First National Foundation donates to Naidiri Bay Khalsa Primary School, Fiji

During its National Convention in Fiji last month, First National Real Estate used the occasion to officially open a covered utilities walkway for the Naidiri Bay Khalsa Primary School, funded by the First National Foundation - the charitable arm of the network. The walkway will provide much needed shade during the summer and relief from torrential rain during the winter months. Here is a photo of me officially opening the walkway. It was a proud moment for me and my team. Screen Shot 2017-06-09 at 1.19.41 AM Principal Mr Ifereimi Torosi, was deeply grateful for the walkway and the investment in Fiji’s education system through the supplies donated. During the opening ceremony, over 100 member delegates, their families and children donated much needed school supplies ranging from a laptop computer, first aid essentials, plus a vast range of stationery including pens, pencils, books, and sporting equipment. Mr Ifereimi Torosi informed me the donations would not only greatly assist the students but his school’s four teachers were looking forward to using the generous gifts to assist both the students’ welfare and improved educational processes. The highlight of the ceremony was the interaction between the 30 Australian children and their Fijian counterparts, enjoying the occasion and doing what children do – having fun!

35 new First National Real Estate locations in 12 months

I am proud to announce that First National Real Estate has expanded its network of offices nationally, opening 35 new locations in the past 12 months. First National Real Estate’s culture is one of business owners working together, with the support of the best training, systems, technology and corporate assistance available to grow their businesses. As a result of our positive trajectory and our “Business Circles” strategy, we’re attracting more and more of our competitors’ top offices and sales people. Victoria’s Gippsland district is an example of where the network’s unique culture, brand and membership reputation has enabled it to concentrate an already well-established market share further. First National Real Estate has maintained a prominent presence throughout the region for more than 30 years, and good businesspeople understand the opportunities that association with our brand and successful business owners represent. We’re officially opening another new office in Warragul in April, one of three new locations in the Gippsland district that have warmly embraced the advantages First National offers. Through First National Warragul and First National Narracan (Moe), we’ll provide the region’s most advanced property services. Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 8.29.33 PM  

Engaging our future leaders

This week, together with my team, I launched an initiative aimed at engaging the First National Real Estate network’s future leaders and giving them influence over the network’s direction. First National Real Estate is well known for the spirit amongst its membership. It’s vital that tradition continues; that younger agents, property managers and administrators have the opportunity to participate in our cooperative, and that we support them as they build the personal skills needed to take their careers and the network forward’ said Mr Ellis. fnre-milennials With the initiative having commenced in the final quarter of 2016, a series of informal events attracted hundreds of First National’s millennials. Building on the success of the launch, FN Squad was created and has recently convened meetings in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane with presentations from industry leader and millennial coach, Chris Helder – who turns the ‘be positive’ industry upside down. The events were booked out within days. ‘What a fantastic initiative by First National Real Estate; bringing together its next generation and creating an environment of energy, fresh content and sharing success. This is a strong initiative, which will deliver results.’ said Mr Helder. Participants also had nothing but praise for the events, with John McGregor of First National Real Estate Moonah (Hobart, Tas) saying he thought it was an incredibly exciting initiative. ‘I’ve been with First National Real Estate for 11 years, having started when I was 19. Fostering new relationships that will be the foundation for future leadership is the kind of vision that will keep us at the forefront of the industry. Chris Helder’s presentation was a great example of the network investing in its people by providing the best trainers in Australia. This benefits all our staff, ensuring that we retain the very best millennial agents. I'm excited about our network and I can't wait to see where FN Squad takes us in the future.’ said Mr McGregor.

Why 2017 Is A Great Year To Buy Your First Home

I went on public record recently saying that there's no time like the present if you’ve been waiting to buy your first home because no matter what you're trying to buy, values in Australia and New Zealand are just going up and up. According to a CoreLogic RP Data report from January 3, the median dwelling value in Australia for the end of 2016 was $615,000 - an increase of 10.9 per cent through the year. New Zealand didn't perform too differently, with the median house value in December 2016 sitting at $627,905, having grown by 12.5 per cent. 2017 As year-on-year increases show, home values aren't indicating that they're about to slow down. That's why buying your first home right now is a great idea, because you'll be striking before homes shoot beyond your budget even more. When you own a home, you have the opportunity to make capital gains. As the median value increases in both Australia and New Zealand through 2016 show, capital gains in the space of 12 months can help you to build wealth. In fact, if you own a home for 10 years, the value of your purchase might increase by as much as half a million dollars! You'd have to buy in a suburb that is on the verge of growing, and is highly desirable in terms of proximity to amenities, public transport, schools and major centres - but it is possible. When you rent in a suburb like that, you get all of the advantages of being close to those sorts of places, but your payments won't be earned back when you leave the home. You'll pay rent over the time you live in the home, and then when you leave, you don't reap the rewards. Of course, renting is a great option for people who can't yet afford a home deposit, but buying one can shore up your financial future. First-home buyers have no experience with the buying process, and many find it a daunting task - going to auctions, making bids, competing with others who potentially have a bigger budget. That's where the friendly team at First National Real Estate can help. We know what you need to do, and we know how to go about it - particularly for first-time buyers. Don't be afraid of making a great decision for your financial future. Get in touch with us today to start your buying journey in 2017 on the right foot.

