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You need to have some track record, so you might sell a lot of $5 million listings or $8 million or $9 million, and then one day the guy who's got a $15 million listing says he wants to downsize to something for $5 million because he's going to live in New York. And then he gives you his property and then you jump up another level.

Episode 5

How to negotiate $30m of sales a month & spot an up and coming area.

Jason Boon | Director | Richardson & Wrench Elizabeth Bay / Potts Point
Apart from being a junior Australian national surfing champion, Jason Boon is a Director at Richardson & Wrench Potts Point and has held the lofty position of the number one national sales person within the entire group for the last 15 years. Jason has been selling & marketing property for over 25 years and has negotiated over $2B worth of sales. Jason is also responsible for consistently breaking records and achieving new sales benchmarks in Potts Point – also known as the legendary Kings Cross District – in Sydney. Jason shares his insights on how to list and sell over $30M worth of residential properties per month, how to identify an area on the rise and tips how to handle ugly dogs. Enjoy.
Transcript

Anthony Denman: Jason, welcome to the Property Marketing Podcast.

Jason Boon: Thanks, mate. Thanks, Ant.

Anthony Denman: How’d you get started in real estate?

Jason Boon: When I was 19, I got a job at Laing+Simmons, Paddington, as a leasing clerk.

Anthony Denman: Leasing clerk?

Jason Boon: Nineteen or 20, with a guy called Bernard McGrath.

Anthony Denman: Letting clerk or leasing clerk?

Jason Boon: Letting clerk.

Anthony Denman: Letting clerk, because that’s what they used to call property managers.

Jason Boon: It was a letting clerk. I used to go and lease units all around Surry Hills and Darlinghurst and Potts Point from about 19 to 21, and that was with a guy called Bernard McGrath, Laing+Simmons, Paddington, in Oxford Street. It was on Oxford Street. And the reason I went there is because my brother’s friend, David Sheekey, had a job as a property manager and he got me a job and I couldn’t… I didn’t know what I was going to do with myself. I thought I’d just end up on the beach 24/7. I went and worked as a leasing clerk.

Anthony Denman: Right. You got bitten by the real estate bug then, right?

Jason Boon: Yeah. Well then I progressed onto a property management role, which way back then, 26, 27 years ago, was completely different to what it’s like now. We didn’t really have mobile phones or computers, we didn’t use them very much then. But that’s where I was for three years with Dave Sheekey and Bernard McGrath.

Anthony Denman: And you’ve always sort of stayed in the inner city region?

Jason Boon: Yeah. I went then to City Office at one stage to Bailey Knight Frank doing leasing for commercial, believe it or not, and selling commercial at really young age. Then from there I went to Peter Anderson in Double Bay, and then from Peter Anderson in Double Bay I ended up in sales, probably in my really early twenties, 24, 25, with John McGrath.

Anthony Denman: Right?

Anthony Denman: Yeah, 24, I think I was. There was only probably eight or nine employees with McGrath at that time.

Jason Boon: Right. In the very early days.

Jason Boon: So yeah, that was, that was…

Anthony Denman: You were with McGrath’s for a while, weren’t you?

Jason Boon: Was in and out of there for about seven or eight years.

Anthony Denman: Right, okay. And then from there to R&W?

Jason Boon: No, from there I took a year off just to get my head right and to look after my health. My mental state wasn’t great in my late twenties to thirties and I took a year off, maybe actually more than a year off. I was pretty much unemployable really at that stage. I’d run myself into the ground and had a few problems, but went away to sort myself out, came back and the only person that’d give me a job was Andrew Hoggett.

Anthony Denman: Right.

Jason Boon: Which is Richardson & Wrench, where I am now, and the director now.

Anthony Denman: Elizabeth Bay?

Jason Boon: Yeah, so he just paid me $500 a week to front up for the first year.

Anthony Denman: And from there you’ve now become, fair to say probably in real estate terms, that you’re the new… King of the Cross?

Jason Boon: Look out John. I’ve been here now 20 years.

Anthony Denman: Was there a moment in that 20 years where you, like a light bulb moment, where you realized that this area, this location, was going to be the next big thing? Because for those of you who don’t know Potts Point in Sydney, you sold a terrace for $13 million or something like that, which is amazing.

