Kelley Seaton is the Director of the Leasing Network, a boutique property management service on the Central Coast of NSW. Having worked in the industry for over 25 years, she loves nothing more than challenging herself and her team to deliver outstanding service.
What motivated you to get into property management?
I was 18 and had just finished my HSC in Year 12. I had no idea what career path to follow, so I decided to take the first job to earn some money and then work out where I was headed.
I had one rule: That was I didn’t want to do real estate.
Murphy’s law: I attended my first interview and got a job as a receptionist in – you guessed it – a real estate office. I wasn’t entirely motivated at first, but the love of real estate became a way of life.
I progressed through many roles then realised property management was way more interesting than sales admin and reception, and I never looked back. About five years in I became motivated to make this job my career.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
The biggest challenge was definitely taking the plunge to work for myself and open my own office.
Being very passionate about the industry the decision to do this was quite easy; the hard part was that I had very little funds to set myself up and didn’t want to borrow money, so I had to look at ways to grow my own rent roll organically.
What or who inspires you?
The great outdoors always provides me with inspiration. We have a beautiful country and I think it’s important to stop and smell the roses and not to take things for granted.
Although I love nature and beautiful landscapes, my family and friends are my true inspirations. My kids keep things in perspective too; being a mother is very inspirational in itself.
In your briefcase right now is…
A lot of pens (I am a secret pen thief), my laptop, charger, two Matchbox cars, iPad, post-it notes, business cards, USB stick, sugar-free chewing gum and about four lipsticks (because I need more than three at once!)
Something you couldn’t live without?
This might sound selfish, but I need one hour set aside just for me every week, to do nothing for anyone except myself.
It might change every week, but it could be taking time out to clear my head, getting a pedicure or taking a bath (with a glass of wine) and soaking it up. It’s a moment of re-balance.
Technology must haves?
I can’t be without my iPhone. I have tried on several occasions not to use it, but I just give into the temptation every time. It’s hard to know how I survived before I had it surgically attached to me.
What advice would you give someone just starting out in property management?
Be strong, and don’t take things personally. Surround yourself with professionals and industry experts and absorb as much information from them as possible; they can teach you things from their own hands-on experience.
Learn the legislation and ensure that you attend regular training. Be a good listener and a good communicator. This is a service industry; if you can communicate with your customers on a very regular basis, you are halfway there. Everyone loves communication.