Disruptors in Real Estate

We are hearing the word “disruptors” quite frequently these days, used to describe traditional industries undergoing a shake-up to the way they have always done business. Think transportation with taxis and the advent of Uber, or Amazon’s effect on retail shopping. The combination of technology, forward thinking entrepreneurs and low barrier entries to market have seen consumers benefit from more choice. At SA Listings we have introduced a refreshing business model for the transaction of real estate turning the traditional way of selling real estate on its head.

The SA Listings business model is based on a fee for service, not commission. I worked for many years in Industry Superannuation Funds and believe strongly in the fee for service model over the Retail Superannuation Funds commission model and thought “why doesn’t this apply to real estate?” I had a property to sell and my only choice at the time was to sell it myself or pay a ridiculous commission of 2% or higher, inclusive of GST of the sale price, plus marketing and all other necessary expenses on top. Being time poor, selling it myself was not an option and I had little choice but to pay the generous commission to an Agent. It got me thinking……

Why not save people thousands of dollars and offer an exceptional high-quality service based on a fixed dollar amount?

Is this the Real Estate elephant in the room?

Could the successful Industry Super Fund model of charging a flat administration fee also apply to Real Estate? I went to work and over three years analysed available data about the time it takes to list and market a property, negotiate the sale and close the contract to determine the dollar cost average of selling a property based on a fixed hourly rate. The service and marketing was not to be compromised in delivery of the service and these factors were all added to the equation. My background as a CPA enabled me to crunch the numbers and come up with a new model.

The SA Listings model is based on a choice of low cost, fixed price sale packages inclusive of a full agent service with very high standards, all marketing, all Government searches and Form 1 – everything needed for a Real Estate Agent to successfully obtain the best price for your property. I am often asked where is the incentive to obtain the very best price for us if you are not commission based and my answer is simple: “By achieving the very best price and providing you with exceptional service means you will refer us to your friends and family”. The dollar amount is not the driver to do my job as a professional real estate agent.

As a new kid on the block we are often being criticised by other Agents as “ruining the profession” for charging a fixed fee and even some of our real estate professional associations are critics of the fixed fee model. We take all this criticism with a grain of salt, what we know is our model has strong support from the general public and that is all that matters to us. At SA Listings, what we care about, is providing you with an exceptional service in the sale of your home and getting you the very best price for your home whilst protecting your hip pocket from price gouging. Change is in the air and it is refreshing!

If you have a property to sell in SA and like our way of doing business, we would love to hear from you. Currently we are only operating in the SA market, however, if you have a property to sell interstate or are an Agent who resonates with this way of doing business, we are teaming up with like minded Agents interstate to replicate the model. To find out more about SA Listings, please visit, www.salistings.com.au. Please feel free to drop us a line and tell us what you think, we would love to hear from you.

Justine Thomson

What Price to Offer?


As an Agent I am often asked the same question from each and every potential purchaser, “How much should I offer?” The answer to this question is: there is no answer! As the Agent selling the home I work for the Vendor and my role is to achieve the best possible price for them – but I’m unable to advise you, the purchaser, of what price you should offer for the property.

However, to give you some insight into ways to determine the offer price to secure the home of your dreams, SA Listings suggests you think about the following points:

  • Do your own research on the area and current market sale prices for similar properties. To assist you with this, a good Agent should be able to provide you with a list of recent sales of comparable properties in the area.
  • A good Agent should always consider current market prices for similar properties sold in the area and should price the property accordingly. Your own research, plus the agent’s comparable price list, should give you an indication of where you believe the property price sits. Remember, the price advertised will be the Vendors expectation so your offer should, as a minimum, be in this range.
  • Have you missed out on previous properties you were interested in? If so, the reason may be is you are low-balling your offer in the hope of securing a property below current market conditions or you may be seeking a property outside your budget. I can tell you, the chances of securing a property using this approach is slim. A good Agent prices the property in accord with current market conditions and if you low-ball an offer the Agent will likely recommend the Vendor reject it. The likelihood of securing a property using this tactic is as probable as daily rain in Dubai. Do not low-ball, go in with your best offer from the start.
  • Consider carefully any conditions you include with the offer. An Agent may recommend a Vendor accept a lower offer if no conditions are attached, for example, a cash unconditional may be more attractive than subject to sale. So be prepared: have finance pre-approvals in place, offer an appropriate deposit and know what you are prepared to do regarding settlement timeframes. Being prepared here provides confidence to the Vendor of your ability to pay for the property and shows you are serious about the property and your offer.
  • Remember, each property is unique and if you have been searching for some time and this property ticks most of your boxes then don’t miss out, put your best foot forward from the start. Too many people miss out by trying to snag “that bargain” when in reality, had they put in a realistic offer initially they would have secured the property.

contractOne final note, don’t bother asking the Agent where your offer sits compared to others. A good Agent will not disclose this as it is against South Australian legislation. The agent is unable to tell you any details of other offers, other than the fact there are other offers. If you wish, you can ask for this in writing.

If this home is THE ONE, your inner Zen, your sanctuary, the right floor plan, the right location and within budget then don’t be influenced by other offers, just focus on what you want, what you can afford and put forward your best and final offer. You may not get a second chance. If your best offer is not good enough, be prepared to walk away, another one will come along.

If after reading this blog, you are unsure on how to go about the negotiation process you can always engage a Buyers Agent to act on your behalf. SA Listings offers this service – for more information contact SA Listings at info@salistings.com.au

Justine Thomson