A duck and a dream

I had the pleasure of watching arguably the world’s best magician David Copperfield live in Melbourne recently. The magic itself was awesome...

17 reasons you should always carry a book with you

1. As someone who used to spend a lot of time waiting for real estate clients to show up – I know that clients / appointments / people in general are often late...

Reality Television your way to Success

I think I’m one of the only “motivational speakers” (not that I call myself that) who will openly admit that I watch television. I watch bad television too… even… dare I say it… reality television.

Where is the love?!

One of my businesses, Elephant Property, works in the notoriously under appreciated category of residential property management. The old adage in property management...

The power of the word

I’m quite distraught. I was eating my personal trainer approved afternoon snack of 12 almonds (my suggestion of 12 Tim Tams: not approved)...

Friday, March 27, 2009

Getting the deal across the line

So, you’re about to buy an investment property, or any property for that matter and you want to get the absolute best deal. Always keep in mind that a contract for purchase doesn’t just consist of a price. Many times there are other conditions on the contract which are just as important to the seller as the price.

If you’re trying to get your offer accepted and it’s not quite at the sellers asking price, or you’re in competition with other buyers and want to make your offer stand out… here are a few things you can try to help smooth the deal.

1. Leave the settlement date (the date when you officially own the property) off your original offer and let your agent know that you’re happy to settle whenever suits the seller. If a certain time specifically suits them (quick or a long), being flexible may just help you get the deal across the line

2. Put down a sizeable deposit. This shows you’re serious and are capable of completing the contract. Oftentimes attaching a cheque for the deposit to your offer is enough of a mental stimulus for the seller.

3. Where possible make your contract unconditional or subject to as little as possible. Unconditional means that a contract isn’t subject to a building inspection, finance, selling another property etc. If you can get your building inspection done prior to offering and have your finance approved, this can be a very strong incentive for a seller to sign and put the sold sticker up straight away.

4. Consider letting the agent pass on your circumstances. You’d be surprised how many sellers I’ve dealt with over the years who like to know who is going to own their property after they’ve moved.

It’s important to note that if you’re not able to do points 2 and 3 – DON’T! These are only handy hints and they only work if you’re able to do them.

The points also work in reverse if a seller wants you to come to their price. You can then start to be more rigid with settlement date (perhaps you want to stretch it out so that rent increases can be completed) or deposit (perhaps you want to put down NIL deposit so that your cash isn’t tied up).

Contracts are like living breathing organisms and they’re open to being changed, amended and reworded so that they best suit the parties involved. Before you sign any contract make sure the agent takes the time to explain it and that you’ve read every part of it. Where possible, take it to your conveyancer or solicitor to check over.

Happy purchasing!

By Kirsty Dunphey with 1 comment

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Is there a bomb on your bus?

Have you heard that much touted employee hiring practice of “getting the right people on the right seats”? Whenever I hear that I always think of seating people on a bus… and then I always think of the movie Speed.

You remember Speed right? Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock burning down the road jumping broken bridges, looping cameras, staying above 50 miles per hour, flirting like crazy and all so the bomb in the bus doesn’t detonate (ok, the flirting may have been optional in terms of bomb safety but you get my point).

How different would this movie have been if Ellen Degeneres were cast instead of Sandra Bullock?

She almost was you know! Now don’t get me wrong, I think Ellen’s a riot (and I dance with her daily) – but I can not imagine that movie with her in that role!

In my early days in real estate I almost put on a staff member who I’m sure would have been good, but would not have fit in with my organisational culture. In short, they wouldn’t have been the right fit for my bus. The short term loss of not putting them on stung (but nowhere near as much as the long term pain of having that cultural clash would have).

Now the bus analogy works equally well when you’re looking for work. Don’t do a Meg and miss the fabulous bus.

Meg Ryan has had some great hits, but Top Gun not withstanding, what about the movie lead’s she turned down – Pretty Woman, Basic Instinct, The Silence of the Lambs and Ghost. Some great busses for sure there.

Whichever bus you’re hopping on or loading people on today – I hope it’s the right one for you!

To reproduce this article head here: www.kirstydunphey.com/usemebaby.html

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Friday, March 6, 2009

Stop Making Promises!

Just this morning a friend called a service provider and was told by his office that he’d call back in “10 minutes”. 30 minutes later, he was on the phone to let her know that he’d call back “in an hour”. 2 ¼ hours later, she’s still waiting for his call.

Two broken promises within the first 3 hours of the day. How keen do you think she is to give him her business now?

Wouldn’t it have been easier for his office to say that he would “call her back”, or “call her today”.

