Agent Advisor Blog

Read about the latest market trends, see unique listings, and get tips and advice for selling Australian real estate.

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Feature Premier Agent: 5 minutes with John Paranchi


Feature Premier Agent: 5 minutes with John Paranchi

This week our first Feature Premier Agent John Paranchi from McGrath Hunters Hill shares his predictions on the Sydney property market for the next 12 months, three key sales strategies and some advice for agents starting out.

What trends can we expect to see in the Sydney property market in 2016? 

Overall I think we will see steady growth across most parts of Sydney. Of course, some markets will perform better than others. The markets that I service, including Gladesville, Tennyson Point and Putney, will see reasonable growth over the next 12 months. The main reason for this is the relative lack of properties available compared to the demand combined with great amenities on offer, like waterfront parks, great schools, several major shopping centres nearby and easy access to Sydney’s CBD.

With an outstanding track record for exceptional results and speedy sales (in FY14 John sold 65 homes worth almost $90 million with an average of 31 days on the market) what three strategies do you find are key to maintaining this?

1. Positioning and presentation: You need to get an accurate assessment of the property as today's buyers are very savvy to what's under/over priced. It is crucial to get the price range right up front, then go from there to put the right strategy together and get the presentation of the property right.

2. Meticulous follow-ups: Call your hot buyers before the property listing goes live. It’s so important not to be lazy in following up with hot and old leads. Over the years we've all met hundreds of buyers to whom we promise to call if anything suitable comes along that meets their requirements. In real estate it is so important to make good of this promise with follow up calls. Through continuous follow ups you will gain homebuyers trust over time which will make it easier for you to negotiate with them in the future. Which also in turn means a better outcome for you and your vendor down the track.

3. Communication: Consistent communication with both buyers and vendors during the campaign is key. You should call your vendors daily and meet with them weekly to review progress. It’s also a good idea to talk to your contract holders consistently and try to meet with bidders before the auction.

With over 24 years experience as an agent, is there any advice you would pass on to a new agent?

Apart from working extremely hard and following up with every potential buyer, I would definitely recommend seeking out a mentor when you’re first starting out in the industry. Buddy up with a colleague, which does not necessarily mean someone from the same office, to help you through the process and help to find your feet.

What do you find most challenging about working in real estate? How do you and your team work together to overcome these challenges?

I think the toughest thing about working in real estate is the emotions, both on buyer and seller sides. For most people buying or selling a home is one of the most emotional transactions you'll ever make, so we need to relate to and empathise with our clients and be mindful of their emotions. The best way to go about this is through consistent and transparent communication throughout the selling process.

Why do you list with Homely and what do you like about the Premier Agent product? 

The reasons I list with Homely is because it's clean, easy and fast to use. What I like about the Premier Agent product is that a potential client can really dissect the performance of any agent. They can easily see what an agent has sold up to three years back, and the map listings feature is a powerful way to showcase how active you are in your core area.

View John's Premier Agent profile here or take a look at one of his current listings on Homely at 48 Melba Drive, East Ryde, NSW.

Learn more about Homely Premier Agent or sign up!

Agent bio:

John Paranchi is a Sales Agent with McGrath Hunters Hill. Consistently ranked at the top of McGrath’s 650+ agent network, ranked as high as Number 6 in Real Estate Business Magazine’s ‘Top 100 Agents’ and awarded The Number 1 Sales Agent in the Australian Real Estate Awards. A Partner at McGrath Hunters Hill, John has an outstanding track record for exceptional sales results in any market conditions. With 24 years of local sales experience, John has lived in the Ryde/Gladesville area all his life and has an unbeatable knowledge of the local market. He has set suburb records in every one of his specialty areas of Gladesville, Putney, Tennyson Point and Ryde – a feat none of his competitors can match.


About Homely:

Homely is a new way to search for real estate for sale and properties to rent in Sydney and right across Australia. Homely incorporates beautiful design and community engagement, to create an enjoyable and simple experience that helps you find a new home quickly.

