Margaret Kneebone is the walking definition of a high achiever.
Born and raised in the country town of Parkes, NSW, many kilometres away from where she now resides in South Australia, Margaret was a sponsored athlete who represented Australia in squash as a teenager.
“I started to play around Australia when I was 18 and then I got selected to go to Fiji to play in the South Pacific Classic,” she said.
Margaret credits her father with getting her involved in the sport and said it taught her more than just how to hit a ball with a racket.
“It was just me. I was an individual athlete and if things went wrong, it was my fault, not anybody else’s,” she explained.
“I’ve always been super competitive. I can’t play board games – I can’t play anything without having to win. That’s what drives me.”
Now based in the Adelaide suburb of Reynella, the Century 21-Paterson Properties sales consultant has seamlessly channelled her competitive streak into 15 years of success in real estate.
One of the most noteworthy points of Margaret’s career was being awarded Century 21’s coveted Centurion status – 12 times. Consecutively.
Margaret received her first Centurion in 2007 and she still remembers the feeling of being called up to accept it.
“The first time I did it, I was over the moon – and I still am,” she said. “But there’s nothing like your first because it’s an enormous amount of work.”
Margaret is humble about her giant sales figures, and said although reaching the high numbers is always a benchmark, it’s not the most important thing; helping people who come to her for real estate expertise is what it’s really about.
“I don’t ever get out of bed and think to myself that I don’t want to go to work today,” Margaret said.
“I meet a wide range of people in my job. I’ve actually had vendors who have become friends and it’s a real privilege to be invited into somebody’s home to handle their biggest asset.”
For the uninitiated, being recognised as a Centurion is kind of a big deal.
Century 21’s awards system was designed to recognise the top two per cent of high performers in the network, so being named a Centurion is no easy feat – especially considering a global network staffed with more than 200,000 people.
To be eligible for Centurion status, high individual achievers (Centurion Producers) and offices (Centurion Offices) must meet (very high) minimum settled transactions targets.
In my experience, you’re only ever as good as the people you surround yourself with and I think that’s true for every successful person.
Margaret didn’t get there overnight and she still remembers how she felt on her first day as an agent.
“I sat there with a blank screen and a blank diary and I thought, ‘oh my god, now I’ve got to get a listing somewhere’,” she recalled.
Margaret’s road to real estate started a little further down the line than some people.
After leaving an 18-year finance career, she found herself working in an office in Adelaide managing their client database and marrying properties up with buyers.
She loved her role and never considered becoming an agent, but Margaret’s dedication to her behind-the-scenes role had not gone unnoticed.
Her office consistently received rave reviews from happy vendors who were impressed with her ‘customers come first’ approach, and her Principals at the time strongly suggested she step up.
Reality kicked in quickly on Margaret’s first day, but she was up for the challenge.
Through connections from her children’s school, she won that first listing.
“43 St Andrews Way, Morphett Vale, that was the first house I ever sold in real estate,” she said. “You never forget your first.”
Not much has changed for Margaret since that day. She’s still an expert in her area and she still feels a strong duty of care to every vendor on her books.
One thing that has changed is her approach to that notorious balance of working hard but still taking care of yourself.
“I used to work seven days a week, 12 hours a day, minimum,” she said.
Despite her enthusiasm, determination and willpower, Margaret said the pressure of an increased workload as she rose through the ranks became too much.
“For myself, I have now teamed up with my business partner Adam Farrelly, and it’s been one of the best career decisions I’ve ever made.”
If Margaret is having an off-day, Adam provides the push she needs to get through, and vice versa.
“I should have done this seven years ago!” she said.
Adam and Margaret have been business partners now for nine months and they do everything together. They even feature in each other’s head shots on the Century 21-Paterson Properties team page.
“After all of these years, the volume has become huge. My longevity relies on the success of this partnership.”
Her one piece of advice for anyone writing big numbers, or starting to write big numbers, is that you need to have someone who has your back.
Margaret said continuing her partnership with Adam is one of her main career focuses right now.
“In my experience, you’re only ever as good as the people you surround yourself with and I think that’s true for every successful person.”