I often get asked if I ever worked in real estate sales, its like the answer to this question defines my real skill set, it seems that for some people this is the way in which they determine my credibility….I was asked this very question on Tuesday night followed by “why did you go back to property management?” To be honest the time I spent working as a real estate sales person was one of the most enjoyable in my career, I was in my early 20’s and hungry as anything, I think I particularly wanted to prove a point as I was female and unfortunately there weren’t too many female role models at that time. The truth be told I could have continued my career down that path if it wasn’t for one fateful day in which I turned…. Yep I turned into what most of us consider the ‘shoddy real estate agent’ the whole image we work towards eliminating, well I moved to the other side and it happened before I even knew what was happening.
Let me paint the picture for you. I worked in a relatively small team, there were 3 sales consultants and one of them happened to be a good friend of mine, he and I had worked together as property managers then both moved into sales at almost the same time, we were kind of groomed by the company. Anyway things were going along nicely for me, I seemed to have some natural ability and despite being quite young I was able to gain some top quality listings, I worked really hard and I prospected harder, I knew how to work my buyer list and I was given some really great tips by some older and successful agents that got me through that first 12-24 months where as an agent most people either make it or break it.
Anyway – we had a system in our office where if there was an acceptable offer on a property all other agents had a chance to work their buyers to submit their highest and best offer. This process meant that I wouldn’t know what any of the other offers would be I really just had to make by buyer submit not 1$ less than what they were prepared to spend on that property… in fact that was a line I used regularly… ‘Your offer needs to be at a level where if it sold for $1.00 more you wouldn’t be disappointed’. On this particular day I knew that my friend and colleague was also getting an offer, now it was my listing which meant I was particularly keen to have my buyer purchase the property. I sneakily went searching through his emails and papers until I found out what his highest and best offer was and promptly encouraged by buyer to increase their offer by a further $750 (that’s how close it was) I went on to secure the property for my client by a measly $250.00 but I hated myself for it….. in fact I later told my friend and colleague what I had done as I was riddled with guilt and realised I had got myself to a point where I would do anything to close a deal, I didn’t like the person I had become – it was all about gross commissions, deals, deals and more deals. So with this in my mind I promptly moved back into property management and have never looked back.
When I first started in property management it really was considered the poor cousin to sales, 14 years on its considered more vital than any other area of a property business due to the nature of the asset that is built. These days a good property manager is worth their weight in gold and can basically ask their price, solid property managers are being offered equity, profit share, decent salaries and commission arrangements – it doesn’t mean its for everyone, its hard yakka, the daily grind of the job can be thankless and stressful, I don’t think anyone particularly speaks to us about anything positive, that being said landlords are starting to be more respectful to their property managers seeing them more than just rent collectors, the whole image has moved into the professional services where it should have been all along.
I have never regretted my decision to go back into property management even though im sure many would have seen it as a step back in my career, I believe it has created longevity in an industry that is seeing fewer and fewer women continue to prosper within it…