Check out our suburb reviews and Q&A pages to see what everyone is talking about.


We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog please leave a comment below and share it with your friends. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at


Feature agent: 5 minutes with Ben Munro Smith


Feature agent: 5 minutes with Ben Munro Smith

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 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


Agent bio:

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



About Homely:

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.

Check out our suburb reviews and Q&A pages to see what everyone is talking about.


We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog please leave a comment below and share it with your friends. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at


Ask Rocky & Rob


Ask Rocky & Rob

Q: What advice would you give to someone looking to buy property at auction?

A: Buying a property at auction can be a very scary thing to do for a buyer, especially if they haven't participated in one before.  

As agents and auctioneers we typically work for the vendor and are employed to achieve a desired outcome for them, however this shouldn’t stop us from helping a buyer achieve their ideal result at auction.

We’re big believers in providing quality buyer management. In this relationship it is really important to understand what the buyer wants to achieve and then put them on the right path to succeed using your valuable experience within the industry.  

Always remember ‘the buyer of today is the seller of tomorrow’. We often hear anecdotes where buyers complain that their agent didn't assist them enough in finding and buying the right property. Obviously this could be for many reasons. The buyer may have missed out on their dream home because of unrealistic expectations or misinformation on pricing given to them by agents in the past.

Whatever the case, buyers won’t forget bad experiences with you and agents like you. Keep this in mind when you’re assisting them and set out to provide as an exceptional service as possible, so they tell their friends and come back to you down the track.

The key here is coaching and education. Help buyers by researching prices and clearance rates in their areas of interest, explaining how the auction process works and setting out a strategy they are comfortable with.

Remind the buyer they will need to get their written mortgage pre-approval prior to the auction date and they are required to pay a deposit on the day, usually 10 per cent of the sale price. 

Recommend attending a few ‘practice’ auctions before the real thing, so they get a feel for auctions and know what to expect. Afterwards review what happened and discuss how they should handle the same scenario when they step up to bid. 

Make sure your buyer doesn’t just stand there waiting for someone to bid and then react, guide them to be a proactive buyer and the aggressor come auction day.

Bidding tips and strategies:

Tip 1. Open the bidding.
Advise the buyer to open the bidding. When someone else bids encourage them to bid straight away and repeat this throughout the auction. Most buyers will be put off by this and lose the desire to keep bidding because they miss the chance to feel a sense of ownership of the property and don’t form an emotional attachment to it. 

Tip 2. Bid with odd numbers.
Direct the buyer to open with an odd number and to always increase their bid in odd numbers. This may slow down the auctioneer, and confuse and slow the momentum of the other buyers. Make sure the buyer understands the importance of standing their ground and being aggressive at auction. Suggest they take control and show that they mean business by putting in their odd numbered bids straight after everyone else’s.

Tip 3. Wait it out.
This one is a riskier tactic where you want others to bid first and you give them the chance to gain a sense of ownership and become emotionally invested in the property. Here the buyer should wait until the very end of the auction to place a bid when everyone else has stopped. At this point a majority of buyers are likely to have reached or exceeded their budget and have already let the property go.

Tip 4. Use research to plan your bidding.
Remind buyers to do their homework. This will help them to gain a better understanding of how much the property will cost. They should look into what comparable properties in the area have sold for by weighing up their key features, such as the number of bedrooms, whether off street parking is included or not, the property's condition and size. Also, consider what the overall growth has been in the suburb over the past 12 months and beyond. Look into plans for future developments that will impact the value of the property, like shopping centres, train stations or schools. Get the buyer to factor in all of this research when thinking about how much they're willing to pay for the property and setting their maximum bid before auction day.

You will find your buyer will really appreciate that you took the time to help them where other agents didn't bother. Even if they don't buy from you immediately, we can assure you they will remember the help and advise you provided and they’ll come back to you in the future because of it.

If you have any questions for Rocky and Rob please send them to or add them to the comments section below.

Happy selling!

From the Homely Team.

