Eyes on the future: Zeb Alaia, Raine & Horne Goulburn

What makes a real estate agent successful in the Goulburn region?

June, 2017 by

Where do you go when you don't want to buy in Sydney or Canberra? You go to Zeb Alaia, Principal at Raine & Horne Goulburn. Inspired by his wife, Zeb only recently took up a career in local real estate, but has achieved immediate success. His passion for the region and vibrant enthusiasm for the role have seen everyone walk out his door with a smile on their face.

Here's what Zeb has to say about his work around Goulburn, as well as the real estate market in general.

An accidental career

After moving to Goulburn in 2008, Zeb and his wife absolutely loved the region – but he wasn't sure where he wanted to work.

"My wife always said I'd do well in consultancy work, and suggested residential real estate. After a few interviews with recruitment agencies, it seemed like they were on the same page. So really, I landed a role in real estate by pure chance, and maybe a bit of encouragement."

It's certainly paid off, with Zeb winning second place in the annual number of sales category at Raine & Horne's annual awards.

"For a small country town like us to come second is a huge achievement."

"Achieving second place in sales was easily the proudest moment of my career. Ric Serrao from the Double Bay office came first, where prices are triple or quadruple what they are in Goulburn. That means for a small country town like us to come second is a huge achievement – a big moment for me for sure."

With such a rapid rise to the top, Zeb's sure to attract demand from buyers and sellers across the region for years to come. And on how it feels to be one of the top real estate agents in the state, Zeb keeps it simple: "I'm just doing what I love."

Working in a growth market

Growth in capital city markets has resulted in an incredible rise in demand for Goulburn property – something Zeb is more than happy to meet.

"The record prices in Sydney and Canberra markets have shifted a lot of buyers to Goulburn and the wider Southern Tablelands. It's increased our profile, certainly, and also the median price range around the region."

"That also means a lot of demand, a lot of calls and people to stay in touch with – but it's exciting." 

Finding the right marketing strategy

No two real estate agents are the same. Everyone has a different strategy, a different way of dealing with people – and it seems Zeb's approach to the role is working wonders.

Communication skills are wide-ranging, and always important for real estate agents.Communication skills are wide-ranging, and always important for real estate agents.

"One of my favourite moments in the job was working on a property in Marulan. It had been on the market for 12 months with little interest when I took it on board, so I knew it would be a challenge. I took it on board and did a complete overhaul of the marketing, giving the home the fresh look it deserved."

"Two weeks later, I'd sold it for the client – for more than what the previous agent had marketed it for too!"

The keys to success

Clearly, Zeb has made an incredible start in the real estate industry. But what are the secrets to Zeb's success?

"Well, our marketing – I know that's different to other agencies but unfortunately those are some secrets I can't reveal! I can say that our team mentality is really strong – a lot of the time, that's what keeps us moving forward."

"This job isn't about you – it's about what you can do for the people you work with."

"On a personal level, there are a few things I think are crucial. You have to keep up to date with what is happening in your community – otherwise you can't help people and educate them on what makes Goulburn such a great place to live. That extends to giving back to the community as well – the whole notion that real estate agents make lots of money is pretty far from the truth, especially once you see what we give back. I try and contribute to everyone around me on as large a scale as possible." 

"Perhaps, most importantly, you have to leave your ego at the door. Stay humble. This job isn't about you – it's about what you can do for the people you work with. Listen actively, have good communication skills, and keep your morals and ethics at the forefront no matter what the situation is."

The value of communication

Real estate often comes down to how well you communicate with people. For Zeb, that means understanding peoples' preferences.

"Everyone wants to communicate in a different way. I use telephone, face to face meetings, email, texts, even social media instant messages – sometimes all in the same day!"

How should real estate agents communicate in the modern era?How should real estate agents communicate in the modern era?

Good communication makes for successful working relationships, explains Zeb. 

"The only way to stay alive in the industry is prospecting. It's an absolute must, and an exercise you have to learn to love. If you want to achieve your goals, you have to stay in touch with everyone you work with to find new opportunities."

The future of the Goulburn property market

As a newcomer to the industry, Zeb is especially enthusiastic about the future – for both himself and the people he works with.

"Honestly, if the future is anything like the last eight years, we're in for a really positive time. Outside of work, I just want to keep living life to its fullest in the future, and maybe travel some more. Ideally, I'd like to buy my four children houses too! That way, they'll have something to work towards before finishing high school."

With this amazing track record under his belt and so much hope for the future, it fits perfectly that Zeb's final words to anyone hoping to enter the industry in the future are so positive:

"I'd advise anyone looking at real estate to learn what works for you, and make sure you're comfortable asking tough questions. Always be hungry, focus on the best of everything. And above all, always stay humble."

