Located just an hour outside Melbourne, the Mornington Peninsula is an eclectic mix of holiday houses, downsizers, local residents and professionals who commute to the city.
The cross-section of people have one thing in common; wanting to enjoy a slower, more relaxed pace of life without being too far from ‘the action’ over in Melbourne.
Many property owners here now have their main residence on the Peninsula, and a smaller place in the city. There is far less need to commute on a daily basis than there used to be and lots of former holiday homes are now full-time residences.
Amongst the many local faces is Steve Walsh, a local resident for over 20 years and the owner of One Agency Peninsula.
"Having no traditional office means I have fewer associated distractions."
An office-free business
Steve has built a team of ten agents, all Peninsula specialists who represent different pockets, from Frankston to Portsea.
For him, the fact that each suburb blends into the next is only one of the reasons he doesn’t feel the need for a central head office. He and each of his team members work from home but hold regular catch-ups at cafés around the area and collectively work together in the best interests of the vendors.
“Having no traditional office means I have fewer associated distractions on a day-to-day basis,” explains Steve, “This allows me to be much more productive so I can satisfy buyer and seller requests and get through my daily tasks more efficiently.”
Being out and about in the community also helps trigger new business opportunities. “Sitting in a café working for a couple of hours often leads to a sale or a listing through being approached by someone in the community.”
As well as giving his team an office-free lifestyle, Steve believes the more flexible One Agency model gives him more freedom to be a more supportive Director. “We have a respectful, like-minded team and we don’t need to stand on each other’s toes as we have a lot of scope in the marketplace across the Peninsula. I’m also able to support my team’s sales so they can achieve success.”
A life in property
Steve began his working life as a painter and decorator, which led to many personal renovation projects of his own and triggered an interest in property. Eventually, he came to real estate as a career, finding that having built past life experiences makes it easy to relate to people from all kinds of backgrounds.
Working across The Mornington Peninsula, Steve has crafted his approach to match the slower pace of life. You won’t see Steve in a suit and tie; instead, he presents in a professional or casual manner that reflects his straightforward approach.
“So many agents these days are leveraging the current doom and gloom headlines to get a quick sale,” explains Steve. “This is not my style.”
Instead, Steve focuses on his knowledge of land value and capital growth, sharing detailed information and turning away buyers who are only interested in a bargain. As a result, three of his last six sales have achieved area records: an impressive result in the current climate.
Lifestyle + career = success
For Steve, one of the main benefits of his career is the lifestyle and flexibility it affords him. Clients often comment they are surprised to see him working on a Sunday, for example, or after hours but this is Steve’s choice given the flexibility he has during the working week.
“I am able to structure my day so I can spend time with my family as I need to during traditional business hours,” he explains.
Steve has been joined on the Peninsula by many similarly entrepreneurial agents who are making the most of connectivity to have a less structured working week but still run a successful enterprise.
Why One Agency Group?
As so many other One Agency owners will explain, being a licensee offers the flexibility of running your own business without the cost and stress of setting up as a boutique brand or under a franchise.
Going out on his own, “I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel. I wanted to transition and set up quickly and I was also looking to put my own style and personality into the operation of the business,” explains Steve.
While having the desire to be independent, Steve also felt the need to be part of something bigger. “I like the way my clients can go to Noosa on their holidays and still see the One Agency brand.”
The model also works well for Steve’s team. “They get more from each transaction so they can work more efficiently for a bigger return. They don’t have KPIs, they work from home and they are largely autonomous. For a Senior Agent with good experience and reputation, if they don’t want to set up their own business, this is just a step short of that and is free from the traditional retail-type office structure and the associated costs.”
Steve’s advice to agents thinking of choosing One Agency is not to hesitate. “If you want the flexibility to run your own business without the demands of a franchise, you’ve got it all in place: attractive and functional website, striking branding, support, templates, systems, merchandise, promo materials and great people.”
In addition, Steve recommends considering the office-free model. “I understand it’s not for everybody and it depends on the landscape of your local market but you can still have a successful business and a great team.”