A Middle Way

by Gina Kantzas and Mal James

Saturday, February 6th, 2021

Out and about at the Top End this weekend

Big viewing numbers at almost every home

The Top End is getting back into the routines of buying and selling, of claim and counterclaims, of noise and headlines.


2021 has begun full-on with excitement, a similar start to what we experienced early February 2020.


Day One 2021, today, has shown a lot of fresh, new ingredients (buyers).


The pudding (auction results) is what truly tells and that won’t be known, until the end of February.


But it’s in the oven and it smells good.


Now before we get caught up in smart commentary on early markets, we wanted one more week, to have one more crack, at explaining how and why we do, what we do.


A Way we try to buy and sell well.

Your Everest is more reachable, more often, via a Middle Way; more so than via a High or a Low way.

This article is written as an attempt to benefit those who want a look at a better way, perhaps a Middle Way.


We acknowledge it may not be the easiest of reads, for it’s not the formula of modern-day property – with a few punchy headlines, some bang-bang stats and a cobble of anecdotes. This article is nuanced and conceptual, but it’s also more than passionfruit on your pizza. It may take some time of chewing on, to see what the concept of a Middle Way has to truly offer.  


The content is designed to encourage you to get what you want and show you A way to buy and sell. One that if you persist, you may save or make an additional million dollars, find a better home or enhance a family relationship and your own mental health. A Middle way has been at our centre for many years.


In the end, if we have added some value to your life, you will have an insight into why we follow a Way of multi-list when selling and why a Way of multi-option when buying.


In the end, the insight may grow, so you consider which Way for you, for a better outcome.

Uncertainty Uncomfortable

Better outcomes are in part connected to your ability to deal with some level of uncertainty, whilst trying to get done what you really, really want. Think snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.


Recent times have highlighted the uncertainty around outcomes we knew (thought) were certain.


Those uncertainties were uncomfortable, leading to positions where some would rather certainty and be wrong, than uncertainty and be right. Think Australia v Sweden v US.


In order to deal with the stress that society has “taught” us to feel when facing uncertainty; we are, at times, tempted to revert to an immediate position of absolute certainty.


This can be right, but it can also compound a wrong – think of politicians under the pump OR an argument you have been in, where words are coming out of your mouth, whilst your mind is going, this is just not right.


In pandemics, politics and in property, when initial absolute certainty is wrong, it’s harder to get back to a more neutral position, that allows right to be found; than if a more optioned and open “uncertainty” strategy had been adopted.


By wrong, in this instance we mean, not your best perceived outcome (now or future).


Immediacy? In a modern world, property is rarely a split-second proposition. Patience can be a good thing and uncertainty can be ok. Seldom is a decision required immediately, even at most auctions.


So how do you get your right outcome, the one you really want?


In sport, at the poker table, in business, at 28,000 feet on a mountain, over a beating heart with a medical degree AND in Inner Melbourne property transactions, to get a good outcome includes:


  • Planning (destination)
  • Desire for a good outcome
  • A Way to explore your options and manage your emotions (uncertainties) on the journey and some luck.

Multi-options when buying and multi-listing when selling is a Way we follow for good buyer and seller outcomes. It’s what, how and why we do, what we do.

Only One Way

You may believe there is only one way?


To those who tell us certainty of direction and there is only one way; we say ok. But we also see an emotion in the interpretation of data and perhaps a bumpy ride.

Market Price

Do you think there’s one market price or many prices in the market?


Aside from words of convenience, market price is a concept that holds little for us. We have found no certainty in market price or value, only uncertainty in its calculation.


When you can show a Bayside home to an audience of 100 wealthy people and get a sincere range of estimate $3m to $12m, as we did a decade ago, then you understand just how wide-ranging market price uncertainty can be.

Judge and Jury

With certainty and knowing on homes, on methods, on pricing, on……we see few beyond reasonable doubts. What we see are lots of .…..on the balance of probabilities.


And we have found the bumpy ride is less bumpy, when you have optioned in room for error and a Plan B and C and….


So how can you deal in a world of uncertainty and emotion? What are the ways?

Three Way Deal

  1. Knowing there are uncertainties doesn’t make good decision making superior; if your only way to manage uncertainty is to seek immediate absolute certainty. This seeking of immediate absolute certainty often hides better options beneath colour and can cause costly U-turns. This we call the high way – it’s his or its the high.


  1. A more laissez-faire inactive path then? A way that only deals with surprises, can follow a way of being led. If being led is simply conforming to the opinion of another …….where do their interests lie and what is the relationship to yours? Granted listening to nobody can leave you with a prize nobody else wants. These fruits we call low – the low way.


  1. Our quest for better, has led us to look for the middle – the Middle way(s). A Middle Way is one of options, away from corners, along different paths AND as our clients become clearer on what they want, so we become clearer on how to do.


What we do and how we do it, is take a Middle Way for as long as possible until all-in or all-out is the only commitment remaining for our buy or sell clients.

Pussy Cat

For those that think they live on the edge, they may see a Middle Way as the way of the pussy cat.


They may be right, for at times a Middle Way is a quiet and collaborative one, with little fanfare.


However, a Middle Way when buying or selling can also be that of another cat, one you would encounter on the Serengeti, rather than on the sofa. A Middle Way is at times combative, there is noise, and we try and get our clients through with only minor flesh wounds.


Whichever form, a Middle Way for us, is not a search for the middle ground, the mediocre or even the easy. The Middle Way involves a search for the longer lasting and meaningful.


A Middle Way for us, for as long as it can be, is an open position in order to test and maximize our clients’ positions, be they buyers or sellers, whilst in search of what it is, they really, really want.

We believe your Everest is more reachable, more often, via a Middle Way.

Results of Ways




1) The Volcano and 4) the Rolling Hills are probably from good ways.


2) The Sinking Stone or 3) the Rotting Log possibly not.


The Volcano (multiple bidders, run away auction) is what almost all sellers would want.


But even in strong markets, volcanic auctions are rare.


By boldly going after the 1 in 20 volcanic auction – on the high-wire without a safety net, you bring into play the way of also getting to the sinking stone or rotting log.


2) A sinking stone is from a way that has been a complete miss of the mark – it could have started with someone who absolutely knows for sure, or someone who listened to someone who said they absolutely knew for sure – the wrong price would be an example.


3) The rotting log is like death by a thousand cuts, where you slowly cut your expectations till somebody puts you out of your misery. Your results rot well below the surface, different from what could have been with a middle way approach – wrong method or wrong agent could apply here.


Multi-list, a Middle Way could give you the 4) the rolling hills…. you could also call it the no corners or steppingstone or multiple option approach and result. The rolling hills are an attempt to describe a result from a way we like to buy and sell.


It can be a volcanic result – it’s just not the only result considered when looking for the Way.

Time and Use

We sometimes like more time (not always); we like more options and we like to first test opinions in a controlled environment (usually privately); we like multiple agents because we like multiple inputs.


As said, it doesn’t mean a Middle Way can’t be a volcano when selling. It just usually takes 6 to 8 and not 4 weeks. During these additional weeks, we are testing the home presentation, testing the price. For if and when the public button is pushed, the offer will have more foundation, in that all important first 2-week bell curve of demand.


During any additional weeks, we are also testing, without cornering, which agent has their figure (and finger) most on the market pulse.


Multi-list is a Middle Way, but it is not about lining up and see who best promises, multi-list is about inviting to see who best delivers.

Mixed Messages

How you invite can also be a Middle Way. On one hand, a beauty parade of agents via a formal interview process creates corners, haste and insincerity.


On the other, open slather without any controls, means the message to the buying market is mixed and mixed messages rarely bring the best.


Selling for our clients is often about an optioned and more nuanced Middle Way.

Middle Way Buy

We had a conversation this week with clients who we bought for a decade ago, their home has since doubled in value (circa) through a smart renovation, the market and a good purchase in the first place.


They called us in because they thought it may be time to buy and sell, to snap up a holiday home a bit over 2 hours from Melbourne.


In property, as in any investment, one decision has lesser or greater potential to rise or fall depending on


  • % of the overall pie involved in the decision
  • Exit or Plan B strategy and ability to execute
  • Buffer for unexpected


And it’s not just the first decision, secondary decisions can turn a good first bad or an average first into a great one.


  • Buy Country, sell Melbourne pay off all mortgages.
  • Rent Country, hold and rent Melbourne.
  • Buy Country, sell Melbourne, miss Melbourne, sell Country and buy back into Melbourne.
  • Buy Country, sell Melbourne quickly and in 10 years think about city life again.
  • Buy Country, hold and rent Melbourne


Which way maybe a more Middle Way, until the path and outcome have more clarity within our client?

It Works

Options, many of which come from a Middle Way, are how we buy and sell. It’s not just a theory – it’s real and it works.


Recently another client had looked for 3 years and no luck. They came to us and we suggested a multi of options. One of those left-field options was not advertised, not with an agent and a new dream home was found and then bought. The 3-year drought was over.


It followed their existing home then needed to be sold. It started without the usual fanfare and through a process involving multiple options, off-grid. It actually also stopped there, for, in the end, our clients accepted an offer of the full asking price, marrying the buy and sell settlement dates. Both homes over $5million.


And in the same month, we completed a buy and sell for another client, both in the $3millions. However, this time it was all public, again marrying settlements that needed no bridging and a relatively seamless move from Kew to Canterbury. We had met those clients for the first time 6 weeks earlier – a Middle Way is not simply a highfalutin theoretical marketing concept, nor is there always an epic time factor. It’s real and it works.


Elwood Multi-list Sell: Sam from Chisholm and Gamon worked with Kaine from Marshall White who worked with Gina from James Buy Sell – to achieve a buy and a sell. The Middle Way produced the best outcome for our clients. Are these agents Pussy cats or Serengeti cats?

Why What How

To achieve client prized outcomes consistently, whilst mitigating downside risks along the buying and selling journeys, we don’t claim with absolute certainty to know – nor do we wash our hands, take no position with no accountability and allow others to blindly claim they do.

Buying or selling via a Middle Way finds options ahead of corners and follows no one path, without due diligence and due consideration AND we feel on the balance of probabilities, it best finds what a buyer and seller really, really want.

Good safe results, as well as record prices, incredible homes and long shots – can and do come from a Middle Way.


We believe any Everest is more reachable, more often, via a Middle Way, more so than a High or a Low way.


Multi-list, multi-options are Middle Ways.


Client outcomes are why we do, and Middle Ways are what and how we do it.

Out and about at the Top End this weekend

Big viewing numbers at almost every home