Our Advice

Why avoiding change is risky

By Our Advice

Humans are creatures of habit. We have a tendency towards maintaining the status quo which has been bred into us over millennia, writes Dan Argent.

Think about it. Back in the days when our distant ancestors lived in caves, they’d have found a spot where there was fresh water and a decent source of food, and thought, “This’ll do!”, which was fine until there was a natural disaster, or a warring tribe invaded.

But nothing great ever comes from settling into a well-worn groove. In fact, one of the most important lessons delivered in 2020 is that those who fail to recognise and adapt to change are destined to be overrun by it.

One sector where this is obvious is the real estate industry. Here’s why I believe those avoiding the inevitable are actually choosing the riskiest career path in our industry.

Control is key

Sure, change seems scary when you’ve been working in a particular role for years on end.

But when you really think about it, the only thing that isn’t changing is “change” itself.

We’ve been fed a lie that by locking in with an agency, you will somehow be more successful. It’s like we believe they have some magical force field that’ll ensure you’ll do better there than by working for yourself.

But this has turned out to be a fallacy. In fact, it turns out that those agents who’re self-employed have had far better prospects this year. I can introduce you to plenty of small-business owners who discovered the benefits of running their own show in 2020.

The reason is simply this: when you own the business, you have complete control. You can work wherever you want, whenever you want, and implement whatever you want. If it’s going to be best for you and your business, you don’t need to seek approval from some faraway boardroom-sitting manager.

Same same, but better

The other element worth considering as a self-employed agent is that, if done correctly and with the right support, you can operate as a small business without having to change much in your day-to-day activities.

Don’t believe me? Think about it. All the tasks you don’t have expertise in — backend administration, trust accounting, marketing, training and support etc. — all can be provided by someone else so you can concentrate on what you do best which is listing and selling property, and all for a fraction of what your agency is swiping from you.

And now has never been a better time to go out on your own for a number of reasons:

  • Technology

The rapid pace of technological change is head-spinning. When you think about, the iPhone was first launched in 2007, Uber began its journey in 2009, while Instagram went live in 2010.

In 13 short years, these three ideas have revolutionised the way we connect, travel and document our lives.

The same can be said about our industry. The advent of a little thing called the internet, precipitating the creation of online listing portals, meant wider exposure and more effective marketing avenues for listings at a fraction of the cost of full-page ads in real estate pull-outs.

Laptops, mobile hotspots, data plans, smartphones and the ability to stay on the move all mean our business model is changing, but many old-school agencies aren’t keeping pace.

  • Customer expectations and attitudes

Another change driver in the modern era is that customers are more open to utilising new services for achieving their successful outcomes.

What’s been proved time and again is that consumer needs, convenience and return on investment drive change — and the public is willing to adopt that change if it means a better result for them.

For example, customers expect agents to be available in some way 24/7. They expect them to be mobile, attentive and extremely well informed in the speciality area.

They are no longer willing to travel to an agent’s shopfront to sign contracts, nor work within the old “nine-to-five” workday format.

So, their reliance on traditional agency structures has changed because, honestly, those businesses are not meeting their needs.

  • COVID-19 restrictions

The health crisis has compelled us all to adapt and change. In 2020, there was an overnight need for the average Aussie households to quickly find solutions to new challenges around lockdowns, social isolation and hygiene.

And they did.

Working from home fast became the norm. Schooling at the kitchen table, buying goods online, and Zoom meetings became an everyday occurrence.

The pandemic has sped up the rate of change in so many ways, and businesses, including agents, need to treat this new world not as a threat, but an opportunity.

We have demonstrated in our day-to-day lives that change is not only inevitable, but desirable and can result in better outcomes that meet our needs and deliver a superior result for our customers.

Frankly, the change some have been resisting is already here. You might as well embrace the inevitable and ride the wave, or risk being overrun by those with more foresight and courage to jump on board.

By Dan Argent, UrbanX 

Are you more loyal to your boss or your family?

By Our Advice

Misplaced loyalty is hurting you and your family, writes Dan Argent.

I was talking about admirable human traits with a group of agents recently, and loyalty ranked up there with honesty, integrity and courage.

Yes, loyalty as an overall concept has plenty of positives, but I do have one problem with it.

A bad decision on where you place your loyalty can end up hurting those you owe the most to — and it’s something I’m seeing regularly in the real estate industry.

Let me explain.

A damaging approach

Most of us apply some degree of loyalty across a number of life’s facets.

For example, you will choose to support a particular football team, even when they’re down the ladder and struggling to make the finals.

And then there’s loyalty to your life partner, choosing to exclude other relationships in order to strengthen just that special one.

Yet another arena where we express loyalty is in our workplaces.

It’s a trait most employers look for in a potential hire. Questions we often ask ourselves are:

  • Is this person going to be an active part of our team?
  • Will they champion what we do?
  • Will they keep quiet about sensitive information?
  • Can I rely on them to do what’s best for the business?

Where loyalty fails

I admire loyalty, but I think your loyalties can be misplaced, misunderstood and all too often taken advantage of.

Here’s where I see the fault in being blindly loyal.

Most of us don’t prioritise our loyalties correctly, particularly around work and, in the end, we hurt those who deserve it most.

Answer this question: are you more loyal to your family, or to your boss?

Most people say “family”, of course. If your child is sick or your elderly mum needs urgent help, you’ll take a day or two off work to deal with the crisis.

But our workplaces tend to be less loyal to us than we are to them. They take their employees for granted. I see this particularly in the old agency structure.

Under the old model, most of the work is done by the agent. Securing listings, managing the marketing, closing the deal and seeing it to completion. All this for a comparatively small percentage of the total commission.

What do they get from their employer? An administration system that could be provided by a competent third party at a fraction of what the agent gives away, and a brick-and-mortar office that today’s agents rarely need to attend. There might also be some training and the occasional awards night thrown in, too — but hardly anything worth half your GCI.

Back in the days before technology, the franchise and agency were probably worth their share. But not anymore.

Yet if you approached your boss and asked for more commission, they’d probably deliver you a line about not being a “team player” and asking why you want to hurt the business’s bottom line.

Re-align your loyalties

I believe any agent who has reached a certain level of success in their specialty field needs to pause and think about where their loyalties lie.

Because the answer is to you and your family, not your boss — even if you’ve been there since the start of your career, and they’ve taught you everything you know. If the opposite were true, we’d stay at school for the rest of our lives.

You should be making choices that will progress your career and finances and advance the lives of the people you love the most. That extra income that you’re handing over to the boss could be going toward setting up your own financial success. It could provide foundational wealth, so you’ll have more time and freedom to live the life you and your partner wants, as well as provide wonderful opportunities for your children.

There is a world where you could be building a business to be proud of, while making substantially more income AND be in control of how your time is spent.

I realise it’s scary for loyal people to consider stepping away from a company where they’ve become entrenched and feel they’re being respected. However, unless that businesses is delivering more to you than they were five, 10 or even 20 years ago, they are taking your skills and efforts for granted.

You and your family can do better, and there’s no reason to feel bad about seeking to do that. In fact, it should make you proud.

To continue the sports metaphor, professional football players change teams all the time in order to strike a better deal. They are loyal to those who deliver them the most benefit. Why can’t you do the same?

Get real

Joining an agency, learning the ropes of the industry and being loyal to that employer while you’re working with them is fair enough.

But it’s not like you’ve pledged a blood oath to stand by their side at the expense of all others.

When the time is right, it’s OK to advance your own interests by choosing to start a business and plant a flag that says my loyalty is to me and my family.

It’ll feel hard, but the rewards to those you love and the pride you’ll feel will be enormous.

By Dan Argent, UrbanX

Also featured on:

Real Estate Business

The Real Estate Conversation

Let’s Make Real Estate Great Again

By Our Advice

If there’s one thing about our industry that’s totally frustrating, it’s that talented professionals are constantly undervalued.

