There have been a lot of success stories within the ranks of real estate agents, and there are also the not-so successful ones. The reality is that the industry operates in as much the same way as any other: full of wonderful opportunities, but the struggles of the profession are real and can sometimes hit hard.
To remain on top of their game, Paul Kelly, operations director of Allsopp & Allsopp, says today’s brokers need to possess certain qualities, particularly the ability to maintain focus amid the chaos and multiple roles that agents often times have to juggle when dealing with diverse clients.
“You have to have a focus every day when you come into work,” says Kelly. “What do you want to achieve today? What do you need to do to achieve it? Do you need to list new properties? If so, what is your plan how to do that? Do you need to increase your viewing levels? How will you do that? Have a clear plan every day of what you are going to do.”
Kelly also lists discipline, motivation, knowledge and hard work as essential qualities of a successful broker. “There will never be a substitute for hard work,” he says. “You have to make sure you are relentless in your pursuit of success.”
Riyaz Merchant, CEO of Realty Force who scored one of the more recent big-time deals in the market, credits his success to a strategy based on creating value for clients. “The deal-winning strategy is to identify the buyer’s exact requirement and then serve to give your client exactly what he needs,” says Merchant. “In the end, try to meet his budget or create a value or a need for him to increase his budget.”
Merchant completed a deal this month for an Emirates Hills villa that was sold with a 22 per cent markup above its purchase price. “We have resold a seven-bedroom, 20,213-sq-ft custom-built villa in Emirates Hills with a price appreciation of 22 per cent for Dh23.3 million from its purchase price of Dh18.92 million last December,” says Merchant. “The seller sold it because the vast size was not his requirement anymore and the buyer purchased it because it was what he needed. We created a value proposition with the property being close to the Montgomerie Golf Club, a championship course and the main Emirates Hills drive.”
In such deals, it is ultimately not about the price, but whether the property is priced right. “The most important factor in any market, be it slow or fast, is always the price,” says Andrew Cummings, managing director of LuxuryProperty.com. “Properties that are priced competitively will sell. Last year, for example, the market was on a high, but many properties remained unsold because the pricing was not realistic.”
Cummings says transactions “are still very much happening in both the luxury and the mass market”, noting the 27,642 transactions valued around Dh111 billion during the first half of the year.
During the same period, Cummings says LuxuryProperty.com sold residences that ranged from an investment apartment in Dubai Marina for Dh800,000 to a Royal Atlantis unit worth over Dh21 million. “Brokers must remember that selling a property is about satisfying both sides,” he says.
Think about the cycle
Ultimately, brokers need to be cognizant of and be guided by the ups and downs of the market cycle. “We have seen the good times, the bad times and the parts in the middle,” says Myles Bush, CEO of PH Real Estate. “When a market shifts up or down, it is vital that brokers shift accordingly.”
When a market is moving up, sellers often become more bullish and typically won’t sell unless they achieve their price, explains Bush. “During these times it is vital that brokers go back to basics and focus on quality sellers — sellers who are motivated to sell and who will entrust the agent with exclusivity rather than dealing with hundreds of sellers who simply want to test the market,” says Bush. “In a declining market, the opposite is true. Brokers need to shift their attention towards really looking after the buyer and their needs.”
— With inputs from Hina Navin