The Truth Will Set You Free

Business is about getting to the truth, and the truth hurts sometimes. Many of us can’t handle it and it is our failure to do so that can make our businesses and lives unravel.

Luckily, Manos Findikakis can handle the truth! He has seen and done it all. He’s pounded the pavement as an agent, built his own, very successful agency from the ground up and he is now the Director of the flourishing Eview Group brand in Melbourne.

Manos works with agents and principals all over Australia, helping them face the music about themselves and their businesses. Manos believes that success in real estate starts with a sound commitment to the industry. He has observed that, “Eighty per cent of people working in the industry have left within 12 to 18 months. You’ve got to love real estate to make it work. It’s not a career, it’s a lifestyle choice.”

He thinks that once you have committed to that first year in the business, you then need to understand yourself, how much money you want to make and what kind of lifestyle you want. Happiness is critical to success. Manos says, “Whatever it is that makes you happy is the most important thing. And I’m not being flippant when I say that because I’ve seen it first hand. Trust me, the financial gain will come when you are happy.”

Real estate is a broad church and different types of personalities thrive. Manos believes, “If you’re happy, you’ll make as much money as you want, whether you’re a debit-credit employee, a commission-only agent, an independent contractor, or running a real estate practice within a business, or running an office.”

The first step is to do an honest SWOT analysis of yourself.

Manos says, “The first step is to do an honest SWOT analysis of yourself. Look at your DNA, your degree of natural attitude: approachability, ambition and accountability. Ask yourself, are you suited to running your own real estate practice?”

Manos thinks that to run an office, real estate has to be in your DNA. He says, “If you can’t back yourself, or are not self-motivated, you shouldn’t run your own real estate practice. If you need someone else to be accountable to, don’t run a real estate practice.”

When you have finished looking in the mirror, Manos then says, it’s time to ask yourself, what is it you really want? “Is real estate a lifelong career? Are you looking at being a single operator, a two-person EBU, a three-person EBU, or eventually running your own shop-fronted office?”

Manos is of the view that, “if real estate is your passion, burn the bridge and go out on your own. Don’t let money be the dictator, because you can make as much money as a Principal as you can as a Sales Agent. You can make as much money running an EBU within a serviced office environment if not more than a Principal.”

What’s more important is what suits your personality and desired lifestyle. In Manos’s experience, “most people go into running an EBU, or running an office, for the financial gain. And, quite truthfully, that’s probably the wrong reason to do it.”

Once you have worked out these things, Manos advises, work out your financial plan and how much money you need to survive on a monthly basis. He says, “Most people start with how many homes they need to sell, how many appraisals to do to get to the listings and so on. But it actually doesn’t start there. It actually starts with the question – how much money do I need to survive?” In Manos’s experience he has found that “many people don’t realise how much money they actually need to survive on a month-to-month basis.”

“Most people spend more time planning their yearly family vacations than their first, fifth and ten year financial plans,” says Manos. “Set aside some time. If you have a partner or a family, involve them. My wife Maria and our two boys are always involved in our planning and our goal setting for the year and, obviously, long term.”

Manos says, “Think about how much it costs to run your family home, whether you’re renting or you have a mortgage, whether you have vehicles – always include vehicles and your minimum lifestyle requirements. Most people will come to a figure that is a lot more than what they anticipated.

Most of the people I work with come up with between $8000 and $10,000, after tax, per month.”

If that is the figure you come up with Manos says, “You actually need to earn 1.5 times that, because by the time you pay your tax, by the time you include your compulsory super, you need to be bringing in $15,000 per month to fund your lifestyle.”

Working as an agent therefore, “If you’re on a true 50/50 split of commission – you will need to generate $30,000 worth of income per month – gross commission, written on the board – that you will be paid $15,000 on, which will leave you $10,000 to meet your minimum requirements.”

Most people spend more time planning their yearly family vacations then their first, fifth and ten year financial plans.

Manos continues, “If you want to earn $150,000, and the average sales commission per property is $10,000, the number of sales you will require will be 45, the number of listings required will be 56.25, which works out to just under five listings per month. The number of appraisals that you require is just on 281 for the year, which works out to approximately 24 appraisals on a monthly basis. So, very, very simple numbers to work with.”

Once the truth is laid bare, people’s results will be in direct proportion to the activities that they complete. Get moving!

Are you a Business Owner or Leader who wants to progress your skills in business management & reporting? Click here to learn more about our upcoming Real Estate Financials Workshop.