The Upshot Podcast – Episode 1: Tim Heavyside

Marika Berney
17 min read

Episode 1

Host: Ben Williams, Head of Investor Relations at Homely
Guest: Tim Heavyside, Founder of HEAVYSIDE Real Estate

The Upshot by Homely invites you into honest conversations with the entrepreneurs, challengers and longstanding legends shaping the real estate industry today.


Introducing Tim Heavyside

Tim is a familiar face to those in Melbourne real estate, with over 21 years of experience on the job. Starting at Woodards, to Hockingstuart, a 19-year stint at Fletchers and now debuting his own agency brand, HEAVYSIDE Real Estate. 

Among his many accolades, Tim has been named 9x Victorian Agent of the Year and 5x Australian Agent of the Year.

Tim Heavyside’s take on current property news

A Melbourne property market overview 


Now, I think a really good starting point, particularly because you’re out in the trenches in this challenging marketplace, is for you to give us a run down as to how you see things at the moment. How are you finding the market?


It’s certainly a price-sensitive market. In 2022 we saw prices adjust, and in 2023 what we’re seeing is more stock levels coming on, but still, it’s favouring the buyer. What’s not favouring the buyer is the interest rates.

From my company’s perspective, we started on the 1st of September 2022, and now we’re sitting in early March 2023, and we’ve sold fifteen properties out of fifteen opportunities.


What are the clearance rates like at the moment in your market?


Clearance rates are at sixty-odd per cent in Melbourne, specifically in the eastern suburbs. 

So I break it down easily for a vendor to understand by saying, “if I put five fingers up in my hand, I had three properties that would sell on the day of the auction, one would get passed up and sell shortly after within two or so weeks, and there will be one that’s overpriced, and not selling, in effect helping the other four sell”. 

That’s either based on the agent promising or advising the vendor a price that is unachievable, or the client just wants too much money. And that’s a reflection of the market, whereas in 2021, even those vendors that were over-shooting on their price point were eventually selling.


Are most of your properties going to auction, or a combination of private sale and auction? 


Predominantly in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, sales are happening by auction. It’s the main method. It’s the one I believe in, even in a challenging market, providing the best avenue for a vendor to sell. That’s what I believe is the right method of sale. 

But, we have had some private sales. For example, we had an off-market sale in Rubens Grove, which we sold for $4 million. It was on the market previously via an auction, so that wouldn’t have suited the vendor moving forward. On the other hand, we also had an apartment – which you don’t generally generate a lot of interest or buyer activity around – so having a private sale was the right response for that particular client and that circumstance.

What are vendor conversations like at the moment? 


The conversations you’re having with your vendors at the moment – are they challenging? Are they easy conversations? Are they aligned with where the market is at the moment, or is there a lot of education going on in the background?


Without question, you have to be on top of your game and have a knowledge of the industry and what’s happening around you. A bit of product knowledge, information about what’s happening in your industry, and how you can convey that in simplistic terms that a vendor would understand and move forward with you. 

To give you an example of that, I like to talk about how the borders have opened to China, so you can travel to China, and Chinese people can travel here. So you might say – well, they can’t buy at the moment, say in Canada, but they can buy in America, in the UK, potentially New Zealand. But I tell you what state it is in Australia, and within Australia, the two big cities are Melbourne and Sydney. And so how it affects us in Melbourne is that around schooling, there are over a hundred thousand students coming to Australia, to Melbourne for tertiary studies. And what we’ve seen is a new influx of those types of buyers, and those families, wanting to buy in, and it’s time to capitalize on that.


The way that you’ve just explained that makes perfect sense, and I think you’ve got to remember, to everyone listening, that vendors don’t do this every single day. So if you can explain it as simply as possible, then you’re going to get your message across very very easily. 

If you’re a buyer in the marketplace – what are some tips? 


You obviously represent the vendor, but we always like to ask, if you’re a buyer in the marketplace what are some tips? What do they need to do in order to get the property that they want?


If at auction, bid confidently and take control of the auction. Often as the auctioneer, I see and hear a buyer say, “Let her have it, he wants it more.” So if you can bid with a bit of confidence, that can provide a winning strategy. 