Who are Australia’s property investment demographics?

Are you guilty of our top three home staging clichés?

May, 2017 by

At the end of March, the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA) announced the end of property investment. Well, almost – it introduced some strict lending measures, which will make it much more difficult to secure an investment home loan without significant existing capital.

APRA stated that, in particular, it wanted to curb interest-only lending as the housing market wasn’t completely stable. But who does this actually impact? Let’s look at who Australia’s property investors are that have been sorely impacted by these macro-prudential regulations.

Families building wealth

Investment property forms a foundation for families with young children, CoreLogic research reveals. In a May 29 article, it outlined that 18 per cent of baby boomers and 19 per cent of Gen X were property investors, while 22 per cent of people with rental property in Australia had kids between 5 and 17.

Meanwhile, Millennials were the least-represented adult demographic in the property investment sphere, with 12 per cent of this group owning rental real estate.

12 per cent of Millennials are currently property investors.12 per cent of Millennials are currently property investors.

Kyle Davis, Head of Property Services Marketing at CoreLogic suggested that older generations are more able to invest because they have paid off more of their mortgages, and therefore have significant equity to leverage into second or third real estate purchases.

However, with just a fifth of Gen X and baby boomers taking advantage of this, could there be more room for people to use their family home as a building block in a long-term investment strategy?

Finding ways through the roadblocks

While investment for existing home owners may be simpler than they think, first-time buyers have larger obstacles to work through. CoreLogic’s research shows that for Millennials, the biggest impediments to buying property in Australia are:

  • Securing a deposit (49 per cent agree)
  • Interest rates (44 per cent)
  • Job security and loan approval (both 41 per cent)

So clearly, the road to buying real estate or becoming part of those investor demographics is about more than having equity in your home. To get started on the property ladder, many variables have to come together – and it’s difficult to do it alone.

Whether buyers are looking for an inner-city apartment or a quarter-acre block on the outskirts, working with professionals that understand how to overcome obstacles is key. For more information on finding the right property and getting on the ladder, contact the professionals at Raine & Horne.

“Real estate favours the bold” – Raine & Horne Semaphore’s Kate Smith on being the best

Kate cropped

May, 2017 by

Kate Smith is an inspiration to real estate agents everywhere. The award-winning mother and Principal of Raine & Horne Semaphore in South Australia has been in the industry since the age of 19, and is always looking to improve her performance.

We had a chat to Kate about her career in real estate and what it takes to make it as a woman in a competitive and male-dominated industry.

A family affair

Kate’s mother Helen started Raine & Horne Semaphore back in 1983. Following in her mother’s footsteps, Kate began working for the family business in an administration role when she was 19. After that, she went on to achieve her sales license and gain a Diploma of Property Services that led to her becoming a principal.

Since she started out in real estate, Kate acknowledges that a lot of changes have occurred.

“When I began, online marketing was not prominent. There has been big huge turn in online marketing, buyer relations, CRM systems and email marketing.”

However, they’re challenges she has risen to, incorporating advances in tech into her strategies with ease.

Tech developments have changed how real estate agents work, Kate says.Tech developments have changed how real estate agents work, Kate says.

Success is about good relationships

Kate doesn’t have a single standout sale because she tries to make every sale successful.

“For me, the best sales are when we pair the right buyer with the right property without having to market or open the home. Having a close relationship with our purchasers allows me to pair the right property to them when it comes up which is minimum fuss for our vendors and always a happy outcome.”

Balancing motherhood and career

Kate’s proudest career moment to date has been winning the 2015/16 REISA residential salesperson award. But it wasn’t just that she won it; it was the fact that she was able to do this while she was pregnant.

“Being able to achieve this whilst being pregnant and to be recognised within what is a very competitive industry especially being up against a very male-dominated category was a great achievement for me,” she says.

Keeping it personal

One of the most important things for any real estate agent is strong communication skills – and Kate knows better than most how to make this work.

“It’s all about how you make people feel.

“It’s all about how you make people feel – they have to be happy and comfortable talking about the big decisions with you. For a lot of people I work with, emails and texts just don’t cut it – no amount of technology is better than a simple phone call.”

Telephone and face to face interaction is “the cornerstone of every successful agent, really. Real estate is stressful – you have to be able to communicate clearly, and often handle difficult conversations. You’re often telling people what they need to hear, and that’s not always what they want to hear. Real estate favours the bold.”

Staying on top of the competition

As a top ranked agent, Kate is aware of the competitive nature of the real estate industry, However, it’s not something that fazes her.

“I’m so proud of my efforts so far, but I don’t ever feel 100 per cent satisfied with where I am, or with my performance. There always has to be room to improve, and I am constantly striving to find ways to provide a better service to the people I work with.”