Jason Boon: $13.5 million. It wasn’t actually a terrace.

Anthony Denman: No, before that it was an advertising agency owned by me and I sold it for a lot less than $13.5 million. We won’t talk about that. So that was really well done. But the point I’m making is that this location now, Potts Point, one of the most sophisticated urban environments in Australia. Now previously was the Cross, right? Was there a moment where you kind of sort of realized that this area was changing rapidly and there was —

Jason Boon: Yeah.

Anthony Denman: — a really good opportunity to do well here?

Jason Boon: I didn’t plan to work here. It was just because this is the only place I could get a job. So it wasn’t like I was planning to work in Elizabeth Bay or Potts Point. The first time I realized that the area was changing, I was still doing well in the beginning because there was a lot of stock to sell. The prices weren’t as high and not as many people wanted to live here. But I started to notice the difference when I sold a place in MacLeay Street called MacLeay Regis, a one-bedroom apartment. I was opening it up maybe 20 years ago. I couldn’t sell it, no one wanted to live that close to the Cross, and seven years later I had the same apartment open and I had 37 groups through and something like four or five contracts out and it sold in the first two weeks. So in that seven year period, that same property I sold twice, and the scale of difference between what it was like when I first started to seven years later had just jumped dramatically.

Anthony Denman: So that was it? And then realized that you’re on to something special?

Jason Boon: At that point.

Anthony Denman: When you realize that this area was changing rapidly and that was a really good opportunity to build a substantial career in real estate in this location. Did you have many competitors?

Jason Boon: Yeah. So this is really interesting. I didn’t come here to create a career. For me in the beginning, all I did is come here to do one day at a time and try to really do that job well because in the past I’d gone up and down like a yo-yo. So I was really just happy to have a job and be working with a guy that I went to school with, and with some honest people, which were my directors, Andrew and Greg. So I was just grateful that I was in that job. I wasn’t foreseeing that I’d be really good in Potts Point or be up here, the King or the of the cross. I just didn’t have that vision. I was focusing on turning up to work clothed properly, dressed as well as I can and doing the best I can for that day. One day at a time, and that was two or three years.

Jason Boon: There wasn’t any vision. I know that people talk about goals and visions and vision boards, but in my early days, I just stripped it back to what would a person need to do to be really good at this job each day? One day at a time. That was my main goal is every day to turn up pretty much ready to play football. Game day, every day. So that was the goal for three years, but I stripped it back each day and I’ve got to tell you, it’s not easy to do. To be ready each day to work, turn up fresh, talk polite to your colleagues, nice to clients, make your phone calls… it didn’t have to be a rigid way of working. You just had to be available and to turn up to work. It’s that simple. It’s like things will happen beyond your control if you do that.

Anthony Denman: Is that how you still think about what you do?

Jason Boon: I get lost now. I do. I get lost in… as I’ve grown older and I’ve got kids and success has come, if you call it success, I get a bit lost because now I’m an attraction business where people call me and they chase me to sell, which is great. It sounds a bit egotistical, but it’s the way it is. I do call them and do chase business, but predominantly I have either referral business, people coming back to me, or people that are sort of attracted to using me, and I can get a bit lost with each day. You know what I mean? I can have my good and bad days. Whereas in the first three years, for some reason, I was able to… I just didn’t have any big, big debts or responsibilities or families or kids or surfing, you know? I was just turning up and working. My main objective in breathing —

Anthony Denman: Singular focus?

Jason Boon: — was just turning up one day at a time and being available to what the day was going to give me. Take the phone call, make the appointment, talk to the vendor, meet another person, walk in the street, shake a hand. I just keep it really Forrest Gump. You know, Forrest Gump in the movie?

Anthony Denman: Yeah.

Jason Boon: Give him a ping-pong table and he plays. Tell him to run and he runs. Just keep it really, really basic.

Anthony Denman: So what advice would you give yourself today based on that experience?

Jason Boon: I’ve got to start to strip it back again.

Anthony Denman: Go back to the basics?

Jason Boon: Yeah, and I am doing that, but I’m getting lost and distracted and people coming in and now I’ve got employees speaking to me and other sales ladies, lots of other people.

Anthony Denman: Yeah, makes it a lot more complicated, doesn’t it?

Jason Boon: Yeah, it’s become a bigger environment for me.