Canstar Blue Award for Customer Satisfaction 2016

As Australia’s largest network of independent agents, First National Real Estate is delighted to be recognised as the customer satisfaction leader in Australian property services. First National Real Estate is committed to customer satisfaction. It is therefore no coincidence that we have now won this award in both countries. We see this as confirmation that our business model provides the right environment and tools for agents to excel. A critical difference between First National and its competitors is that our membership requirements relate specifically to service delivery, not fees. As a not-for-profit cooperative, we provide everything necessary for our members to be leaders in real estate services and the Canstar Award confirms this. Please read the full Canstar Blue report here at www.canstarblue.com.au/services/real-estate/real-estate-home/ 

Leadership Interview with Ray Ellis

I was recently interviewed by Lee Woodward, a famous industry trainer in Australia. I am pleased to share with you some of the insights about leadership and how I am working with the under 35 year olds in the First National Real Estate network to embrace the leadership challenges to continue to keep our organisation as a leading real estate network in Australia and New Zealand. leadership Listen Now to the interview.      

SBS News Television Interview with Ray Ellis, First National Real Estate

I was interviewed on SBS News in August in which I commented that Australia’s demand for property continues unabated. It is clear homebuyers have been quick to capitalise on the Reserve Bank’s decision to reduce interest rates to historic lows last month. As the First National Real Estate member offices begin their Spring campaigns, I welcome you to watch this video of the SBS News segment in which I was interviewed.

Watch the SBS Television News Segment  - Interview with Ray Ellis

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Australian Golf Digest 'California Dreaming Baja Style'

Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 6.23.12 PMIn a recent article titled California Dreaming Baja Style, I wrote for the Australian Golf Digest (August, 2016), I encourage enthusiastic golf travellers that a Mexican golf journey is a must! The Diamante and Quivira golf courses are my new favourite golf courses. These destinations are found on the Baja peninsula, a state of Mexico, yet traditionally also part of California. I hope you enjoy my articles and venture down south of the border to California Mexico. Read more at the Australian Golf Digest. diamante-golf

Ray Ellis interviewed by The Real Estate Conversation

I was recently interviewed by Neville Sanders from The Real Estate Conversation in an article titled 'Economy cannot withstand Labor's Experiment with Negative Gearing', in which I stated that “the property industry is Australia’s largest employer, currently employing 1.1 million people and providing jobs for one in eight working Australians. If it is adversely affected then every Australian will suffer, either directly or indirectly”. To read the complete article, please follow this link to The Real Estate Conversation.  

Property buyers should review new withholding tax

I recently went on record saying that a new tax policy aimed at stopping foreign investors sending sale proceeds overseas before compliance action can be taken could catch unaware buyers. buyers-beware The new legislation requires buyers of properties worth more than $2 million to withhold 10 per cent of the purchase price and send it to the Australian Tax Office (ATO), if the vendor is a foreign resident for tax purposes. First National Real Estate is supportive of this legislation but it is essential that lawyers and conveyancers proactively ensure their clients abide by the new laws. It is important to note that if buyers don’t retain the 10 per cent withholding tax, they could find themselves liable for a penalty, which could be the full 10 per cent of the purchase price as well as interest. Nobody would want that. To avoid potential settlement delays and complications, Australian owners selling properties worth more than $2 million must now obtain a clearance certificate from the ATO to prove they’re an Australian resident for tax purposes. While there is no charge for the certificate, which is anticipated to take several days to obtain via an online application, the ATO warns some applications could take up to four weeks. Vendors would be well advised to apply for the certificate the moment they appoint a conveyancer and real estate agent. This will assure that the moment a sale price is agreed with a buyer, there will be no impediment to completing a contract of sale and the buyer will have confidence they are not placed at risk.