“There’s no time to rest on your laurels, you always need to be on your A game.”

“After all, real estate is incredibly competitive – there’s no time to rest on your laurels, you always need to be on your A game.”

“For me, that’s achieved by focusing on daily communication and knowing everything there is to know about the local market. I also try and be actively involved in the community, giving back as much as possible.”

“Another key element of being my best is prospecting. As an established agent, it means calling people on purchase anniversaries and seeing how they are doing; generally contacting as many past, present and future buyers as possible. Maintaining those relationships well beyond the transaction is key.”

The future of real estate

Kate believes that as the wider industries continue to evolve, agencies will need to restructure the way they do business.

“I think we’ll soon see a big focus on bilingual agents that can build relationships with foreign buyers. There will also be a lot of expansion into the online world, with web-based marketing becoming a cornerstone of most campaigns.

Bilingual agents will be a crucial part of real estate moving forward.Bilingual agents will be a crucial part of real estate moving forward.

A helping hand for the future

Kate has one word of advice for agents that are just starting out – persist, persist, persist.

“You have to be prepared for a lot of setbacks and heartbreak. But if you keep going, stay consistent and professional, and always make the client your top priority, you can succeed. You’ll be working hard, working a lot, and never making it about yourself – but those sacrifices make the successes all the more rewarding.”

To get in touch with Kate, or for any questions about real estate in South Australia, contact the team at Raine & Horne Semaphore.

Agent Profile: Peter Vetten

May, 2017 by

When in doubt, ask the experts – and they don't come much better than Peter Vetten. As the Principal of Raine & Horne Mandurah, Peter's passion for commercial real estate is widely known. His energy and experience in the industry has led to him being one of the top ranked agents in the region.

We spoke to Peter to get his insight into how up and coming agents can succeed in an increasingly competitive industry. 

"I was more of a figures man"

Everyone starts somewhere – and for Peter, his beginnings come from another competitive industry. 

"I used to be a merchant banker, specialising in large ticket property finance. When the merchant banking industry fell apart after the '87 stock market crash, I got myself an agent's license. The economy was in a pretty poor state, but real estate was something that I knew. I wanted to go down the commercial vein because I was more of a figures man."

Peter Vetten made the move from merchant banking to real estate.Peter Vetten made the move from merchant banking to real estate.

"I started with Raine & Horne about 17 years ago at Raine & Horne West Perth. I was a one-man band for a reasonable period of time and then started to expand. I came to Mandurah, where I am now, 10 years ago."

Local flavour

Since moving to Mandurah, Peter has found plenty to love about the place. 

"There's a broad spectrum, something for everyone."

"We're on the water's edge, and it's very pretty down here. This town is now starting to get known for being a great place to retire because you can buy so cheaply here and you're only an hour out of Perth."

"One of the advantages of living in Mandurah is that there is a lot of development going on. We've seen land development, we've seen multi-storey unit development. And then we've got waterfront properties, and little properties worth about $250,000. There's a broad spectrum, something for everyone."

A career of milestones

With such a long history in real estate, Peter has his fair share of success stories. However, when pressed for his ultimate highlights, he had some clear events in mind. 

"Last year I sold an office complex that had Officeworks as an anchor tenant. We sold that for $13.5 million, which is one of the biggest sales I've ever done." 

"I'm also really proud of the way I grew into the position. In my first three to five years, times were particularly tough as we came out of the GFC. But over the next few years, I worked hard and became the dominant commercial sales agent in Mandurah."

Don't lose sight of having a bit of personality.

Don't forget that it's about people

When it comes to advice he'd give to up and coming agents, there's a clear through line for Peter – be personable.  

"Don't lose sight of having a bit of personality. I think a lot my clients like being with me because I'm jovial and energetic. Be positive too – there's no point worrying abut things, letting them get you down. You've just got to work out the best way to adapt to changes, and move forward with your head held high." 

When the best doesn't even know it

What do you expect people to say when they discuss their top ranking as a real estate agent? While most try and remain humble, some – Peter included – aren't even aware of their staggering achievements to begin with. 

"Top agent? Awesome! I don't really realise that I am a top-ranked agent. I'm not big-headed about it at all – I keep my feet firmly on the ground. I'm always trying to improve things. I'm in my sixties, and yet I still listen to training tapes most mornings – I enjoy it."

Final words for budding agents

Stay positive. Keep your energy high. Constantly prospect.

"Stay positive. Keep your energy high. Constantly prospect."

"Don't expect instant gratification – this is a long game not a short game. You're not walking into a car yard where they need to get a deal done in a couple of hours. Here you've got to deal with people for many years – you've got to become their most trusted advisor."