Anthony Denman: What do you do best, do you think? What are you best at, in terms —

Jason Boon: I’m the best at being me.

Anthony Denman: — apart from surfing?

Jason Boon: I think I’ve learned very early on that you need to be a person first and a real estate agent second. So there’s a lot of stuff going on these days around social media and courses and seminars and trainers and dialogues and what you need to be to be a good agent. There’s a lot of stuff going on, but at the end of the day, the simplest thing for me is, I need to be a person first and then a real estate agent second. So I’ve got to sort of look after my side of the street, so when I cross the street to sell the property for someone, I’m ready and available and I’ve got my side all sorted out. People are now just sort of running in with all these different tools, but they’re not looking after who they are. I think that’s the main thing.

Jason Boon: One person talking to another person is a gift. Someone coming to a table with all their other stuff going on, providing some sort of mirage for you. It’s very easily picked up these days.

Anthony Denman: You do that incredibly —

Jason Boon: It’s just be yourself.

Anthony Denman: — incredibly well. You’re a natural.

Jason Boon: Just be yourself.

Anthony Denman: Do you think the really good agents are born naturally that way? Or can it be taught?

Jason Boon: I think they look at it in a sense that…

Anthony Denman: Can you teach someone who doesn’t have that gift?

Jason Boon: There are clients that… everyone fits a certain person. Do you know what I mean?

Anthony Denman: Yeah. Are there any clients that —

Jason Boon: Don’t fit with me? Of course. Yeah. Probably less because I’m a bit more of an easier, sort of chameleon to move around with people. I can just talk to them as a person as opposed to what sort of patterns of behavior they’ve got. But at the end of the day, I think there are some clients that don’t suit me. A hundred percent. Yeah. Don’t want a bar of me.

Anthony Denman: I can’t imagine.

Jason Boon: There’s a few.

Anthony Denman: Can I ask, just coming back to this… I’m interested in this location and how you’ve managed to really kind of make it your own, and it’s such a high profile location. And for those of you who don’t know, like I mentioned earlier, that is one of the, if not the most sophisticated urban environments in Australia, certainly in Sydney.

Anthony Denman: But just up the road, and I know it’s changed recently, but previously a lot of prostitution, sleaze, drugs, homelessness, violence. How do you – how did you, I’m interested in if you still need to do it – reconcile that with the high end market?

Jason Boon: It did it on its own. So gradually in the last 10 years, obviously that’s all changed. What we saw in the last 10 years is that all the parks were lit up by Clover Moore with lights, so there was no dark parks anymore. There used to be 10 years ago, which is a lot of… when you’ve got a dark park in the area, there’s problems. She lit up all the side streets, all the back streets. She identified where the sex shops were and passed a law that they weren’t allowed within 200 meters of each other. Of course that strips 200, so all of them, when their leases came up, disappeared. There’s only one left now.

Anthony Denman: So there’s a lot of council intervention.

Jason Boon: Yeah, and then lockout laws of time. So all of it started to squeeze its neck and of course with all the new developments in the hotels turning into new developments like Icon, Manhattan, Pomeroy —

Anthony Denman: That was a huge turning point for this location, wasn’t it?

Jason Boon: — Encore, you’re talking about 3000 in the past 10 years coming into the area, all over $1 million, changing the topography of the area almost overnight. So then you’re getting a vacuum of people wanting this lifestyle, which was always here, but just held back by the Cross.

Jason Boon: But even so, if you go to New York and London and you see some of the most expensive units in the world being sold there and for the highest rates, like $100,000 a square meter, two streets away, is that King’s Cross type of , there’s a little bit of sort of smut around the corner.

Anthony Denman: Smut around the corner, always with these.

Jason Boon: So people actually are attracted to the restaurants or coffee shops, the walk to the city, and the smut around the corner. They probably don’t want it in their backyard, but they don’t mind it a kilometer away.

Anthony Denman: Well I guess it adds kind of an eclectic edge.

Jason Boon: It does, it gives a non… if you look at Paddington, it’s become a bit boring.

Anthony Denman: It’s completely gentrified.

Jason Boon: Mosman. They’re falling asleep in their meals at six o’clock. I mean, there’s a little bit of edge here.

Anthony Denman: I love that.

Jason Boon: There’s a bit of edge.

