Originally featured in the Australian Financial Review

Tech real estate agency LJ Hooker Avnu is on track for growth as former McGrath agent and Sydney lower north shore luxury specialist Michael Coombs joins the firm with $100 million in listings.

Mr Coombs who resigned from the McGrath last month confirmed he has joined Avnu as a founding agent alongside LJ Hooker Avnu’s Adrian Bridges.

LJ Hooker says the LJ Hooker Avnu company is owned by private shareholders while Mr Coombs owns shares in its flagship office, the Lower North Shore office in Neutral Bay.

Another recent addition to the LJ Hooker Avnu team is former Belle executive Casey Mikhael.

Mr Coombs, who has dominated luxury homes sales on the lower north shore in affluent suburbs such as Mosman and Cremorne says he is excited about the technology platform which the firm offers.

“I believe Avnu is a company that is going to pioneer the way real estate is done in over the next few years and I wanted to be apart of it,” he told TheAustralian Financial Review.

“I want to make sure I keep ahead of the market and that I put all my clients in the best position to maximise their sale price.”

The growth of “proptech” and technology in all aspects of real estate in Australia is on the rise.

LJ Hooker followed the trend launching “real time agency” Avnu last July with an online platform that allows vendors and buyers to engage live.

It provides a transparent view of the sales journey including a view into sales data – for example, the number of parties at an open house – the marketing campaign and settlement process.

Avnu customers can sign into their personal portal to follow the marketing and selling of their homes while accessing documents and data.

While the tech agency will be helpful to millennials, Mr Coombs says he and his team of six – brought over from McGrath – can service clients who prefer a traditional method while guiding them through an online platform.

Mr Coombs said technology could save his team a lot of administration time while they focused on sales in the lower north shore, set to heat up this year.

He anticipates the Chinese market will open up again and there has been strong interests in homes from both local and expatriate Australians. The target price point is around $5 million.

The number of customers keen for homes priced at $20 million or more has also risen compared to last year, he says.

Mr Coombs also confirmed the sales commission payout at Avnu will be standard market rate.

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