be exposing yourself to legal action if the smoke alarms turn out to be faulty.   

Some property managers find that a good way to manage the risk of smoke alarms is to hire a professional service.  By using a certified service to sign off on the compliance of smoke alarms, if a fire occurs due to a faulty piece of equipment, the property manager and owner usually cannot be held liable.  Note that it is important for the smoke alarm service used to have Personal Indemnity Insurance.    

It is definitely necessary for property managers to understand the legalities surrounding smoke alarms.  Knowledge could save you from legal liability, and more importantly could prevent property damage and the injury or death of a tenant in the case of a fire. 

0 comments | Posted by Reality Bytes - Real Estate Training Blog on 09/08/2010 at 12:38 PM | Categories:

Prioritising your to-do list

As a busy real estate agent, it is often the case that on more days that not your head will be buzzing with all of the things that you need to do.  These tasks range from the personal (“I can’t put off getting my car serviced for any longer”) to your work environment (“I need to organize a photographer for that house, the advertising needs to be booked for that client…”, etc). 

The list goes on, and unfortunately in your head, the tasks seem to form one big jumble of THINGS TO DO, with no real order yet often a fair bit of stress.

In order to work most efficiently through your tasks, they need to be set out clearly and then prioritised.  Prioritising will help you to get the most important tasks completed and out of the way. 

The best place to start is to look at each of your tasks and consider timing.  What is absolutely essential to complete and what can you afford to do later? Obviously if you have a property advertising deadline in half an hour, or a printing bill due tomorrow, in many cases the deadline will take precedence. 

Your colleagues are also important to consider.  Is somebody waiting on a body of work from you to complete their own project due by close of business today? If you have another task that can wait until tomorrow, perhaps consider moving the work for your co-worker to top-level priority status. 

Clients are also important to factor into how you prioritise your day.  If you put a certain task off until tomorrow, are you going to lose an important new listing? If sudden arrangements need to be made for a client auctioning their house tomorrow, it could be more important to reprioritize and take care of these tasks, rather than continuing what you need to have done by the following week. 

In the end, you can’t get absolutely everything done at once, and certain decisions will need to be made to ensure that you complete your tasks efficiently. 

Once you have prioritised, set yourself a reasonable number to aim to complete by the end of the day, allowing yourself a certain amount of time for each.  At the end of each day, if you get a chance, try to reassess your progress and determine the following day’s tasks. 

By setting a reasonable goal you may not feel as overwhelmed as you could have if you had set your entire to-do list as your aim for one day.  This should allow you to work more efficiently, increasing your overall productivity and therefore your success as a real estate agent. 



0 comments | Posted by Reality Bytes - Real Estate Training Blog on 02/08/2010 at 12:57 PM | Categories: