Straight Talk

by Mal James & Gina Kantzas

Saturday, June 27th, 2020

Straight Talk


The things we all want to get better, can get better and get better quicker with






Today we will try and show you how

This week


  1. A sell over $7m with Nick Whyte, Duane Wolowiec, James Tostevin and Nikki Van Guilick
  2. A buy with Davide Lettieri, Toby Parker circa $4m
  3. An off-market miss – but a straight talk miss with Mike Beardsley over $6.5m
  4. and 5 – A buy and sell with Michael Parker and Duane Wolowiec at $5.5m

It's 6.00 pm Saturday

This week was a good one, not exceptional for our business, but well above average in Covid times. We were directly involved in these 5 deals around $23,000,000 in Inner Melbourne.


We are showing the intimate details of how things really work. We remain true to our Covid promise of focusing on micro (your individual deal) and leaving the macro (the predictors, pundits and purveyors of economic theory) to other, more creative, story tellers.


Whilst this is about real estate – it could apply to any business, your business – it’s about Straight Talk


Agent Straight Talk can be misunderstood, is often underestimated and these days rarely heard amongst the market noise




it made these deals happen




the more good deals like these, that happen – the better we will all be.


These deals put around $1,250,000 into the Victorian Government coffers via stamp duty – that’s 15 more nurses for a year.


These deals put $500,000 into the economy in wages and I’m not great on multipliers – so let’s say no multiplier – we all just paid tax at 30%. That’s also $150,000 into the federal coffers  in income tax – that’s 7 more in the travel sector on Jobkeeper for an extra 6 months. Truthfully, we stopped the pause on our home loans this week – plus – plus – plus.


It all helps – forget the big numbers, we can’t relate to them – just buy something, do something (at a distance), that doesn’t hurt the planet or its inhabitants and it all helps. But we digress.


We will show you how Agent Straight Talk (trust) with clients (belief) got these 5 deals (fluidity) over the line this week.

Let's go to the videotape


We bought this home for our clients some time ago and they rang us pre Covid, as they had grown out of it and said when practicable, it’s time to move on.


We talked about timings and maybe wait, but the decision was made to move, we were engaged to do so, as SELL managers and we started.


We debated multi-list as we interviewed 5 agents – the clients decided to initially use Duane, Nikki and James from Marshall White and on our suggestion we gave a 6 months authority and recommended off-market as Covid was approaching.


Then Covid hit – 4 weeks and only 4 potential buyers through and no real interest.


So, we had a really good meeting with clients and us and James, Duane and Nikki and we decided to change course and go public. Whilst it was not the preferred option initially – we all agreed the off-market was awash with a lack of trust due to BS prices, agents with no authorities – and many homes with no contracts when a buyer wanted to offer and so on.


It was a gutsy move by our clients and they went all in – the above video came out of the marketing campaign.


The campaign brought more people through the door with Duane and Nikki’s hard work – many were on individual appointments.


Nick Whyte of Nelson Alexander Kew – brought his buying client through during the campaign and soon became the stand-out buyer – cutting to the chase, a lot of due diligence was done and we got to auction time.


Agent Straight talk: It was agreed to tell Nick he was the only real buyer and we weren’t going to have any BS at the auction – only his clients were invited and a deal could and would happen if his and our clients could reach an agreement on the night, sitting in comfortable separate rooms. We sat with our clients.


The long and the short or it – we all started a long way apart – both sides made what they considered difficult compromises and an agreement was reached after excellent negotiations between James and Nick and Duane and Nikki.


All parties agreed that if there was not an element of trust within each side and between the two “rival” sides, then a deal would not have happened AND our clients would still be looking for a buyer they were unlikely to find soon and Nick’s clients would be still looking for a home they were unlikely to find soon.


This was not Kumbaya – it was hard negotiating on both sides – but it was with straight talk.


Don’t believe us – how many other $7m plus sales in last two months versus how many are on the market?


Coincidentally another in Camberwell on Thursday, two days later.


Some time ago we were taken through this big project with great potential, as an off-market by Davide Lettieri. We made an offer and like any good agent he told us it needed to be more.


Straight talk: A few days later Davide came back and we spoke. It was now a lot more to buy beforehand and it was going to an EOI campaign with another agent.


Two weeks later we rang Toby Parker (the new agent) and said we liked the home, but we were a long way from his clients wishes in terms of price.


We did not participate in the EOI campaign.


This week we got a call from Toby asking if we were still interested – one hour later (after client consultation) we replied yes, but at our previous expressed levels and we needed to do some due diligence.