Blogger bios:

Rocky Bartolotto is the National Sales Director at and works closely with real estate groups in Australia, tasked with building strategic partnerships and growth. Connect with Rocky on Twitter and LinkedIn.


As the NSW Sales Manager for, Rob Trovato focuses on building relationships and partnerships with real estate groups across all of NSW. Connect with Rob on Twitter and LinkedIn.



20 ways to get more leads and grow your business


20 ways to get more leads and grow your business

With so many marketing opportunities and strategies out there it can be tricky to know where to focus your energy and funds. To help point you in the right direction we’ve come up with 20 ideas to consider when looking to generate new leads for your real estate business.

1. Build real estate referral networks from business partnerships. A fantastic way to expand your referral business is to establish relationships with bankers, finance brokers, lenders, land developers and insurance agents and other professionals that typically have relationships with clients looking to buy and sell property.


2. Use Twitter strategically to find new followers that are local to your area. Introduce yourself and engage with your followers on a daily basis to keep your business front of mind which will hopefully create new leads.

3. Drive more traffic to your website by boosting your SEO ranking by linking your website to other sites.

4. Start a blog to showcase your industry knowledge and expertise, keep clients engaged and updated, and drive more traffic to your website. Some good agent blogs to check out:

5. Strategically reconnect with past clients, family and friends by phone and email to see if they require your professional expertise or know anyone that does. This can work wonders for your referral business. 

6. Use direct mail marketing to target leads in a specific location. Real estate postcards of ‘just listed’ and ‘just sold’ properties are a cheap and effective way to stay in touch with past clients and encourage new local leads to get in contact with you.


7. Previewing property is a cost effective way to rapidly expand your client database, to grow your listing inventory and generate more leads.

8. Use pay-per click advertising, such as Google Adwords, where you pay to be found in search engines which helps increase traffic to your website and online enquiry.

9. Create a monthly or quarterly email and direct mail newsletter to communicate your expertise and valuable real estate insights to old, current and prospective clients. Newsletters remind past clients that you’re still in business, that you know what you’re talking about and makes them more likely to come back to you in the future and send you referrals.


10. Get organised. Once you have a good flow of leads coming in you should acquire a customer relationship management (CRM) system to help organise your leads contact details, and to record and schedule follow ups to make sure you capitalise on your pool of leads as often and effectively as possible.

11. Run Facebook ads back to your landing pages.

12. Organise a group of local business owners and hold a fundraiser for charity where you can meet the locals, and hand out business cards and business pens.

13. Hold competitions and giveaways for your social media audience to build up positive word of mouth, page likes and shares.

14. Sponsor a local football team, animal shelter, little athletics or music school. Sponsorship can be a great way to build up community good will around your brand and create lasting and loyal connections with the locals.

15. Attend industry conferences and real estate events. Pass out your business cards to agents from out of town and let them know you pay for referrals and for them to contact you if they have any clients looking in your region and vice versa.

16. Provide up to date and unique content for your listings, update your data frequently and offer a multi-platform experience to potential clients to help convince them to trust you with their sale or purchase decision.

17. Use Instagram effectively to market your business. One good idea for Instagram is to produce short testimonial videos from satisfied clients. 


18. Generate new leads by LinkedIn crawling.

19. Speak at local school career events or real estate training courses. Remember to record any speaking engagements you have and post the videos to your YouTube channel. This will assure clients you know your stuff and shows that you give back to your local community.

20. Continue adding your listings to Homely for free!

The key to growing your business, depending on your resources and size, is to select between one and five of the above strategies and focus on following them through until you start seeing some results. The worst thing you can do is over extend yourself by trying to do too much all at once.

Do you have a tip or tactic for lead generation that we missed? Please add it to the comments below. 


Happy selling!

From the Homely Team


We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog please leave a comment below and share it with your friends. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at


How to ask clients for referrals


How to ask clients for referrals

Ask any experienced real estate agent where their best source of business comes from and they will most likely reply 'referrals'. A few clients will do this unprompted but unfortunately for a majority it won’t cross their mind, even if they are very pleased with your service.

