We Are Real Estate

Maggie Petrie: Fake it till ya make it

Listing a $2.2 million property is a dream for most people in the industry. But for Rental Management Australia’s Maggie Petrie, that turned into a real-life nightmare when she forgot the most important thing: to wear pants

On getting into real estate
My marriage had just ended and I found myself with three children to support on my own. I got my first opportunity by way of a three-month contract as PA to two guys just starting out. Their partnership didn’t last but the director of the company offered me the BDM role the same day I finished up with my two sales guys, and it turned out to be the perfect role for me – I’m still doing it five years later (just for a different agency)!

The happiest moment in my career
When I knew I had achieved more for my clients than I promised.

The most memorable moment
There have been several memorable properties, but I remember the $2.2 million property I appraised in my underwear best of all! Not as kinky as it sounds. I landed the appraisal for first thing on a winter morning. I did the Supermum thing that morning getting all the kids fed, lunchboxes packed and off to school, and then straight to my appraisal (I live 30 minutes away). I pulled up to the house with five minutes to spare, got out of the car feeling accomplished, but also quite cold. It was a little breezy on my bottom half. I looked down at the elasticised pencil skirt, black tights and business shirt with heels I’d chosen for the occasion. I’d also popped a very short (just to the top of my thighs) black slip on underneath for extra warmth. Anyway, I looked down and could see the slip and the tights but no skirt. I thought it must have ridden up while I was driving, so I fumbled around for the skirt so I could pull it back down – but there was no skirt. THERE WAS NO BLOODY SKIRT. I looked up at the gorgeous house. I looked down at my phone for the time. I looked back down at my underwear and black tights. I asked myself, “Maggie, what are you going to do here? Are you walking away from this appraisal or are you going in?” I decided I was going in. My mantra was, “Don’t look down. Be calm. Act normal”, and off I went. The lady of the house greeted me at the imposing front door and I introduced myself and without looking down. I acted normal and she invited me inside and we did the tour. She showed me the $5000 carved stone bathtub. She showed me the incredible fully-integrated kitchen. She took me up the gorgeous staircase. We entered another room. A man is in there – her architect. She introduced us and I recited my mantra in my head and shook his hand. All business. We went outside to inspect the stunning infinity-edge pool with integrated custom water feature. I gave my pitch and left, then went straight home and put on my damn skirt before I went back to the office. I didn’t think I had much of a chance given I’d shown up at this palace looking like a tart. But by some miracle I won the business! So in summary: I appraised a high-end property in my underwear and won the management. Moral of the story: fake it till ya make it! 

Best advice she’s received
Say yes and work out how later.

Biggest challenge
Meeting the challenges brought by disruptors, particularly new technology marketed on the idea that owners can save money by cutting out the agent. However, nothing can fully beat an industry expert who is great at the belly-to-belly interface, solving human problems and creating long-term relationships built on trust and real consistent results.

Change for good?
I would like to see more respect given to property managers instead of just being treated like money machines for agencies with a couple of sales stars in the stable. I have no desire to ever manage property myself but I have incredible admiration and respect for the PMs in my team. I don’t think many sales agents, or even directors, would have the guts to do what they deal with on a daily basis.

‘Elite’ agent means
Don’t look back – you’re not going that way.

#WeAreRealEstate is a series of short interviews with 140 agents all over Australia exploring the industry’s hopes, concerns, future challenges, and what it really means to be an Elite Agent.

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