- Edward Hobbs has over 16 years of experience with Biggin & Scott in sales and auctioneering
- Real estate has long been in his family's blood
- Highly active in the community and adds that real estate is like a sport - except you don't get a participation medal
As part of our ongoing series interviewing real estate practitioners who are ‘on the ground’ across Australia, we spoke to Edward Hobbs, a highly regarded and award-winning agent of Biggin & Scott Richmond, Victoria.
Edward has over 16 years of experience in sales and auctioning with Biggin & Scott, and he is frequently engaged as a speaker, including for charity auctions, right across Australia.
He has a string of accolades under his belt, and according to ratemyagent.com.au, he is the number one agent in Richmond and the top-ranked salesperson.
Additionally, he is among the top one hundred agents nationally, according to Real Estate Business.
He is regularly engaged as a speaker for selling strategies, including during the pandemic. Along with presentations across Australia, he has also live-streamed to the United Kingdom, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates.
Outside of work, he is active across his local community through ongoing sponsorship and assistance with organisations such as HeartKids, Frontier Projects (Haiti), SisterWorks, So They Can, Richmond Primary School, Marsh Foundation and The Sunflower Foundation (Australia).
With Melbourne reopening, there is plenty of optimism in the air.
The weekend before we spoke he had conducted the first on-site auctions in three months, with Channel Nine on the scene.
A family affair
From a young age, Edward was determined to succeed in real estate. After all, it is in his blood. He represents a fifth generation in the real estate industry. When he was younger he did some work experience with his late uncle Peter Hobbs in Southport, Queensland covering commercial real estate.
“While commercial real estate wasn’t for me, I had a passion for houses… I like dealing with people.”
“I have got a cheeky playful side to me – I enjoy the friendly banter that real estate offers with both buyers and sellers.”
After completing his secondary education at Ballarat College, Edward went to RMIT to acquire a full real estate licence.
During this time his older brother Sam Hobbs, based at The Agency in Albert Park, found a property management traineeship for him in Brunswick, paying around $200 a week.
Edward was able to be a cadet property manager while completing the other training via night school, which kick-started his career.
“Importantly, I never had a plan B,” he added.
“Now as a director, when I interview, I always ask potential employees ‘If real estate doesn’t work out, what is your Plan B?’ I just watch and then listen…”
“I don’t have a Plan B” is the correct answer, he explained.
“You have to make it work and find a way to love it. It is a gruelling job; it’s six full days, but you have got to find a way to make real estate fun.”
Edward’s added he is fortunate that his business partner, Russell Cambridge, is positive by nature and encourages this attitude across his team.
Real estate is a sport
An analogy Edward and the team use frequently is comparing working in real estate with sport, admitting like many Melbournians he would have loved to have been an AFL player.
“Train through the week and Saturday is auction day – game day,” he explained.
“I love the thrill of the deal and chasing down listings. There is no silver medal – you lose a listing, you have one hundred percent lost.”
“You don’t get a participation medal.”
To succeed in real estate, Edward says you have to keep reinventing yourself, being innovative, progressive and energetic.
“You’ve got to be up on the front foot,” he said, adding he regularly teaches his staff the importance of this.
Speaker and community player
Edward was asked by his current real estate coach, Josh Phegan, to conduct ten-minute presentations about selling strategies during the pandemic.
This wasn’t just an Australian affair; he also presented on this topic to an international audience, including the United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand and the UAE.
He added it is important to understand how overseas real estate markets are operating.
“While it may not all apply to Richmond or Melbourne, it is important to have a holistic view as to what is going on.”
Edward and the team are also highly active across the community.
Across local primary schools, Edward is often asked to do charity auctions and board sponsorships. He says yes to all, admitting he “buys more than [he] can chew.”
A by-product of all this work includes reaching new vendors, but this isn’t the sole reason he does such work.
“It is important to be seen as someone who is very community orientated and involved, and it does create opportunities for real estate. I like to be involved in things and a part of the fun.”
Lessons from Covid
Edward added he and the team try to not “overcomplicate things” in real estate, however, he conceded Covid‘s biggest taking point was to pivot and be open-minded.
“Do what works of course, but always be open with fresh new ideas,” he said.
This was especially the case when on-site auctions were banned, a dramatic change.
While previously Edward was used to seeing bidders face-to-face, he now had to deal with bidders over a two-hour Zoom session, where many participants had their cameras turned off.
Despite this, Covid did not seem to slow down sales, with the office already turning over 300 sales during the year to date already, not far from the all-time annual record of 380.
Get a coach
Edward’s main bit of advice to younger agents is to get a real estate coach.
He practices what he preaches; when he was younger he hired an external coach, Steve Delgos, with whom he had monthly one-on-one sessions with for seven years. He was able to formulate and act upon business plans and ideas, such as how to go through being a level three to level two to – eventually – a level one agent.
A by-product of this was a business development area in Cremorne, back then an unloved small pocket of Richmond. He focused on doorknocking abandoned warehouses in the area, developing close connections.
18 years later, the tiny suburb has undergone significant change, and is dubbed as Australia’s “Silicon Valley” by some as it is the home of the REA Group, Seek and Tesla’s Australian head office.
Unsurprisingly, Edward connections to the area are still standing.
“10, 15 years on it is still paying dividends,” Edward added.
He also advises agents to progress their career with their clients; go from selling flats to single fronts to double fronts to higher-end properties.
Edward said he personally aims to sell 100 properties a year, with 126 the current record, which occurred in 2016.
As he matures, however, he noted it is important to also provide a holistic service.
Many of his clients are repeats and this in conjunction that over time you interact with people you have previously done work, makes it more important to protect your reputation and profile for longevity.
This leads to more advice for younger agents – while you may be tempted to do anything to get a deal done in the short term, this could cost you more in the longer term.
“We always stress to our sales team to try and do the right thing, and obviously treat others how you want to be treated yourself.”