Do your research. Know what you’re going to spend and bid confidently. What we’re seeing is that there is good buying opportunities for those that are organised, and got the pre-approval and understanding with the future that interest rates are going to continue to rise. Make sure that you’ve got the ability to service a loan and you’re not living outside your means. 

And then go for it. It’s still one of Australia’s, best unkept secrets – buying property – because it’ll look after you in time. The saying is, don’t wait to buy property, buy property and wait.

Real estate career advice from 21 years of successes and learnings

A summary of Tim Heavyside’s career in real estate


I’ve been in the industry for twenty one years, but have had my own agency now for six months, seven months. I guess, I cut my teeth originally twenty one years ago for Woodards in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne – I was there for a short amount of time. 

They went into receivership under that directorship at the time, then I jumped over to Hockingstuart because of my friends at Woodards, their brother owned a Hockingstuart franchise and then I got tap on the shoulder from Fletchers Real Estate. Fletchers asked me to come over shortly after that, so I made my mark within Fletchers for close to nineteen years. 

And then I had a bit of a gap, restraint of trade if you like – gardening leave. That was for about nine months of 2022 and it’s put me in the position now where I have a lot of tools, knowledge and skill, sets that I can pass on to new vendors, colleagues, buyers, et cetera.


What is the point of difference you’re brining to the market with HEAVYSIDE? 


It’s a fresh brand, so it’s cutting edge, it’s sophisticated. We’re a luxury boutique agency set in Surrey Hills in the east, which we service – predominantly Boroondara, Whitehorse based. 

Starting this, I believed we could do some things better, some things differently, which we are. One of our skill sets is how we can market homes. A lot of agents believe that they can do things differently. We are doing things differently, and the proof is in the pudding with our 100% clearance rate. 

And I think sometimes you don’t have to be the biggest to be the best. Obviously, sometimes being the best is the best. Vendors ultimately don’t get a brand working for them. You don’t get the company representing you, you get an individual agent. So there are really elite fantastic agents within companies – it’s the agent that you get that is the most important thing. And so really something that I’m trying to take part in is building a strong brand in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne that in time will potentially create a legacy for the future.

Was your own agency always part of the plan?


Definitely. I thought long and hard about it because I was home for a long time and it wasn’t like I was disgruntled or something had happened, it was just my time. But after nineteen years it is a long time to be in the one one area and I had growth to do. I had something to give, and so I had an ambition to be able to create something that’s unique, different, and so we’re creating our own culture. 

You know I said it before, but my team inspire me and I inspire them. We’re only a small agency with a limited amount of people at the moment. We are growing. So we’re starting to gather a bit of momentum.

Are you finding people are receptive to the new HEAVYSIDE brand?


You would have had an extensive database of clients from throughout your real estate career. Are you finding that people are very receptive to this new brand? Are they loving what they are seeing?


So it is really all organic. But your name gets out there and so by pushing my agency, the Heavyside agency, people are recognizing and connecting the dots. I just had a vendor meeting, just before this podcast, and he actually asked the same question. The client who’s home I’m selling tomorrow at auction.

He said, “I can see you’ve got, how many, you’ve got ten listings on the go at the moment. How are you getting that?” and I said, “People just like you, David. You reached out and got my little flier and thought of me. You’re in Surrey Hills, and you’ve got your mother’s property for sale in Camberwell and you thought ‘I’ll try this bloke out’.” 

I’m using different initiatives. So, Google Ads, search optimization, cutting edge technology with my branding company – LBD who do the agency marketing. Some of those things in terms of Instagram and social media platforms are great for getting the brand out there. That’s in terms of what clients, and really how the industry can see what we offer. We’re doing some amazing things with videography. 

I believe in the two principles of simplicity and certainty. So if you can just make it easy for people to understand and deliver it in a confident manner, you generally win over most people.

Has real estate has changed a lot over the last ten or fifteen years?


Real estate has changed quite a lot over the last ten or fifteen years. When I was doing it, it was about making as many possible phone calls as you can, and the person that makes the most phone calls wins. Do you still think that that’s the way forward, or do you think that with the emergence of social media, that’s changed a bit?


Without question, prospecting is a key element to be a successful agent and lead generation. Because one activity leads on to another, so boards get boards, and the more listings that you have online, you’re more likely to be called in, as opposed to not having anything. 

