It was great to have you and the extended PEXA team in town @lisadowie. Adelaide certainly 'shone' for the Roadshow and what magnificent takeouts for everyone in attendance. My two key messages - send invites, lots of them and accept even more! and, conveyancing is a specialized profession - value who you are and what you do and don't be afraid to charge appropriate fees. Bek
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Conveyancers have experienced significant change over the past 4-5 years – at both a State and Federal level. It’s been exceptional and unfortunately more is to come. We often speak about the differing generations and with the flourish of a brush stroke we paint the Boomers as unwilling to change and set in their ways. But, in the conveyancing world this is not so. When I get the opportunity to visit the LTO or catch up with Members at events, it is the boomer conveyancers who most often call for mandating electronic settlements – this is what I am hearing: Boomer conveyancer – ‘Why don’t they just get it over and done with and mandate’. It is the boomer conveyancers who attend professional development sessions – a presenter queried one of our boomer members the other day asking him why he was at the session – his reply ‘I can always learn something’ – AWESOME!!!! And we can always learn something, each and every one of us. There is always a little pearl of wisdom to take home and apply in you work or personal life and who knows, it may be the pearl you have been looking for. Anyway, boomers have embraced change and built it into their business practices more readily than some of the younger conveyancers – check out AICSA Board Member Michelle Lihou – Michelle is the leading PEXA user in SA and AICSA boomer President Denise McKay is hot on Michelle’s heels. I better not forget Board Member Roger Scott who completed the first ever SA transaction on PEXA. So, can you teach an old conveyancer new tricks? Yes, Absolutely! And once taught they continue to show the conveyancing profession how to do it, leading by example.
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Top of my bucket list is to run a half marathon – 2018 is the year! Admittedly this goal has been at the top of my bucket list for some time – but I am great at putting it off. I have a number of training plans that I regularly look at and I have scoped out what runs are available in and around Adelaide that I will ‘work towards’. But I haven’t run or got even close to a half marathon – yet! To be honest, if I had started the training 18 months ago, I could have run a few half marathons in Adelaide, maybe travelled interstate to run one there – even London or New York. But, I am still looking at the training plan and I have missed out on a stack of opportunities. Bucket lists are a great thing, but you MUST tick things off and you must make yourself tick things off – all too often we procrastinate, put things off for another day – pleasure and work alike! I am an expert at it. Just think what we could achieve if we got on with the now, NOW. So why are so many conveyancers procrastinating over electronic settlements? I hear many say they will start when it is mandated – but to be honest, that’s just too late. Electronic settlements will be mandated sooner than you think. Governments across Australia have invested far too much money, time and resources into PEXA and enabling electronic settlements generally for it not to be mandated. WA, NSW and Victoria have all set their mandating dates – SA will follow suit. But in SA let’s aim to be ahead of the game; let’s play this like a marathon and be fit, trained and ready to run the race before the mandating date (finish line) is determined. Like me with my half marathon you have had 18 months to start training. And like me, many of you have chosen to look at your training plan but not kick it off. Well, get that plan out and let’s get started- together. Can you leave it until it’s mandated? No! That is like me saying – I know the Adelaide half marathon is in May 2018 so I will start training in April – too late!! There is no way my body or my mind will be in the position to run 21km, and the same goes for you and your business if you start ‘training in PEXA’ too late. By ‘training in PEXA’ – I mean using PEXA, and using PEXA to its fullest capacity. Every caveat, refinance and sale/purchase you have – do it in PEXA, start training, start conditioning your mind and business. The last thing you want is to pull a ‘hammy’ 2km into your half marathon and have your peers running past you as you limp along, unable to keep up. Like anything when you start there are a few bumps, not everything is as smooth or as easy as you would like. You need to condition your body and your mind to build up to the final goal – to make it normal and intuitive. It’s no different settling in PEXA – it will take time and practice to learn PEXA’s nuances, to implement new procedures and to train staff - but it will be so worth it in the end. So, like me - stop procrastinating – start your training and start achieving NOW!