Anthony Denman: Can I ask what – and we may have mentioned it already – what is the most expensive home that you’ve sold?

Jason Boon: I sold a development site for over $60 million, but that’s a site. Unit wise, $20 to $25 million. House wise…

Anthony Denman: Can you think of one? Is there one…

Jason Boon: I sold the top level of 10 Wild Street, which is a combined unit for invest tech at one stage. Off-the-plan That was a long time ago and actually fell over the sale eventually. But look, I’ve sold units from $10 to $20 million.

Anthony Denman: Can I ask just – and I’m sure a lot of our listeners, especially the real estate agents, would be really interested to know – how do you list a property like that? I mean that must be incredibly competitive, right?

Jason Boon: Yeah, it is, but when you work in an area and you’ve put longevity into it and you know the area and you’re selling the area first and the property second…

Anthony Denman: Could you have listed that property before you really got to understand this location?

Jason Boon: No. You need to have some track record, so you might sell a lot of $5 million listings or $8 million or $9 million, and then one day the guy who’s got a $15 million listing says he wants to downsize to something for $5 million because he’s going to live in New York. And then he gives you his property and then you jump up another level. Stuff like that.

Anthony Denman: Yeah. Relationships.

Jason Boon: If you’re in the mix and also you need a bit of maturity, I think. Maturity does help. I know that there’s no age limit on it, but as we get older we do understand ourselves better and we negotiate better. And I think at some stage with prices they’re getting to those levels of $10, $20 and $30 million, you certainly need to know when to negotiate and when not to.

Anthony Denman: What does a tough negotiation look like in your world?

Jason Boon: Sometimes it’s just doing nothing.

Anthony Denman: What do you mean?

Jason Boon: That less is better.

Anthony Denman: What do you mean? Talk to me.

Jason Boon: Well, I mean sometimes just allowing it to take its own energy, but just adding little bits of pushes here and there is probably the best way of negotiating. Sometimes if you’ve really got to put a square peg into a round hole, it’s not going to work. So for me, I just identify where the buyer’s coming from and then I just change my pattern of behavior around what type of human being I’m dealing with.

Anthony Denman: And how do you…

Jason Boon: You’ve seen it before.

Anthony Denman: I have.

Jason Boon: It’s like being a halfback and you’re playing the line and you’ve seen this pattern of defense before. So you grubber it. You might see the winger coming up early so you chip over the top, you throw a cutout pass if the two centers are too far apart because you’ve seen that. It’s that sort of thing.

Anthony Denman: I love that analogy, given that we’ve just going back to back.

Jason Boon: It’s that sort of thing. Go the Roosters. But it’s that maturity that Cronk has to steady the ship and to pass the ball.

Anthony Denman: It’s a really interesting analogy actually, Cooper Cronk versus Mitchell Pearce.

Jason Boon: A really good football player.

Anthony Denman: Mitchell Pearce was probably 20, 30 years ago.

Jason Boon: A hundred percent. Now I’d like to clean up the dressing rooms after a game.

Anthony Denman: Love it.

Jason Boon: But at the end of the day with people’s behaviors, you see it before, and there’s some clients that need to be pushed into the sale and some that need to be left alone because if you push them into the sale, they’ll walk away.

Anthony Denman: On that point, pushing somebody into a sale, can property marketing, or is there a way through all of the tools that property marketing offers you… Is there a way to convince somebody to spend a great deal of money on a home through good marketing that they might be teetering on the edge or not even interested? Can you convert? Because it’s such a significant investment. It’s your life that you’re investing in.

Jason Boon: Yeah, you can. I know where you’re coming from. Some of the best sales I’ve ever done like that terrace around the corner for $13.5 million, that client had a specific property that she wanted to live in, in Potts Point, Elizabeth Bay. So she wanted to live in this area first. Then she wanted to find what she wanted in this area. Through frustration, we must’ve shown her about five or six properties in the month and she really couldn’t find what she was after. She then came back to the marketplace six months later and did another couple of months trying to find, couldn’t find anything. We took her to everything. So by the time she’d gotten to this terrace and she walked in, she was looking for something like this, saw it, and the negotiation takes care of itself. Negotiation started 12 months ago when I was taking her through lots of other properties, so by the time she walked into this and realized that this was the property, the negotiation wasn’t really that hard. It didn’t matter if she paid a million more or half a million.