When it comes to generating referral business you have to take matters into your own hands and make the most of your existing and past clients. After all, what better advertisement is there than a satisfied client spreading the word about their positive experience with you and your business?

The prospect of asking clients to refer business to you can seem daunting at first or just a little bit awkward. We’ve come up with some simple strategies to help you learn to successfully build up your referral business and ultimately generate more leads for the future.

handshake referral

Knowing what to say and when to say it

It’s never a bad time to ask a client if they know anyone looking to sell or buy. You shouldn’t be afraid to request referrals before, during or after working with a satisfied client.

According to the highest rate of referrals comes from fostering ongoing working relationships with clients that are in the process of moving.

Similar to the phenomenon when you are looking to buy a new car and you see the same model you are considering everywhere you go, when a seller is moving they also generally have a heightened awareness of other people that are looking to do the same. So it’s a good idea to ask clients to keep an ear out during conversations with family, friends and co-workers for people in need of your services and expertise.

Most agents shy away from scripts because they can sound too pushy, contrived and sales pitchy. But reported top-producing real estate practitioners learn to use scripts to effectively generate new referral business.

A crucial factor in successfully asking clients for referral business is to become familiar with a few tried and tested real estate scripts that you are comfortable and confident using. This will come down to you and your sales style as an individual. Over time through trial and error you’ll become increasingly at ease and familiar with certain lines and phrases that work well for you.

Some simple example scripts to try:

During initial meetings-

“My goal is that at the end of the marketing and selling process, you will be delighted with our service and the price you received. We want you to become an advocate of ours by sending us referrals. That’s how our business grows. We will work hard to make sure you are delighted with the process, and we have no doubt you will send us referrals.”

“I don’t make a living off any one transaction. I make my living off of your referral business. I don’t get that unless you are happy. If you’re pleased with my service, will you refer me to your friends and family?”

Short and simple: “Who else do you know that needs to move right now?”

During the sales process-

“Congratulations your loan was approved today. Now you can get ready to move. By the way, can I ask you something? You know that I have been doing a good job for you, and now that you understand how I work and the processes we use, we could use your help in referring us to other people who want to buy or sell a home. Do you know of anyone that may be in need of my services?”

“As you are in the process of moving, you will overhear a lot of conversations from different people looking to move when you’re out and about. When you do, would you mind giving them my phone number and ask them to call me?”

Generate more referrals from a referral: “It’s been really great working with you thus far, and I feel grateful to John for introducing us. I just wanted to take the time to ask you if you know anyone else that is looking to buy of sell a home, and if you would feel comfortable introducing them to me?”

After closing the deal-

“You have been so great to work with and I find that people tend to hang around similar people. I would love to work with more people like you, do you know anyone looking to move in the near future?”

“I appreciated your business, and I look forward to doing business with you again. I also would like to help any of your friends or acquaintances who may be coming onto the market or people in your neighbourhood who might be selling.”

“I want to work with more with clients like you, and I find that people looking to move know others in the same position. How would you feel about referring my services to them?”

“Working with you was a pleasure, and it’s important to me to make sure you have been happy with my service. I have built my business on customer satisfaction. How would you rate my service to you? If you have friends, relatives, or associates who need real estate assistance, would you feel comfortable referring me? Do you know of anyone I should be talking to right now?”

Strategies to boost your referral business

Building a strong referral business is very important for sourcing new leads and can sometimes be a sorely neglected form of prospecting. Good agents should be constantly looking to expand their business and referral base by having a system in place for staying in contact with valuable satisfied customers. Try building up your referral business by:

