When Elite Agent last spoke to Dave Skow, he was at the helm of RE/MAX Wagga Wagga, with six years of running his own business under his belt. Two years on, the Riverina local has set his sights on Canberra, teaming up with Independent Property Group as their new senior operations manager.
Dave Skow established Wagga Property Management back in 2013 and later merged with RE/MAX to add a successful sales division, before selling the business to Macarthur Real Estate this year.
As Dave finishes up with Macarthur this month, he’s preparing for the two-and-a-half hour relocation to Australia’s capital, Canberra.
While Dave revealed the change was “five years sooner” than he had envisaged making such a big move, he’s excited for the next challenge and grateful to take some weight off his shoulders.
The big reshuffle
Dave hadn’t been expecting to sell any time soon. But when Macarthur approached Dave about selling his business, he knew the opportunity was “too good to pass up”.
“It was five years sooner than I had ever thought I’d be ready to sell up. I thought by the time I got to 40, maybe I’d start looking at some options,” Dave said.
“Wagga doesn’t have a huge pool of prospective buyers, particularly when you’ve got a business of my size. When the approach was made by Macarthur, it was time.”
Dave said Macarthur were looking to acquire his existing agency to create a ‘one stop shop’ in Wagga. The land management company was working alongside the associated entity Wakefield and Ashurst, which has recently bought a big subdivision parcel of land in Wagga, with another two subdivisions coming up.
Meanwhile, RE/MAX hasn’t disappeared from the Wagga landscape. The new owners’ faces are as familiar as those on the team, with Nicole Kemp, Rod Whealing and Jenna Pollard now at the helm. Joining them to round out the sales team is industry veteran, Les Kelly.
Moving to the big city
Dave was excited for the challenge of moving from a regional to a metro market. He previously made connections in Canberra while working with Elders as the NSW and the ACT franchise manager, but it’s the first time he’s worked in directly in the city.
Dave joked Canberra wasn’t quite as “metro as the real metro”.
“For a long time, Wagga was locally known as a suburb of Canberra,” he said.
So it seemed a natural progression to move from his hometown to Canberra, as many had before him.
“Because it’s only two and a half hours away, versus the four hours from Sydney and Melbourne, Canberra has always been a natural migration for a lot of local Wagga people.
“Obviously there’s a difference between regional and metro, but Canberra is like a big country town. It’s a little bit more relaxed.”
Dave explained Canberra was “just like Wagga on steroids”, as they both had good rental markets, defence bases, universities and were the respective health hub of each region.
Looking towards the future
Dave’s main goal as the new senior operations manager of the property management division at Independent Property Group is to facilitate growth in the agency by creating synergy between property and strata management projects.
“It’s a really meaty role,” Dave said.
He explained property management businesses came with its own set of challenges, including staff recruitment and retention, retention of clients and organic growth, through prospecting and acquisition.
“On top of all that, overseeing the bigger picture of what the board’s vision for IPG is. It’s exciting,” Dave said.
On a personal level, Dave admitted he was glad he was transitioning into working alongside a larger team.
“It’s a welcome change. For the last eight years, I’ve shouldered all of the highs and lows because I was the sole proprietor and I didn’t have partners in the business, apart from good mentors, friends and family,” he said.
“Ultimately, the buck stopped with me. Being able to have the support of tiers of management and a board which is really geared towards growth. It won’t just be my ass on the line.”