So market share is important. but it’s not the be all and end all. Prospecting can be in various formats, so it can be making phone calls, it can be social media content. You’ve got to really give everything a go. Prospecting could be movie nights or advertising externally on things, boards, VPA, lots of things. But you’ve got to do a manner of different things well to be able to be successful, without question.

How do you balance success in business and career, with your personal life? 


We talked off air earlier about work life balance, and how important that is to you. You’re a prolific lister – back in 2020, you did $3.7 million in GCI, and a hundred and eighty one sales. How do you manage all this? How does Tim Heavyside disengage from what he does just to get through the day?


I think from pure numbers – and there are a lot of other agents that are doing more than that, and some less – you’ve got a run in your own lane, and not look at others. Because it’s like golf, in terms of your handicap. You’ve just got to play your own round and not someone else’s. 

I can’t play at Tiger Woods level, or some golfer who has put a club in the hand for the first time. So you’ve just got to be in your own lane and do the best you possibly can – not live someone else’s life, but live your own. 

So I’ve learned to balance, and I guess the luxury I have is that running my own agency can provide me time where I can do things and not do things, but I play a bit of golf. I’m a member of a golf club. I’ve got a classic Ford Mustang, so part of the Ford Mustang club. I love to cook. I love traveling. Being around my family and having an odd glass of wine, getting out to some wineries, and just enjoying time with my dog. 

So all these things provide balance. Exercise, a bit of running. So it’s not all work, work, work, but I find when I’m running, I’m running. And when I’m with my dog, I’m with my dog. And when I’m with my wife and my children, I’m with my wife and my children. And when I’m socialising, I’m with my friends. I think It’s easy. It’s an easy trap to fall into prioritizing just work all the time, but when you’re in work mode, be in work mode. You know, not being on the social media and seeing what text messages happening, or you know who’s booking in for golf the following Thursday, or some rubbish, actually be in that work mode. 

Dr. Fred Grosse, who’s quite an industry icon, he caught long ago there’s different channels. So channel two might be work mode. Channel thirty seven might be at home mode. Channel twenty two is when you’re with your dog mode, that type of thing, so be in the mode that you’re in, be there. That’s the most important thing with balance.


Absolutely. It’s a very good point you raise. I listen to many podcasts on this topic, and if your focus and attention is being pulled in multiple different directions, you can’t give it your all, right? 

So I think exactly what you just said, being in each specific mode will help you be well and truly in that moment. 

What are your key tips for success in running a business and in real estate in general?

Now, obviously, you’ve been directors of multiple businesses and you’ve had a range of success on that front. Are there any keys to success when running your own business that you could share with us?


A few things. When I started this agency one of the most important things to me is customer service. It’s also between the interactions with your colleagues and also the suppliers like Homely, that they’re relationships. So it’s important to me at times to understand the different parts of the process. In that you’re sometimes the supply, and sometimes you’re the customer. Sometimes you’re the customer. Sometimes you’re the supplier. 

That’s the same for colleagues, so sometimes I’m the director, sometimes I’m the teacher, sometimes I’m just the student, sometimes I’m the listener, sometimes I’m the advisor, sometimes I’ve got to explain things and explain again. So there’s various things. I guess different hats you’re wearing all the time to get the right outcome, but the outcome for me is that people feel inspired to come to work. And that’s our caption for our business, which is inspiring your next chapter in real estate. So it’s not inspiring my next chapter, it’s about inspiring the vendors, the buyers, my colleagues, people that we meet generally in the public. 

We’re just trying to create a solution for their problems. Sometimes it’s a colleagues problem that could be financial problems, get some more commission here at the agency, or could be, the vendor needs to sell for a certain reason. And I just love helping people, and that’s one of the absolute foundations to be successful in real estate.

Have you experienced a pivotal failure or learning curve in your career?

Everybody’s had failures at some stage in their life, and I think it’s important just to learn from those. Is there one moment that you could think back on and go – ‘that was pivotal to me in terms of a failure’?


Yea, there have been issues that have come up and gone. I think one of the issues that happened in the past would have been that underquoting issue that did happen. And, you know, we’ve gotten better as an industry, but I don’t know if it was directed at any particular person. 

