Family first

March/April 2017 edition

Working in the real estate industry is a real family affair for Aris Dendrinos, the Licensee-in-charge of Richardson & Wrench Marrickville and Hurlstone Park.

Did you always want to work in the real estate industry?
I’ve been around the industry my entire life. My parents started our family business in the early 1970s, around the time I was born. But when I was young I didn’t see real estate as my path.

In my early 20s, I wanted to be a journalist and make documentary films, so after high school I did a communications degree at Macquarie University. By the end I felt I probably didn’t have enough passion to make it to the upper echelons (and I’d figured out it wasn’t a particularly well paid profession), so I ended up running away to England for a year. It was the best year for figuring out what life was about and what was important.

When I returned, I asked Dad if I could work in the family business. It was a big move. After all, I’d spent years telling him I’d never work in the business. But I asked him to give me a go – to give me the opportunity to find out if this was the career for me. From the moment I started in 1994, I was obsessed with the business of real estate.

Why did you choose to specialise in residential sales?
I started out in property management. Working in sales wasn’t even on my radar. But a couple of years into my career, my father told me he was moving me into sales. I didn’t want to and we fought about it for a couple of months – but he eventually won. And he was right. It took me a few years to find my feet, but ultimately it was the best move. I’ve never looked back.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
I don’t have a passion for property per se. My passion is for people. The fact I get to interact with people all day is what I love about sales. Sitting with an owner and convincing them to entrust the sale of their property to me. Building a relationship with them over time. Working closely with them throughout the process. That’s what I love.

Working with my family every day is also a real joy. Our business is a real family endeavour. At 82, my father still comes to the office every day, and my two sisters also work in the business. It’s not for everyone and I’ve seen many family businesses where the dynamic has turned sour, but it’s been the opposite for us.

What are the key skills you need to be successful in your job?
You need to be able to handle rejection. In sales, you get rejected every single day and you need to cope with it. You also need to be adaptable. Human beings are, hands down, the most unpredictable creatures you’ll ever come across.

What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
Winning awards is great, but I’ve come to realise – at least for me – they’re not that important. We all enjoy recognition, but it’s the recognition I receive from my clients every day that’s the real highlight. They’re trusting me to give them the right advice and achieve the best result. Receiving their thanks and gratitude is a real motivator.

When you’re not at work, how do you like to spend your time?
The business is a big part of my life, but it’s not the biggest part. My family always comes first. My daughter is 15 and I have two boys, who are 12 and six. I spend as much time as I can with them, even if it’s just ferrying them to soccer training.

Is there a phrase you live by?
Former racing driver Mario Andretti said: “If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough.” That sums it up for me. If you have free time, what are you doing with it? I grew up with busy parents and they instilled a work ethic in my sisters and I. From a young age, they said “if you don’t have anything to do, you’re going to the office to help out”. So we spent all our time involved in as many activities as possible – sport, music, clubs – to avoid the office! But, funnily enough, all of us have ended up working in the family business we tried so hard to avoid as kids.

What’s the best advice you would give your younger self?
Don’t overthink everything. Starting something is better than thinking about starting it. It’s good to plan and prepare, but don’t put off starting. You might make a few mistakes, but it’s not the end of the world.