We knew there had to be a better way
Between us, we have close to a century’s experience in real estate. In our past incarnation, we have been described as among Australia’s most successful top-end real estate agents and auctioneers.
Why, then, did we create another side and then cross over to it? Why become Australia’s first buyers’ advocates?
We had been helping a number of people with purchases, and they’d tell their friends and it began to snowball. People were begging us to do it.
It became plain that buyers’ advocacy was a service which took a lot of the uncertainty out of buying and was saving some people a great deal of money. After some hard thinking and a trip to the US (where buyers’ agents are the norm), we decided that if we were to properly represent buyers, that’s all we should do.Overnight, we had changed sides. It was now us vs. the agents – the poacher
had invented the gamekeeper.
How could that work? Wouldn’t the agents refuse to deal with us?
Well … no. The lesser agents might think of us as their worst nightmare, but even they know we’re representing real buyers and not competing with them for listings or threatening their commissions. They can’t afford not to deal with us.
That gives us, among other advantages, access to agents’ “hidden” listings; while our greater knowledge of vendors and markets allows us to take control of auctions and negotiations.
We know all the games and we put a stop to them.
It was time someone did.
“Buyers advocate David Morrell said deliberate bait advertising was common. He said Consumer Affairs Victoria has failed to rein in agents who flouted laws…”
“I was a mess. It seemed impossible.”
David Morrell is unique. He opened his first real estate agency when hardly out of short pants then nurtured it to become a leading force in Melbourne’s most affluent suburbs.
With Chris Koren, he established Australia’s first buyer advocates — now not only the oldest but the dominant firm at the top end.
He was a founder of realAs — the world-leading accuracy price-prediction app — its algorithm is based on a method David developed for use on behalf of his clients. (The tech has since been sold to a Big Four bank.)
The top end is the world of the who-you-know. There are few significant homes that David has not bought or inspected, few that are simply found and bought — almost every one requires a different approach.
“He does things others just don’t think of.”
Emma Bloom has had a career path which has proved to be an amazing preparation for a top end buyers’ advocate.
Following university, Emma worked in fashion—including nine years in product buying and leadership roles. Fashion gave her the ability “… to read different personality types and know what they want to wear. When dressing someone, there is a vibe: Who they are and what look they are going for. The same things apply to housing.”
Those skills were refined over six years at Kay + Burton, culminating in being responsible for the sale of some of Melbourne’s highest-profile homes (in her last week alone she handled sales which totalled over $20 million).
Emma is a notorious go-getter, a skilled negotiator and has an uncanny ability to bring negotiations to a close when no end appears to be in sight.
And, above all, Emma listens.
After 20 years as a licensed agent, Karen Price was becoming increasingly disillusioned with the collision of interests of agents and their clients. Too often, they’re not aligned.
“Representing buyers is a much happier place to be. Being at Morrell and Koren is the only place to be.”
Karen initially worked as an “apprentice” advocate under David and Chris (“the best tutors in Australia”) and saw just about every way a home could be found, the ins and outs of negotiation and bidding and, most of all, how to help clients decide what they really need – where the real-life value is for them.
Now she’s flying solo – and establishing a reputation as the most professional female advocate in Australia; with a record level of transactions.
The biggest buzz? “Being there when a client moves in and you can just tell that they’ve made the right decision. That it’s going to be a great place for them to live.”
Matt Cleverdon in his own words:
- “An agent does 50 deals in a year, a buyer maybe three in a lifetime. It’s not a level playing field.”
- “A 130 year-old house bought without a building inspection. Criminal.”
- “A lot of people don’t understand that how you buy is more important than how you sell.“
- “When you’ve watched enough auctioneers move from desperation to confidence you learn to tell when the reserve has been reached — then it’s game on.“
Matt was a golf pro and coach (“You need post-graduate people skills.”). He went on to become a licensed real estate agent and auctioneer and rose to run the Sandringham end of Nick Johnstone Real Estate — and to become one of the highest-rated agents in Australia.
Since joining Morrell and Koren, Matt has immersed himself in both Stonnington and Bayside, negotiating purchases of homes with prices ranging up to more than $30 million.
Emeritus Director Christopher Koren is a licensed real estate agent who in 25 years in the industry has been the director of a number of successful agencies, a renowned auctioneer and, with David Morrell, the pioneer of buyers’ advocacy in Australia. His knowledge of the auction process is encyclopedic.
Chris is frequently sought for comment in print, radio and television. He has secured hundreds of properties, often for the most exacting purchasers, and has been a major catalyst for the ethical reform of the real estate industry in Australia.
He is now to be found on a farm not far out of town but is always available for wise counsel and for those clients who would not consider moving without him.
1. Impossible-to-find properties can be found.
2. ‘Live’ where you’re thinking of buying.
Is this the right house for the way you live? Is the floor plan workable? Is the garden? Is the district? If not, moving day will be a terrible awakening. Use your imagination. ‘Live’ in the house, in your mind, from morning ’til night. How well is the kitchen laid out? Will there be a crush in the bathroom? How will you get to work, shops, schools? Is the garden pleasure or pain?
3. When the “Wow!” fades.
4. Price. How much is too much?
5. Avoid fumbled catches.
You can go through everything it takes to find exactly what you are looking for only to lose it to another buyer at the last moment. Fair enough if that’s someone with deeper pockets at an auction. But if it’s a private sale or post-auction negotiation and a price you would have paid, you may just be left wondering. You could blame the agent, but chances are that if you had known more, you would have succeeded.
6. Stress. You don’t need it.
7. Finding value at the top end
(Another plug; but if you are spending the money needed to play at these heights, you need to know this.) You have no doubt heard that the market decides how much a house is worth. You may not have heard that, at the top end, Morrell & Koren is the major force in that market. We are involved in a huge proportion of upper-end sales. We know precisely what’s available and how much will secure it.
8. Investment. Get rich deliberately.
9. Shock! Horror! Real estate agents are not always reliable sources of information!
10. Impulse is not your friend.
11. The perils of exhaustion.
The people who have been looking for so long they have become desperate. Their expectations have slipped along with their judgement. They have been on the treadmill of too, too, too many open-for-inspections and too, too, too much disappointment. That’s you? Take a break. Or get help.
12. “I saw it. I bought it. Trouble.”
“I was driving past the auction. I just stopped and bought it.”Please, don’t (see 10.) There are the lifestyle considerations (see 2.). There’s the inspection you need to find the rising damp, the rotten stumps, the dangerous wiring … All the terrors that add up to a lemon. Don’t. Just don’t.