Then when he’d called 30 minutes later to let her know he couldn’t help her immediately she would have been pleasantly surprised rather than thinking “is this your definition of 10 minutes?”

What’s more, he doubled the mistake by making yet another promise (which was soon to be broken).

My advice:
• Don’t allow others to make promises on your behalf.
• Don’t make promises where you don’t have to.
• When you do make a promise – KEEP IT (write it down, tattoo it on your arm, put a reminder in your phone, figure out a way to make sure you keep your promises, or let the person know that you can’t (prior to the promise elapsing)
• Learn what a promise is. A promise is a claim that you’ll do something. Don’t feel like you need to say “I promise” for it to be a promise, all you need to say is “I will”.

And finally – just remember the old adage that promises are like babies… easy to make, hard to deliver.

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By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Foot in keyboard disease

When I was 19 years old, I told a friend’s mother something that my friend had vented to me in confidence. My intentions were only the best. The result: foot jammed well and truly in mouth.

At age 21, I told a girl that her boy was talking trash about her in front of others (only I told her in front of a whole swag of people). My intentions, again were only the best. The result: far less than the best.

At age 23, I impersonated a small child dancing in an amusing way in a chemist. My intentions: harmless fun, I was in a silly mood. The result, I got “jumped” by her drug addict mum (so the chemist informed later) and a small gang outside the chemist. The result: my first and only fight. (Disclaimer: the “gang” were actually teenage pyjama clad girls, but they kicked and slapped with the best of them I can tell you).

And just yesterday, my intentions lead me to fire off a poorly worded email which ended up landing someone else in trouble. My intentions, as before had no malice, but the results… well I think you can guess.

This last outbreak of foot in keyboard disease got me wondering when this would all end. I’m a grown woman and yet still, every now and then I still stick my foot in it so badly.

The remedy? The only one I can think of: learn something from where my foot has historically ended up on occasion.

The solution?
• Take time to think before I email / say something
• During that time, ask myself how I’d feel if everyone I spoke about in that conversation or email heard what I was saying
• Don’t dance in chemists

It’s so easy today to fire off something verbally or via the keyboard without taking the time to think about it. 5 seconds thought about the email I sent yesterday would have been all I needed to realise it wasn’t a good idea. Unfortunately, I saved myself those 5 seconds and cost myself a whole lot more trouble in the long run.

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, March 5, 2009

What am I most proud of…

I’m often asked what I’m most proud of from my career in real estate. Well we won lots of lovely awards, sold tonnes of houses, had lots of clients… but the thing I always think to when I’m asked what I’m most proud of is what the people who were part of our team have gone on to do since that time. Many are still with the company, some have gone on to new adventures and some have ventured out on their own entrepreneurial paths.

So I thought in this post I might just make mention of a few of them who have gone on to starting up their own businesses and give them a little plug at the same time.

The youngest 21 year old real estate business owner – Emma Matheson – who proudly told me when she took my title of youngest real estate business owner in the State! You go Ems!


Sharyn Crack, Maureen Lacey and Andrew Michieletto have all gone on to co-own two real estate agencies each – sensational stuff.


And there’s even been excitement elsewhere in the business world with the always inspirational Bella Fountain opening up her own online bridal boutique http://catchthebouquet.com.au/. They’ll custom make the most stunning wedding dresses for you and the prices are so affordable.

And that’s my answer to what I’m most proud of. I’m proud to have worked with an exceptional team and to have watched them grow and fulfil their own potential in whatever way has worked best for them.

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By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Three quick easy and not too shameless ways to get publicity for free

1. Entering (and preferably winning) awards programs = free publicity and credible media opportunities. But you know what, entering, being nominated or being a finalist and not winning also has the fabulous benefits of the networking opportunities and in many cases it gives you an ability to sit down and do some very cathartic thinking about your business.

2. Perform a survey and put out a press release on the results. We just did one recently on the real estate industry here: http://kirstydunphey.blogspot.com/2008/09/real-estate-agents-trustworthy-is-new.html using a free online survey program and having 500 people respond. The results give journalists some statistics to work with and help get your name out there when you're published as a source.

3. Subscribe to HARO (help a reporter out www.helpareporter.com/)! There are lots of journalists / bloggers out there looking for great sources – it can be a bit US centric, but there are still awesome opportunities to be found.

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By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Anyone Can Be A Star

I love this clip…

… (even though I sadly found out it’s not a genuine and was part of a Gatorade advert that never went to air).

The reason I love this clip though is that it reminds me that in any group, organisation or company it doesn’t have to be the highest paid, the highest ranked or the loudest that gets to be the star on a given day.

