We Are Real Estate

Andrew Milne: The art of selling

Some people might have given up on a sale after a murder and hostage situation took place, but not O’Brien’s Andrew Milne. He says putting other people first and applying a business approach is what gets him over the line.

On getting into real estate
I had been working in men’s retail, in particular selling suits. I had always liked property but I wasn’t handy so I couldn’t be a tradie, but I knew I could sell so I decided to sell homes instead of build them.

The happiest moment in my career
Winning my first award for the top salesperson in Victoria at the Professionals in 1996. Opening my own office with First National and turning the business into a success and paying off my house. 

The most memorable moment
There was a property I sold in a bordering suburb. The owner had asked me to conduct an appraisal of her investment property which was being occupied by the owner’s brother.

As I was walking to the front door, a neighbour abruptly stopped me and said, “mate, I wouldn’t knock on that door. If you go in there, you won’t come out”. I went to knock on the door anyway, but chickened out as I had an uneasy feeling.

The next day, I went back to the home with a colleague who I asked to stay in the car and keep an eye out for me. As we drove up the street, there were police cars and detectives everywhere searching through shrubs. I said to the cadet as a joke, “wouldn’t be funny if the occupant of the home I went to appraise had done something”.

I found out later that the occupant had murdered his friend in the home and the occupant was holding a number of people hostage in another home. I went on to sell the home for the owner and I was glad I could help her achieve some closure after a traumatic experience. 

Best advice he’s received
Build relationships and put other people first.

Biggest challenge
Attracting talent to our industry. Careers counsellors at high school should be strongly pushing young people into real estate.

Encouraging higher standards for entry will change the perception of real estate agents and encourage young people to consider a respected profession as a long-term career. 

Change for good?
Stricter regulations for people wanting to open up their own office.

‘Elite’ agent means
I think an elite agent is an agent who can write exceptional numbers and be able to achieve high prices in all market conditions. It’s important to adapt quickly to different markets so you can focus on your clients rather than worrying about the pressures of a downward market. They also apply a business approach to the art of selling.

#WeAreRealEstate is a series of short interviews with 140 agents all over Australia, exploring the industry’s hopes, concerns, future challenges, and what it really means to be an Elite Agent.

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