Chapter News

Starting blocks: What challenges to young agents face?

The Journal speaks to a cross-section of young agents to find out what challenges they face and what they want from the industry.

David Schmidt-Lindner

NSW Leasing Executive at Savills
 

  1. What attracted you to the real estate profession?
I was never one to sit still, so being able to work in a profession where I was always out and about was appealing. I have always enjoyed dealing with people, and being a leasing agent you are constantly talking to tenants, clients, lawyers, agents, the list goes on.

2. What can young agents bring to the real estate profession?
Young agents can bring not just a lot of energy and fresh ideas, but passion and a hunger to progress. We want to get to the top of the ladder and we know that hard work is required to get there.


3. Do you have a mentor?

I am lucky enough to work with a fantastic team of people with a variety of backgrounds and experience. I don’t have one particular mentor; however, I get my advice from multiple sources.

4. What has been your biggest career challenge to date?
I have completed a number of leasing deals over the years and I can say that each lease is different, but that is why I enjoy what I do.

5. Was there a moment that made you want to stay in real estate?
I started in a graduate rotation program, so I had the benefit of working in a number of areas while completing my Bachelor of Property Economics degree. It was when I did my first office leasing deal that set something off in me and I knew that this is what I wanted to do.


 
Damien West
Associate Agent at McGrath Real Estate Edgecliff
 
 

1. What attracted you to the real estate profession?
Previously I ran a small business, so I wanted a role that complemented my skill set. I also wanted my earning capacity to be uncapped and performance based. I looked at other roles, but the income wasn’t at the level I desired. I saw real estate as a very good fit.

2. What can young agents bring to the real estate profession?
I think that any new agent, regardless of age, can bring a fresh set of eyes. They can also bring their previous experiences and incorporate these into this role.

 
3. Do you have a mentor?

Prior to deciding on this industry, I researched who was the best and how they do what they do. As such, and although he doesn’t know it, I use Mat Steinwede as a mentor.

4. What has been your biggest career challenge to date?
Starting out with no contacts and working on building a reputation with vendors and potential vendors. I have discovered that this industry is the best personal development course I have ever come across.

5. Was there a moment that made you want to stay in real estate?
There has never been a time when I thought of giving up. I understand that it takes time, just as it does with any business. And I am always mindful of the often quoted examples of people giving up three feet short of success.


 
Melanie Kench
Assistant Property Manager at Morton & Morton
 
 

1. What attracted you to the real estate profession?
From a young age, my parents always told me to ‘invest in bricks and mortar’. I love property. It excites me and I can’t learn enough about it. For me, I’ve been lucky enough to have worked in sales too.

2. What can young agents bring to the real estate profession?
I think younger players are good because they come at things from a new angle. You go to open homes now and people are taking details on iPhones and iPads. The younger people of today really embrace that change and can make things exciting again to a certain degree.

 
3. Do you have a mentor?
I don’t think I have a specific mentor in the business. We all sit together in an open office at Morton & Morton, so we can all hear what everyone is doing during the day. If you are struggling with something, generally a conversation will be had to help you through that.

4. What has been your biggest career challenge to date?
Probably going from being a sales agent with a lot of freedom and moving to property management. It was almost a case of stepping back to step forward again. The first three months were very tough, but once I got over that hurdle, I really embraced the change.

5. Was there a moment that made you want to stay in real estate?
I think you have to pace yourself in real estate. If you throw yourself in and you can’t swim, it’s hard. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you do, you are going to have so many demands on you; it’s really about your ability to prioritise and develop consistency in the role..


 
Ricky Briggs
Auctioneer at Cooley Auctions
 
 

1. What attracted you to the real estate profession?
Growing up in a rural area, I was able to experience firsthand many different residential, commercial and farm clearance auction sales. What further cemented my decision was meeting agents that were friendly people, always dressed well and wore a smile.

2. What can young agents bring to the real estate profession?
It is fantastic to see the next generation of agents making their way in what can be a sometimes difficult career – but overall, passion, dedication and enthusiasm are clear standout attributes of younger agents in the industry.


3. Do you have a mentor?
The person that I gain most invaluable insight from is Damien Cooley. He has a distinctive style and edge like no other. The leadership he has shown to me has really helped shape not only my career, but has also taught me a lot about business and life in general.

4. What has been your biggest career challenge to date?
I look and sound younger than I am and people automatically assume that I am a newcomer to the industry. This has challenged me to work harder and faster.

5. Was there a moment that made you want to stay in real estate?
I once had an auction where the owner would not let me conduct it, as she said I was a kid and couldn’t handle it. The agent persuaded the owner to allow me to do it one minute before start time and it sold for $200k over reserve. The owner said it was like winning the lottery.


This article was first published in the July 2014 edition of the REINSW Real Estate Journal.