Feature article

What you missed at AREC 2023 on the Gold Coast this year

We're happy to spill the beans on the event’s highlights

6 June 2023

Whether it was Hollywood star and mini-series creator, Reese Witherspoon talking about producing content for women (the decision-makers) to top US and Australian agents sharing trade secrets, real estate industry conference, AREC (Australasian Real Estate Conference) 2023 was a great source of inspiration this year for agents seeking renewed energy.

Trade Me Property Senior Account Managers Michaela Malloch and Karen Martin were both at the two day conference held from 28 – 29 May on the Gold Coast, and came back with lots of ideas.

Some of the key takeaways from super successful agents and real estate coaches included:

  • If you’re not making $400,000 a year, you shouldn’t be in real estate (Tom Ferry)
  • Understand your market – serving women makes sense because they’re the ones mostly making the decisions (Reese Witherspoon)
  • Look after your team and give them gifts regularly (Witherspoon)
  • Be really honest, have no secrets, be your true self (Caitlyn Jenner)
  • Ask your closest friends and family to do an audit on who you are and how people see you (Top NYC agent, Ryan Serhant)
  • You’re not curing cancer, you’re just selling houses (Professionals agent, Shane Brockelbank)
  • Stop dabbling with lead generation, make a commitment and do what you say you’re going to do (Tom Ferry)
  • When the market is on the way down, this is when you make money (top Australian agents)
  • In Australia, a lot of agents are struggling to get listings, so it’s about prospecting your database for lead generation
  • Don’t try to be different, be better, healthy and have a clear head
  • You have to be using tech tools and AI or you’ll get left behind – only about ⅓ of real estate businesses use AI with serious intent (CoreLogic)
  • Go big and go early, hire someone as soon as you can and go big with digital marketing (Sean Hughes – top Australian agent)
  • Social media – think Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and TikTok for the younger market

According to Michaela, the Australian property market is a bit different from the New Zealand one, with many agents saying house prices are still going down there, as opposed to in Aotearoa, where the floor has allegedly been reached in some parts of the country.

Listings were reportedly at a low across Australia, she says. “Everyone was struggling to get listings, so it was about prospecting your database.”

A key message that Karen came away with that she’ll be sharing with NZ agents is that all content is important. “There was a lot of messaging about the importance of marketing and ensuring that content is valuable and authentic,” she says. “And remember, (current) listings equal more listings.”

The use of ChatGPT in real estate was mentioned by almost every speaker – using it for writing listing content, to articulate posts on Linked in and Facebook, notes our Trade Me Property team. “The idea is that you should embrace it. Technology is a disruptor, you have to embrace it and it’s here,” says Karen.

The Trade Me Property senior account manager also liked a takeaway from CoreLogic’s Principal of Innovation and Industry, Sarah Bell. “She said that stories tell but facts sell,” says Karen.

There were fewer branch managers from New Zealand than usual attending AREC 2023 because it had been such a hard year, but the account manager was pleased to see agents from a number of New Zealand firms including Barfoot & Thompson, Bayleys, a big contingent from Property Brokers, and Tremains. Karen thinks it’s well worth a trip and would urge all agents to try and make it work.

Key takeaways from two Kiwi real estate agents who attended AREC 2023

Professionals’ Lower Hutt agent, Shane Brockelbank was the only Kiwi agent to present at the conference.

Michaela says: “He asked how does the market see you and what will they appreciate and what might they resent?”.

While the top Australian agent for the year was the talk of the conference for sporting a $10,000 suit, Shane was refreshingly down to earth in his talk. The former fireman told AREC attendees that agents can get things out of perspective when it comes to real estate.

“Real estate can change people into pretty “un-nice” people. It’s about remembering we’re only selling houses, we’re not curing cancer,” he explained to Trade Me Property after the event this week.

The Professionals agent made a memorable point to his Aussie audience which seemed to make an impact. As the majority of the homes in his Lower Hutt market are in the $700,000 price range, though he’s very successful in this market and could afford a “flash car,” he drives one that matches his clients, a no-fuss Hyundai Santa Fe.

Around 200 to 300 new contacts had already been in touch after his talk, he says, and an Aussie agent has already taken a leaf out of his book.

“She came back to me and said she had a flash car and so she went in yesterday and traded it in. Her market was dipping so she felt it was the right thing to do,” explains Shane.

As for the highlights at AREC for him, he liked top New York agent, Ryan Serhant’s message to just get out there and do it and not complain about it. He also took a lot away from Justin Nickerson, the award-winning auctioneer and head of Apollo Auctions, the largest auctioneering business in Australasia.

“He sold 553 auctions under the hammer last year which just blows my mind,” says Shane.

In preparing owners to sell, Justin talked about saying the right things at the right time. And when presenting an offer to a seller, to try to have three to present, was his tip, says Shane.

AREC MC Tom Panos and real estate coach told the agent audience that the majority of them probably wouldn’t go back to their businesses and take new action, but Karen spotted a number of agents on the plane back home diligently going through their conference notes.

Just Paterson agent Caroline Collison, who is based in Wellington, says she is taking action. She has joined real estate coach Tom Panos Real Estate Gym and will be heading to Sydney in a month’s time with to start implementing goals.

Having gone with a group from Just Paterson, she’s looking forward to having a discussion when they’re back in the office. “Being together, you make each other accountable,” she says.

Next time she goes to AREC conference she’s going to tee up some meetings with Australian agents while she’s there and connect, says the Just Paterson agent.

Messages Caroline took away from the conference were to be an authentic agent and let go of your ego. You’re only as good as the five people you’re with, was another comment Reese Witherspoon made.

The message from New York agent Ryan Serhant, which resonated with Caroline most, was, to think about who you want to be in five years’ time and to be that now.

She was also impressed with senior top agents who were still making prospecting calls every day and scheduling a time every week to do them.

All the Australian top performers stressed their emphasis on health and how much they look after themselves, she noticed. “They get up early, exercise, eat well and go to bed early,”says the Wellington agent.