Courageous Conversations with

Owen Wilson

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Welcome to Episode 73 of our podcast, Courageous Conversations, hosted by Leanne Pilkington.

In this episode, our guest is Owen Wilson, CEO of REA Group. He talks about the changes he faced moving from CFO to CEO, the challenges in communication he faced during the pandemic, the impact of ‘iBuying’ in the US, why agents are the trusted source for property estimates and what’s in the works at REA Group.

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00:30 – Owen’s transition from CFO to CEO of (taking over Tracey Fellows)
02:30 – From peers to reporting to these peers – how Owen adjusted his existing relationships.
03:30 – What the COVID-19 lockdown was like for Owen in Melbourne (particularly as an extrovert)
05:30 – The challenges of over-communicating and sugar-coating
07:00 – Reflecting on the success of Owen’s and Tracey’s leadership, and continuing to ‘walk the talk’
08:00 – “What a real estate agent brings to the process of a property transaction cannot be digitised.” How REA Group’s model will continue to follow this value years on.
10:00 – Zillow’s decision to hire agents to represent it in buying and selling homes i.e. ibuying
10:45 – Dissecting the issues around iBuying, and the differences customers face if they don’t go with a real estate agent
13:15 – the success of communicating this message to draw away from ibuying: to get the most accurate estimate on a property, you must see the agent.
14:20 – The company wanting the profit VS the vendor wanting the profit – which should be more important for consumers?
15:00 – Is there downward pressure on fees in the US?
15:50 – Pre-pandemic, the market share of ibuying was 0.5 – now, it is half that.
16:30 – 96% of houses in Australia are sold by agents.
16:50 – What’s new from REA Group; testing pay on sale, forming a partnership with CampaignAgent and Realtair
18:30 – Landlords/investors selling property – what are the current trends?
20:00 – Reflecting on banks who are struggling with the volume of loans