Back then there were some issues associated with that. I’ve become much better agent through that process. A lot far more compliant, grown a lot. And you know that we’ve got a wonderful compliance process, procedures, at this agency Heavyside that I think is the best practice. But that doesn’t mean we always get it right, but I think we’ll get it right most of the time. That’s what history’s shown so far. 

You’ll experience failures and learnings through anything that happens in life, I mean, I had my cousin’s wedding and I had my classic car as part of the wedding. I got the car serviced, and then I got the car professionally detailed, I got the car filled up with petrol. Took it to the wedding. I cleaned it again, put more petrol in, and it was beautiful. It was in great condition, ready to go. And then picked up the bride’s maids, which was my role in the wedding, and then the accelerator cable broke. And I guess that’s what happens. 

Anything in life, there’s going to be issues, but my job at that point in time was to get the girls to the wedding. And so you have to think on your feet, so you know, got them into another car, spoke to the bride. And I guess from that, it creates a bit of a story for the wedding… “Ah yeah, Tim’s car broke down…”, you know, and so it’s how you react.

There’s going to be issues in anyone’s lives, problems, and sometimes you’ve just got to honour the struggle. Because life isn’t smooth, it is going to go sour at point and it’s not what’s happening to you, it’s how you deal with anything and get on with things, which can be challenging. So it’s not like you just brush everything off, you have to deal with things appropriately and there’s different timelines with how people can deal with it. 

The only advice that I would give anyone listening into this podcast is that if you have little problems, which anyone has, try and get as much help and support that you can. Because going through that period of time starting my company, I had a lot of people that helped me and helped the company, helped me personally. I just reached out and leant on people that I trusted for good advice and that helped me through that process. I never tried to do it through myself, and through that process it made me improve, as an individual, as an agent and as an agency.

Advice for real estate agents in 2023

What advice would you give to agents while navigating tricky market conditions?

I guess moving into where we are now, so we’ve talked about some challenges and failures, we’re in a pretty difficult market at the moment. And there are a lot of agents across Victoria and across the country that really haven’t felt the effects of a significant downturn, so it’s going to be pretty difficult. What would you say to these agents? What advice would you give to them as you navigate these tricky conditions?


I’ve been fortunate to go through 2008, the GFC. Then 2017-19 was that royal commission. So that’s provided me. There’s been other segments of the market that’s gone up and down that type of thing as well. 

But what I can say is that with experience provides skill set and with skill set, provides activities that you can actually guide a vendor through, encourage and persuad a buyer to act. 

Those things that aren’t going for you at the moment, you might have that one property that you’re stuck on. You just can’t get a listing at the moment because you haven’t got traction. There’s lots of reasons and there’s lots of frustrations. Many real estate agents will be struggling with motivation, lead generation. 

What I would say as an agent that’s been through those periods of time, the one that we’re at the moment is no dissimilar. In fact, I think I nearly invite or welcomed these times, because that’s when a better agent, that’s got those skills, can actually be separated from an average or ordinary agent, and you can demonstrate that skill set. 

And it’s proven because in 2021, you just list the property. It’s going to be sold. In 2023, you list the property, there is no guarantee that property is going to be sold. 

So you’re going to have to be a little bit nuggety. Have a bit of grit. You have to have some tough conversations with vendors, tough conversations with buyers. Understand that you’re presenting all offers to a vendor. It is not your home. It’s a professional transaction and you have to be professional to the client. 

What does the client want? The solution – what is the solution? Their property is sold. What does the buyer want? They want to buy. But that’s in simple terms. So you have to present all offers. 

You have to provide more skill set in knowledge to a vendor by asking good questions to a buyer. For example, at what price would you like to buy the property? No. Is it the price, or is it the property? It’s the price. When you say the price. How do you mean? Well, you’re saying to me at two point two. We wouldn’t buy it for that. I understand that. So what price point would you buy? At one point eight million. So at one point eight million, what you’re saying to me is would you be willing to move forward on this property? You damn straight I would Tim. Okay. So if the vendor would consider one point eight million, would you be prepared to sign up that offer at one point eight million? No, I don’t think I would be. Okay. Well, they’re not genuine. But if they did say yes, you’ve got to pass that feed back on to the vendor because you could be over pitching it. You know from that five options again you could be part of this or this. You could be the problem. Just not conveying the right information for your client to make an informed decision.