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One of the largest generations in history is about to move into its prime spending years. Millennials are poised to reshape the economy; their unique experiences will change the way we buy and sell, forcing companies to examine how they do business for decades to come.  What keeps you up at night? For me, one of my biggest concerns is the impact of the Millennial generation on the Baby Boomer formed Association. Running an Association, meeting Member expectations, keeping it relevant, alive, innovative is no easy task – although I love a good challenge and I definitely have one! The ‘modern’ Association was set up by Boomers for Boomers – and they are a world away from the digital native Millennials. Taking the Association into the future means significant change and change away from the post-WW2 model we are so familiar and comfortable with. Technology has driven change; the millennial generation is the first to have grown up in an always on fully digital world. Their passion for technology shapes the way they live and shop. They live and work by their smart device – the world has shrunk as social media platforms have expanded. The Millennial can pick up their pocket computer and with a quick swipe and type they have all the information they need, immediately, on their terms; not too early – not too late. They don’t see the need to have information ‘just in case’, they don’t see the need to pick up a phone and call a friend - they text, snapchat and ‘communicate’ in ways I don’t grasp through ‘Apps’ I haven’t heard of. They expect instant access to price comparisons, product information and peer reviews. In the next five years we will be 32 times more technologically advanced than we are today, in ten years than number increases to 1024 times – after that the number becomes so large it is inconceivable. So with such rapid advancement, what will the digital native of the present and the future expect from their professional Association? That is my challenge, my sleepless night. BUT should those technological advancements and the expectations of the Millennials also be keeping conveyancers awake at night? My answer – Yes, absolutely they should! And this is why… Millennials range in age from 18-38 years. Many of them are in the prime of their property purchasing life – they are at the age where they may be purchasing investment properties or commercial sites, others are just about to enter home ownership and start their journey. Millennials are the largest generation in history, larger than the boomer generation and significantly larger than Generation X. As a member of Generation X I am not yet hanging up my boots and retiring from property investment – I will leave retirement to the Boomers, but I am acutely aware that the conveyancers’ key client base now and over the coming 20 years will be dominated by Millennials. ‘As Millennials enter their peak home-buying years, their reluctance to enter the housing market could change. The cohort’s sheer size, plus its desire to settle down in the future, could lead to a surge in home sales.’  As a ‘Gen X’ I expect transactions to occur digitally – I don’t want to go into a bank to get money or pay bills, I love shopping online with delivery to my door. I love email, messenger and facetime and I didn’t have a personal computer until I was 18 years old – they were new technology. So for those who have been brought up in a fully digital world, those that look for maximum convenience, for instant gratification, those who are constantly connected – how foreign and amusing it must be when faced with the paper-based cheque swapping experience of buying and selling property. What conveyancers MUST appreciate is that your client base, now and into the future will expect to transact digitally. They will seek out those who transact digitally over those who choose paper. If you don’t transact digitally you will lose clients, if you can’t deliver a digital experience the Millennial will find the conveyancer who can deliver. It’s not about mandating – that’s happening, it’s old news – the ribbon has been raised at the finish line in Victoria, NSW and WA. It’s about meeting your market, remaining competitive and setting your business up to thrive into the coming decade. Have a business that provides you with good income, supports your clients’ needs and is saleable in the future. This is as much about now as it is about building a good succession plan (another blog for another time). So my final message to you all – sleep is good and you don’t want to be kept up all night worrying about things you can change. The millennial generation is here, you can no longer ignore their affinity with technology as it reshapes how business is conducted. Don’t wait until it’s too late – if you haven’t started settling digitally then you need to take those baby steps now; you don’t want to be caught crawling as your peers start to sprint towards the finish line.  http://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/pages/millennials/index.html?cid=PS_01_18_07_00_02_15_01&mkwid=57QsBkTm  http://theemergingfuture.com/speed-technological-advancement.htm  http://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/pages/millennials/index.html?cid=PS_01_18_07_00_02_15_01&mkwid=57QsBkTm
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Have you ever been in a plane and listened to passengers talk to one another? Rebecca Hayes, CEO, AICSA
I’ve been on a few planes lately and sitting next to a 9 and 5 year old my ears began to prick up at conversations that didn’t involve a lengthy description of minecraft or my little pony. I love my kids but I just don’t get minecraft and I definitely never succumbed to my little pony as a young girl, so I am certainly not going there now!
Anyway, it occurred to me that in the second half of the flight, usually just before we commenced our decent complete strangers have the desire to share some really intimate details with each other. Unhappy childhoods, violent relationships, location of their home, business plans, family deaths, how they found themselves and the meaning of their life and so much more.
So this got me to wondering. Do you speak and share your experiences, your fears, hopes and dreams with those around you? So many of you hit the LTO at least once a week; do you strike up that conversation just before descent? You are all riding the same Airbus 101G* – do you really know the person you are sitting next to?
