EPMEPM: Profile

Multi-tasking in Melbourne: Connie Mantello

Connie Mantello went into business with her husband to support his dream of running his own real estate agency. Now an expert senior property manager, business owner, working mum and part-time student, Connie finds she can cope with most things – as long as she has her smartphone.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your role at Mantello Real Estate.
My husband and I started Mantello Real Estate seven years ago, with years of experience which guided how we wanted to run a real estate firm. The motto we began with when we started, and still holds true today, is trust, communication and old-fashioned service.

My role in the business includes senior property management duties, including new business management, accounts and arrears management as well as assisting both my leasing administrator and junior administrator with their roles daily. I also assist Jason in sales administration, new listings and of course business management… so, as with most small businesses, it’s a bit of everything to get the job done!

What motivated you to get into real estate and property management?
To start with, it was my desire to help my husband achieve his goal of running his own real estate agency. However, under the guidance of his extensive knowledge base and living it day in and day out, I have learned to love the art of property management.

No two days are the same and, if you let it, it will consistently educate you and provide you with new and exciting paths. Property management has led me into the field of law and I am currently studying a Bachelor of Law part time; one day I hope to make a change to the current rules and regulations that bind landlords and tenants.

What do you like most about running a family business?
Freedom. Although it has taken many years of sacrifice, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Running our own agency has allowed me to raise a beautiful son and manage work and life on our terms.

How does this fit into your work/life balance?
Being a busy working mum and studying, as well as contributing to the community through a local calisthenics program, I’m always on the go. A typical night at home might be answering that email whilst balancing baby on hip and boiling the pasta, still in the heels I’ve worn for the last 12 hours! For our business to succeed, though, you need to understand sacrifice and compromise, as well as knowing that we are striving to achieve our personal goals.

What are you working on at the moment?

Growing our business. We work on the basic rules of real estate; prospecting learned many, many years ago which has allowed us to sail through tougher markets and really maximise the stronger market conditions.

We are also ensuring that our staff are learning along with us. To keep the grounding throughout our family business we ensure that our staff live by the same morals we do.

What is the market like in your area?
We predominantly work in the west of Melbourne; however, we service most suburbs of Melbourne – especially with property management. We have had a major shift in the last six to eight months that has seen a lot of investors move into the area. This has helped keep growth consistent and we see no signs of it slowing down. As they say, invest in the west!

Who or what inspires you?
Two people for two very different reasons. My father is the epitome of success. I watched as a little girl growing up the sacrifices he made for us and he formulated the grounding that shaped the woman I am today. And my husband just beams positivity, no matter what life throws at him. He sees the good in all and has a drive that cannot be taught, something that is in him that makes him like no other. He is my rock and together we are a great team, both personally and professionally.

Something or someone you couldn’t live without?
My phone and my family. I can run my entire life from my Samsung, and literally feel naked without it. I once busted the LCD screen. I took it to the Samsung store and the lady said, “OK, we’ll have to take your phone for a few days to diagnose it”. If looks could kill… doesn’t she know I’m a real estate agent?! Well, that just wasn’t acceptable so I took a detour to the Optus store and bam, walked out with new phone in hand and all data transferred all in under one hour.

My family – that’s pretty self-explanatory. They are always there for me, on the good days and the bad.

What apps do you use most on your smartphone?
If you were to look at my phone it would suggest YouTube uses most of my data, but in fact my son regularly takes my phone hostage. Running a close second would be the social media apps, including Instagram and Facebook. I’d say that is expected, but when you lead such a fast-paced life, anything that doesn’t require brain power I’ll jump at in my spare time.

Your life motto?

Be decisive. Right or wrong, make a decision. The road of life is paved with flat possums who couldn’t make a decision.

What are your goals for the future?
I don’t believe in setting goals too far in the future. I have daily goals, in business and in life, to keep my motivation and energy at its highest. I work head down, bum up, and try not to let daily distractions deter me from achieving my immediate goals.

What’s your advice for those new to the industry?
This industry is not for everyone. On the face of it it’s like an episode of Suits; beautiful people, oozing confidence, driving the latest Benz or BMW in the most stunning corporate wear. However, what most people don’t see are the many unpaid hours spent negotiating, late-night appointments and copious amounts of takeaway that get you from one successful listing to the next.

Look up to your mentors and follow as much as you can. Listen to the way they speak on the phone and take notice of the reason they do what they do, and don’t ever be afraid to ask ‘why’. You never stop learning and the minute you think you know everything, it’s time to get out.

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Shantelle Isaaks

Shantelle Isaaks was the marketing assistant for Elite Agent and Elite Property Manager Magazines from 2016 to 2018.