This week we had a quick chat with Ben Munro Smith from Belle Property Balmain to get some insights into Sydney's property market, advice on what it takes to be a successful real estate agent and the best spots in Balmain worth stopping for a bite.
What kinds of trends are you seeing in the property market in Sydney’s Inner West at the moment?
People are looking further afield than we have previously seen. More and more people are choosing key lifestyle suburbs and then beginning the search for the perfect house. As an agent, this is fantastic because it means we get to work with people from all over Sydney. The Balmain Peninsula has so much appeal to Sydneysiders, we make most people’s lists!
What do you find most challenging about your job?
One of the biggest challenges about working in real estate and certainly one of the things that makes me love it, is that you always need to be ‘on’. It doesn’t matter how many opens you’ve had that day or how many properties you’ve sold that year – it is absolutely imperative to make sure you are representing yourself and your clients in the best possible way.
I’ll never forget what my grandfather told me when I got my first job, you need to treat each customer as if it was your first for the day. I’ve tried to take that attitude with me to every job I’ve had since.
In what ways do you leverage social media for marketing and lead generation?
Social media is a great opportunity to engage with the local community. For me, this platform isn’t all about selling, it’s about being part of the community, supporting local businesses and connecting with people.
It has also been great for introducing me to clients which I may not have had the opportunity to meet otherwise. I think where social media helps an agent stand out is that it shows the personality behind the agent. Real estate is a people game. A brand might get you through a door but ultimately a client will decide to go with you (or not!) based on you as a person. Social media helps the community get to know you and in return helps you to understand them.
One of the other great parts of being active on social media is that it gives you real time feedback from your clients. I have asked for feedback on new marketing ideas on social media and had some great responses. I’ve then been able to use this information for client sales campaigns. This year I signed up my first vendor from social media and I’ve had special 'follower' property previews which have helped to provide my client (the vendor) with real market feedback on price and the property itself.
Do you have any specific strategies or tactics you use to most effectively manage your time and follow ups?
Time management, like in any job, is something you really need to remain in control of. Being organised and having a systemised approach to each day is so important. For me, that means everything goes into my diary and at the end of each day I put together a plan of what I’m going to achieve for the following day. Keeping on top of this means I can see where I have space if something comes up and it also allows me to track my day to ensure I achieve everything I set out to. It might sound a little extreme, but it certainly works. The saying goes, fail to plan and you plan to fail, and there is some real truth in that.
What do you find most appealing and useful about homely.com.au?
Homely is a great resource for agents, buyers and the community. It gives something back to all these groups which really makes it stand out against the competition. Personally I love reading their blog for tips and industry articles. These are great to share with my clients and database.
One of my favourite features is the Q&A section. It’s great being able to answer questions and share information about my local area as well as having a platform to ask the community for some advice.
As an agent it is great to have a free platform to showcase my client’s homes for sale, especially one that is easy for buyers to use. For my business, having the ability to display listings on such a beautiful platform really helps me to stand out from other agents.
Do you have a go-to restaurant or café in Balmain?
We really are spoiled for choice in Balmain when it comes to food. All of the local café and restaurant owners are so passionate about their offering, it is tough to choose just one!
I go past Little Ethel’s most mornings on my way to work and Jamie the owner makes a mean cup of coffee, so they see a lot of me. Tom at The Lodge, just opposite my office, hosts a great spot for a drink at the end of the week and Kim from Wilhelmina’s Bar organises an amazing monthly seasonal dinner which I love to attend. I could really go on and on, there are so many great options!
Check out one of Ben's latest listings on Homely here.
Ben has extensive experience in sales and real estate having worked in the property industry for 10 years. Specialising in homes on the Balmain peninsula, Ben share’s the same enthusiasm for this part of Sydney as his clients do. He works with Belle Property Balmain, attracted to its powerful brand and broad marketing reach which assists him in attracting as many buyers as possible for his clients’ homes. Connect with Ben on LinkedIn or Twitter.
Homely is a new way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia. Homely incorporates beautiful design and community engagement, to create an enjoyable and simple experience that helps you find a new home quickly.
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