Anthony Denman: So the marketing in that instance was attrition, right?

Jason Boon: With this one, it was a relationship. It was understanding that this buyer was after a particular thing and was going to be there for 10 to 20 years. If I could provide it, I’d get a big price. So that was a different situation.

Anthony Denman: Is there something you can do with the photography or the video?

Jason Boon: Well, that captures the buyer to start with. With photography, getting indoor, outdoor views, and obviously making good shots, good color.

Anthony Denman: Do you have a particular photographer that you…

Jason Boon: We do. I’ve got a photographer I went to school with, a guy called Matt King, and I’ve been using him for 20 years. There’s a little bit of an edge to… he’s not a normal sort of real estate photographer, and he takes his time and gets the indoor/outdoor relationship because a lot of these units got views up here. So we just work on that solely to get the clients in.

Jason Boon: Marketing helps to get the buyer to come to you. I think photographs are so important. They’re one of the most important.

Anthony Denman: Especially with social, right? Digital?

Jason Boon: Photography gets the door jar. It’s a bit like CGIs, right? And selling off the plan?

Anthony Denman: Yeah. Another interesting one for you on the negotiation side. Before our industry became regulated, per se, there was a lot of this sort of extreme… Back in the good old days, this kind of an extreme vendor conditioning processes that we go through.

Jason Boon: Yeah, I don’t do it as much anymore. I think conditioning, you’ve got to give things a crack for a vendor because everyone, “I want more for my place.”

Jason Boon: It’s the same old story. The vendor wants $7, the owner wants to pay $4 and it’s probably worth $5 or $6. It’s not really an unwritten law. It’s very much that pattern of behavior all the way along. I know that’s simple terms, but that’s the story and you’ve got to try and see if you can get them to meet in the middle. Sometimes it goes for $4 and sometimes it goes for $7 because the journey’s been a bit different, but conditioning too hard is not my thing. I’m happy just to have a relationship with a client where I work for the client and not the sale. I think if you want to sell quickly every time in two or three weeks or four weeks, you’re going to be working for the sale, not the price. I work for my vendor and now whether that takes me four weeks or four months, I don’t have a problem with that.

Anthony Denman: And that’s it for you. You do try to achieve the highest price possible.

Jason Boon: I’m a vendor’s agent, 100% of the time. Buyers can get frustrated and aggravated for me, but they’re not paying my fee. I am polite and good and I try my best to accommodate and provide a service, but at the end of the day, I’m trying to get as much as I can for my vendor, whether that be in the first week or two or three months away.

Anthony Denman: So that ideal negotiated outcome, if it was to look like something, it would look like the $4 or $5 in between, or $6 in between?

Jason Boon: It does most of the time, yeah. Sometimes I reached seven where I’ve had a long relationship with a buyer and it just slots in, it’s perfect property, and they’ll say, okay, $6.50 or seven. I’m going to be for 10 years, I just want it. Things like that happen in every situation.

Jason Boon: Then there’s properties I can’t sell for three months and there’s seven is so far out of the out of the picture they bring it down to $5 and then you know, they go to another agent and it sells for $4.

Anthony Denman: So in terms of project marketing, have you done much project marketing?

Jason Boon: Myself?

Anthony Denman: For the business?

Jason Boon: I’ve project marketed myself for the past 15 years up here. That’s the thing. I’ve always been promoting the area and then I promote the area, the heritage, the buildings, the characters that used to live here, what’s great about Potts Point, the coffee shops, the convenience, the trains, where we’re located between the beaches and the city, the topography. I talk about our parks and the fact that we’ve got dogs. So I’m engulfed in the community and I really promote Potts Point, Elizabeth Bay, but I’m an agent that works here. I don’t just promote myself. This is what I sell.

Anthony Denman: But more speciffically Projects like Encore or Wylde Street…off the plan

Jason Boon: I’ve gotten involved with project marketing. I’m not the greatest with that. I leave that up to Andrew.

Anthony Denman: They’re different, right? They’re two different businesses, aren’t they?

Jason Boon: They are. Andrew, my partner, plays a long game and is a bit more analytical. I’m a sales person. I like the pressure and the deal. I like the pressure on the buyer and the negotiation and dealing with someone that’s selling now and someone that’s buying now. Andrew can do all that project marketing legwork and schedules and he’s really good with that.

