“You obviously meet a lot of people through the RE/MAX network and I’d consistently caught up with the guys up here. Then I came for a holiday a couple of years ago and just loved it, absolutely loved it.”
After falling in love with the Cairns region, Tiffany reached out to principal Tony Williamson and asked if there was a role for her with the team. He jumped at the chance to have Tiffany on board, and before she knew it she was making the 18-hour drive up the Queensland coast to Cairns.
“I got in, had already found myself an apartment. The guys here were closed for Christmas so they opened on January 7 and I started that day. Within the first few days I had my first listing, so that was good.”
The biggest concern for Tiffany in changing offices was leaving the work she’d done in Toowoomba behind. Tiffany had built her business up to be almost entirely referral and repeat clients, and she’s still getting calls from people in Toowoomba desperate for her to sell their homes. But she knew she’d done it all before and could do it again.
“The difference is when I first started in sales in 2014, I had never sold a house before. I learnt so much from Ian Knight who owned RE/MAX Toowoomba. He was one of the best real estate agents I’ve ever come across and I owe a lot to him. I think now it’s not as scary because I’ve done it once, and this time I can do it quicker because I’m not learning the industry and I’m not learning the process. I’ve probably facilitated the sales of about 400 people in my career, so you learn a lot in that time.”
Tiffany got her start in real estate from her aunt and uncle who owned an office. She was planning to take 12 months off before going to university, so they offered her a role as a receptionist. She never looked back, moving into property management and then into another agency when they moved away. Then she took the job at RE/MAX in Toowoomba, starting off in property management before taking on a PA role to the director, which allowed her to see how the business worked and get an idea of the complexities of each role.
When Ian was looking to retire, he asked Tiffany if she wanted to try her hand at sales. That was in 2014 and things have come along in leaps and bounds for Tiffany since then, something she attributes to her attitude to sales.
“I actually care about people and I’ve always gone by the rule that I won’t give anyone advice I wouldn’t give my own grandparents. You have to remember it’s the biggest transaction in people’s lives. I remember an agent once said to me at an open home, ‘I rarely go to these for $200,000 properties; they mean nothing to me,’ and I just thought: ‘To you maybe it’s nothing, but to someone else $200,000 is everything’.
“Whether it’s $200,000 or it’s $2,000,000, it’s everything to someone. They’ve struggled, they’ve paid the mortgage, they’ve got into the market. Property is the Great Australian Dream, but people forget how difficult it is to get into the market for some people and build that wealth.”
Even the little touches help create a memorable experience for people, says Tiffany. That includes never letting buyers come and pick up keys from the office but instead meeting them at their new home with the keys, a giant bow on the door and a personalised doormat. It’s this attitude and this caring nature that has kept people coming back to Tiffany and earned her so many raving fans among her buyers and sellers.
For those first starting out, Tiffany says she would always recommend the path she took – working your way up from receptionist. The chance to learn along the way and gain respect for the process is so important to the way she operates now. Having spent her career surrounded by inspiring leaders in Ian and Tony, Tiffany also says it’s important to make sure you’re working in a team who drive you and make you a better agent.
Now Tiffany has her eyes firmly set on creating in Cairns the same following she had in Toowoomba – plus she’s ready to shake things up and generate some excitement in what she believes to be a great region for investment.
“People seem to be doing the same thing up here and I don’t think there’s been anyone to shake up the marketplace. Everybody wants to save a vendor money, and of course you don’t want to spend more than you have to, but it can be to the detriment of the seller. People aren’t doing floorplans because it costs money, but every single person I’ve come across in the last two years has wanted a floorplan on the listing.”
“Especially when you’re selling potentially out of state to investors. I know even when I was looking for apartments to move up here, it was hard because I couldn’t come up and see them; you don’t know what’s going to work without a floorplan. I think it’s important to keep on top of that, keep on top of the new technology and how the industry has changed. It was only six years ago we were driving buyers around and now things have changed completely. Yes, it’s hard to change. But if you don’t change, you get left behind.”