I am an introvert, (insert useless fact: it was once believed that about 25% of the U.S. population was introverted but more recent studies have shown it to be closer to 50%). Introverts are often characterised by their lack of interest in small talk – so if you like me then you probably don’t initiate the descent conversation, but as my daughter tells me “sharing is caring”. Starting that conversation, sharing a thought or funny anecdote can open up such an important opportunity for you to help and support your colleagues. And vice versa of course!
Many of us are struggling with work commitments and challenges. We are “ON” all the time, we are wired and we are tired. So, who can you ask if you need help with a transaction? You haven’t drafted by-laws before, subdivided land or settled a business contract. You are nervous and don’t like to look ‘stupid’ or overwhelmed by your job. I know, I’ve been there and that’s why I know it’s important to support each other and if you can, find a mentor.
You are all professionals and experts in your field – but no one knows everything and we are learning and growing all the time – and that’s a good thing! Actually it’s a GREAT thing!
Sharing your issue not only helps you find an answer, but it also helps the other person learn something new, apply their skills and knowledge differently AND develop a new skillset, such as coaching or mentoring. Personal growth is as important as professional growth, they go hand in hand so never pass up the chance to be the coach or mentor if asked – even if it is informal.
Learning, growing and sharing get us up in the morning, they make life so much more fun and they fill our buckets! And filling buckets is important, both your own and that of your colleagues, family and friends. As you help fill their buckets yours will fill too.
Supporting each other is crucial to the success of the conveyancing profession, so please don’t wait for descent – start the conversation as soon as you take your seat; you won’t need your life jacket or the exit, you need one simply sentence “Hi, how’s it going?” And you will take off.
*For non-SA practitioners the LTO is located at 101 Grenfell Street Adelaide.
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Can you advertise a set fee for conveyancing? Blog by Rebecca Hayes, CEO, Australian Institute of Conveyancers (SA Division) I took an awesome call from one of our Members this month. For this Blog let’s call her ‘Sally’. Sally wanted to know if Conveyancers could advertise a flat fee. Of course they can. But, the question remains - as Sally and I discussed (and what you guys already know!) – what is a vanilla transaction and what is a vanilla client? We’ve all had them, the clients that beat you down on price, shop around for the best deal, compare apples and oranges and know nothing about the complexities of what is involved – undervaluing a conveyancers knowledge and expertise. These are the ones that create so much work and angst; and let’s be honest, these are the ones that should be charged more not getting a discount. Sally and I talked about the practice of underquoting, of acting for both parties, of weakening the profession through low fees, not charging for the extras you do (and I know you all do far and above what you quote for) and providing a diverse and superior service to clients. I loved this chat with Sally, and in the end she decided against advertising a flat fee. So, what did I take from our conversation? It’s a hard time to be running a business, costs are rising and the market is quiet (I have my theories on this but will leave that to another post). Naturally you want to react and under cut and under quote, but the long term risk of this are disastrous to the industry. You are all in this together and we need to be supporting each other. Undercutting and underquoting isn’t support for your profession, your colleagues and it isn’t good for your business. I see it as quality over quantity. Surely 50 files a month at $1000 must be better than 100 files a month at $500. Firstly, you have the time to really service your client – this means they are happier and far more likely to recommend you to friends and family = more business (now I like the sound of that!); secondly, you are less stressed – this means you are happier, healthier and more motivated; thirdly, you have more time – this means you can meet with potential referrers and grow your business, undertake some professional development, look at ways of diversifying your business offering, review practices and procedures to streamline the office, pick the kids up from school once a week or visit your elderly parents - there are so many things that can be done which make you and your work life better. So, here is my simple calculation: Less files + same income = happier you + happier clients = more business referrals I do need to address the acting for both clients issue. There are times when acting for both makes sense, I get that, but as a rule I would steer away from doing it. The issues arising through a conflict of interest occur far too often and it really isn’t worth putting yourself in that position. When I was running my own conveyancing business in the early 2000’s, I believed, and I still do, that if we all act for one party we should derive the same number of clients – we share them around – it’s better for you and them! So thanks ‘Sally’, if you are reading this you know who you are! I loved chatting with you, and it gave me an idea for my new blog! Enjoy the November madness everyone, countdown to Christmas has really started now. Bek
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