And it moves the needle as well, right? You know, you could create a deal out of nothing by just having those very simple conversations and just finding out what people are prepared to pay. So you’re absolutely right. In 2021, any agent could make money. This is where the tough get going right?


And you know what I find? Agents are holding on to old figures, saying, “In recent times, I’ve sold things”… When was that? 2021? Really? Okay…what’s happening in twenty three? Because that was two years ago.

Are there any non-negotiables that agents must be ticking off to survive in this market? 


For agents listening to this podcast, are there any sort of non-negotiables that you’d be saying you must be doing this in these markets? Are there any things that you would suggest are things that have to be done?


So many different types of things. So if you were to focus on lead generation, you’re going to have to really be accessible to vendors and be in step with what they’re looking for. Be hungry. And be willing to accommodate for certain vendors, just to get in the door in the first place. Chase the business up. Win the business. Don’t be scared to ask the question. Close. 

Too many agents are still saying “Oh listen, what we can do is we can, mister and missus vendor, now that we’ve come out and appraised your home, we can provide you with a report.” But what report? You ask the question. You’re well and truly within your rights to ask the question, whether or not they feel comfortable to proceed. Have I done enough to earn your business? Are you willing to move forward with me based on everything you’ve heard today or tonight? Are you okay? If you’re okay, what we need to do is complete this agreement. I’ll just go through with you now. These are closing questions that you know. 

These are non negotiable. Rather than, listen, what I’ll do now, you don’t have to make a decision, I’ll provide you with a report. What on earth are you doing? That’s non negotiable to me to actually close and ask. Ask the question, non negotiable.

If you could go back to any point in your career and change one thing, is there anything that comes to mind?


I believe there’s three people in life. There’s people that live in the past, those that live in the present, and those that live in the future. 

My best friend lives in the past. He can tell you all our childhood teachers and friends of primary school and secondary, and I’ve really struggled to remember. My wife lives in the now. So if you were to ask her now, what’s for dinner honey? She’ll go, I’m not hungry for dinner now. Well, you have to organize stuff. Surely, I mean, she’ll start to think about dinner at five or six o’clock and 

I’m like what, because I’m a future based person, so I don’t really hang on to the past too much. 

But to answer your question, perhaps I had many, many years ago a situation where I sold a property and it actually sold on Saturday, and the buyer wanted to show their mom through on the Sunday. They came and they had a look at it and they got bad buyers remorse.

And there was no cooling off. They bought it. And yeah, I think I would like to have handled myself better in that meeting for that one. 

I mean anyone that knows me for a good period of time. I’m a genuine person, always willing to help people and do things. I don’t really, never, I don’t really have any malice for anyone. So even if people haven’t done the right thing with me, I just move on really quick because I’m always looking at the nicest parts of people. I forgive really quick. 

So if you’re an enemy of mine, and you’re listening to this, I’m probably not even thinking about you or doing anything. I don’t have many enemies, but if you are, if you’re listening, I’ve forgotten or I moved on very quickly. 

And I think that’s important for those that missed the listing. I got promised the listing. As an agent if you’re listening to the podcast and you’re struggling to get over it. You know, I really believe that you need to adjust the strings on your racket if you’re playing tennis very quickly. Not get emotionally all upset and move on very quickly to the next job.

If you had $1 million to spend right now, where would you buy? 


I think further out in the eastern suburbs you buy. What I know is that people buy price number one, mode of accommodation, to location number three. But it’s going to be a price point, certainly, where I am. 

So at a million dollars you’re buying further out, at say, Heathmont. That type of thing. Anything along a railway line is still going to be a key pillar in the future. So I reckon around that Heathmont is quite good. At that sort of price point, parts in Ringwood are pretty good. 

I really don’t know the other areas of Melbourne very well. I mean, I like Williamstown. I don’t know how much it’s priced. I like it. I don’t mind Fitzroy and stuff. I don’t mind Bentley and things, but I don’t really know these areas. 

But I know the eastern suburbs very well, and so I would answer Heathmont.


You can find Tim:

Marika Berney
Marika is the Marketing & Communications Manager at Homely and property enthusiast. Homely is an industry-backed platform with user-friendly property listings, millions of helpful suburb reviews from locals and agent profiles to help better connect homeowners with the resources they need to sell, buy and lease.

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