In the past five years, Samantha Taylor of Metro Property Management has worked her way from Reception to New Business Manager. She shares some of the insights that have been gained throughout her career, some ambitions for the future, and why it’s so important to listen to your clients.
When did you start in real estate?
I started in the industry in 2007 with Metro Property Management; it will have been five years in October.
What are your qualifications?
I have a Certificate IV in Customer Service and am also in the process of completing my Full Real Estate License.
What made you choose a property management career?
I guess I almost fell into real estate/property management. After working at VCAT under a traineeship for 12 months, I needed a change from working for the government. Metro Property Management was one of the first interviews I had, and it just felt right instantly. I started as the Receptionist, and my career progressed to Leasing Specialist, Senior Leasing Specialist and now I am the New Business Manager.
As a new Business manager, what are the biggest challenges that you face?
The toughest challenge I face on a day to day basis would be not having enough hours in a day. In real estate, we set up expectations that we can do everything (and mostly, we can); however, our clients then expect that we can do everything quickly, or even instantly, and there is never enough time.
What do you love about property management?
I love that I do not do the same thing from day to day, or week to week. My schedules and appointments are constantly changing; it is almost impossible to get bored. It definitely keeps me on my toes, and I couldn’t imagine living any other way.
Why is your agency unique?
Firstly, 22 of the 23 members of our team are women. Also, our business focuses on property management rather than sales, and we cover over 150 suburbs throughout metropolitan Melbourne, while traditional agencies typically look after only one or two suburbs. This has allowed me to broaden my knowledge and understanding of how many different suburbs are performing, as opposed to local agents who only know their surrounding area.
What’s the best advice you have been given?
Two pieces of advice come to mind: One is to ‘stick it out’, even if the job seems overwhelming or takes you out of your comfort zone. Give every opportunity at least three months to see how it fits; don’t make a hasty decision. The second is ‘just be yourself’, which may sound cliché but is true nonetheless. At the end of the day, if a client doesn’t like you or what your company is offering, the job would not have worked. Don’t take it personally.
What are your most important values?
To be honest and work as hard as you can – never give up! I was very lucky to come from parents and a family who instilled in me their value of never shying away from hard work. If you work hard and do the best you can, the rest will follow.
What are the key features in maintaining healthy relationships with landlords and tenants?
Listen to your clients, because sometimes there is nothing you can say or do to fix the situation. There are some circumstances which are beyond both your control and the owners’. Clients know this the majority of the time, but they need to vent and know that someone is listening to their difficulties. Do the little things; add your current clients into your mobile phone, so you know when they call. Clients want to feel part of the business, so remember what property or properties they own – you should never have to ask, because that suggests to the client you don’t know them at all.
Do you have a mentor, or someone that inspires you?
I don’t think I could be any luckier than to work for Leah Calnan, my boss. As a powerful figure in real estate, she is an inspiration to women in the industry. She is open to change and growth, and creates a fantastic work environment. To have someone like Leah creating opportunities for me to grow my career and establish myself in the industry is fantastic.
What would be your dream job?
Owning or running an office is a big goal for me. Like most people, I aspire to make a dent or leave an impression in our industry.
How do you relax outside of real estate?
As a crazy Carlton supporter and general AFL fan, nothing helps me de-stress after a long and hectic work week like a live game of football. Although the game itself can bring its own stresses!
If you could have any three people at your dinner party, who would they be and why?
I would ask Bill Gates to share some of his ‘secrets’. James Dean, as I believe I was born in the wrong era. I taught singing for ten years, so I would love to hear the stories from Gene Simmons of what the KISS days were really like, and how their songs were written.
What are your predictions for the real estate industry for the next year?
As we have had a slight slump in the market over the past 12 months, the market and rents will increase again over the next year. There are also certain areas that are currently being built up and will have an influx of properties settling at the same time.
What advice would you give someone starting out in property management?
It’s not an easy job and not everyone can do it, but the good does outweigh the bad. Find the right company to work for. Helping a tenant find their new home or an owner manage their investments is a fantastic feeling. Network – find way to be introduced to some of the amazing and intelligent people in the industry. Many leaders would love to share their experience with you and they might be the people who could open a door for you.