Helpline heroes

Helpline heroes

20 October 2020

Working in the real estate industry isn’t an easy gig. Laws are constantly changing. Training standards keep moving. And there’s the never-ending battle to ensure compliance. Who can keep up? The REINSW Helpline can – and they’re always on hand to answer your questions.

“The Helpline team truly are our frontline workers,” REINSW President Leanne Pilkington said.

“They’re always on hand to answer members’ questions. And the COVID-19 pandemic, industry reforms and residential tenancies amendments have really seen them shine. The number of calls they’ve taken in recent months is staggering.”

Leanne said that even with the uplift in the number of calls coming through, there has been no compromise in the quality of advice being provided to REINSW members.

“Every interaction is personal, tailored and confidential, ensuring the best possible advice is provided in every instance,” she explained. “Far from simply quoting sections of the relevant legislation and then leaving members to do the interpretation themselves, each member of the Helpline team takes the necessary time to understand the particular circumstances being presented. They explain the law and provide detailed guidance as to how to apply it to the case at hand.

“Every day they help members solve tricky challenges and avoid falling foul of the law.”

Experience counts

With decades of experience between them, the Helpline team has the knowledge and experience to provide practical and confidential advice on a wide range of real estate matters.

“From property management and tenancy issues to residential sales, auctioneering, strata management, commercial matters and more, they have not only the theoretical knowledge, but also the on-the-ground hands-on experience to provide the answers that members need,” Leanne said. “I’ve no doubt that, between them, there’s very little they haven’t seen or experienced.”

Underpinning the Helpline team’s experience is a laser focus on continuous learning.

“To provide the very best advice to members, they need to be constantly updating their knowledge,” Leanne said. “Whether it’s attending formal training courses, watching topic-specific webinars or liaising with industry leaders at regular REINSW Chapter Committee meetings, the team lives and breathes a philosophy of ‘keep learning’.

“This has been particularly important this year, with the commencement of industry reforms back in March, as well as the overhaul of the residential tenancies framework which kicked off at the same time.

“I can confidently say that there are very few people in our industry that know more about the reforms and how they impact day-to-day practice than the Helpline team. They truly are the experts.”

And, if the raft of new legislation wasn’t enough, then COVID-19 hit.

“It’s certainly been a year like no other and the Helpline team have been instrumental in helping REINSW members navigate a particularly difficult time,” Leanne said. “I have no doubt that many members view the team as their lifeline.”

Pick up the phone

Leanne explained that no question is too big or too small, and there’s no limit to the number of times REINSW members can call.

“Don’t wait until you find yourself in hot water to call the Helpline,” she said. “You may be unsure about how to tackle a particular situation or have a simple question about a section of the Act. Maybe you just need a friendly ear to act as a sounding board. Pick up the phone. They’re always available to help.

“I regularly call the Helpline myself when issues arise, and I strongly encourage every REINSW member to think of the Helpline team as an extension of their agency team. The Helpline team is your team!”

Meet the Helpline team

Ann Banister

When Ann started on the REINSW Helpline almost 15 years ago, she was looking for a change after working in the industry for 20 years.

“I was looking for a new challenge,” she remembered. “I saw the Helpline position available at REINSW and I thought ‘I want to do that’.”

Well-known to many REINSW members, Ann has become that all-important calming voice of reason who provides targeted advice at times of high stress.

“I like interacting with members each day and being able to assist them with their questions and challenges,” she said. “A big part of what we do is to simply lend a friendly ear. I enjoy taking the time to listen to what each member has to say and then guiding them through to a solution.”

Ann’s property management knowledge is renowned, but her knowledge extends far further afield and she emphasised that the Helpline team draw on each other for insight.

“We learn from each other and members are the beneficiaries,” she said. “There are those members who are regular callers. Over the years, I’ve come to know them and their business, and it’s good to know that I’ve played a small part in their success over the years.”

Robert Anderson

Joining the Helpline team almost eight years ago, Robert brings a wealth of knowledge and experience gained over multiple decades to his Helpline role.

“Over the course of my real estate career, I’ve worked in all parts of the industry,” he said. “From residential sales, auctioneering, property management, and commercial sales and leasing, through to running my own agency, there’s not much that I haven’t experienced over the years.

“And I still keep my hand in by calling auctions on weekends. It’s a great way to stay in touch with what’s happening ‘on the ground’ in the industry, because I get to work with sales agents and help close deals – and, most of all, it’s fun!

“I’m happy to be able to use all this experience to help REINSW members every day.”

Robert pointed to compliance as being a big challenge for members.

“Complying with every aspect of the compliance framework is no easy task – and it’s forever ongoing,” he said. “I enjoy working with members to ensure they’re able to navigate the compliance pathway.

“The problem-solving aspect of what we do is also something I really enjoy. Nutting out the issues and coming up with a solution is incredibly satisfying.”

Marie Babka

No stranger to the Helpline, Marie Babka already knew Ann and Robert well when she started at REINSW in 2019.

“I was a regular caller,” Marie said with a smile. “They were a constant source of support when I was in practice and I now have the privilege of working alongside them. They’ve taught me so much over the years and now I’m able to share this knowledge with other members.”

Over the last 20 years, Marie has accumulated a broad range of experience, which is particularly useful to draw upon when talking to members.

“Like many, I started as a receptionist and progressed through a variety of roles,” she explained. “From sales and property management through to management and leadership roles, I’ve experienced all facets of agency practice.

“But compliance is what I really enjoy. I genuinely love helping our members navigate the twists and turns of the industry’s regulatory framework, and helping them develop systems and processes to ensure compliance.”

Your Helpline is on hand

If you're an REINSW member, receive practical advice on a wide range of real estate issues when you need it. No question is too big or too small, and there’s no limit to the number of times you can contact us. Call (02) 9264 2343


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