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Multi-Agent Approach A Winner For Ex-Rugby Star

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As a former professional rugby player, it should come as no surprise that this Brisbane-based agent is choosing a team-based approach to his real estate career.

Ex-Queensland Reds player Ben Wakely is bringing his life lessons of hard work, commitment and sacrifice to a new inner-west Brisbane venture: Wakely Properties.

While he was still playing professionally, Mr Wakely began selling property with PRD Paddington. Mr Wakely knew rugby wasn’t going to last forever — “you always need to have something else”.

“I’d go to training in the morning, go to the gym, then put on a suit and go to work, then head back to rugby training in the afternoon,” he said.

Fast-forward 16 years, and a partnership with UrbanX CEO Dan Argent. Now Mr Wakely is forging ahead on his own, using UrbanXO (office) to do so.

The future for Wakely Properties

It’s his aim to build out a multi-agent operation, helping to train and support a new generation of real estate professionals.

“I’ve been selling for 20 years and I want to be able to build a team, help others improve professionally and create a good team culture and environment,” he said.

“I know the power of a team. Together everyone achieves more.”

Looking ahead over the next 12 months, Mr Wakely explained that he wants to “be able to help the crew working with me, plus the new people that come on, so we can grow the business, service clients to the best of our ability and get great results for sellers and buyers”.

Calling himself “an area specialist”, having lived and invested in Paddington since he reached adulthood, Mr Wakely is also of the belief that his local knowledge is an added advantage.

“I think it’s really important. Using an out-of-area agent to sell your home is like asking a shoulder doctor to perform open heart surgery,” he said.

Kremer Is Shaking Up The Competition

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Every capital city has them. Middle-ring suburbs where well-established agencies become firmly entrenched.

Like a well-worn groove in a favourite armchair, these existing businesses reach a ‘comfortably familiar’ stage where they’re convinced there’ll be little risk from fresh new players coming in and shaking up their market.

That’s what 34-year-old Steven Kremer saw in Brisbane’s Centenary Suburbs, just 12 kilometres southwest of the city’s CBD, and it prompted him to launch his brand, Kremer & Co.

“I think this area has been undersold for a long period,” Mr Kremer said.

“You go across the highway from here to Kenmore or Chapel Hill and every listing is perfectly presented and well-advertised – so sale prices each month tend to go up and up and up there.

“It’s time to have the same here in the Centenary Suburbs too.”

A new life

Canadian-born Mr Kremer was just 14 years old when his family arrived in Australia and, before long, they were hooked.

“Six months in and we all agreed, this was where we wanted to be. Why would you leave? The weather is great, and it’s not crowded. I’ve struggled to find anywhere else that’s better than Brisbane.”

Mr Kremer joined the real estate industry in 2006, becoming part of a well-established local agency, where he hit the ground running.

“I was lucky enough to work with a big team in Brisbane’s west initially, and we did a huge amount of business. I got thrown into the deep end very early, so it was sink or swim. Fourteen years later I’m still swimming, so I must have done something right.”

Mr Kremer has continued to service Centenary throughout his career, working for a range of businesses from big-brand companies to small independents.

But, ultimately, none ended up being a good fit. It was time to start something new.

“Every agency group has its positives and negatives. What we’ve tried to do is take all the great things we’ve seen and put them together to create a better business,” Mr Kremer said.

Local knowledge

Kremer & Co launched on July 1, after almost a year of planning, and Mr Kremer’s long-term approach paid immediate dividends.

“We’d been opened for just six weeks and, in that time we’ve listed 12 properties and sold nine.

“We know the area back to front. I’ve just bought a house and it’s 17 doors up from our office space.

“If I’m not at work then I’m at the grocery store or at the local shop or at the kids’ swimming lesson. Whatever we do, we do it here.”

Mr Kremer and his wife have also renovated a number of homes in the area, so they know what it’s like from the property owner’s perspective.

“I always find that’s a great strength as a local agent -we’ve done it too,” he said.

Support = success

Mr Kremer’s ethos is one of meticulous planning. After all, if something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.

He began a conversation with Dan Argent at UrbanX to see if the platform’s suite of administrative support, networking and business mentorship would suit his goals.

It turned out they were an ideal partner for his venture.

“I don’t want to be spending hours on trust accounts and admin and all the behind the scenes stuff.

“I used to think if you’re an agent, you’re an agent, and if you’re an office owner, then you’re an office owner, but the platform Dan’s started allows me to be both.

“I’m not really the office manager – all that’s looked after by UrbanX and for a fraction of my gross commission compared to other models.

“In fact, the UrbanX platform is exactly the platform that every agency and big franchise preaches they will provide you – every single one says, ‘We’ll look after this and that,’ and my response has always been, ‘Sure you will, but you’ll charge somewhere around 50 per cent of my commission to do it.’

“Also, no one was calling me to list their home because I worked for a particular office. Those days are gone, so why pay a huge franchise fee?”

Mr Kremer said another great thing about UrbanX is they always deliver.

“UrbanX are seamless and do things with the same attention to detail and urgency as I’d do them.

“From the day I met Dan’s team, I have not had one thing late or wrong. Everything has been perfect, and nothing has been too much to ask. There are zero pressures on me to do anything. All I have to do is list and sell. It’s absolutely streamlined.

“And the way Dan’s building a community within the platform is great. We’ve already had get-togethers with other UrbanX agents – hearing about different people’s career paths and their lives. I get more out of that than any other ‘agency event’ I’ve ever attended in my career.”

Mr Kremer said it’s obvious UrbanX is future thinking at its best.

“This industry is so different from what it was when I started 14 years ago… its even different from what it was last week. Things move so quickly and if you don’t have your finger on the pulse, you’ll get left behind.”


Original article on:

Business Executive Leaves Lorna Jane for UrbanX

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“I could envisage the future and what we could achieve with this idea,” Stephanie Kong said.

Ms Kong spent 16 years working for activewear brand Lorna Jane, and she was responsible for its expansion into the United States.

She relocated to California for nearly four years in 2012, and during that time she opened 42 stores.

However, when she returned to Australia, an old school friend presented her with an idea, which eventually became UrbanX.

Before she spoke with UrbanX CEO Dan Argent, who was an old school friend, Ms Kong was responsible for Lorna Jane’s sales and brand awareness while managing 1,200 staff.

“While it’s fulfilling working for a global brand, I wanted to be part of something that was mine and that had a scalable potential to change the face of its industry,” she said.

Mr Argent presented the idea for UrbanX to Ms Kong in late 2018.

“It was the first time ever I thought I could actually see myself doing this — I got butterflies imagining what this might be. I could envisage the future and what we could achieve with this idea,” she said.

Although it was a risky career gamble, Ms Kong is thrilled to be part of a new business as a co-founder, and she recently took up the role as chief people officer at UrbanX.

Ms Kong believes that with the available resources, “old-school agencies” are becoming redundant.

“It’s obviously struck a chord,” she said. “Since launching in 2019, UrbanX has welcomed a record number of new agents to the platform, a consistent stream of enquiries from potential investors.

“I truly believe our company is not only empowering agents to start their own business, but to help them live a better life through health, wealth, growth and contribution.”