Claire Weggery: From apprentice to expert

Initially turned down for her first job in property management, Claire Weggery from Wellington, NZ has only gone from strength to strength since. The Get Smart Property PM explains her path to success and why one of the quirkiest inspections she’s ever done involved a pig.

How many years have you been in the industry?

I started in November 2011, so nine years. It almost wasn’t to be. I went through a The Apprentice-style interview process but missed out on the role.

However, three weeks later, they called me back to see if I still wanted the job as the person they had selected wasn’t working out. The rest is history!

What’s a special place in your local area?

I live in a lovely neighbourhood of Woburn, which is a beauty with bird song that relaxes you.

When I moved into the area, my partner introduced me to a secret gem in The Bellevue Hotel. It is a gorgeous old villa providing budget and emergency accommodation, a small, non-fancy pub and a massive entertaining area with a garden.

It’s never busy, and I love to sit in the garden in the summer, or around the large gas fire in the winter with a wine.

Did you choose property management or did property management choose you?

I chose the property management lifestyle, naively not knowing what I was getting myself into.

I tried a real estate cadetship in my early 20s thinking it would accommodate my property addiction, but it wasn’t quite for me. All I wanted to do was buy all the properties and improve them.

After a stint in health and safety and food compliance, I realised my skills would be more useful helping others with their property rentals and compliance requirements.

\Property management gave me the chance to engage in three of my loves – property, people and renovation.

Most memorable rental property?

I arrived to do a routine inspection for a property I was temporarily looking after and I was greeted with a zoo!

There were cats, a couple of chickens, two ducks, a goose, more than 100 quails and chicks being bred. To top it off there was a kunekune pig roaming around the backyard – all in a residential zoned street.

Most memorable sale?

A private sale between two clients in a property management portfolio where we offered solutions to both and retained the business on the books.

This was achieved by having a great relationship with the clients, knowing their individual investment goals, and being able to match and meet their needs.

What type of business do you focus on?

For me it’s not about the type of property. I believe every property has potential for improvement, whether it be small changes or big improvements.

The important factor is the attitude and commitment of owners and how we can work together to ensure their investment journey continues.

Owners understand that their rentals are a business. Laws and regulations change so we make alterations to suit, maintenance and improvements are completed and planned for, and our tenants are treated with respect.

What’s the most important part of your day?

Me time. Daily. Non-negotiable.

With a lot of changes over the past year, I have learnt that I cannot give my efforts and time to others if I cannot look after myself first.

Even if I can only find 10 minutes sitting in the car by myself just thinking or reading.

Where would you like to be this time next year?

Since completing Transform 2020, I’m still working this vision out. I know that I would like to travel around the country and work more remotely in the winter.

Another focus is on getting the right technology in place to be able to provide services, such as rental assessments, with platforms like Zoom.

I have a working vision to be able to provide a subscription-based model for self-managing landlords to assist them with templates, processes and policies to enable them to complete their role with best practice in mind and improve Kiwis’ ingenuity standards.

Challenge for the industry?

Forced changes. Extra legislation is changing our industry, whether you’re a professional property manager or a self-managing landlord.

With about 60 per cent of rental stock being self-managed in New Zealand, I see massive innovation and unique points of difference arising for property management companies.

But before this can occur, there is going to be some serious pain and lessons learnt for those landlords and property managers who are not up to scratch.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Acceptance of self. I recently sat down with a business coach and he explained that we all have a history that’s filled with the good, bad, ugly and mistakes. These experiences and lessons may have shaped us, but we are not that person today.

Acceptance of self equals disappearance of issues holding us back.

If we can accept it and own it, then we can move forward. It does not make our past wrong or right, it just is what it is and it’s ok to accept it.

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