By HEDGIE GUNDRY
With two decades of property management expertise under his belt, Anthony Caudullo, Director of Property Management at Crown Group, is at the top of his real estate game. As a valued member of the REINSW Property Management Chapter Committee, Anthony is focused on giving back to the industry where he can.
Did you always want to work in the real estate industry?
The simple answer is ‘yes’. Real estate has always been in my blood, as many of my relatives have owned real estate agencies over the years.
Some of my best memories as a young boy are of going to their offices on a Saturday afternoon and having barbeques out the back with my parents and my extended family. These were the days when real estate was a more low-key, family-oriented industry. Seeing those around me being so successful at what they did was very appealing. But, I think what mattered to me most was that they were helping people. I knew from an early age that’s what I wanted to do.
How long have you been in the real estate industry?
While I was still at school, I did bits and pieces of work experience. I started my first full-time role in 2002 as a property officer at Richardson & Wrench in Miranda. I was leasing properties, putting up the old corflute signs, taking enquiries on my notebook, booking inspections and just going through the process – no different to the things a property officer does now, but obviously with far less technology!
After four years in residential leasing, I moved into commercial and industrial for a year, which was an opportunity to learn another side of the industry. But, ultimately, I missed the residential business. Commercial is very much a numbers-driven game and I’m more of a people person.
Then, in 2008, I took the opportunity to work with Bob Walters, one of the true leaders and educators of the property management industry in New South Wales. I later joined Crown Group in 2014 and haven’t looked back.
Who do you look up to in the real estate industry and why?
I will obviously always look up to my family and be inspired by their success. But it wasn’t until I met people like Bob Walters and Amy Sanderson (formerly LJ Hooker’s Head of Property Management and now an industry consultant), and also Bob's son, Braden Walters (Principal of Belle Property Byron Bay/Lennox Head and REINSW Board Director), that I discovered true mentors. Bob, Amy and Braden gave me the chance to follow my own path within the industry. Twenty years on and I still turn to them when I need advice. They’re always there for me and I’ll forever be grateful.
“Being able to adapt to a huge range of situations, particularly when working with different personalities, is an essential property management skill I've learnt over time. If you can’t adapt, you won’t be successful.”
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Working alongside people within the Crown Group, who are now lifelong friends, is invaluable and no one day is the same.
I also enjoy building trust and forming friendships with our clients. Most of our purchases are off-the-plan, which can be a three or four year process. Part of my role is establishing portfolios by retaining our clients’ business, which is really rewarding. I really enjoy being behind the scenes, seeing our development projects come to life and then attaching people to those projects. This is a new side to real estate that I’ve never been exposed to before and I love working with different facets of the business.
What are the key skills needed to be a successful property manager?
Being able to adapt to a huge range of situations, particularly when working with different personalities, is an essential property management skill I've learnt over time. If you can’t adapt, you won’t be successful. It's like being a chameleon. You need to look at your surrounds and adapt to your environment. I've found myself in some very difficult situations over the last seven years and, when I look back, I realise I’ve adapted and what I’ve learnt has taken me to the next level of experience and development.
Another thing I've learnt here at Crown Group is that you need to be willing to try. You need to go for more and always be innovative.
What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
There have been a lot of both professional and personal career highlights and it’s hard to pick just one.
Working at Crown Group and being involved with property development launches that have sold over $380 million in less than five hours is pretty incredible!
In 2017, I was named Crown Group Leader of the Year and I’m extremely proud to have been a finalist in both individual and agency categories in the REINSW Awards for Excellence. I’m also honoured to be a member of the REINSW Property Management Chapter Committee.
What are your goals for the next 12 months?
Learning to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic and accept changes to business practices and personal lifestyles will be a key focus.
I also know that I’ve been fortunate to achieve a considerable amount during my career, so I’ll be focused on helping others to grow, giving back to my team and the wider industry. This is why I was so pleased to join the REINSW Property Management Chapter Committee. It means I can share my experiences and be someone who others can come to for guidance and advice. This is what I enjoy doing with my team and I’m looking forward to broadening this approach in the future.
When you’re not at work, how do you like to relax?
I'm a father of two awesome kids, so I love spending time with my family. I come from a sporting background and try to live my sporting life through my kids. I really enjoy coaching my son's under-nine soccer team in winter and his cricket team in summer. The only spare time I have for myself is in the mornings, so I start my days with CrossFit training before I head to the office.
Is there a phrase you live by?
I asked my team if there’s something I always say to them and it came back to this: “control the situation, don’t let the situation control you.”
I think this is so important, particularly in property management where you need to have a thick skin. Managing property means you need to manage people’s expectations, which can be very difficult when you’re constantly in non-rewarding situations – when there's always a problem to fix, the tenants have issues or the owners aren't happy. Being able to control the situation means it won’t get the better of you.
What’s the best advice you would give to someone just starting out?
Be mindful that every person you meet has the potential to open a new door for you, either personally or professionally. Make sure you always build good bridges with people, because you never know where they may take you or how they’ll impact your life. If I look back to when I first started, there are some key people who I met early in my career and can now turn to as friends and mentors – and that's what I appreciate most.