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Have you considered the liveability factor?

With Cecille Weldon, Real Estate Program Director at the Centre for Liveability Real Estate

All over Australia, and in particular at the moment, there is a national conversation and concern about the price of energy. Energy efficient homes are becoming more and more desirable. In today’s market, people are looking at the cost to own and the cost to run a home. Interest in minimising electricity costs and gaining features such as solar panels and Tesla batteries is driving a new conversation in real estate. As agents are at the forefront of selling and renting homes, an opportunity exists for agents to leverage off this trend and create market differentiation by appealing to these customer wants.

Seeing this emerging trend, Cecille Weldon from Weldonco created and developed the Banksia award-winning Liveability Real Estate Framework. It is a property-marketing framework which enables the real estate industry to simply and effectively identify a new collection of benchmarked property features into the point of sale or rent.

It enables real estate agents to integrate these features into their standard processes in a robust and systematic way. Consisting of 17 features, Liveability covers water and energy efficiency, outstanding building design, renewables and an energy rating. While many of us think the two most important features of a liveable house are solar panels and rainwater tanks, Cecille says, “The two features that give you the biggest bang for your buck are insulation and shading." How many agents walk around a home talking about how the shading on a property delivers real comfort in a property in summer and winter?

Cecille says her company conducted research that asked, 'How many agents have noticed that renters or (potential) buyers are asking for power bills at the point of sale or rent?' Sixty percent of the agents said they'd experienced that. If a consumer is brave enough to ask you for something that's not normally disclosed, how much does that matter to them? If every person is reaching out and asking, "Have you got a power bill?" How many more people are walking through your open home with that on their mind?

The language of real estate, however, tends to have a featuresbased focus - three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a car park, European appliances, and granite bench-tops. Cecille says, “As an industry, we've slightly disconnected on what's actually been going on in the design of our homes to be able to respond to climate extremes."

She adds, “This is a wonderful opportunity for us to position ourselves to become more resilient to disruption as an industry, and to create a fresh conversation in real estate - and who doesn't want one? Water and energy efficiency, renewables, good design - this is a topic that should be in the forefront."

In addition to creating the Liveability Framework, she has developed a specialist-training program to upskill agents. The program teaches agents to identify 17 liveability features that are probably missing in most appraisals. Impressed with the framework and the program, the CSIRO acquired it as part of their energy and grids division to open it up to all agents across Australia from independents, through to the large brands.

Cecille says, “This gives real estate agents a new value proposition that's just been sitting there in that property all the time, that's been waiting for them to have this expert knowledge to be able to leverage and bring it forward."

With 1.7 million solar panels on Australian houses, Cecille says, “This is the only training that teaches agents how to recognise a good or a bad one, and how to actually deal with this in a contract in a property situation." With nine out of ten consumers walking through an open home asking what their energy bill is going to be, they will trust the advice agents give if they've done specialist training. Cecille says, “So what's happening is you've got a consumer that's wanting the information, but they don't trust the agent at the point of sale or rent because they believe they don't know. So the minute, as an agent, you've done this training, you're going out loud and saying, 'I'm a liveability real estate specialist'. Then you're leading the conversation. Suddenly, consumers can't stop asking you questions."

"This is a Wonderful opportunity for us to position ourselves to become more resilient to disruption as an industry"

The vendors say, 'Wow, these people know what they are talking about, I can trust them. I'm going to pay their fee'. The buyers are saying, 'Wow, they can respond to my questions because the research says that 89% of consumers said they would find a home more attractive if these features were identified at the point of sale or rent'.

Taking just one day to complete the course, agents see immediate benefits. Cecille says, “We had one agent in South Australia, a Ray White agent, that has said she's got a 15% uplift right across the board. So that's appraisal to list, list to sales, settled sales, repeat and referral business. What is amazing is the way word of mouth has suddenly gone crazy, and everyone's going, 'You need to talk to Rachel, she's got this additional property knowledge'. But the big thing is, she's not negotiating on her fees, and we all know that that's a really hot topic right now. We need to be increasing our professional standards and show that we're the most knowledgeable property person in the room. If you're struggling to work out how you can stay true to what you believe you deserve in terms of that property professional, really add this to your skill base because you're just not going to get as many arguments in that space."

This training makes you stand out in front of your competition. As Cecille says, “The big thing is you won't be the ones leading it, the first ones out there, because you're going to own the conversation."

About the training



  • Learn about the liveability sweet spot.
  • The right words to use - liveability, health, efficiency, comfort, and community.
  • Customer profiling - the five liveability customer profiles.
  • The importance of active listening,
  • Liveability appraisal.
  • The 17 features - why they are important, and how do you leverage on them?
  • How to position yourself in the marketplace as a liveability real estate specialist.

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Cecille Weldon