Anthony Denman: I understand. They’re two completely different businesses, in my opinion. It’s like the difference between… people think rugby league and rugby union are the same.

Jason Boon: That’s exactly right.

Anthony Denman: I think that’s a good analogy.

Jason Boon: Andrew rolls out, all that sort of legwork there, and then when it’s time to sell on the day, I get rolled out.

Anthony Denman: So you do actually…

Jason Boon: I do the selling.

Anthony Denman: Oh, okay.

Jason Boon: I just don’t do the setup. Andrew, who’s my partner, does most of it.

Anthony Denman: So how did that $20 million sale at Wylde Street for investec, what did that look like?

Jason Boon: There was a client —

Anthony Denman: Because that was off the plan, right?

Jason Boon: — that couldn’t find an apartment that big, so there was two apartments up there. We combined them through architect’s drawings and through working with the developer and provided them a product that wasn’t up here and he paid $20 million for it.

Anthony Denman: And how did you find negotiating and selling something that wasn’t… they couldn’t physically walk through?

Jason Boon: You know, selling the dream sometimes is better than selling something that you can touch and smell. Sometimes when you’re selling Potts Point the area and a big apartment and it hasn’t been built yet, you’re providing a platform or something that’s coming up or available in a year or two’s time, and that’s really attractive to people because they can’t find what they’re looking for up here. And this developer provides the apartments that we’re after. For instance, we need bigger apartments up here now.

Anthony Denman: If somebody had a site in Potts Point and …

Jason Boon: Looked like coming up. If they’re going to provide 150 to 200 square meter units up here, which at the moment people coming out of big houses wanting a lifestyle, they’re screaming to find them up here. So if we provide that platform where it’s going to be built, they’ll buy the dream.

Anthony Denman: And you’ve got those relationships and that experience.

Jason Boon: I’ve got all of those clients all ready to go. So we might open 15, 16, 17 properties on a weekend and meet all the buyers every weekend, so over time you get them all.

Anthony Denman: That’s a really interesting point, actually. Can you think of an instance where things didn’t work out the way you thought they might’ve worked out? Something that you’ve learned from the failure that you felt as though you learned something from, in terms of selling a high profile property?

Jason Boon: I’ve sold a couple of properties at the beginning of this year when the market wasn’t sort of traveling so well and there was a lot of negative press and through the stage or where I was in my life, I was a little bit more short and frustrated with the owners rather than being patient, and I sort of behaved in a way that I normally wouldn’t. I was pretty much looking to get it sold as opposed to working for my client.

Anthony Denman: Which is your M.O., right?

Jason Boon: Yeah. So I just lost my way a bit in February and I lost two very important clients by being abrupt and rude and telling them hardcore facts rather than leading them to the situation. You know, it’s like, how do you tell an owner he’s got an ugly dog? You just don’t. They need to work it out for themselves. And maybe I was just getting too frustrated with myself and not getting as many sales as I used to. So the ego came up and I behaved in a way that I normally wouldn’t, and I lost those clients. I probably won’t get them back. I apologized to them later and other agents sold them. They took the properties off me. And so I don’t often get properties taken off me.

Anthony Denman: That’s what I mean.

Jason Boon: So they took them off me.

Anthony Denman: And how do you feel about… you’ve identified that that is an ego issue.

Jason Boon: It was an ego issue. What I was saying and doing and behaving was right. The way it was delivered was wrong. And as I look back, both those properties sold much less than where I said they were at with other agents.

Anthony Denman: But if you’d handled it differently…

Jason Boon: If I’d handled it differently, that would’ve been my sale.

Anthony Denman: So I guess we kind of touched on this before, the digital marketing, it’s very different nowadays, right?

Jason Boon: Yep.

Anthony Denman: Used to put an ad in the paper and open it up.

Jason Boon: No, we don’t do that now. Now I use all sorts of things. I’ve actually got someone running my digital site.

Anthony Denman: So I just wanted to touch on that. And in fact, I’ve got a post from you recently, because you send out regular posts and you’ve been doing that probably better than most, if not all of the general agency agents, hard there every month, every two or three weeks, there’s a post that comes out.

