Elite AgentFeature InterviewsSelling and Marketing Property

Donna Gordin: Following my instincts

Years in the industry?  
It seems like forever, but in 1993 I started in a family business working for a very successful office in Scarborough.  That makes it just over 27 years and I’m now the Director/Licensee of Rockingham home2home.

What’s a special place in your local area?
Our north-facing bay in Rockingham – crystal blue waters and crisp white sand in Cockburn Sound. It was like living on holidays’ 24/7. It reminded me a lot of where I grew up on the south coast of WA in Esperance. I also have a photo I took of a bay in Greece while travelling back in 1997. I remember saying I wanted to live in a place like this one day – and I did. Rockingham has very similar characteristics and the bay with the boats as the sun sets is almost the spitting image. It’s a very special place. 

Did you choose real estate or did real estate choose you?
I chose real estate. I worked for three months when I was 16 in a real estate office in Kalgoorlie doing reception. I decided then I wanted to do sales. I moved to Perth and tried again at 20, but a well-respected agent my father knew told me I couldn’t do it part-time. I waited until late 1992 when I attended an information night at a Scarborough agency.  They offered three of us work experience for two weeks – door-knocking, letter dropping home opens, phone canvassing – the whole works. So I took leave from my hospitality job to do that – and the rest is history. I did my course in January 1993, started in February, sold my first property within the first month and sold a property every month thereafter for the next six years, until a slow down around the time the GST was introduced.

I remember my father saying “you did what?”  when I told him I had resigned my full-time well-paid job from the Beachcomber Hotel on the Gold Coast to work in a commission-only role in real estate. I’m a very fortunate person to have landed on my feet most times in my life. I have followed my instincts and it has served me well EVERY time

First sale?
The office I worked in was well-established with lots of listings, and I was given the buyers from the home opens to work with. I took a couple from Kardinya to every two-bedroom unit north of the river. The very next weekend they made an offer on a unit in Bennelong Place, Leederville, for $75k. This was my first sale, and my first conjunction.

Most memorable sale?
The most memorable property was in Mandurah. There had been a fire in the lounge, no copper piping or a back door to it. We just assumed it would be demolished and sold for land value. The people who bought the property were professional flippers. It was extraordinary to see it completed and sold again.

What type of business do you focus on?
We love working on referral business – 82 per cent of our new business in 2018-2019 came from an existing client or a referral from one. These days 80-85 per cent of our turnover is in property management and the remainder is sales looking after our existing and referral client needs.   

What’s the most important part of your day?
It’s the morning, quiet time over a coffee – it sets me up for the day ahead. I always say we are only one call away from a freight train heading our way, we need to be ready to get off the road.

Where would you like to be this time next year?
Is somewhere warm too simplified? To be serious though, we have never invested in advertising, self-promotion or marketing to grow our business. It’s time to get serious. We’ve grown organically and I’ve loved every new referral. I want our brand to expand and become the go-to agency. I want a waiting list of clients wanting my team to manage their property. I want to have implemented a successful 12-month targeted marketing campaign resulting in 30 per cent net growth in our property management department.

Challenge for the industry?
Without a doubt, the economic downturn as a result of Covid-19 leaves us with uncertainty and the now overused phrase of “unchartered waters”, but it is so true. Demand for property creates growth and confidence, and our industry plays a big part in the wellbeing of all Australians. We provide a roof over their heads, whether as an owner-occupier or as a tenant. Finding a way to create demand with immigration on hold, foreign investors on hold, and high unemployment will be a challenge. But, from adversity comes opportunity. 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
The most valuable piece of advice came from my father: “Be grateful for what you have, not what you don’t have.” Our 30 days of gratitude in Transform 2020 has reminded me of this invaluable advice. My Day 1  “grateful for” was my father’s unconditional love. We didn’t have much, but we didn’t want for anything either.

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