Michael McCullagh, Ray White Wilston

This issue we profile Michael McCullagh, winner of the 2012 REIQ Rookie of the Year Award, and finalist in the 2012 REIA Achievement Award.

How many years have you been working in Real Estate?
I started in 2010, so approximately two and a half years.

What are your qualifications?
Real Estate Salesperson Registration Certificate, and I’m currently completing a Bachelor of Business (Management/Public Relations).

Michael, tell us what made you choose a career in Real Estate
Well, it’s something that I’d considered for a while as I knew a number of people working in the industry, but I guess the final push was when my (now) wife made the transition after being approached by another group. She was the original ‘Thank you Mr Hooker’ girl in the TV commercials and they saw an opportunity there. Unfortunately, it wasn’t for her for a number of different reasons, so her career in real estate was fairly short-lived, but I joined Ray White at about the same time, loved it and still love it.

Tell us about the area where you work – what are the challenges and what do you especially like about it?
Gordon Park is the main area I specialise in, although working for Ray White, Wilston & Stafford, my business tends to extend throughout the inner northern suburbs of Brisbane. The thing I like most about this area is the fact it’s surrounded by the Kedron Brook with acres of parklands, cycleways and off-leash dog parks, which make it a perfect area for families. It has a lot of infrastructure updates recently completed, such as the AirportLink and Northern Busway, and a
lot of mixed-use redevelopment proposed for surrounding suburbs. It’s got a strong community feel as Brisbane’s smallest suburb and is just a short drive to shops and cafe precincts. It offers a full range of homes from the entry-level first home-buyer market through to $1million+ so there is something for everyone.

Can you talk a bit about what makes your Agency special?
What attracted me to work for Ray White was its history, which is synonymous with real estate in Australia. It’s a trusted brand and as the market leader, they’re still leading the way in terms of training and development, innovation and technology, as well as results

What do you love about the industry?
I think the fact that you can have a huge impact on someone’s life. We’re entrusted with our clients’ biggest asset, and how effective we are at our job can influence the next phase of their life. If you work hard, the financial reward is appealing as well, of course!

It can’t have been easy, entering the industry at this time – tell us about the challenges you’ve faced.
So far it’s just been a huge learning curve, as I see my first two years in real estate as an apprenticeship. From when I started in early 2010 until recently, each month has been a tougher market than the month before and plenty of people around me have said it’s the perfect time to learn your trade. I’d have to say though that the ability to have crucial conversations with vendors is probably the biggest challenge I’ve embraced.

Which values do you see as the most important?
I think honesty above all else. Everyone appreciates honesty regardless of the message.

What are the key features in maintaining a healthy agent/vendor relationship?
Communication. Honest, regular communication. You need to speak to your vendors at least every day. There shouldn’t be a time throughout the campaign when they’re sitting at home wondering what’s happening. It also keeps you accountable to doing the work because you have to report back to them.

Do you have a mentor, or someone that inspires you?
I am constantly reading and listening to people to inspire me. I organise a catch-up with other agents in Brisbane at least once a month for a coffee or lunch; each day before I start work I read Josh Phegan’s daily Focus, listen to Kevin Turner’s RE Uncut, follow people on Twitter and Facebook, and listen to audiobooks – at the moment it’s Business Stripped Bare by Richard Branson and next is The Thank-you Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk.

Have you won any awards, and why?
I was fortunate enough to win the 2012 REIQ Rookie of the Year award. They won’t tell me why but I think it’s my enthusiasm to change the traditional perception of a real estate agent and how I’ve implemented that into my day-to-day business. As a daily reminder, I’ve stuck to the top of my computer screen “create and maintain mutually beneficial relationships”.

Where do you see yourself in the future? What would be your dream job?
I’m still hopeful of inheriting a large parcel of land rich in iron-ore, but that seems unlikely so this is it. I’m more motivated than ever and striving to be an Alan White Elite Performer.

How do you relax outside of Real Estate?
My wife, Georgie, is very good at telling me when I need a break; her parents have retired to King’s Beach at Caloundra so we often head up there, and we try to take a long weekend away every quarter. I’m a dyed-in-the-wool Queensland Reds supporter and try not to miss a game. I love to travel and I’m overdue for a trip to Europe, but closer to home North Stradbroke Island and Montville would have to be favourites.

If you could have any three people at your dinner party, who would it be and why?
Georgie (my wife), my father who passed away last year, and Ray Warren the commentator because the sound of his voice makes my knees weak.

What are your predictions for the Real Estate Industry for the next year?
I think we’ve seen some strong signs of improvement already and will continue to see good opportunities for both buyers and sellers. The next 12 months will be an important time to increase market share and profile before hopefully more prosperous times beyond.

What advice would you give someone starting out in Real Estate?
Be honest with yourself about how much you really want it – do the work, let go of excuses and get to as many training sessions as you can. Learn from the more experienced agents around you and implement their strategies. Create your own reference group – success leaves clues.

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