EPMEPM: Cover Stories

Dynamic Duo, Harcourts North Lakes

Having the largest Harcourts property management portfolio in Queensland and the second largest in Australia, the dynamic duo of Brett Mason and Paul Considine have set a incredibly high standard of achievement for property management in the Northlakes Area.

OPENING IN November 2005, Harcourts North Lakes has grown from a partnership into a 22-staff agency. With more than 1,100 properties under management, and a community driven approach, Brett and Paul have grown with the North Lakes community over their nine-year tenure. Although the competitive climate has changed in the region, with an acknowledgment of the dynamic growth of Brisbane’s Moreton Bay area, Harcourts North Lakes continues to set the standard through continual innovation and a culture that is hard to come by in the industry.

With their passion for the development of their business and of the team that drives Harcourts North Lakes to the success they have realised, we spoke to Paul Considine to get a better understanding of what it is that underlines that success.

You are the longest standing real estate agency in North Lakes. What changes have been the most significant in the time that you have been in the area?
Competition has been the most significant change. This has resulted in our team striving for continual growth by constantly reviewing our business; how we are developing as a business, and driving for that positive development.

What do you feel makes Harcourts North Lakes such a powerhouse in property management?

Our leadership structure. By having two business owners who manage hands-on and separately – the sales department and PM department – we have been able to provide the leadership and support that is necessary to run a successful PM.

The property management team looks after an impressive 1,100-plus properties. What it is that allows you the capacity to maintain them at such a high standard?
Our structure and people have evolved at the various stages of the PM growth, and having the structure with the right people is so important. It’s also important that the staff and office management can do their job to a high standard. If the organisational structure is not right, and without the right tools and resources for your team, you will not achieve that high standard that you are looking for.

Team culture must play a pivotal part in the development and growth of not only your staff, but also of the agency. What are the key drivers to the culture at Harcourts North Lakes?
It starts with treating people with the way you would like to be treated. You give them supportive leadership, great structure, the right tools and resources so they can actually do their job. With having a work life balance you can achieve a great culture.

Being the number one agency for Harcourts in Queensland for such a long time, how do you remain focused on continual growth, and keep the motivation running for continued success?
Competition has been a great motivation. This has resulted in us striving for continual growth by constantly reviewing our business, and how we are developing as a business, looking for that positive development. We have tried lots of things that worked and lots of things that have not, but the biggest secret is that you must try out ideas and give them a good go if you want continued success.

What are some of your most memorable stories about your time in North Lakes?
We received a call years ago from a tenant after a thunderstorm, when lightning struck the TV antenna on the roof. The direct impact of the lightning bolt had blown a two- foot-square hole in the roof, and lifted the Gyprock ceiling off the rafters. The strength of the strike was so intense that it blew the gas line! It was like a bomb had exploded in the house. It was so memorable because a) you wouldn’t read about it; b) the damage was such a nightmare to organise getting it repaired; c) it’s one of those experiences where everything that can go wrong did go wrong, but ended up in one of the most positive situations you could ever imagine.

What is the best advice you have ever received?
Treat people the way you would like to be treated. Your business is only as good as the people you have.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to enter real estate or property management?
Be realistic and understand that it is a hard business to enter. It takes a lot of hard work and perseverance to be successful. You need to understand that no matter how good you believe your business is, you are dealing with people; and sometimes people do not do the right thing, whether that’s owners or tenants. Continue to be the best you can, but realise that not everyone will be happy because of their own issues and just deal with those situations with professionalism.

What is in store for the future?
With perseverance, consistency and professionalism, there is a massive opportunity in our area for continual growth and development. It is still rapidly expanding and with the influx of new people to the area, the challenge becomes one that is driven by that change in dynamics. Competition is looking to enter our market, which is a great thing. It allows us to continue to strive for greater heights and push ourselves to further refine and develop not only ourselves but the team, and it’s that reflection of internal evolution that makes this all so worthwhile.

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