“Equipped with state of the art technology and over 20 years’ experience, real estate agent Greg Trembath has launched his own agency ‘with a twist’. You may have seen his distinctive green ‘for sale’ signs popping up around town in the last few months. A local agent since 1990, he explains his ‘why pay more’ approach to real estate sales and how these new ways are gaining traction.”
You have been in Port Macquarie since the early 1980s, raised a family here and now launched a new business. Does that mean you’ll be staying around for a while?
Yes, Port Macquarie is definitely the place for me. The coastal lifestyle was great when Kim and I had a young family, and it’s equally good for us now we’re ‘empty nesters’.
I really enjoy our pristine beaches and the burgeoning café culture. You can go for a swim or a surf mid-week, grab a cappuccino and still make a breakfast meeting.
Tell us what prompted you to start your own independent agency.
Technology and the internet have had a huge impact on the real estate world. The way people want to interact with agents has completely changed, yet the industry seems reluctant to keep pace. I could see this created a market opportunity and decided to use my expertise to fill it.
Have the changes been that profound?
Absolutely. Ten years ago, buyers would browse brightly lit shop windows in the main street and make educated guesses about what else was on the market and how much they should pay for it.
Today, buyers have unlimited access to information online. Many now undertake a fair chunk of the research necessary for themselves – they are better educated, better equipped and do most of their ‘window shopping’ online.
Your new business promises low, fixed cost commission rates. How does that work?
We charge a set commission for the properties we sell. Owners have a choice of marketing options, designed to be cost effective. The objective is to offer a fairer, low cost alternative and a more transparent sales process.
Without large overheads like franchise fees, prime office space and a hefty payroll, we work more cost-effectively and pass these savings on.
Our clients know up front how much it will cost them to sell their homes. For instance, we recently sold a home for $492,000 and the commission charged was $6,990. The owners had an all up marketing expense of $552. An agent charging 3.0% commission would charge $14,760 to sell the same property, a figure that would only be determined once the sale price is agreed to.
What has the market’s reaction been like?
I knew the lower fees would strike a chord. This, plus our reputation for quality professional service, seem to be behind most of our new business enquiries.
Local retailers have been telling me for ages that people don’t want to pay full price for goods and services any more. Most people realise that what goes on behind the scenes is pretty much the same whether an agent is selling a $250,000 property or one for $1 million, so percentage based fees can end up being very expensive.
Our feedback indicates clients like how quickly and easily they can work out how many dollars end up in their own pockets. Others have said they like how the lower fees allowed them to list their property at a price that encouraged more buyers and resulted in a quicker sale.
Are you enjoying the new venture?
Very much so. I am relishing the actual business building and shaping process, and I really appreciate the independence and flexibility.
I can also keep my finger on the pulse better now – all enquiries come through me rather than other offices or staff, so I’m on top of everything. Nothing’s lost in translation.
What have been the biggest challenges so far?
There haven’t been any major hurdles so far, although developing the new website and smart phone technology has taken longer than I had hoped. Everything in the new business utilises the latest technology. Developing the systems to access every possible buyer efficiently and quickly takes time.
Kim’s done an amazing amount of leg work and paperwork to get Greg Trembath Real Estate off the ground. She’s an absolute star! I’ve also had the support of some wonderful people, including loyal and supportive clients whose homes I’ve already listed and sold. I’m truly blessed in that regard.
Your mention your wife, Kim. How is she involved in the business?
Kim and I have been working as a team for a couple of years now during open house inspections. Having two sets of eyes and ears at this important time offers a higher level of service and seems to work well for both home owners and buyers. The chance for more one-on-one time is definitely a major plus.
We both appreciate that selling can be an emotional time. Having Kim on board to help guide people through the process ensures it all goes as smoothly as possible.
Kim’s media sales experience has also been an asset for the business. She oversees all our print and online media bookings, leaving me free to focus on pleasing people and negotiating sales.
How can readers find out more?
Our website is probably the best place to start: www.gregtrembath.com.au
You can also phone me any time on 0412 001 944 – as Kim will tell you, my phone’s switched on 24/7.
This story was published in issue 80 Greater Port Macquarie Focus