Most well established agents spend decades building relationships and becoming specialists in their chosen field. They put in the hard slog with a mobile phone that rings morning and night, which goes hand-in-hand with their seven-day working week.

On top of that, they’re never ‘off’.

When they’re not selling a client’s home, they’re promoting themselves and their employer by attending community events.

These agents are also constantly on the hunt for new business, following leads and fronting for meetings. Most will make themselves readily available to share their knowledge with anyone who needs it, discussing the market, describing recent sales and dispensing wisdom.

In addition, many try to constantly improve their skills through educational opportunities.

Being a successful agent takes far more than banging in a ‘for sale’ sign and waiting for the phone to ring, which is why it distresses me to see so many undervalued.

Today’s technology has substantially changed the way agents can effectively perform their role, but the vast majority do all the heavy lifting without adequate compensation.

But there is a way to change that and double your income.

Faulty business

Here’s the problem.

Before about the year 2000, an agent needed to work for a high-profile office under a recognisable franchise name to connect with potential sellers through the brick-and-mortar shopfront.

If an agent was rostered on and lucky enough to score a new listing, they had the marketing power and administrative support of that agency behind them.

And this arrangement would see the agent and the office split the commission, generally after the franchise had taken a cut off the top.

It was a symbiotic relationship and it was great at the time… but that time has passed.

Nowadays we have the internet and online listing portals. We have mobile phones, laptops, and Wi-Fi. We also have, thanks in some part to the pandemic, widespread acceptance we don’t need a physical office to do great business.

So why do agents persist with the old real estate model, and keep accepting half of what they’re owed?

I think it’s time to make real estate great again, but under a new model. One that recognises the agent as central to the process.

Double your income

Because of all the changes I described, todays high-performing agents do all the work – and they don’t need a national franchise in order to be successful.

In fact, franchises may even be holding them back financially.

If you as the selling agent are giving away more than 20-30 per cent of your gross commission to an agency or franchise, you are being underpaid for your efforts.

And I can prove it.

UrbanX provides administrative support, marketing, and training to independent agents for a maximum of 10-30 per cent of their GCI. If the agent doesn’t make the sale, they don’t have to pay us.

The first agent to join us just completed his first year in business under his own brand, so I ran the numbers to see how he faired.

Over the last 12 months, that agent wrote $615,000 in gross commission which was 17 per cent higher than the previous year when he worked under a major franchise office.

But because he works for himself now and only pays us a fraction of his commission for the backend support we provide, he retained 80 per cent of his GCI. That’s $492,000 which was 89 per cent more than he earned the previous year, equating to $232,000 more in his pocket after only one year.

Even better – he owns his own business, runs his own day, is his own boss and doesn’t need to deal with the back-end administration or manage staff.

You might be thinking…

‘Well, I could just start my own agency under a known franchise. Then surely, I can retain more commission without the risk of building a whole new brand?’ Well here’s something else you should factor on.

After all the costs that go into establishing and running a physical office and its admin team, franchise operators often only make a profit margin of approximately 20 per cent. Given 10 per cent of every commission goes to the head franchise, it could be said that the franchise is like a 50/50 business partner. However, they are without any of the expenses or risks the agent takes.

Here’s my call – you do the work; you should get paid. There are tools and support on hand for you to be part of this real estate revolution. Believe me, it’s an unstoppable force. You might as well adapt now, because you will be part of this new world order sooner or later.

Why settle for supporting someone else’s retirement plans when you do all the work? Go out on your own and keep more of your income.

If you don’t, you’ll continue to give away hundreds and thousands of dollars’ worth of your hard work each year.

Register for our free webinar, and we’ll give you the blueprint to building your own financial freedom.

The views expressed in this article are an opinion only and readers should rely on their independent advice in relation to such matters. 


How To Build A Business Where Sellers Call You

By Our Advice

One of the most rewarding parts of my role, leading a platform that is revolutionising the real estate industry, is identifying agent pain points and finding solutions for them, writes Dan Argent.

I’m talking about those roadblocks that stop you from performing at your peak and living your best life. The kinds of things that eat into your income and time.

By working through those and identifying solutions that smooth the path to success, we can build a better, more profitable and more efficient industry.

One consideration that comes up time and again with top-performing agents is their desire to be in charge of their own destiny. They want to create businesses that are not only valuable and profitable but are seen by potential vendors as operating at the pinnacle of quality service.

In short, they want to create an “attraction business” that projects its values and adheres to its mission so effectively, customers are drawn to them when they want to sell their property.

This is the gold standard in real estate because an “attraction business” doesn’t need to constantly chase leads — sellers chase them!

The value of an attraction brand

One of the toughest but most essential tasks in real estate is securing listings.

It’s a numbers game where obtaining adequate listings each month requires you to make hundreds of calls and attend dozens of meetings.

When agents start out, there’s no shortcut to gaining this important skill. Hit the phones, press the flesh, be seen and take every opportunity to become known in your community.

On the other hand, experienced agents with extensive networks who’ve spent decades building their reputation have done their time. But, here’s something many don’t realise: their name is their brand, and it’s the foundation of a valuable attraction business.

You see, the traditional real estate model has convinced agents that they’re not representing themselves, but rather the agency.

That was reasonable in the old days. Vendors knew the major names in real estate and would, no doubt, ring up the big three or four franchises in their area to see who was available to discuss selling their property.

But that has changed drastically in the past two decades.

Technology and connectivity, social media, online listing portals and mobility have made redundant the idea of an agent being attached to an office.

In fact, since the mid-2000s, it’s gradually become apparent that agents — not their offices — are the brand.

This concept was really brought home to me when I won the REIQ Salesperson of the Year in 2010.

Part of the award included a cover photo and double-page spread in our major daily newspaper. Off the back of the exposure, I got $10 million worth of listings from sellers calling me. People rang not because of the agency I worked for, but because I was Dan Argent and they wanted me to sell their homes.

The power of a personal brand

That was the power of my personal brand, so I said goodbye to my agency and kicked off my own business in order to achieve three things:

  1. Continue building my own personal brand.
  2. Retain more of the commission.
  3. Control the business so it was always at the forefront of technology and change.

It was a triumph. My income rose by $300,000 a year immediately because I was keeping more of the commission.

Over the next four years, I worked hard on my brand. I was still calling prospects by the hundreds, taking meetings and seeking opportunities, but it was being done under my own name, not someone else’s.

And when I sold and promoted my successes, it was always as Dan Argent, the area expert.

It worked, and I grew my annual sales commission by almost double, from $700,000 GCI per year to $1.2 million — and I was keeping the lion’s share by not giving it away to an agency or franchise.

Best of all — I had built my personal brand to the point of extreme recognition. I guarantee if there was a house about to come onto the market in Paddington, Qld, priced above $1 million, the owners were calling me first. I was the specialist with a track record of excellent results.

How to build your brand

Building your personal brand into an attraction business takes work, but the agents I deal with are at the pinnacle of the industry and not shy of putting in the effort.

There are a number of critical steps you need to take towards creating that attraction brand. The first is identifying your specialty and become the world’s expert in that subject.

If you are the “CBD penthouse apartment guru”, then work it. Know every sale and every owner. Understand what drives that market, who the buyers are and what factors compel them to purchase certain properties.

Then use that knowledge to succeed under your own name. Build on your reputation, talk about your successes and chase every lead.

Realise that your personal brand will become synonymous with success in this sector.

People will start calling you, attracted to that success and keen to be part of your journey. And the rewards will follow.

Building your personal brand brings so many satisfactions. Beyond financial, there is pride in having created something that epitomises the very best of our industry. Something that helps make real estate great again.


Featured on: Real Estate Business

Featured on: The Real Estate Conversation

Featured on: Elite Agent

Old-School Franchises Are Smothering Agent Success

By Our Advice

If there’s one lesson we can learn from this year, it’s that agility is survival.

What’s most surprising to me is that it took a crisis of global proportions to bring that concept to the collective conscience.