  • Adding a call for referrals to your marketing collateral. Something along the lines of “the highest compliment our customers can give us is to recommend us to a friend. We appreciate your referrals!” on your email signature, quarterly newsletter, business cards, website and brochures can work well.
referrals. businesscard
  • Staying in touch and thank people for their referrals. People love to feel needed and appreciated, so when someone sends you a referral make sure you call and thank them and keep them updated throughout the sale. If you continue to show interest in past clients that send you business they’ll send you even more simply because you show that you care. You could even reward people who regularly refer you business with a small financial incentive, a house warming gift, a bottle of wine or by buying them a nice dinner.
thankyou referrals
  • Following up clients after the sale. Following up clients after your job is complete shows that you are willing to go the extra mile and will make it a lot easier to ask for referrals later on. Try calling them two to three weeks after closing and say “Hi Neil, how did the move go? Are you settling in OK? Is there anything I can do to help you? If not, I’ll call again in a month to check in”. Then a month later call back and make the request for referrals, “I know we did a great job for you and I’m hoping you will refer your neighbours and acquaintances to us. Do you know of anyone planning to buy or sell a home?”.


Remember if you don’t ask you won’t receive. You have to train satisfied clients to work for you and refer business your way by regularly reminding them to do so throughout your sales relationship. Are there any tactics or phrases you've used in the past to sucessfully build your referral business? Please share them below.


Happy selling!

From the Homely Team


We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog please leave a comment below and share it with your friends. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at


Ask Rocky & Rob


Ask Rocky & Rob

Q: What are the key points to highlight when selling to an investor?

A: There are potentially three different kinds of investors you will come across and each will have different needs and criteria when looking to buy an investment property. Here are some of the key points to emphasise for each type of buyer.

1. Long-term investors

With a long term investor the vital selling point is return on investment (ROI). If they are planning on holding on to the property for years to come they will want to be assured that its probable gross yield will be worth it in the long haul. 

One good indicator of a property’s potential to have a high ROI is to calculate its gross rental yield to illustrate how much cash the property will produce annually as a percentage of its value. This provides an easy way for your investor to draw comparisons between the yield values of several investment properties they are considering [remember gross rental yield= annual rental income (weekly rental income x 52)/ property value x 100].

A second attribute to highlight for long-term investors is the key tax benefits available to property investors. Tax benefits property investors can claim as a deduction from their overall income include negative gearing, deductable costs and depreciation.

2. Short-term investors

A short-term investor is more likely to be interested in capital growth rates, where they are looking for a property that will put them in a better position financially in the short to medium term.

A purchase that provides a capital growth of between seven and ten per cent is key for an investor to build long-term wealth. So, when the time comes to sell they want to know that they are likely to be able to make a profit on what they originally paid for the property.

When selling to a short-term investor look in areas that are in demand and have a low price point. Vacancy rates and auction clearance rates are good indicators of whether a suburb is in demand or not.

When talking about the area and why the property has the potential to appreciate in value allude to the reasons good capital growth is likely down the track. Such as having access to important amenities like public transport, hospitals, shops, cafes, schools and an upward trend in land value over time.

3. The ‘Rentvestor’

This new generation of first homebuyers, aka ‘rentvestors’, are looking for affordable investment properties in growing outer suburbs or even in some cases interstate, and continuing to rent where they want to live due to lifestyle or financial factors.

This can be the best option for younger buyers to get their foot in the door of the property market and a wise way to build up equity for say two to three years that will help to build an investment portfolio and purchase a home where they want to live in the future.

These buyers will want to know about the general rental appeal of the area, whether it will be easy to rent out and find reliable tenants, and if it is close to public transport or if there are plans for future infrastructure to go in.

Also, remind a ‘rentvestor’ they are making a good choice in terms of the tax savings to be had, where the interest payments on their investment property are tax deductable along with any property related expenses incurred.     


If you have any questions for Rocky and Rob please send them to


Happy selling!

From the Homely Team.


Blogger bios:

Rocky Bartolotto is the National Sales Director at and works closely with real estate groups in Australia, tasked with building strategic partnerships and growth. Connect with Rocky on Twitter and LinkedIn.



As the NSW Sales Manager for, Rob Trovato focuses on building relationships and partnerships with real estate groups across all of NSW. Connect with Rob on Twitter and LinkedIn.