Jason Boon: The articles or the Instagram or Facebook?

Anthony Denman: The articles. The EDMs that talk about Potts Point, right? God knows how you manage to come up with a new story, but you do on Potts Point nearly every single week. Tell me about that.

Jason Boon: So I decided to get my own website where I would promote not just real estate, but genuinely promote the area and real estate topics, social events, particular characters in the area or coffee shops, business. I would promote everyone else but myself through this site. So it was talking about local shops, talking about local people, talking about local buildings, talking about architects in the area, artists in the area, the cake shop up at the fete, Kelly Slaters surf ranch But that was raising money. I will twist and go into other different areas, but at the end of the day it’s an attraction type of website where you write about other things.

Anthony Denman: What’s the URL, the address for that?

Jason Boon: JasonBoon.com.au. So I write about topics in the area, characters, buildings, individual units. There’s a lady who’s a designer that did an amazing apartment, recently wrote about her. She’s an artist as well. Wrote about a local bookstore and how well it’s doing. So it’s a community website, it goes out once a week. I write an article once a week. Really well written.

Anthony Denman: Yeah, they are really well written.

Jason Boon: I don’t write them.

Anthony Denman: I was going to say, how do you have the time to do all that?

Jason Boon: I give them all the topics. I come up with 90% of the topics. I give them all the points that I want or the type of tone and then they ghostwrite them or whatever you call that. I approve them and then they go out and it’s become a bit of a community. I’ve got about 18,000 people.

Anthony Denman: Eighteen thousand? Well done. Congratulations.

Jason Boon: People are liking it. It’s not solely real estate.

Anthony Denman: What else do you do to promote yourself online?

Jason Boon: So I’m not good with that. I’m not great with all that myself. So I’ve got Manesha that does all my Instagram and Facebook posts, real estate and social. She looks after all the responses to that. She does all the realestate.com and domain.com entries to put them online as well. Any editorials or anything to do with that sort of digital focus is run by me, but run by Manesha. It can take up a lot of time, so it’s best I don’t do it. I’m better off dealing with people that want to buy now or sell now.

Anthony Denman: One step in front of the other.

Jason Boon: Yeah, I just want to be in face to face. Telephones, appointments, and face to face is my bag. Social media, social presence, is run by Manesha and then Annre runs all my appointments

Anthony Denman: What are your thoughts, top line, on digital?

Jason Boon: I’ve actually found, believe it or not, since Facebook, we’ve been putting everything on Facebook. I’ve got about 3,000 friends or whatever they are and believe it or not, I’ve started to sell around Bronte, Tamarama, and Bondi.

Anthony Denman: Have you? For those of you who don’t know that’s where Jason grew up and where he lives.

Jason Boon: So I live in Bronte.

Anthony Denman: I’ve always wondered why you hadn’t been successful there?

Jason Boon: Well I didn’t really want to go and do it where I lived, but I sold a house one straight away for $10.5 million last week. I sold a girl, Fiona, I grew up with in Clovelly I sold her house for $3. I sold a unit in North Bondi just last month. A guy from the beach, Stefan, I sold his place for $3 mil. About $3, $2.5. So I’m selling places now where people know I’m good at real estate in a certain area and because they have a respect or relationship with me, they will ring up and say, “Look, I know that you do certain areas, but would you come and sell my house because I trust you and I know you.” So I’m getting a bit of…

Anthony Denman: Wow, isn’t that interesting.

Jason Boon: It’s much harder because I’m dealing with someone I really know and it’s just that one step closer to family. I think someone that you’ve really grown up with and if they really need you as opposed to… around here it can be a bit more commercial feeling. But with the Walkers, a family that I sold for $10.5 million, I grew up with their sons. My family knew their family for 50, 60, 70 years.

Anthony Denman: It’s a bit of extra pressure on you.

Jason Boon: Yes. So I had to really focus on more than just real estate for them. They’re 80 and they’ve never sold before and I had to go for them. But that’s happening now through social media.

Anthony Denman: So that’s how you… I mean at the end of the day, as hard as it is emotionally, I guess that when the money goes in the bank, the numbers are all the same.

Jason Boon: Yeah. I think it’s rewarding because they talk to family members and things. But without Facebook, Instagram, and that website, I would be doing very well in these areas but not really recognized outside.