About 15 years ago, I discovered the secret to personal success was about your ability to pivot and adapt as needed. The key was to ignore the set rules, even though ‘that’s how things have always been done.’

Unfortunately, we operate in an industry where change makes slow progress. The losers aren’t the head franchises or the big-office operators who’ve grown fat off the old business model, but rather the individual agents working for them.

It’s increasingly clear that many in our industry are stuck in the past, and it’s doing no one any favours.

While the old way to work in real estate may have been great a few decades back, it’s now hurting more agents than it’s helping.

I think it’s time to make real estate great again by adopting a whole new approach.

The old approach

As we all know, the traditional real estate model has always relied on agents working at an office. The office leveraged its brand recognition to attract potential sellers and capture listings.

For a substantial slice of the commission, the office (and franchise) offered a structured approach. This included property marketing, administrative support and an office space.

This model has been in operation for decades – and it served its purpose once upon a time. However, the evolution of technology, particularly the invention of the internet, has made it redundant for today’s agents.

We can now take a different path, away from the suffocating clutches of the old structure, if we’re brave enough.

Relieving the pain points

This contemporary approach to real estate recognises one key aspect of today’s industry. It’s simple. You – the agent – are central to the entire operation.

Nowadays, vendors seek individual agents with a track record of successful sales within their area, property type and price point. They don’t care what agency that agent works for.

Similarly, purchases seek property via web portals and deal directly with the agent directly. They aren’t strolling around to brick-and-mortar shopfronts asking what listings are on the books.

Once you realise this, it’s obvious that the old model is entirely irrelevant and unnecessary.

The result is that if you’re are an experienced agent with a great network and a track record of success, then working under a franchise agency like it’s 1980 is stifling your personal and professional success.

By working for yourself instead, you can break free and reap the rewards.

Becoming your own boss allows you to:

  1. Earn more money: I’ve been working with agents this year who, by running their own show, have said goodbye to handing over half the sales commission to a head office. One agent in particular kept an extra $232,000 in his pocket vs his previous year at a franchise agency. Imagine working the way you want while doubling your income. It’s within grasp.
  2. Build your brand: People list with people, not agencies, so building your own personal brand is a sure fire way to ensure you stand out from the pack. Standing out is how you create an attraction business, rather than constantly having to chase listings. Plus when every signboard and every online ad is advertising your name and your brand, it’s like bolting a turbo to your business.
  3. Better customer experience: The modern way of doing things is to outsource mundane administrative tasks so you can concentrate on those things key to grow your success – prospecting, listing and selling. Customers are noticeably more satisfied when agents devote their time to engaging with their listing rather than worrying about admin.
  4. Call the shots: No more clocking in. You are a driven and successful individual who can manage your time and resources effectively without having to answer to an employer or attend boring sales meetings. This control allows you more flexibility with your personal and family life too.

The pride that comes with creating a business that is yours, has presence and is known for operating to the highest possible standard is difficult to measure, but I guarantee, it’s a life-changing feeling.

Don’t be ordinary when you can be extraordinary. Adapt to ensure you’re in control, and the rewards will follow for years to come.

5 Ways to Make More Money as a Real Estate Agent

By Our Advice

One of the basics of business success is simply this – what you don’t waste, you keep.

Volumes of business books have been written on the subject of excess and the benefits from cutting back.

And if there’s one industry where I’ve seen an extraordinary amount of money and time being thrown down the drain, it’s real estate.

It isn’t so much the fault of the agents, but rather that the industry had entrenched itself in old and ineffective ways of doing business.

Like taxis before Uber and hotels before Airbnb, real estate does things the way they do them because… well, that’s how we’ve always done them!

But once you break free of this outdated mindset there are immediate, substantial savings on offer that will make you a better agent AND put more money in your pocket.

Here are my five tips for cutting the crap and making more money.


1. Specialise

Cost/benefit is key to maximising your profit on each dollar spent – and one way to boost your income while reducing outgoings is to outsource those tasks that are neither you’re forte nor bring you a return.

While administrative support, marketing co-ordination and accounts management are essential for an agency, the fact remains they aren’t income generators – you, the selling agent, is.

Instead of burning long hours of your precious time attending to these mundane tasks, find an efficient way to outsource them.

This frees you up for your essential work – finding leads, securing listings and making sales.


2. Cut useless advertising

The way in which we expose listings to the market has seen a major shift in the past 10-15 years.

Having a shopfront display of your listings is pointless. Every single one of your buyers has been hunting the internet in a bid to unearth which homes will tick their wish-list boxes. None are wandering door-to-door across the suburb, looking in windows and chatting with agents.

Stop wasting dollars leasing expensive retail offices, and putting up window placards and start being more strategic around how you promote.

It’s the same with flashy full-page advertising in newspaper lift outs. While some listings may deserve the extra exposure hard copy provides, there are few buyers who rely solely on this approach.

In short, be selective about how you spend advertising dollars. It will win you more clients and reduce costs.


3. Stop paying franchise fees

Regular readers will already be aware that I’m no fan of the big-box franchise approach to real estate.

Paying franchise fees to some interstate head office is, without doubt, the biggest and most useless drain of an agency’s income.

I’ve talked to hundreds of agents over the last two years and the tales are all the same. They contribute close to half their GCI to an agency. In return there’s limited support and disappointment.
In addition, the benefits of operating under the label of a big-name franchise are non-existent in today’s environment. No seller is choosing an agent because they work for a particular franchise brand. They are selecting an agent based on that agent’s name and reputation within their suburb.

So, lose the franchise and make more money.

It’s that simple.


4. Office space is dead space

In the previous century, being attached to a shopfront office where buyers and sellers walked in off the street may have brought some benefit, but we are in 2020 and the game has been turned upside down.

Ask your sellers, “Did you select me as your listing agent because I worked out of a bricks-and-mortar office?”

I guarantee, none did.

Vendors choose agents, not agencies, and modern technology makes the idea of having an office redundant.

I literally can’t remember the last time I saw a buyer or seller doing business in an agent’s office. In fact, it would be poor service to make a client come to you. Today’s agents are mobile and will attend people’s homes, places of work or even via the internet in order to do their job.

Stop paying for space and keep more of your cash.


5. Be agile in your service

Another flow-on problem from being attached to a large agency is company policies.

There’s restrictions on how you service your clients and advertise their listings, which bring no benefit to either you or your sellers.

Big agencies have fixed processes and their own agendas – such as pushing for auctions on every home.

The fact remains, not every home suits an auction campaign. Not every property fits in with standard listing guidelines either. Many homes need to reach a wider audience via video and digital marketing.

As long as you work under rules set by a head office based well away from your service area, you’re wasting time and money.

Instead, learn to be agile in your service. Pivot to new ways or promoting your listings. Do something different that both you and your clients think will bring the best benefit.

Shun the rules and make more money.


Cutting waste isn’t difficult and opening an agency where you set your own agenda might feel risky, but it isn’t.

We’ve been brainwashed into thinking there’s only one way to operate a real estate office – but that’s patently wrong.

I say break free of the past and become part of real estate’s future, or risk being left behind with less dough, more stress and outrageous waste.


By Dan Argent

How to Build Sustainable Work-Life Priorities in Real Estate

By Our Advice

I think the most overused and misunderstood maxim is “Work-life balance”.

Work-life balance became trendy throughout the 1970s and 80s in the US and UK and emigrated across the globe. It’s a catchy idea that you should learn to equally share your time between your professional and private life in order to establish a form of balanced sanity.

To me, it suggests that work and home life are at separate ends of the seesaw – totally unrelated except for the fact that what time and energy you devoted to one, takes away equally from the other.

But what I’ve discovered through painful experience is they aren’t mutually exclusive ends of the scale, but intrinsically linked, and striving to split your efforts evenly between each is unrealistic.


The correct time ratio

Let’s be bald-faced about it right up front.

To be successful in our role as agents, around 80 per cent of our work week’s waking hours will be devoted to our job.

