Lee and Derek Baston are a busy husband-and-wife team living and selling real estate with
LJ Hooker pfr.com.au in Victoria Park. With a combined 14 years selling in the Vic Park area, they are passionate about the local community and regularly update their blog Vic Park Life with local happenings.
Read on for Lee and Derek’s thoughts on teamwork, social media, and the importance of community in real estate.
Q. Lee, what’s it like selling as a husband and wife team?
We had an interesting beginning with a bit of chest beating by Derek as he was in the industry for three years before we worked together, but once the clear divisions of labour were established the benefits of working together became abundantly clear – both for clients and for our family.
We treat work as being something that is not separate from our lives. Like farmers wake up and farm, we wake up in the morning and we sell real estate. We have flexibility and we always put the kids events first in our diary. Working together allows for a unique, efficient and flexible lifestyle.
Q. Derek, what do you enjoy about selling in Victoria Park, particularly?
I treat Victoria Park like a country town. It has a special sense of community that we really try to tap into and foster locally. People love belonging and Vic Park provides that.
I enjoy being an area “expert” and feeling the pulse of Vic park. A good local agent really does have a crystal ball, we can sense the tide of changing sentiment as it happens in the market place. (Not looking back and interpreting three months of historical data.) So I just ensure that locals can access me for my read on what is currently occurring in the market place at any time.
Q. Derek, are you seeing any trends in Vic Park property?
Vic Park is in a state of flux. This once upon a time working class 1920’s suburb, morphed into a dumping ground of poor planning decisions under the City of Perth and now blossoming and gentrifying as a owner occupied suburb with money being spent on original dwellings and significant in-fill development.
The Albany highway strip although scarred by small car yards, their redevelopment and the flourishing of restaurants and cafes has wrought a massive positive change, creating a node for community to mass around.
Q. Derek, what are the biggest changes you’re seeing in Vic Park?
When I started ten years ago, I dealt more often with absentee owners, that is investors, playing monopoly with no real feeling for community or the space that they had their money parked in.
Many of them didn’t like the suburb! Now I deal predominately with owner occupiers, people with an emotional and financial stake in Victoria Park. These people have kids in local schools (which are bulging at the seams) and don’t aspire to leave or move on. Their futures and beliefs are tied to how good Vic Park is, as a place to live.
Q. Derek, how important is marketing for real estate agents today? What do you do to keep ahead of the competition?
It’s important. But successful sales results in your local area and ongoing engagement on a real and meaningful way with the local businesses and community go a lot further than photos on bus stops or the like.
Q. Lee, what part does online marketing play in your overall marketing strategy, and what approach are you taking to online marketing?
Online marketing and “social media” is a space that presently is hard to quantify a return on investment for time spent. It is our belief that chasing a ROI in this space means you are missing the point of social media.
Social media is simply an extension of community. It’s a space to be engaged, to be relevant and to be helpful. Providing that you target your influence to a geographical area (Vic park) the personal brand value that you can build is priceless.
You can keep updated on Vic Park property and community news at Vic Park Life, follow Lee and Derek on Twitter, or view their current listings. For more advice from real estate professionals, see our other Ask an Expert posts.