Today, John Flood Estate Agents is led by Principal Sandy Warburton, who joined the agency in 1996 and quickly established himself as one of the area’s most successful agents.
Sandy became a partner in the business in 2004 and then took full ownership and control in 2013. The agency’s footprint expanded in 2015 when a second office was opened in nearby Scone. The Scone office is headed up by Sandy’s partner, Sarah Lorden – the award-winning and well-known Sydney agent, who made the move to the area in 2011.
Making a change
“We’ve been through a lot of changes in recent years – both in terms of our internal structure and as a result of market forces,” Sandy explained.
“The coal mining industry, which was the major employer in the region, crashed in 2013. The resulting loss of jobs led to a rapid drop in population in the area. Lots of houses hit the market and rental vacancies blew out from less than one per cent to more than 10 per cent in a very short space of time.
“The market downturn happened just as I’d bought my partners out – Murphy’s law! – so we needed to work out what other income streams were available and tap into them quickly. We couldn’t just wait around for the market to improve.”
That’s when Sandy and Sarah identified an opportunity in Scone and decided to open the second office.
“We saw it as an opportunity. Everyone – family, friends and colleagues – thought we were crazy to even think about opening a second agency when the market was in such dire straits. The market was doing 30 per cent less transactions and prices had fallen by 20 per cent.
For a regional area, that’s massive.
"But we felt it was the right move. We needed another income stream and Scone was a natural progression.”
The move paid off, with the 2016-2017 financial year seeing sales volumes increase by almost 35 per cent and property managements grow by nearly 15 per cent.
“Across the two offices, we now have an outstanding team of 14 – soon to be 15. It’s definitely a growing team!”
"Everyone - family, friends and colleagues - thought we were crazy to even think about opening a second agency when the market was in such dire straits. But we felt it was the right move."
Key to the success of John Flood Real Estate’s growth and success in recent years has been taking a team approach.
“We share everything. There are no secrets,” Sandy said. “Whether it’s between agents, between teams or between offices, we work as a team in everything we do.
“We have a shared database. If one of our Muswellbrook agents has a potential buyer looking for a certain type of property and one of our Scone agents has something that ticks all the boxes, they work together to match the buyer to the property. By working together, we can provide the best outcomes for our clients.
“Team work is very much at the core of our culture.”
This approach to business extends through to Sandy and Sarah’s leadership style.
“We involve the entire team in our business planning. It’s important that they understand what the goal is and why we’re on this journey. It ensures they’re invested in the business.”
Without revealing too much, Sandy said there are a few major changes on the horizon for John Flood Estate Agents in the next 12 months.
“I don’t mind saying that things have been tight for the last few years, but everything is now pointing in the right direction and we’re excited about the future.
“We’re committed to investing in our business and are investing heavily in our brand and image. Watch this space for a big reveal in 2018!
"We involve the entire team in our business planning. It's important that they understand what the goal is and why we're on this journey. It ensures they're invested in the business."