That doesn’t just refer to ‘office time’. What I’m saying is whether you’re doing the grunt work of chasing leads, securing listings, running opens and closing sales, or at your local school fete sponsoring a race and running a stall, you’re working on your business.

You are always out there building a brand, making connections and being the best agent you can. You work hard for your money and deserve every cent.

But you WILL find 80 per cent of waking hours devoted to the task, so deciding to actively split your time evenly between professional and personal obligations is ridiculous.

You will simply end up with a half-arsed result for both.

So, if I think work-life balance is a mistake, what’s the recipe for happiness?


The secret solution

I believe we need work-life priorities – not balance.

My life list is made up of four priorities in order of importance, and work comes in at the tail end of that inventory.

First up is self.

This is a conscious decision to prioritise your own holistic well-being above all else.

Sound selfish? Not really. Unless you are functioning at your peak physically, mentally and emotionally, you will have little ability to bring benefit to others around you in both your personal and business lives.

I use a number of rituals to help achieve my best self and stay at the top of my game.

  • Establish a daily routine of exercise (one hour/day) and meditation (20 mins/day) to feel great and think clearly.
  • Set rules around switching off from social media and mainstream news as these can damage self-esteem and positivity.
  • Dedicate time to adequate reading (one hour/day) and sleep (seven hours/day) to let your brain and body recharge.
  • Use goals and rewards to celebrate achievements and accomplishments.
  • Take regular holidays every 12 weeks to refresh and re-energise.

Your second priority should always be your life partner.

In this high-performance field of real estate, the support of your significant other is essential – and it is a two-way street. You must ensure that you are emotionally available for your partner – trustworthy, reliable and gracious. Do not take them for granted and never prioritise work over their urgent needs.

The third priority is kids and family.

I’ve seen families fall apart because children’s needs are prioritised above parents – and work gets prioritised above everything else!

Strong families are built on the foundation of a couple’s relationship. Ensure your partnership is strong, then make sure you are both available to tend the needs of your children and your wider family. Kids thrive when they know they can rely on parents who are taking care of each other and operate as a united front.

Finally, work is the fourth priority.

Yes – I believe in working hard and achieving much, but you cannot possibly hope to enjoy your best life if all you do is place work and business ahead of the other things that matter most.

In fact, by prioritising work last and concentrating on more important priorities first, you will be a far more effective agent. Clear headed, high functioning and undistracted when it’s time to be productive.


I tell you all this based on bitter experience.

At one time I was operating a hugely successful agency in Brisbane’s inner-west. I became the number one agent for my area and was achieving extraordinarily good numbers. It all looked rosy… until I came home one day, and my wife asked for a divorce. It was around this time I took a good look at myself – overweight, unwell and constantly exhausted.

I’d failed to prioritise life correctly and was paying the price.


So, let’s stop kidding ourselves – aiming for ‘work-life balance’ is pointless. Instead, accept you are going to devote most of your time to your business, but prioritise the importance of other elements correctly and the result will be you operating at your peak for all of them.


By Dan Argent

9 Tips for Real Estate Agents to Manage Their Mindset During A Downturn

By Our Advice

Dan Argent of UrbanX looks at the best tips to take care of your mental, physical and spiritual state during a downturn.

We’re told that when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

This can be applied to you mental state as much as your physical.

And while most people can maintain a positive outlook in short bursts, when the news is constantly bad, staying on top of your mindset is draining.

But managing your upbeat attitude during a downturn is essential.

Being a beacon of positivity attracts people – particularly clients – to you.

During the GFC, talking about my successes and chatting about the impressive results I was achieving during the downturn earned me plenty of listings.

Sellers, like everyone else, want a good news story to lean on when the rest of the world is grey.

If you’re having trouble keeping a brave face, I’ve come up with nine practical steps you can adopt to maintain your winning smile and sunny disposition.

1. Don’t watch the news

The mainstream media model is based on attracting an audience, and the easiest way to do that is to home in on sensationalised, and often deeply negative, stories.

You’ve heard the saying – if it bleeds, it leads.

So, stop the cycle. Don’t read the news.

This will help you stay mentally on top of your depressive mood and don’t worry about missing essential stories.

Really important information will reach you in other ways such as through conversation with friends or discussions with clients.

2. Avoid social media

This should be mandatory even when we’re not in times of downturn.

Social media can be a useful tool, but there are two main problems with it.

Firstly, it’s unregulated and untrustworthy.

Secondly, it’s full of viscous commentators who will bring your mood down.

For example, Twitter or Facebook are full of plenty of amateur ‘practitioners’ describing made up remedies that’ll cure COVID.

They will create nothing but disappointment.

A scroll through those same platforms will also reveal just how nasty some people can be.

Stay away from the comments section lest you be dragged into the dark void.

3. Read books that inspire you

Smartphone screens seem to have ruined proper reading as a recreational pursuit, but I can tell you from experience, nothing is as uplifting as reading a great book by an inspirational source.

Whoever your heroes might be – political, sporting, business or everyday community minded people – look for books that help drive you forward with a, ‘Yes I can!’ attitude.

4. Exercise every day

One of my favourite sayings is, ‘to change your emotion, change you motion.’

There’s nothing that turns around washed-out feelings like exercise.

Before I started my business, I was working flat out doing deals but ignoring my physical health. I soon discovered this was a huge mistake.

Now, every day, I make time for an hour’s exercise, and you should too. It oxygenates the body, exerts the muscles and stretches your range of motion.

Afterwards you’ll feel refreshed, exhilarated and ready to take on the world.

5. Meditate

Meditation is a practice there’s far too little of in the western world, but I consider it a gift that keeps driving me forward.

Taking a moment to stop, breath and be self-aware is essential.

Meditation trains your mind to be stronger.

You learn how to be mentally resilient, helping you to stay ‘mind fit’ and giving you the ability to block out the negative things thrown at you during the day.

I began meditation with just a few minutes at first but gradually built up to where I now meditate for half an hour twice a day. It’s incredible how centred it keeps me.

6. Have a gratitude journal

A gratitude journal can be something formal, something online or even just an exercise book you pick up from the newsagent.

The practice is simple to adopt. Every day you must simply write down three things that you’re grateful for, with a daily habit of reflecting on what you wrote as well.

They can be anything – from the ability to catch up with a friend to having had an excellent coffee at your favourite café.

Taking a moment to realise just how fortunate you are sets you up to radiate positive vibes to others.

7. Surround yourself with positive people

They can be difficult to find sometimes, but I tell you, we’re out there.

It’s said that your attitude is a reflection of your five closest friends. In other words, the company you keep helps mould the person you are.

So – be among a crowd who are eager to find the upside.

If your work or social group are talking about how successful they’ve been of late, or even share tales of the great stuff they’ve seen each day, then this is the crew for you.

8. Focus on what you can control and ignore the rest

The stuff that will influence you today can be divided into two camps – things you can control, and things you can’t.

There’s an old Irish blessing I know. While I’m not a religious man, this one holds true:

“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Changing things you can gives you control. That control feeds your mental power and this power fuels positivity.

9. Have goals and celebrate them every day

Finally – goals and rewards must be a daily habit.

Set big, medium and small goals, and make sure you celebrate with accordingly sized rewards when you achieve them.

Write your goals down and let them fuel your fire.

If your big goal will be rewarded with something substantial, then print out a brochure or look at videos of your longed-for reward.

It will pick you up when you’re feeling defeated.

Staying positive during this time, or any time for that matter, is good for your health and your business.

Apply these strategies and you’ll be raring to go each day knowing you’re one step closer to the other side of the crisis and further along your path of success.

5 Steps to Help Real Estate Agents Thrive During A Crisis

By Our Advice

There’s no denying the Coronavirus crisis has been devastating to many. The health and economic implications run deep and, depending on the strategy adopted, they could also run long.

The human toll on people’s lives and livelihood is immense, and like everyone else, I’m eager for us to move back toward a more certain future.

