The Ups & Downs / The Booms & Busts

I have seen a very interesting industry develop over the past 40 years. In that time, I have witnessed downturns in the late 1970’s, a boom from 1986 to 1987, a downturn in the 1990’s and a mini boom in 1999, followed by the big boom from 2007 to 2008. We have been riding a roller coaster with no wheels on since then.

Sure, real estate is busy and it always is; however, a re-occurrence of the boom days is nowhere in the future that I can see. Sales reps who are putting in the hours are doing well but unfortunately, approximately 60% of the industry is and will always be in a part time situation.

A noticeable change in the industry is the female sales consultant/principals as they are accepted as being more professional/more likely to be easily accepted into the industry. Female clients tend to trust the female sales personnel and are readily accepting when buying and selling.

The industry differs from towns to cities as agents have different operations and procedures. The country agent usually knows more people in the community – friends’ children go to the same schools and they’re in the same social scenes. The local agents tend to befriend their clients before and after the deal is done to move on after the deal is done. City agents on the other hand are less committed to mixing with their clients and tend to move on after a sale is done, rarely getting repeat buyers.

I had 2 years’ experience in real estate in Perth after selling the business in Albany to Jeremy Stewart. I stayed in Perth for 4 years and found it hard due to the lack of socialisation between the client and the agent. I then moved back to Albany to be near family and luckily went back to Merrifield Real Estate where it was accepted that real estate in the country is very informal, like I had never left.

Most clients come from the country and we all adjust to the country way of life. Local agents are very passionate about giving good service follow up and have good local knowledge on all aspects of real estate and real estate land/residential/commercial/rural/rentals and strata, whereas, in the city, it is all about farming areas. They have suburbs allocated to each rep whilst we have a town, surrounding towns and a county to look after. Once clients buy or sell in the country, clients tend to stick to the same sales consultant for many years.

The industry has changed so much in my time in real estate. In my early days, there was no fax, mobile phones, internet or social media such as Facebook. It was all done by post; it was slow. The industry is now a vast, mobile industry and can be done by the mobile phone and at home. As everyone has access to all the information, we have now become specialists in negotiating. Welcome to the modern technology. Real estate is a fast, fantastic industry. We love it.

I started 44 years ago in 1974. Look at the following changes – the progressive changes I observed from 1974 to 2018.

  1. Everything was done by post
  2. No mobile phone were available, only landlines
  3. 2-way radios were used in cars and we had a base at the office
  4. The outstanding fax machine was invented – changed the industry
  5. Then the brick: our first mobile phone – life changing
  6. Photocopy was being introduced
  7. Then colour was introduced
  8. Colour copiers arrived
  9. The year 2000 comes and the internet came to change our lives
  10. Then Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Google
  11. To the present social media

If it was not done ASAP, it was not done quick enough. To write a contract and have it done the same day is fantastic. Before, it took up to 3 weeks to get a contract done. The next 10 years will be interesting.