PROPERTY COUPLE SHOW THEIR CALIBRE
30 October 2015, Written by Karen Rickert
CALIBRE Real Estate founders Alice and Justin Hagen could be said to have timed their entry into the market well.
They set up the business in 2009, after a bad experience with agents while buying a house. At issue were poor service and over-inflated price expectations.
Now, Calibre Real Estate is capitalising on the wave of Chinese investment in Australia, with the boutique agency doubling its turnover last financial year.
The growth of the business, and the inroads the former forensic biologist and aircraft engineer have made into the Chinese market, have seen the Hagens take out the Brisbane Young Entrepreneur Awards' Property and Construction gong.
Calibre Real Estate is now one of the fastest growing businesses in Australia, backed by its team of 30 staff in Red Hill.
The husband-and-wife team pride themselves on building relationships in the community and tailoring information to buyers to streamline the process.
Following research and anticipating a curve, Calibre opened a dedicated marketing office in China and employed an Asian market specialist to assist with enquiries.
Justin also recently returned from the Luxury Property Show in Guangzhou, to showcase to investors the Banc development in Toowong.
He says it was a great opportunity to build Calibre's client base and meet Chinese residents looking to immigrate or just invest in Australia.
"Brisbane is still an unknown city," he says.
"China is aware of Brisbane, but if they're looking to invest it's generally in Melbourne and Sydney.
"It's a great opportunity to meet people, introduce them to certain projects, keep them informed and educate them on the lifestyle and why they should consider our city.
"Our sellers can take advantage of an ever-increasing demographic of buyers having their property showcased in China directly to investors by Chinese agents.
"No one else has a marketing office in the region that we're in, so that will allow us to capture as many leads and introduce them to the Brisbane market as possible."
Calibre has forecast a 45 per cent lift in revenue this financial year and plans to expand its headcount with a number of business development managers.
The agency also plans to boost its support of the community, already donating 5 per cent of net sales commissions to local charities and schools.
"We've always been strong believers in donating money to charity and community groups," Justin says.
"Being in real estate gives us the opportunity to be out in the community and without the community we don't have a business.
"For us, it's important to give back and see the community prosper from our support."
The community focus also allows Calibre to think outside the box with marketing strategies and forge partnerships with local businesses and events. Combined with a strong presence across numerous social media channels, it provides the agency with a competitive edge.
With an ultimate vision to expand into other cities, Alice says this is just the beginning for their business.
"Calibre isn't an overnight success story, it has taken years of building and developing," she says.
"We have come a long way and still have a great deal we wish to achieve."