That said, this current event has given me pause, because in many respects, this economic fallout parallels the GFC. During that time, financial institutions were rocked, lending dried up and trade halted abruptly. Many were living in fear.

But experience has taught me, times of uncertainty for some can be moments of opportunity for others.

In 2011, I started working for myself. Australia was still in the long shadow cast by the GFC, and Brisbane was experiencing 1:100 year flooding (even though it’s now flooded three times in the last 100 years!). We were going through an environmental crisis and financial crisis, not too dissimilar to the health and financial crisis today.

Leaving an agency and establishing my own business during a time like that seems crazy, but on reflection, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. I was able implement moves during this tough time to ensure that when the turnaround came, I was well positioned to reap rewards.

And I did. In 2013, my business had 5X growth in one year and then continued that growth every year thereafter. I eventually became one of only 30 agents in Brisbane to write over $1 million GCI and it all came down to five strategies implemented during the downturn that paid handsomely when the market recovered.

1 . The 20:1:20 Strategy

During the GFC, everyone was distracted by bad news and ignoring their core activities. My key responsibilities were getting listings and selling property.

I decided anchoring myself to one daily, productive measurable task within my control was a must, and this brought about the 20:1:20 strategy.

I resolved to make 20 meaningful new connections every day. It might take 50 or 60 phone calls to make those, but I would do it come hell or high water. I blocked my calendar until midday every day, recalibrated my positive mindset and got into it.

The goal in making those 20 connections was to secure at least one future meeting per day.

Extrapolating the numbers meant one new face-to-face booked per work day equalled 20 meetings per month. Out of those, I would land two to three new listings.

Growing listings by that number per month provided a solid foundation for turnover, because on top of these listings, I would already be getting organic referrals via client recommendations, past business and from reputation alone.

These brought in another one or two per month, which was critical because when sales volumes dropped by 50 to 75 per cent, just as I believe they will during this downturn, I had to double the number of properties I was listing.

2. Set goals, and reward yourself in small, medium and large ways

You must have goals and rewards to support drive and accountability.

While many might feel they’re already goal oriented, most of those goals are unclear, ambitious or audacious. That’s great, but don’t forget to celebrate small steps along the way too.

Set small, medium and big goals and then mark attaining them with commensurate rewards so you are constantly achieving.

For example, my small goal will be to make 20 connections in one day. Once I’d achieved that goal, I’d reward myself with a few quiet moments and a great coffee.

My medium-size goal might be landing five new listings in the month. Achieve that and I’d celebrate with my girlfriend at an excellent restaurant. We’d drink, eat and be merry.

Then there are the big ones. I set an ambitious goal in 2011. If I made a certain number of sales in the year, I would buy myself a Rolex. Every time I needed a boost, I’d look at the Rolex brochure and imagined taking possession of that longed for Submariner. It drove me to keep going.

I wear that reward every day.

3. Focus on price and presentation

Sometimes you need to simplify things in trying times. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the bad news, and less talented agents will make lousy excuses as to why a listing won’t sell like, “The market is dead” or “The banks aren’t lending”.

But this is all garbage. There are only two reasons why a property isn’t selling – price or presentation.

That’s it!

And here’s the secret ingredient – you always work on presentation before you drop the price.

Presentation is key across all facets – from street appearance to internal finish and condition. It includes appropriate styling, and marketing the property toward the likely buyer demographic.

Presentation also refers to the advertising – great photos, video walkthrough, floor plan and excellent descriptions are all key.

When buyers walk into a property, they need to be blown away. You must be brutal about removing any objection the buyer can anchor themselves to – particularly during a crisis when everything is negative.

If you’re still not selling once you’ve maximised presentation, then it must be price. The seller should be educated every week as to the market value, until you start getting offers or serious buyer inquiry.

4. Work for yourself and keep more of your commission

Some of us have a deeply entrenched but misguided opinion that being employed by a big organisation provides a safety net for financial survival.

Well, that gets totally disproved in a crisis!

The GFC and COVID-19 have shown no one is immune from being given the boot. You can be part of an incredibly well-established business with seemingly excellent growth prospects in January, and then be out of a job by March.

I discovered in the GFC, it was healthier to have control of my own destiny. I wasn’t dictated to by a ‘head office’ that would choose to sacrifice my needs for ‘the greater good’. Looking back on that period now, there is no way I could have been able to financially afford to stay in the industry if I remained working for an agency and giving half my commission away.

If you are driven, self-motivated and experienced, working for yourself and retaining more of your commission is the best security of all.

As the master of your domain, you also get to control costs better, scaling back your own outgoings where needed.

During those tough years of 2011-2012, I worked from home, much like we are now, and it was great. None of my clients knew, and none cared, because all inquiries these days are either online, or straight to the agent’s mobile, and all meetings are done at the properties, so what does it matter where you work from?

5. Build your own brand and create an attraction business.

Building your own brand is the practical application of working for yourself.

Creating an attraction business becomes easier, because you can turn YOUR name into a household name in your area, rather than the big brand franchise agency.

You can define your specialities and hone in on a client base that allows you to excel.

When I was selling, I became known as the go-to agent for listings of houses in Paddington QLD priced $1 million plus. I worked and cultivated that patch and took every opportunity to meet with property owners and potential sellers.

Not only did I build my brand on my skills, I strengthened it with a positive message. While everyone else was doom and gloom about the market, I was firmly upbeat about the long-term outlook. After all, even the smallest light fills the darkest room.

Talk up your achievements on every occasion because good news travels in a tough environment.

My ‘sold’ signboards promoted my success (and my brand), and before I knew it, I had created an attraction-business, and it’s the number one reason I achieved 5X growth in one year.

Diamonds are made under pressure and this crisis will be your time to shine. Embrace the possibilities, run hard and the rewards will come your way.

How a Pandemic Has Transformed the Typical Real Estate Listing Process

By Our Advice

Every now and again, an event so dominates our times that little else gets any attention. And so it is with the coronavirus or, more accurately, COVID-19, writes Dan Argent.

The first case worldwide was reported in Wuhan province in December last year, while the first Australian case was in February. That was just weeks ago.

As at the time of writing, it is approximately mid-March and half of every nightly news bulletin is taken up with COVID-19 stories — current infection numbers, mortality, potential breakthroughs, political wranglings, school closures, toilet-paper fights in aisle three… the list goes on.

But one of the biggest stories is yet to play out, and it’s a tale I’ve bet my professional future on.

It’s the way COVID-19 has accelerated the evolution of our working lives to a point where the way we do business — particularly in real estate — will never be the same.

Life lessons

Two years ago, I experienced a watershed moment. I realised that as an agent and business owner, I was working too hard on the mundane stuff and not concentrating enough on my high-skill work.

It was a significant point of self-realisation brought on by a divorce and recognition that I was slowly killing myself physically and mentally by working harder but not smarter.

Through this, I came to understand the way we work as selling agents had evolved much faster than many of us realised. We were entrenched in the old-school approach of having an employer (head agency) with an office and a desk where we turned up each day and put in the hours.

For me, this realisation that we must break the cycle was built upon other revelations from back in 2010, when I was prompted to start my own agency. It was apparent then that I was gaining all my listings because I’d built my name into a personal brand that defined me as a specialist in my chosen location, property type and price point.

I’d worked hard to become the “go to” guy. Owners rang me because they wanted Dan Argent to list and sell their home. It had nothing to do with the name of the head agency that adorned the front of the building I walked into each day.

Next came the epiphany that office space is dead space. I don’t know about other agents, but I can’t remember the last time I had a buyer or seller attend my office. I’d happily travel to wherever I was needed in order to get the job done.

Finally, it’s been obvious to me how the tools we use to do business have changed, mostly through technological innovation. Mobile phones that are, for all intents and purposes, pocket-sized computers. Then there are lightweight laptops with hotspot access and cloud servers which allow you to carry out the bigger stuff from anywhere — coffee shops, beachside restaurants, inside the car or at home office. You can even conduct interstate and overseas meeting via the wonders of video conferencing platforms.

