A real estate professional of over 20 years, Lia Jagielka says her heart has always been in property management.
“I don’t know anyone who aspires to be a property manager when they grow up – no-one says when I’m an adult I want to collect rent and conduct inspections,” she reflects.
But when she landed a job in the industry in Queensland, it was a skill which came to her naturally, offered potential to work with people long-term, and proved a field she enjoyed far more than sales.
“Like many, it was something I fell into, and turns out it’s where my passion lies,” she says.
“And when I started investing in property myself, I realised that I wanted to offer personalised property management service and work with people to grow their asset.”
After working for other agencies and brands, Lia decided to go it alone and create her own agency Superior Property Agency (SPA) in her hometown region of Gippsland.
“I resolved to start my own agency specialising in property management to give it the attention that’s needed,” she says.
In between, she worked as a parole officer to fund her dream.
“I have a background in criminology and criminal justice, so while I was setting up SPA Gippsland, I was managing people rather than property.”
Lia started SPA on her own, growing the rent roll organically, and in the three years since launching she steadily expanded it to 50 properties under management.
Much of her continued business comes via word of mouth and a savvy use of Facebook.
“In the last nine months I’ve advertised one property and leased 18 through my tenancy database or Facebook,” she explains.
“The great thing about Facebook is it appeals to people who may not necessarily know they want to move. They scroll through social media after work, get tagged or see something and next thing they know, they’re applying.”
That she lives in the small community where she grew up has benefits as well.
“I was born and bred in Sale and the surrounding area, so I know everyone well, which certainly makes the rental application process easier,” she says.
As a sole operator, Lia also harnesses technology. She runs her office as a mobile operation and automates what she can in order to maintain the human connection.
That was particularly important when she threw in the additional challenges of having a baby in 2018 and organising her wedding earlier this year.
Now, her 21-month-old daughter Hannah accompanies her to property viewings and is fondly referred to as her “assistant”.
Lia explains having Hannah with her helps set people at ease, and also assists in illustrating that properties are family-friendly.
“People tell me a lot more information when I have Hannah with me,” she says.
After putting in the hard yards with organic growth, Lia has just purchased her first rent roll of an additional 80 properties. The move has effectively tripled Superior Property Agency overnight, and Lia is looking forward to the challenge ahead.
She will continue to run her business as a mobile operation, will employ technology where she can, and in the future may consider bringing on a team member either virtual or real to assist.
“I don’t plan to be the biggest,” she says. “I just want to do the job best and continue to be recognised for it.”