Q: You’ve worked within the property industry for more than two decades, can you tell us a little about your career progression and what sparked your interest in real estate and sales?

A: Early in my corporate career I attended in-house sales training and was inspired by the sales processes that lead to closing a sale. From then on, I knew I would be in a role that allowed me to use these skills, as well as meet new people. I progressed to sales management roles which allowed me to empower my salespeople to be successful. Residential real estate became a personal hobby of mine when I bought my first property. And you know what they say, “find something you love to do, and you will never work a day in your life.”

Q: You’ve just started in your new role as National Sales Manager – a newly created position to cater to the ever-expanding AVID portfolio – what do you hope to bring to the role?

A: The National Sales Manager is part of the Centre of Excellence; whose charter is to develop a cohesive and market-leading sales team. I hope to consolidate existing processes, expand current insights and ensure consistency across both AVID and Villaworld Homes projects. Working with the executive team and board to secure both qualitative and quantitative data will ensure the business is informed of current market sentiment and inform decisions in relation to sales strategy, pricing and new business opportunities.

Q: You’ve mentioned that you don’t necessarily believe in “selling” property, but more so in finding a perfect match for buyers – could you tell us a little bit about this mantra and how it translates to the buying process?

A: Sales guru Jeffrey Gitomer famously said, “People don’t like to be sold – but they love to buy.“ A customer approaching your organisation is likely a genuine buyer. Unfortunately, the worst thing a salesperson can do is assume a prospective buyer’s exact wants as it indicates that they may be untrustworthy or working to an agenda. The most important part of the sales process is listening; by understanding the customers’ needs you illustrate to the buyer that you are meeting their needs, and not just “selling” them a product.

Q: How do you think the sudden changes to working from home arrangements will influence a buyer’s decision of where to live?

A: The COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges of 2020 have impacted many facets of our lives, including where we choose to live. It has been demonstrated by many organisations that working from home can be extremely productive, allowing flexibility for buyers to look at more affordable, regional areas when deciding where to live.

Q: First home buyers face many barriers when saving for their first home, how do you think incentives such as the Federal Government’s HomeBuilder Grant have helped buyers get into the market sooner than they initially anticipated?

A: The HomeBuilder Grant is ideal for first home buyers due to the income test and as it reduces the overall loan amount, allowing first home buyers to enter the market earlier than perhaps otherwise anticipated. This is especially true in metro areas where prices are higher, and most states have a First Home Owners Grant or Stamp Duty exemptions. Whilst HomeBuilder cannot form part of the deposit, the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme allows first home buyers to purchase with as little as 5 per cent and avoids the Lenders Mortgage Insurance that would typically apply, potentially saving buyers $10,000 on the deposit.

Q: As part of your role as National Sales Manager, you will be leading a team of sales consultants across the eastern seaboard of Australia, what leadership values are most important to you?

A: Leadership is always evolving, and the style changes greatly depending on the experience and capabilities of the individuals on your team as well as at which point in the cycle the business is at. I think most people appreciate transparency and being trusted or empowered to do their role well.

Q: What are some of the greatest challenges facing buyers today?

A: The last few years has seen some uncertainty in the market. By April 2019, national dwelling values had fallen by a cumulative 7.4%* since peaking in October 2017, whilst currently Australian House prices are up 2.47%** year on year, based on 5 capital city aggregate. These fluctuations have purchasers questioning the timing of their purchase in the market cycle. The upside for second home buyers is that it the stage of the real estate cycle they buy in is irrelevant provided they are doing so in the same market. For first home buyers that can service the mortgage and are happy to live there for five to ten years will see real estate cycles even out price growth in that period.

Q: How have you found buyer sentiment this past year? Has it ebbed and flowed as the year progressed? What is the consensus at the moment leading into Christmas?

A: Buyer sentiment has fluctuated slightly over the last year. Late 2019 saw a strong recovery post the findings from the Royal Commission into banking, with auction clearance rates at 67.7% February 2020***, based on the weighted National average. The initial COVID-19 legislations regarding travel restrictions, auctions and open homes saw a dramatic drop in enquiry and customer sentiment in March and April this year. However, the announcement of government stimulus packages such as the HomeBuilder Grant, combined with pent up demand, has seen a strong, high-confidence market in recent months. Current economic indicators and enquiry levels are extremely positive and the market is holding steady.