In addition, online listing portals have removed the need for storefront display cards showing off the houses we have on the books. They serve little to no purpose other than a bit of window dressing to help identify the office space (filled mostly with admin) as a real estate business.

So, I started my current business, UrbanX, on the premise that agents no longer need an office and shopfront to be a success.

In fact, successful agents can work from anywhere… and it’s a message I’ve been hammering home to anyone who’ll listen for more than two years.

Coronavirus revolution

My current crop of workmates doesn’t mind a bit of dark-humoured ribbing at my expense. They’ve taken to suggesting I must have had a part to play in this current crisis, because it’s focused the world’s workforce on the opportunity to do a job without needing a brick-and-mortar office address.

Real estate agents can thrive from the flexibility of their own home base.

While I’ve been certain this workplace rebellion would eventually come, it’s the big story being missed among the current COVID-19 coverage: the revolution has been thrust upon us. It’s here and it’s now.

So, we continue to head through the surrealism of 2020’s first quarter. Many of us feel a bit punch-drunk with uncertainty after being slammed by fast-moving, tough news on an hourly basis. But I think you can grasp onto two rock-solid predictions over the coming months:

  1. 1. We will eventually get through COVID-19 and the world won’t end.
  2. 2. The real estate revolution is here.

Like everyone else, I’m looking forward to the outbreak’s end where, hopefully, there will have been minimal impact to as many people as possible.

But I’m also looking forward to some of the changes becoming permanent, where agents will take charge of their destiny and forge ahead well away from the big-agency franchise model.

Why the Power Has Shifted from The Real Estate Agency to The Agent

By Our Advice

The real estate industry has proved to be one of the nation’s most dynamic sectors over the past two decades. The pace of its transformation away from “old-school” thinking and towards new ways of doing business has been nothing short of astounding.

Amazingly, much of the change has occurred in the past five years, and, rather than slowing down, the speed of the shift appears to increase exponentially every month.

Underlying these rapid changes is one key element — a monumental shift in a traditional power dynamic that was the foundation of our industry for decades — and that’s the relationship between the individual agent and their agency.

This revolution around “who’s in charge” is only set to become more entrenched, and businesses that fail to adapt are destined for the scrap heap.

Old ways, new ways

In short, real estate agencies have become increasingly irrelevant to sellers and buyers — and it’s only going to get worse for them.

In the meantime, agents are becoming their own marketing machines, and their profiles are only going to keep rocketing.

The reason is simply that technology means the “central marketplace” for trading property has changed forever.

Let me explain.

In the old days, before the internet, if you wanted to buy a house in a suburb, you would go to that location, look in every real estate agency’s window and see what’s for sale.

If something caught your eye, you’d go inside the door of the agency, and strike up a conversation with whichever agent was rostered on for that day.

So, if you were an agent keen on earning a wage, you had to be at that office. You wanted to capture that buyer, show them the options, drive them around to the various listings and, hopefully, negotiate a deal that would result in a percentage of the commission.

Unfortunately, the only access you had to those buyers was by being in that office, because the agency office was the central marketplace where deals were done.

Similarly, if someone wanted to sell their property, they would visit the local agency office — often of a big-name franchise who’d spent a motza on advertising their brand. The seller would sign up an agreement with that agency, get a photocard displayed in their window, agree to newspaper advertising and then let the agency run the campaign, hoping the right buyer would come along.

The agency office was a magnetic zone bringing the buyers, sellers and agents together so deals could be done.

As a result, the agent received around 30 to 40 per cent of the commission, with the balance going to the agency and the head franchise owner — which was fair enough because without the agency, the agent didn’t have a source of listings or buyers.

The new marketplace

Then the internet came in with online property portals making their way between 1995 and the year 2000.

As you know, this has evolved to a point where, in 2019, buyers no longer come into the office. Why would they? They can see every listing with every agent in a given area via a few simple clicks on their mobile phone. They can choose the properties that suit their criteria and attend open home inspections, all before deciding whether to call the agent and begin the negotiation process.

Sellers no longer list with agencies anymore either, because all are seeking a specific agent, not the agency. Sellers want to find the person who best represents what they have to offer to the marketplace, and has a reputation of working flat out to achieve the maximum possible outcome for them. The relationship is personal and important to the vendors, so they look for high-performing agents and contact them directly, regardless of which agency they belong to.

So, we have buyers enquiring directly with agents via online listing information, sellers seeking specific agents who will best represent their needs, and mobile, agile agents able to go where they’re needed to do the deals.

In essence, this means the “central marketplace” where business is done is no longer the agency office, but the real estate agent themselves.

The agency and its head franchise are becoming irrelevant in the process.

What now?

This really is an “evolve or perish” time for real estate businesses, because in the new world order, the role of the agency is now to simply support the agent.

The agent no longer works for the agency; rather the agency should work for the agent, because all of the power exists with them.

Part of the discussion around this dynamic shift must include remuneration, because talented agents are exercising their brand power.

Think about it. We were once in an era where agents were earning 35 per cent of the total sales commission. That’s now evolved to where agents earn around 40 to 50 per cent of the commission.

But I still think that’s bullshit.

High-performing agents are waking up to the fact the buyers and sellers interact with them alone. They’re saying to themselves:

“I’m the only one running around until 8pm most nights doing deals and putting things together. What the hell does the agency do? Why does the head franchisee take 10 per cent, then why does the office take another 50 per cent of what’s left, leaving me with just 45 per cent of the total commission?”

These professionals are taking a stand — and I’m all for it. The foundation of my business is to recognise that the genie is out of the bottle, the power shift has occurred, and there’s no going back.

I think an agency should empower its agents to work for themselves, create their own brand and build a legacy. I also believe in recognising high-performing agents through adequate compensation with 70 to 85 per cent of the total commission being returned to them, because it’s only through this collective effort to recognise the agent as the marketplace that we all benefit.

Mark my words — the new world is very much about adapt or die. If big agencies fail to evolve, they will find themselves without talented agents, as those who increasingly recognise their power in the industry look to get a just reward for the effort they put in.

Why Real Estate Commissions Should Be Tied to Vendor Ratings

By Our Advice

A Brisbane-based business has established the nation’s first carrot-and-stick agency model – and it gives clients direct influence on how much agents can earn.

Under the model introduced by UrbanX, vendors can rate their sales agents, with the size of agent’s commissions on the line, if their service and results prove to be regularly sub-par.

Head of UrbanX, Dan Argent, said the new approach to commissions is long overdue and has the potential to turn the industry on its head.

“A year ago, I was looking at the way individual agents were being compensated, the support they were receiving from their head offices and the level of customer service on offer, and I realised the system was totally broken,” Mr Argent said.

Mr Argent embarked on an ambitious agenda to change the model and has now launched a program that sees talented agents rewarded through substantially higher incomes and improved head office support – but it comes with a catch.

“Agents have traditionally received around 50 per cent of their gross commissions as income, with the rest going to their agency,” he said.

“But agents must pay for their own car, phone, superannuation, sales assistants and other costs which, in the end, sees them retain as little as 25 per cent of their commissions.”

Mr Argent said this seemed criminally low given the agent was doing the lion’s share of work.

“Today’s real estate agent really is running their own business – doing all the hard yakka – while their agency retains most of the commission,” he said. “You see, sellers are usually listing with the agent, not the agency.”

Mr Argent said if a seller knows an agent has a really good reputation and they want that agent to sell their property, where that agent works and how their agency operates is irrelevant.

“So, at UrbanX, we’ve established a support process for agents that sees us offer a centralised office ‘hive’, hot-desk office facilities, administrative and marketing support and ongoing high-end training designed to teach our agents ways to work smarter and live better,” he said.

“Best of all, the agent retains 70 to 85 per cent of their sales commission. Some of our agents have seen their net income rise by 50 per cent overnight – and that’s entirely justified in my opinion.”

Mr Argent said the generous offering does come with conditions – including a customer star-rating program that filters out sub-par agents.