Straight talk: Mal you’re in the game, start you due diligence. I trusted Toby as we dealt before and our clients began their due diligence including pest and building – all within 24 hours.


Straight talk: The following morning – Toby rang and said Mal it is on the market and this is the procedure for you to follow, if you want to buy it. We bought it later that day – our clients were really good in a pressure situation (this is the second home we have bought them over the journey)


Great home – and great spot, plus really good price for seller considering condition of home.


Straight talk got a better price for seller and our client bought a great home.


Oh, but Mal, how do you know the other buyer and offer was real.


You’re missing the point if that is the focus of your thinking! It was at levels we were comfortable with.


The straight talk facilitated trust between two agents and clients – if you did this, then we would do that. The drama around it was noise and not relevant to the big picture.


Mike Beardsley – is he rascally – yes but I like this. He’s a hard working agent and there is some colourful language travelling discreetly between us at times. He knocks on doors, he gets deals done – but yeah you need to be on your toes, or else you will lose them.


Straight talk from Mike: Gina, I have this ripper at 41 Mary Street Grace Park off-market. Mal you need to be at or above top end of range $6m to $6.6m – we have contracts and an authority.


Cutting a long story short – we had a few hiccups our side and the owner wouldn’t wait any longer and it was sold for a tad over that quote on Tuesday, but not to us.


Everything Mike said – did happen. Now not exactly – but close enough. Big picture there was agent to agent straight talk but in this case, we didn’t deliver.


Another bidder, not the one below, rang me afterwards and said Mike seemed less than transparent and the process kept changing – I said what did you offer? They hadn’t offered.


Mmmmm – so who wasn’t being straight then – the agent who said the quote and sold just above it or the buyer who never said a figure?


Apologies to another bidder who tried to engage us a few weeks ago – we never rang you back and talked because we were acting for somebody else on this specific property.


Digressing with more Straight Talk: We know we have a bad name with several hundred Melbournians over the years and we share your pain (we lost revenue)  – sometimes you ring us to see if we are worth talking to and we don’t ring you back – there is a reason – we are already on that specific home with another client – but we can’t tell you that as it wouldn’t help our existing client AND we don’t want to unfairly take information from you. So sorry to you all. We would never compromise you, if we couldn’t help you – we will give you straight talk, if you give us straight talk.


Mike’s deal put 5 extra police onto Melbourne streets for a year.


This deal would not have happened without the straight talk of Michael Parker on the Peninsula and Duane Wolowiec in Camberwell.


Our client came to see us: Mal and Gina we want to downsize in this market with a good deal and we need to buy and sell simultaneously or else it can’t happen.


We jokingly asked if there was anything else, as this seemed way too easy in the middle of Covid.


We went through a Multi-list discussion and we decided on Duane as the single agent to sell this home. Why? He’s trustworthy, hardworking and we had bought this home off him, for our client, several years ago and we needed one agent, due to nature of the deal.


We started off-market. Fail – couldn’t get any commitment. So, we paused for a week.


I went down to look at the Peninsula home which had been on the market for a while with Michael Parker.


I spoke to another agent I like and get straight talk from  – Rob Curtain. I asked him about this home and the state of the Arthurs Seat market. He said good home, straight agent and tough market.


Straight talk: So I opened up to Michael and laid all cards on the table – I said who my clients were and what they were trying to achieve – he said (after referral to his client) Mal I will help if, I don’t have a better offer in the interim.


Back to clients and it was agreed that if the prize was to be won, we had to go public with Cooloongatta and risk marketing money and a public failure and go to auction.


Duane was informed of the plan and ran the new auction campaign.


Without going into our secret sauces, we were able this week to buy and sell at prices all clients were happy with.


That simply would not have happened without the great work of Michael and Duane and agent straight talk.


How many extra teachers does the taxes from this allow the State government to provide?

Additional Straight Talk

This week we had three better meetings with sellers about Multi-listing in Kew, Glen Iris and Brighton at $3m, $3m and undecided over $3m.


In one case we advised think more clearly on your goals and maybe don’t sell yet. In another the advice was run a multi-list and a transparent auction (yes you can run a multi-list auction) – it just requires a higher commission if you want to attract more than one agent.

Grace Park Multi-list bookings have begun. It is off-market, BUT we have an authority, there is an SOI ($14,200,000 – if price offered, deal done), there are contracts and clear ½ hour private visit times via whichever agent you choose, beginning July 7th.


That’s straight talk – it works a lot better than you may think.


See you next week.