Cathy Baker has taken out two prestigious accolades at the Real Estate Institute of NSW Awards for Excellence, including the John Greig OAM Community Service award for her commitment to the Central Coast community.
The Belle Property Killcare principal also took out the award for Residential Salesperson of the Year after writing $5 million GCI in the 2020-2021 financial year.
But it was the community service award she was most proud about as it recognised her commitment to helping others and implementing change in the real estate industry.
“In order for the real estate industry to continue to be relevant, we need to change the way the industry works,” she said.
“Agents need to become community ambassadors, as opposed to being transactional agents that clip the ticket, drop the client and move on.”
Ms Baker said all of the agents in her team lived in their core sales areas and were active community ambassadors.
“Each of them plays a role in the community in some integral way,” she said.
“For example, one of them is part of the rural fire service, and another is the vice president of the surf club.
“They’ve all got a major role in some sort of give back area within the community.”
In 2015, Ms Baker established Killy Cares, a registered charity that services the Bouddi community and has grown to 300 members and 30 active volunteers.
“Through COVID we provided meals to elderly residents and we’ve done their shopping,” she said.
“We put 280 people through their CPR course, and we’ve done a variety of different things to keep people’s mental health good.
“We’ve had mental health workshops and we’ve done all sorts of resilience training.”
Ms Baker said the charity also worked with emergency services to identify and assist vulnerable people in the community to try and keep them in their homes for longer.
Over the years Ms Baker also established the Putty Beach Market and has supported local schools.
When it comes to the Residential Salesperson of the Year award, Ms Baker said one of the keys to her success is that she has clients for life and for every vendor or buyer she sets up a five-year plan looking at their lifestyle and family.
“I help them put together a plan that they could use with their financial advisor or their accountant to help make sense of what the next five years is going to look like and what the implications are to them,” she said.
“So I do become like a true trusted advisor.”
Ms Baker said another key to her success was being able to adapt during the pandemic and make the best use of digital technology.
She said the Central Coast market had been hit hard given it is a holiday market and Sydney purchasers looking for holiday homes had not been able to travel to inspect property until very recently.
Ms Baker said Zoom presentations and inspections became the norm, as did interactive video, Matterport scans and other technology so that buyers could measure and ‘see’ the homes in more detail.
“We also did more lifestyle videos that were full of content using the vendors to tell them (buyers) all about their own home and what they loved about it, so that they could get a sense of what it felt like to be there,” she said.
REINSW President Leanne Pilkington said the number of entrants in the awards continued to grow.
“We again received the highest number of entries ever, following one of the most challenging years in the history of the industry due to the pandemic as well as the strong market which until now shows no signs of slowing down,” Ms Pilkington said.
It was the second year running the awards night was held virtually.
“Taking the event online for the second year in a row proved once again that we could adapt in the face of adversity, and we thoroughly enjoyed sharing the celebration with our members across the state tuning in from their homes and offices to join us for such a fun and entertaining evening,” Ms Pilkington said.
Full list of REINSW Awards for Excellence winners
Woodrow Weight Award
Miles Felstead, Miles Felstead Realty
Georgina Goldsworthy, One Buyers Agency
Stuart Ritchie, McGrath Estate Agents
Business Development Manager
Peter Domjen, Propertybuyer
Simone Luxford, Essential Property Wealth
Commercial Property Manager
Andrew Burrows, Martin Morris & Jones Pty Limited
Sophie Tieman, Jones Lang Lasalle (NSW) PTY LIMITED
Commercial Agency – Small
Commercial Agency – Large
John Greig OAM Community Service
Cathy Baker, Belle Property Killcare
Kelly Blake, Cunninghams
Rebecca Eveleigh, LeahJay
Mechlenne Douaihy, Merc Real Estate
George Barton, McCulloch Agencies
Tim Anderson OAM Residential Property Manager
Antonio Mesiti, The Management Agency
Residential Property Management Team
Cathy Baker, Belle Property Killcare
Residential Sales Team
Real Estate Agency – Small
My Agent Team
Real Estate Agency – Medium
Ayre Real Estate
Real Estate Agency – Large