As a teenager fresh out of high school and just starting in property, Miles Felstead was given some valuable advice from his boss.
It was drilled into him that if he was to ‘make a go’ of his career, then he should join the Real Estate Institute.
So when he opened his own property management agency on Sydney’s North Shore back in 1976 - at just 24 years of age - he followed the advice.
His valuable contributions over the following four decades were officially recognised when he was announced as the winner of this year’s Woodrow Weight award at last week’s REINSW Awards for Excellence Gala Evening.
“I couldn’t believe it – I received a Life Fellowship a couple of years ago and that just blew me out of the water, and I was very proud receiving that,” Mr Felstead said.
“The Woodrow Weight Award for me is just a crowning moment, it is just unbelievable.”
The award is named after the legendary former REINSW president, Woodrow Weight, who was the first Australian to be elected World President of the International Real Estate Federation and later awarded an OBE.
Mr Felstead joined the REI’s Property Management Chapter in 1980 and the following year was elected to the Property Management Chapter Committee where he stayed for the next 35 years - including two stints as chairman. As part of the committee, he was involved in important changes to the Residential Tenancy Act.
He has also been a long-standing member of the REI’s Board of Directors – serving eight years. He was a director of the Rental Bond Board – representing the REI - until June this year and he received the aforementioned REINSW Life Fellow Award in 2017.
His outstanding career in property came by chance when offered a job with AH Taylor at Petersham after finishing high school.
One of his tasks was collecting rent from what was known as ‘protected tenancies’. These were mostly WWII veterans on welfare. In the early ‘70s they were still paying $3.90 per week to rent a three-bedroom terrace in Newtown – the same amount paid in 1939.
“They didn’t have a bank or cheque account which meant cash payments had to be collected in person, but the rents were also so low that many owners could not afford to maintain the premises,” Mr Felstead said.
The experience gave an insight to both sides of property management which he has kept with him throughout his career.
When Mr Felstead started his own business, he would drive a taxi at night and deliver newspapers in the morning for extra income. He’d scour ‘to let’ classifieds contacting private advertisers to let them know of his services. Soon he no longer had to juggle multiple jobs and, to this day, he still manages one of his first ever listings in Cremorne.
One of his career highlights has been meeting all of the wonderful colleagues through the REINSW.
“The experience just broadened my horizons, it opened a pandora’s box of contacts and life-long friendships,” Mr Felstead said.
Read the full list of this year’s REINSW Awards for Excellence winners.