Dee, tell us about yourself and your position at RE/MAX.
My principal, Hayley Elliott, shared her vision of opening a RE/MAX office in Mackay and asked me if I was interested in being part of a new team establishing the brand. I saw it as an exciting new challenge and a big leap forward, and I couldn’t be happier.
Most of my working life I have been self-employed. I established my own home and garden decor boutique and designed all my marketing, including designing products. My horticultural background allowed me to create plant collections; this made it easy for clients to get the right look in their garden. I now can share this knowledge with clients in helping them prepare their homes for sale.
My sales position with RE/MAX allows me freedom to use my creativity and personalise my service to clients, plus I have the support and resources of a global brand.
How did you get your start in real estate?
I always had an interest in property, including investment property. I was constantly told by family and friends, ‘You should go into real estate’.
In 2009 I moved from Central Victoria to Mackay, Qld, and took on part-time work in cafes and a restaurant
while studying to get my real estate registration. As soon as my registration arrived I was approached by a principal who had a small, successful office. She had been told of my sales background and home decor boutique, so I basically hit the ground running.
After almost a year in an office environment, I decided to get my full licence and spent five years as an independent. I enjoyed developing my personal brand and constantly educated myself by attending seminars, mostly by Glenn Twiddle.
For personal reasons I decided to go back to an office environment, and eventually took up Hayley’s offer to work with RE/MAX Results.
How has your passion for interiors, architecture and landscape design helped you stand out from the crowd?
Clients seem to recognise that I’m passionate about what I do from the moment I begin to discuss preparing their home for sale. I feel it gives them confidence to know I have hands-on experience
in guiding them to achieve a premium result; I’m not just a salesperson!
How do you overcome obstacles to providing a personalised and empowered sales experience?
I believe in empowering my clients while still remaining in control.
Honest communication is key, educating the seller about the sales process and possible outcomes. Positive energy is also important; sellers often say, ‘We like your approach; it’s so different to other agents we’ve spoken to.’
What was the most memorable property you ever listed or sold?
In my second year of real estate. I was appointed a listing that just needed the 22a to be signed. The seller agreed to meet me in town on a set time and day.
Overnight I developed keratitis, an aggressive inflammation to the cornea. The next morning, in the eye specialist clinic, I was told, ‘We need to rush you to Brisbane on the next flight as you may lose your eye’. Waiting in Emergency, my seller called asking where I was. He offered to come into Emergency and I replied, ‘You’ll catch me here if you’re quick!’
I was in hospital for six weeks and told that I’d eventually need a graft. I wasn’t allowed to drive for six months, but a friend helped out.
The happy ending is that I listed the buyer’s property, in spite of them saying it wasn’t ready to sell, then sold it the first week with multiple offers. And, best of all, I didn’t need a graft as my eye healed holistically by itself!
Do you have a mentor or someone who inspires you?
When starting a business back in 2005 I was truly inspired by Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop. I’m always inspired by the underdog’s success story. In real estate, if I had only one to choose, Mat Steinwede is top of my list. I love his stories of his early days.
What’s the best advice you have been given?
Treat your clients how you would like to be treated and never sound desperate for a listing.
Don’t measure your own ability or results by someone else’s; stay focused on you and let yourself be your only competitor.
What other goals would you like to achieve in the future?
I still would like to work towards building my own EBU. I enjoy encouraging and leading others, sharing knowledge and skills. I’m a Leo; I believe my own team within a brand will make my work more enjoyable and take my business to a higher level with better life balance.
Speaking of that, how do you achieve work/life balance and wellness in the industry?
Having a strong, creative personality profile, staying focused and having systems are not my best friends! A positive mindset is the first thing I work on each morning; some days it’s easy, some days it’s tough. I like to use the saying, ‘Get up, dress up, show up, never give up’.
I continue to educate myself about foods that fuel the body and sharpen brain activity, and implement daily holistic rituals using essential oils, meditation, exercise and laughter. Then to recharge I travel, generally a yearly trip overseas and a couple of short trips locally or interstate.
What advice would you give someone starting out in real estate?
Never compare yourself to others, especially if they have been in the industry a long time. Focus on yourself, measure your results; you are your toughest competitor, so be yourself. Don’t let knock-backs get you down.