The junior waiter who notices a restaurant critic eating dinner during that night’s service can be the star. The receptionist who wows the huge prospective client on the phone can be the star. The ball girl at the baseball game, could be the star.

My point… If you’re working your way up through your organisation, look for ways to shine and then be humble, if you work with good people, your work won’t go unnoticed.

And if you’re in a position where you often get to the best star (you’re the business owner, top sales person, manager) – look for the ball girl in your organisation and make them feel like a star when they deserve it.

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By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

10 ways to reward (and therefore retain) staff

1. Give them a pay rise.
The downside: A $2,000 pay rise may equate to an increase in take home of only say $25 per week to your employee, not ground breaking. Plus, you’re then committed to that extra $2,000 ongoing.

2. Give them a bonus
The upside: A bonus is a one off, it’ll mean a lump sum goes to your employee (to some this is much more exciting than a trickle feed of $25 per week). It’s also not an ongoing commitment.
The downside: A lump sum payment can be harder on your cash flow.

3. Public praise
The downside: Some people can get really embarrassed and you can be seen to be playing favourites.
The upside: For those that love the spotlight, this praise in front of their colleagues can be worth more than gold.

4. Private praise
The upside: This is so easy to give, as long as you remember to and are sincere.
The downside: The words “come into my office I need to talk to you” may initially strike fear into your staff if they are more used to fire coming from your tongue than praise.

5. Home style praise
Sending a heart felt card or letter home to a staff member’s parents (for Gen Y’s) or to their partner or kids is a gorgeous way to show your appreciation.
The downside: sending the same letter to all your staff is just lazy and you’ll get busted.
The upside: having your staff member’s family feeling awesome about where their relative works and what type of person they work for.

6. Gifts galore
The upside: A well thought out gift is remembered and talked about, cultivating a stronger culture for your organisation. Using the “magic form” we developed in our organisation is an ideal way to get the low down on what would really delight your staff. Want a copy? Contact me here and I’ll send it to you: www.kirstydunphey.com/contact.html
The downside: A lame impersonal gift does nothing to cultivate the relationship going forward.

7. More responsibility / promotion
The upside: If you chose the right person to move forward in your organisation they’ll grow and shine with the responsibility.
The downside: Promote a person not yet ready into a management role and you’ll not only have issues with that person but with all they manage.

8. Flexibility
The staff member who knows that they can take off an afternoon to watch their kid’s swimming carnival and make it up later tends to value the organisation a lot more than the rigidity of always adhering to the letter of the law.
The upside: adding flexibility such as the above example, or allowing a staff member to start an hour early, or offering a day off per year for your staff to do charitable work can be easily implemented.
The downside: it takes management to monitor this to ensure flexibility doesn’t equal you being walked all over.

9. Train them / develop them
One of the greatest compliments you can give to a staff member is to say – I appreciate you and I want to see you develop and grow. Easy ways to do this: get a speaker/trainer into your office, do a training session yourself, go buy a book or buy one for each of your team members or set up a training library your staff can borrow from at any time.

10. Your time
One of the biggest complaints by staff in my experience is that “my manager doesn’t listen to me”.
The upside: It’s easy fixed if you know about it and care to take the time.

The manager’s dilemma?
You now have to pick the right reward for each of your individual team members. For the introverted person, public praise could be the worst thing they can think of. For some, throwing money at them when all they really want is a heart felt thanks could be a huge insult.
It’s not easy to reward appropriately, but the best manager’s try and try again until it becomes another skill in their talent war chest.

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By Kirsty Dunphey with 4 comments

Monday, March 2, 2009

It’s Not That Hard To Change The World…

I’m sure deep down, we’d all like to make a difference in the world, but sometimes our day to day lives get a little hectic and we don’t get around to it.

Here’s 3 ways you can make a difference right now:

1. Go donate blood (you can save a life, help someone with burns or cancer RIGHT now)

2. Find a cause online and get out the credit card (it’s simple and you’ll get a happy buzz that’ll last you all day long – check out www.hollows.org as one great example)

3. Send someone who makes your world a better place a handwritten card and let them know.

4. Antoinette Wood (sensational event organiser in Townsville) gave me this fantastic idea. Get together a bunch of friends (fellas, sorry I think this may work better with the ladies!) for a cocktail and have them all bring along any clothes they have that are in good condition but just don’t get worn any more (perhaps these items are the wrong size or were impulse buys). Then auction them off amongst your friends with all the funds going to charity (and consider donating any left overs to charity as well!).

So simple, and do-able right now. How have you changed the world for the better today?

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By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

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