Industry Insiders: A column featuring the experience and opinions of leading industry proponents brought to you by The Real Estate Voice.
Company or organisation: Real Estate Industry Partners
Job title: Chief Executive Officer
What attracted you to the real estate industry (and when)?
I started in the industry as a receptionist in the late ’80s. It was the first place that offered me a role. However, I made a terrible receptionist and I was moved into an admin position fairly quickly. I left for a couple of years, but real estate is in my blood and today I have my own small business and a corporate role that I love.
What do you love most about the industry?
I love many things about the industry – flexibility that you can/should be able to build for yourself, the fact that we underpin the Australian economy, and it is often one of the leading indicators in terms of the economic forecast. It also means that we are the most talked about topic around dinner tables. It is an industry where if you are good at developing relationships and providing great service, you can create an awesome business and career. There are also many great leaders in our industry; we just need a few more women in the top leadership roles.
What do you consider your proudest moment or greatest achievement (in the industry)?
My proudest moment was being nominated and winning the Victorian Telstra Business Woman of the Year in 2013. I was the first person in our industry to do this.
Biggest challenges in the industry?
We face a number of challenges: finding and keeping good people; keeping up to date with all the technological changes that are occurring and, of course, with COVID; ensuring that our people are well, safe and continue to be connected to the team, clients and culture.
How has the pandemic affected the way people buy, sell and rent property?
We have seen so many people move into country regions, or interstate, looking for slightly larger homes because working from home will be ongoing. People are also used to viewing property via virtual tours and buying at virtual auctions. I think real estate for the consumer and agents will look very different as we emerge into the next ‘normal’, globally. It will be interesting to see where we land on this.
Latest real estate/economic trends affecting your state or region?
Lockdowns are currently having the biggest impact on our state. Affordability is also an issue, with many young people being locked out of the market. The inner-city rental market has taken a hit, with many investors opting to sell. FOMO (fear of missing out), low-interest rates and a lack of stock continue to drive prices up.
How would you improve the process and incentives for property ownership, from an owner-occupier and investment perspective?
I would like to see stamp-duty relief for buyers in Victoria.
What’s the biggest misconception people have when buying or building a home?
That everything will be perfect from day one. It never is — and I believe you have to live in a place for a little while before you start renovating or making changes.
What tips would you give for future-proofing an investment?
Get the right advice on where to buy and what the returns will be — short and long term. You should be buying it to hold onto for the long term. Make sure that you invest in the upkeep and don’t get emotionally attached to your investment. Most importantly, remember it is someone’s home, even though you own it.
What should prospective buyers look for when choosing a property?
Do your research and be clear about where you want to buy. Go to the bank, accountant and financial advisor to understand what your budget is. Get the right inspections done and, if buying at auction, even consider a buyer’s advocate to take the pressure off.
In terms of technology and business interaction, what do you think buying a home will be like in 2030?
I can’t even imagine what this will be like in 2030. However, I can tell you that today we are starting to see emerging platforms that will “take” the property to the client. Augmented reality will play a role in how we view or connect with the property and agent. 3D printing of a home could become more popular as it may be a better option from a climate-change perspective. Also, the world’s population will increase and this will have an impact on the types of homes we have: air space versus land, and perhaps even shared-ownership structures.