By Andrew McLeod - Director of Fitzpatricks Real Estate
Fitzpatricks Director Andrew McLeod believes a stock and station background can help agents working in rural communities.
What attracted me to real estate was that it wasn’t a typical desk job. There was no ceiling on what could be achieved in terms of income and you could become your own boss. That excited me as an 18 year old with no qualifications, but a hard-working personality.
I still love what I do. I’m not so much money driven as ego driven. I like seeing quality properties in the paper and lots of them. I like to be standing out the front of a quality house and greeting people on open house day. Standing outside and doing the auction, that drives me. You also get to work with some great people with lots of ideas.
We’ve created a structure at Fitzpatricks of highly supported sales people. We see that they have fundamentally important jobs, so we have other people doing the support work.
Wagga, where Fitzpatricks is based, has a significant number of markets. The variety allows agents to find a niche to a degree, but they can’t be too niche. I think the attractive part of working in regional NSW is I can travel 10 minutes and be on someone’s farm or travel three minutes to an apartment and maybe go through one or two traffic lights. That, I think, gives a nice balance. Everything is very accessible.
Top tips for those starting out in regional NSW
The beauty of regional NSW is you have the ability to work both in the city and out. You can sell a farm, lifestyle properties and even city apartments. I love the variety. The lifestyle small acreage properties are very seasonal, so your core focus can be back in the city during those quieter times.
My first auctioning experience was at a clearing sale where I was doing the bookkeeping. The auctioneer handed me the hammer and said “it’s your turn”. I cut my teeth on all those Saturday morning clearing sales in all sorts of locations.
While clearing sales are very different to residential auctions, they allow you to get the basics right. You really get to hone your skills. It is a skill that has stayed with me as I’m now our agency’s auctioneer.
Talking the language
You need to be able to have conversations with all types of people from all walks of life in this role. If you are living in regional Australia, you need to be able to talk about the land and its different components, whether it be livestock, acreage, the weather, seasons or crops. I think all of that knowledge just helps to broaden your experience and you can pretty much have a conversation with anybody.
Attitude is everything
I’m one to say that you need to be very real with people. You need to tell them the good, the bad and the ugly. You need to treat them like you would
like to be treated in any transaction, whether as a buyer or a seller.
There is a patience that needs to be shown in this industry with a buyer or a seller, and you need to know when to take a step back. You may need to provide more information, but ultimately they have to make the decision so you have to allow them that time.
This article was first published in the August 2014 edition of the REINSW Real Estate Journal.