“Clients are asked to rate their agent experience out of five stars and if an agent’s rating falls below a four-star average, they’re kicked off the UrbanX platform,” he said.

“Put simply, we provide all the support that an agent needs to be the best at their role – including extraordinarily good compensation – but they need to front up and make the grade or risk being asked to leave.”

The future of real estate

Mr Argent said the time is ripe for this evolution in agency with the traditional shopfront agency model dead.

“Technology has reached a stage where today’s real estate agents work on the go – visiting clients at their properties while coordinating marketing programs and coordinating negotiations from wherever they’re needed,” he said.

“I literally can’t remember the last time I had a client in our office – in my mind, having them attend the office is actually poor service because we should be going to them.

“We’ve embraced this change by creating an office that’s a centralised hive of agent support and mentoring.”

Mr Argent said the program was proving a winner with 15 agents signing on in just five months

“We’ve seen growth of 200 per cent since May and it’s only going to get stronger. It’s a total win-win for agents, their clients and a just reward for excellent service.”

10 Rules to Live by to Succeed in Real Estate

By Our Advice

Grant Cardone is someone I have looked up to for a long time, so it was incredibly exciting to have the chance to interview him recently for my podcast Below The Surface and the accompanying Drive By Dan video series.

Grant, known as ‘Mr 10X’, is many things – an internationally renowned business coach, the head of a billion-dollar real estate empire, a New York Times best-selling author and the creator of the 10X growth conference series.

But his personal story is just as fascinating as the incredible success he has achieved. He’s a passionate dude who believes getting ahead is a mindset. And he has the background to prove it.

Grant came from nothing and overcame a drug addiction and many struggles to launch himself into property in a big way.

I heard him speak at a conference in Brisbane and he agreed to come on my podcast. We jumped in my car and went for a drive to grab coffee and record our chat and it was inspiring to say the least.

Here are Grant’s 10 rules for success that he offered my lucky listeners:

1. Don’t let fear get in the way

Looking back on his professional life, Grant says that no matter how much money he was making, he was always a bit scared of it.

He was constantly fearful of money – of losing it, of second-guessing his ideas, of having too much, of not knowing what to do with it.

One of the biggest lessons he’s learnt is the incredible hold that fear has on you. It traps you. It blocks you from your full potential. Fear of failure is toxic, but Grant believes failing is harder than succeeding.

Grant said life isn’t about saving money, getting rich or building net worth. It’s about being in the position to buy freedom. Not letting fear get in your way is the first step to being free.

2. Don’t be afraid of debt

A lot of property owners never become investors because they’re terrified of debt. Their wisdom is to spend 30 years paying off their home until they owe zero on the mortgage.

Grant thinks that’s crazy. If that’s your wisdom, he believes you don’t truly understand real estate. Those people are sitting on huge assets that are being underutilised.

Great says real estate can support debt – that is, by using its good cash flow to fund the debt. The income from the property should be able to support the debt, which you can then reinvest.

Let’s say you have $5 million worth of property, and you’ve got $3 million of equity in that portfolio. Grant said not only can you can use that money to invest, but it’s also cash that’s sitting there in holding.

Why wait 30 years for that money? That’s money Grant would use now to reinvest and to build more wealth via debt.

3. Don’t overleverage

There is a caveat to tip number 2 above. Grant keeps his debt at 65-70% of a loan-to-value ratio. That’s about his maximum.

In an exceptional case, when the cash flow is really good on a property deal, he’ll push it to 80%. But generally speaking, a buffer of 30-35% is the way to go, he says.

4. Re-invest everything you make

Grant says he lives off “nothing”. This is a dude that could be sunning himself on a massive yacht and never spend another minute worrying about cash. Instead, the income he makes, he spends on buying more real estate.

Sounds hard to believe? Here’s how he works it for him.

He believes that whatever percentage you “give to the government” in tax (about 40% in his case) you should be stashing away that same percentage to buy real estate.

Grant then uses the remaining 20% on enjoying his best life. He calls that 20% his passive income. While we were chatting, I noticed his beautiful watch – a Patek Philippe 40th anniversary time piece. It’s worth a couple of hundred grand! He bought that expensive watch for himself out of passive income – the 20%. From one month of passive income in fact. The next month? He was back in the black.

5. Go big or stay home

Grant believes real estate with strong cash flow is key to securing your finances. Cash flow is king. But for Grant, one stream of income isn’t enough, so he wouldn’t buy a single unit. He’d buy the whole building.

“It’s the only thing you should be looking at,” he told me of buying big.

He focuses on one deal, one transaction, 30 units. Or more. Buy the whole building and never sell them to anyone. The cash flow should support the debt. One door is a waste of Grant’s time. Why buy one income flow?

He thinks of it like a casino. If a casino opened and had just one table inside, it would be crazy. A dumb business model. Casinos have hundreds of tables with multiple streams of income. They invest in cash flow.

Of course, not everyone is in a position to buy an entire apartment building. But going big on your own scale should be your focus, he says.

6. Join forces with others

Grant’s start-up capital for big real estate deals came from his successful businesses. Not everyone has that ability. But Grant says if you don’t have enough, go and raise it.

Everyone wants to invest in real estate. How many have the time and know-how to do it? How many have enough money? Not many. Go to those people and put together a syndicate to be able to fund the big deals.

Assemble a venture that lets them win on a deal they couldn’t secure on their own. There’s power in partnerships, so utilise that power.

That’s what Cardone Capital does. He now partners with investors on major deals – big buildings with lots of units. He’s like the Goldman Sachs of real estate.

But the really important focus for Grant? Treat people well and don’t be greedy. Reward your partners for their faith in you by taking care of them.

7. Don’t rely on ‘customers’

While Grant loves thinking big, he only likes certain types of big properties.
He’s not keen on hotels because they live and die by their customers. If travel markets sink or the economy goes to shit, so does the hotel.

The same goes for student accommodation, which is transient in nature. Students come, they graduate, and they go. Or they get itchy feet and want to live somewhere else.

His point is that there’s a difference between going big and going risky. Big moves should be calculated moves.

8. Commercial is risky

In that same vein, Grant thinks commercial property is risky because the way we work is changing. Offices are shrinking because companies realise housing staff in a static location is expensive and inefficient.

You only need to look at the ‘hot-desking’ phenomenon that began to boom a few years ago to see that businesses have realise floor space is a costly waste. Now, work from home arrangements are on the rise. So too are shared workspaces.
It’s an essential element in the growth of my own company.

Grant believes we’re moving away from offices. The problem with everyday people buying office space is that the calculations are complicated. Big tenants are demanding, and the economy dictates the lease security and income. In addition, small tenants are high risk.

But homes? People will always need somewhere to live.

9. Stop repeating the same mistakes

Grant’s 10X rule is based on learning from 30 years of business mistakes.

So, what does he consider one of his biggest mistakes? Grant believes his mistake was thinking too small –he wasn’t playing big enough and learning from that mistake changed his focus.

Before that, Grant did all of the right things. He used his talent and worked hard. He saved his money. But he wasn’t getting ahead. He was chipping away at a stone with a toothpick instead of the sledgehammer that was sitting right there. Grant says he was thinking small out of fear.

When he decided to brush off fear and back himself, he was determined to maximise his investing and think big.

10. Give back

Grant says that “giving back saved my life”, which is a pretty incredible statement from a man who has built a successful business empire. What he means is that by staying grounded and humble, he retains his core values as a person.

The Grant Cardone Foundation is an initiative he founded to raise money for a range of charitable purposes, from mentorship to financial literacy for underprivileged and at-risk people. He’s especially passionate about helping kids who’ve lost their fathers, as he did when he was 10.

Success gives you the power to buy freedom, Grant believes. But freedom gives you the ability to enrich the lives of others.

Grant Cardone is the very model of success from humble beginnings. By refocussing his efforts and applying some rules learned via experienced, he’s built an enviable real estate empire. True to form, he’s not keeping the secrets to himself, but rather sharing his knowledge with the rest of us.

