” When you make a mountain out of a molehill, don’t expect anyone to climb up to see the view.” This quote aptly applies to the exaggerated statements that have been made recently about the state of the property market. December is always a somewhat quiet month, due to the distractions of Christmas and the ongoing hangovers of the festive season. If one looks at the property market overall, there is still plenty to smile about and the vocal chords of ‘the fat lady’ are a very long way from being heard. As a business, we look forward to the 2004 market. Once again it will be a very exciting one as we have an excellent business plan and market strategies awaiting application. This is the time of year to see where RWM has been in 2003 and chart a new course for 2004.

It was interesting to read Title Deeds “Top 50 House sales for 2003” last week and once again we made the podium with five sales (the most by any agencies in our area). We achieved the fifth and sixth highest sale prices which were also the highest and second highest in Mosman for 2003. The highest was the second time that Mosman has posted a double digit sale. This is now the second highest behind our $15.5 million Balmoral sale. Whilst it is nice to receive the kudos for holding the records, it is our Internet side of the business which really excites us the most. In 2001 we made 24 sales to VRN subscribers, with a total value of $32,210,00 and an average of $1,342,000 per sale. In 2002, this increased to 36 sales at a combined value of $48,993,000 and the average sale price was $1,360,000. This year the sales jumped to 46 with a value of $75,041,000 and the average sale increased to $1,631,000. Overall our subscriber base increased twenty three per cent and sales to VRN subscribers now account for thirty six per cent of our total. More and more people are using the Internet to purchase property and this is one of the reasons why we are confident that we can further improve on this in 2004. We have now made 135 Internet sales with a value of $229,544,000 at an average of $1,700,325.

If you look at the 2003 year, there were no significant breakthroughs with new technology regarding the Internet, which is somewhat disappointing. For most it was just fine tuning and making adjustments to further improve the services to their client base. I recently predicted that it will be the franchises that will suffer the most from not hosting an independent web site as Head Office insists on hosting the mother ship, because they believe “big is best”. All this does is see the franchises learn absolutely nothing about technology, by further retarding their knowledge of an exciting concept that will go on to dominate the property industry. A greater understanding of the Internet is necessary for anyone who wants to “get it right” and succeed in the Real Estate industry. “Right” is a bigger word than either success or failure. It is when we look at our figures for 2001 then 2002 to 2003 that we know our business model for RWM is well down the path to being “right”.

At a breakfast meeting this week it was pointed out that in Mosman, there are forty-four real estate agencies with street addresses, which really explains the agent overload. Within five years we believe this number will reduce to twenty agencies and possibly less, as the vast majority have already turned a blind eye to technology. I well remember that once, it was a selling point to offer a blown-up colour photograph of a property in the office window. Then the local papers offered colour advertising. Today, we have the Internet taking over which is what makes it so exciting. In 2004, we should see virtual tours replaced by video streaming, which will present the homes so much better as photographs will be replaced by videos. Instead of offering three rooms, we will be starting at the front gate and going to the back fence (with sound effects) and the videos will play for approximately ninety seconds. In 1988 it was a break through when VCR tapes entered the property market and homes were filmed at a cost of $8,000 per tape. Video streaming can be e-mailed, and the cost will be under $500.00 per home.

Interesting to read the AoMD (Articles of Mass Destruction) last Sunday suggesting that the property market had disappeared completely for 2003. Our Double Bay office auctioned four properties and sold four from four and our Newtown office auctioned five and sold four, so the news coming from our network is very positive indeed. Our Chief Auctioneer, the great Peter Baldwin, did offer some interesting insights as to the major cause for the lower clearance rates. He said that the Auctioneers across the board are saying that the newer agents are having great difficulties coming to terms with the market, as they have never experienced a market like this before. I guess if they’d had to work the 1993 market they would now be on medication. Last week we exchanged six million dollars worth of property and this week we negotiated a further seven million so the market is far from broken.

You get out of the property market what you put back into it and we will be putting plenty into it in 2004. It is all about market share and ours is increasing each year. I am predicting that our subscriber sales at VRN will increase from forty six to seventy five. For us to achieve this we will be working the database overtime. I look forward to our edition same time next year, to see how close we are to this prediction, as all we need is six sales a month to VRN subscribers, which is very achievable.

On behalf of the ‘happy chappies’ here at RWM, we wish you all a fantastic and safe Christmas. Our next edition will be on January 30, 2004 where once again we will go weekly through to December 10, 2004. Thanks to all, for being part of our little world on the www !! Cheers and clink, Merry Christmas and a very happy, safe and prosperous New Year to all…^__^

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