Rising Star

After winning the 2008 South Australian Auction Idol Competition as a teenager, Tom Hector has evolved into a real estate prodigy – in just three years. The dynamic 21-year-old, who is now regarded as one of Harris Real Estate’s top property consultants and auctioneers, will join the likes of business tycoon Donald Trump and real estate guru John McGrath as a guest speaker at the Australian Real Estate Conference 2012 on the Gold Coast in May.

Winning the South Australian Auction Idol Competition in 2008 was a turning point in my life and set the wheels in motion for my career in the real estate industry. However, my passion for real estate was ignited well before I won the competition.

When I was about 12 or 13 years old, my mum and I used to go to open inspections on the weekend. This was when the market was booming, we would go to about 10 properties a day, and there would be 100 people through an open inspection. I liked picking out the properties and seeing what the prices were doing.

I had a plumbing apprenticeship lined up after school but when I was in Year 12, I entered the South Australian Auction Idol Competition and ended up winning it. I was then offered a job as a trainee at Toop & Toop and worked there for 12 months where I was lucky enough to be mentored by Phil Harris, Managing Director of Phil Harris Real Estate.

In 2010 when Phil started up his own business, I was one of the five consultants who moved with him and became his right hand man. Phil has been an amazing mentor to me and it is from him that I have learnt, among many other things, the craft of selling real estate, which has allowed me to be listing homes at such a young age.

What I have also learned is that if you want to be successful in the real estate industry you have to have discipline, a plan, and the ability to think long term, things which Phil has instilled in me. You have to have the discipline to make calls every day. You will not make money overnight. It’s a cut-throat industry, if you don’t like rejection, this might not be the business for you.

When I find something I love, I get obsessed with it. I’m pretty driven in everything I do. But at the same time it takes a lot of hard work as well. I have had to make sacrifices. I don’t go out during the week socialising like many people in their early twenties are doing but this is a small price to pay to be successful.

My success in this industry also comes down to relationship building. This is how you win business by keeping in contact with people. I love talking to people and meeting people from all around the State.

Prospecting has been a big influence on my career, from doorknocking at the start of my career to telemarketing and predominantly working a service area where I have become a household name. I make more calls than any other agent in our office and the more calls I make the more opportunities this creates. Being able to list a property up against three or four other agents who have been in the industry for 30 or 40 years is very rewarding.

Other highlights for me have included being able to get into the top end of the real estate market listing million dollar homes and getting into the eastern suburbs. My aim is to be at the top of my industry. In five years time I want to be making $1 million in gross commission and be at the stage where business comes to me.

In May I will be speaking at the Australian Real Estate Conference 2012 on the Gold Coast. To be invited to speak at the conference is a huge honour. I still remember when I was 18 years of age and I withdrew all of my savings to attend the AREC Conference.

I can’t believe that only a few years later I will be speaking at the same event, alongside Donald Trump and John McGrath. I will be the youngest guest speaker by far but I hope that it shows people that you can be successful at any age. You just need to be disciplined, follow a daily plan, understand you are going to take heat (as a young agent) and have the ability to think long term.

Real estate is now a hugely professional industry and those that are willing to go that one step further are the ones that will succeed. This has been demonstrated in recent times with younger agents getting to the top one per cent of agents in the country in a very short period of time.

The industry has undergone massive changes in the past 20 years, with many real estate professionals leaving the industry in recent times. The real estate industry is going through a time at the moment. The truth is it’s simply not that easy to sell houses anymore.

However, while there are a number of agents who will not survive the current climate there is a real opportunity for savvy agents, with strong marketing skills and innovative development strategies, to claim a new stake in the industry.

I look forward to the challenging times ahead and hope that one day I can be a mentor and support the next batch of young real estate professionals.

Tom Hector is what some would describe as a real estate prodigy. Starting his career at the age of 18, Tom has developed into a dynamic and passionate young salesperson and auctioneer. Tom took out the 2008 South Australian Auction Idol Competition and has not looked back since. As one of Harris Real Estate’s top Property Consultants and Auctioneers. Tom understands the challenges younger practitioners face in the real estate industry and thrives on sharing his story with others.

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