Anthony Denman: Fascinating. Thank you so much. I know how busy you are for your time today. It’s been really great just to come here actually and sit in your office, which I might take a few happy snaps before I leave and we might post them up because you could probably tell by the tone of this conversation that Jason and I know each other pretty well. We’ve grown up together, surfing in around Bondi and Tamarama mostly. And we both still surf, we’re both right into it. And I’m sitting in his office here and there’s an old Jerry Lopez board and we’ve got the contest at Portugal playing in the background.

Jason Boon: It’s the board.

Anthony Denman: Can I take a snapshot of that?

Jason Boon: Oh, I don’t know.

Anthony Denman: Or should it be confidential? We might see if we can do it without actually showing… He’s got a whiteboard which is full of —

Jason Boon: It’s actually a wall that doubles as a whiteboard.

Anthony Denman: There’s 2016 sales, 2017 sales, 2019 sales, and let me tell you, there is just a ton of them. A complete wall of them that’s written up there.

Jason Boon: I like to have that up there for the history, so if I look back at November 2016 and someone says I can’t sell $30 million in a month, then I can definitely do it in the future.

Anthony Denman: That’s awesome. That’s a great little piece of motivation there for you. So you’ve got a nice… you’ve struck a really nice balance of…

Jason Boon: Yeah, what I’ve been able to do, which is the one thing in real estate that I didn’t think I’d get to is, I’ve got people around me to help me. So I’ve been able to be consistent, not just sell 10 in June and then one in July. I’m able, as you can see looking at the board —

Anthony Denman: Yeah, looking at every month.

Jason Boon: — I don’t really have any down moments in any of the months other than maybe sometimes December or January.

Anthony Denman: January, February, March, just looking at these numbers…

Jason Boon: It just rolls constantly.

Anthony Denman: April, May, June…

Jason Boon: While people are cleaning up behind me and doing the hard lifting, I’m still prospecting for next month and selling for this month. I’ve been able to get an extremely good balance between —

Anthony Denman: It’s just crazy.

Jason Boon: — selling and listing. Because otherwise…

Anthony Denman: What happens when you run out of wall space? Because it looks like you’re about to.

Jason Boon: No, I’ve got another whole page. That one there.

Anthony Denman: What are you going to do? Seriously?

Jason Boon: We can add to this track.

Anthony Denman: Oh, can you? Okay.

Jason Boon: So we can put another wall in. No, that can all slide back so I can actually do 10 thick.

Anthony Denman: Oh, can you?

Jason Boon: All we’ve got to do is widen the track. I’ve thought that through.

Anthony Denman: How many more years you reckon you’ll be?

Jason Boon: I’m 50 now, so 10, maybe? Five? I don’t know.

Anthony Denman: I don’t know what… you wouldn’t know what to do with yourself. Maybe you can just sell around —

Jason Boon: Probably tone it back a bit.

Anthony Denman: — just around Bronte and Tama.

Jason Boon: Yeah, I’ll tone it back in the next five years. But it’s a lot of effort.

Anthony Denman: I can see. I can only imagine…

Jason Boon: The personalities.

Anthony Denman: What sort of hours do you put in?

Jason Boon: Well, because I’ve now got good people around me, it’s not so much I work long hours. It’s when I’m working, I’m really working. There are people in the office that sort of sit around here longer than me, but when I’m in here, I’m full bore. So I might get here at 9:00 or 8:30. I’m not an early starter. I have a surf in the morning and I’ll probably go to 5:30, 6:30 depending on the situation. But I like to do —

Anthony Denman: You’ve got a young family, too. So you want to get back to the kids, right?

Jason Boon: — something in the middle of the day. Yeah, right. I’m not as obsessive-compulsive as I was. I was crazy in the beginning. That was six or seven days and it was my new addiction. Yeah right – And that’s all I did, but now I’ve been able to work a bit smarter.

Anthony Denman: That’s great. Well, listen mate, once again, thank you very much for your time. Now, we gave out your website address there before, but if they want to get in touch with you, what’s the best way to do that?

Jason Boon: Just by email, jboon@rwebay.com.au, or of course, my mobile, 0418 671 494.

Anthony Denman: Spot on. Thanks, mate.

Jason Boon: Thanks, Ant.