"Don't let things get you down. You're going to get a lot of hits, a lot of negative stuff happening to you on the way through. Don't let it affect you – it's not personal. Get up, understand that it's not going to be the last time it happens. Work out if there's anything you could have done better and then move on."

Why work with Raine & Horne?

With such an excellent history of working with Raine & Horne, Peter is the perfect person to ask about why he loves to work here – and he doesn't disappoint. 

"Last year the Raine & Horne principal's retreat was in China. I was invited to come along, and it was absolutely awesome."

"You see other people who are succeeding and we're all doing it in slightly different ways, because many of us have very different environments. We're not all in the CBD of Sydney where they're selling units as fast as they're building them. It's nice to know because that sound boarding has definitely improved my business."

"The thing that I like about Raine & Horne the most are the conferences. You learn from many people and you become part of the Raine & Horne family. I go to a lot of these conferences and I would highly recommend them to anybody. It's a little bit of magic that should be sought after by up and coming reps."

Get in touch with Raine & Horne Mandurah to experience the difference Peter's team can make to your buying or selling journey. 

Is your home as energy efficient as possible?

How can you turn your home green?

May, 2017 by

Do you live in a green home? Eco-friendly houses and apartments can save you money over time, and they're good for the environment – what's not to like? Of course, if your home isn't environmentally friendly, it can take some time and investment to change. Your current place might not be quite right, so moving into a new one that's already green might be the best option.

If that's the path you choose, make sure you get in touch with your local Raine & Horne agent to discuss how you can sell your home, and where you should be looking for a new one.

The best green features for a home

One of the most important features of an energy efficient home is the insulation.

One of the most important features of an energy efficient home is the insulation. This includes windows, doors and even the roof.

If your windows aren't double-glazed, for example, you might be letting a lot of cool air out, or a lot of heat in. In the hot Australian summer, you might have your air conditioner blowing the whole time you're at home. However, that might all be going to waste if your home isn't properly insulated. All of that nice cold air could be shooting straight out the windows, or out through a crack under a door. In the colder months, the same thing might happen to any heat in your home.

Good insulation for your home could be all you need to completely change the environment. If you're already thinking about moving home, however, you likely don't want to invest in upgrading your current place.

Another great way to improve your energy rating at home (and to cut down on your monthly power bill) is to change all of your appliances. That old washing machine that you've had for the last decade could be costing you a lot more per year than buying a new one would. Don't be afraid of change, and consider the savings in the long run if you're worried about investing a lot of money in newer, more energy efficient appliances.

How can you make your home more eco-friendly?How can you make your home more eco-friendly?

How can we help?

We understand that making a home environmentally friendly can take time and money. Talk to your local Raine & Horne agent for help finding either a new green home, or a way to make your current one more energy efficient. It could save you a whole lot of money over the next decade!

Some design trends are better left in the past

What interior design trends have set sail?

April, 2017 by

It's always nice to have the latest interior design trend in your home, whether it's metallic light shades or blacked-out tapware. It makes the space feel modern and fresh, and it's always a talking point when family or nosy neighbours come over for a snoop around your home!

However, not all decor trends last more than a few months. In fact, some of them should really never have been in your home in the first place, but don't worry if they're still hanging around. We're here to help! If you're really not sure about any of your decor choices, remember that your local Raine & Horne agent can recommend a great interior designer so your home is always up with the times.

So, what trends are 'out' now?

Mason jars in every possible corner

They can look cool with a candle in them, or as a makeshift vase on a table, but any more than three or four in a house is an overload.

Mason jars were a big thing in the early 2000s, but people really took it a step too far when they started using them for every single blank space in their homes.

They can look cool with a candle in them, or as a makeshift vase on a table, but any more than three or four in a house is an overload. Now, there are plenty of better options for vases and candle holders, so go shopping!

Lights around mirrors

We all struggle to get enough light in our bathrooms, especially above our mirrors where we really need to see all the little details of our faces. However, that's no excuse for Hollywood-style lights around a mirror.

These are okay in dressing rooms of theatres, but not in the everyday home of an Australian. When the sun isn't shining in through the window, make sure you have a powerful, efficient light bar installed above the mirror as an alternative. It won't date like Hollywood lights, and it's just as effective.

White, white, white

All-white rooms were a trend in the early 2010s because they looked clean and futuristic. They can look great when done right, but they can also look extremely messy with only a small amount of dirt or grime anywhere.

All white rooms are out in favour of colours.All white rooms are out in favour of colours.

White rooms aren't practical, they can get dirty easily, and there are so many great colours that give a room personality! Choose Greenery, if you don't know what to pick, because it's the Pantone Colour of the Year for 2017 and we think they know what they're on about.

For more interior design help, or to discuss buying or selling your home, make sure you get in touch with the friendly team at Raine & Horne.

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