UrbanX - Your Own Brand

Why Real Estate Agents Must Build Their Own Personal Brand to Stand Out

By Our Advice

Without your own personal brand, agents risk getting lost in the ‘sea of sameness’. There are over 60,000 agents in Australia, all essentially offering the same service. Like any industry, there’s the good, bad and indifferent, but without differentiating yourself, how can you possibly stand out.

Fortunately, most agents don’t/won’t do this, which is a huge opportunity for those that are willing to. For those that do, they can create an attraction business, where sellers call you to list their property, rather than a chase business where you’re constantly calling people in the hope that if you speak to enough of them, you can find someone that wants to sell. This is the daily grind most agents find themselves in, whereas an attraction business is what I created, and is much easier & more enjoyable.

The secret formula to grow your business as a real estate agent is KLT – know, like, trust. If your target audience KNOW who you are, LIKE you, and TRUST you, they will do business with you. Think of it like a sales funnel, with the largest section at the top being those who know you, then cascading down are those who like you, and then finally the smallest section is those who trust you. Coming out of the bottom of the funnel are those who want to do business with you.

As an agent, you build trust with consistency over time. The longer you are in your market, the more great results you have achieved, and the more relationships you have developed, the more trust you will generate. When people are selling, what is often their biggest asset, they want to know the individual representing them is the best & will deliver a successful result. There are no shortcuts to building trust, just keep doing the right thing, treat everyone how you would like to be treated, provide 11/10 service, and the trust will come.

Everyone has a tribe, and you need to build yours. People will either like you or they won’t, and you can’t take that personally. All you can do is be completely authentically yourself, and remember you can’t please everyone. In fact, the more you are uniquely you, the more you open up & share with others, the more attractive you become.

Therefore, if trust is built with consistency over time, and whether others like you or not is subjective, then the section of the sales funnel you can focus on growing is how many people know you. It makes sense that the more people that know you, the bigger your audience, and the more people have the chance to like you & trust you.

I believe the best way to do that is to build your own personal brand. Today, more than ever before, people want to deal with people; not companies, not machines, not robots, but good people that can help them achieve what they want. Whether that’s having your hairdresser, your lawyer, your accountant, your mechanic, or your real estate agent, once people KLT you, they will stick with you, regardless of where you work.

The way you build you own personal brand is by, firstly, taking a good hard look at yourself. Who are you, what are your values, what kind of people do you get along with the best, what experience do you have, what do you enjoy etc. Call it a SWOT analysis if you want, but it’s important to identify, and work to your strengths. For example if you are a family man living in the suburbs, it makes a lot more sense to sell family homes rather than inner city apartments to DINK’S, or if you’re in your early 20’s then perhaps specialising in retirement homes isn’t a smart move.

Second, identify your target audience. Who are you talking to. If you sell 1-2 bedroom apartments, your audience is probably young couples, first home buyers, and investors so there’s no point advertising in a school newsletter. Likewise, if you sell family homes in the burbs, there’s no point advertising to empty nesters. Know who is buying from you. Know who is selling with you. Once you’re clear on who your audience is, you’ll know exactly when & how to talk to them.

Thirdly, you need to carve out a niche. Cardiac surgeons are paid far better than GP’s, private jet pilots are paid much better than regular ones, and builders that specialise in building complex skyscrapers do much better than those building brick & tile homes that all look the same. The point is if you’re not known for something, you’ll be known for nothing. And when you have a niche, people will want to deal with you, because they know you can help them. Some people choose an area (i.e. a suburb or a building), some choose a price range (i.e. $1M+ properties), some choose a property type (i.e. houses, apartments, shopping centres, commercial leasing, etc), and some choose all of the above & create a super niche. If you can do this, and if the market size is big enough, you can do very well. This is what I did – $1M+ houses in Paddington, Brisbane. It didn’t take long before I was the go-to guy if you had a $1M+ house in Paddington, because I sold more of them than anybody else, which meant I knew more about that market than anybody else. Another agent I work with specialises in $1M+ apartments in Brisbane City. His average sale price is $1.2M (double Brisbane’s average), his average sale price is 35% faster than the average, and he holds the price record for the highest price achieved in the City so far this year. As you can imagine, if you own a $1M+ apartment, you’re going to call him when you want to sell.

Once you’re clear on who you are, you’ve identified who you’re talking to, and you have a speciality, it’s time to create the ‘look & feel’ of your personal brand. This is how people will recognise you. And your brand should be something you’re proud of, that’s an extension of you. Think of it like your child. Apple have the apple with a bite taken out of it, W hotels have the giant illuminated W outside all of their hotels, McDonalds have the golden M. Use your creative flair. Think of the colours you like, the fonts, do you want something modern or something classic? Do you want something bold or simple & elegant? Do you want to use your name, or something more specific to your audience, for example ‘Dan Argent Real Estate’ or ‘Paddington Real Estate’? The options are unlimited, and by working with a professional, they can help you create something uniquely suited to you.

Now that you’ve done all that, it’s time to be prolific. As the ‘parent’ of your personal brand, if you don’t sing it from the rooftops, who will?! This is how you increase the ‘know’ section of the sales funnel. Think of yourself as a marketing business first & foremost, and a real estate agent second. Just stop & think about that for a second… you’re a marketing business first, so if you adopt that mindset, what would you do? Personally, I decided I wanted to run for the Mayor of Paddington. Now obviously there’s no such thing, but if there was, I wanted to be that person, so I wrote down a list of all the things I would do if I was running for Mayor. I’d have signs on every street corner, I’d attend every local event, I’d letterbox drop flyers, I’d advertise everywhere my ‘constituents’ were looking, I’d hold events, the list went on & on. Then, I did everything on that list! People would say “I can’t go anywhere in this suburb without seeing your face”. Others would say “I feel like I already know you” when we’d meet for the first time. The point is, you need to be memorable, and to do that you’ve got to be prolific, and you’ve got to find a way to stand out. As Seth Godin would say, be a purple cow.

The final point, and quite a critical one, is that with everything you do, you must always always always add value to your audience. Nobody, particularly in Australia, likes a show-off. If all you ever talk about is yourself, it doesn’t matter how prolific you are, you’ll end up creating more critics than fans. People are time poor and inherently selfish – all anybody really cares about is themselves – so make sure all your messaging is about them, not you. And, try to find ways to tell your audience things they otherwise wouldn’t know. For example, we recently sold a house for $1.625M. We could do a post on social media, a letterbox drop, and whatever else saying “SOLD! $1.625M. Call for a free appraisal” which may or may not get a few responses. Or, we could advertise the fact that the property sold after 3 offers in only 2 weeks, it set a new street price record, it sold for more than any other house in the suburb so far this year on up to 450sqm, and it sold for exactly $300k more than it sold last time only 6 years ago, indicating capital growth of 4.6% per year. You can then insert the usual ‘call for a free appraisal’ but you’re likely to get a much better response. Why? Because you’ve told your audience a lot of facts they may not otherwise know. If you sell apartments, you could say something like “Unit 1302 has just sold for $1M which is $9,572 per sqm – the highest price ever achieved in the building. If you would like to know how much your apartment is now worth, please give me a call”. If you lease commercial retail shops, you can do the same. I’m sure you get the gist. You don’t need to be a peacock to still get all the kudos for your results.

What you may have noticed, is that at no point have I mentioned a corporate brand (such as a real estate franchise group). That’s because it’s no longer necessary. In fact, when you think about it, it’s kind of weird. Why do you need to use someone else’s name when it’s you that your clients are working with. In my opinion, all it does is dilute your name and your personal brand, and causes you to get lost in the ‘sea of sameness’.

As the real estate industry becomes increasingly more competitive, and as people seek out the best agents to represent them in the sale of their biggest asset, now is the time to create your own personal brand, to stand out from the others, to be the purple cow, and to be uniquely you… BrandU.