Experience 4: Real Estate Agent
This week was my first time working in an office, and luckily for me it was a good one! LJ Hooker Brisbane West is one of the leading LJ Hooker real estate businesses in Australia, and is located at Toowong in Brisbane. It is considered a medium sized agency, with approximately 1000 properties on their rent roll and a team of 33 staff.
They believe that the growth and results achieved by their office are underpinned by two cultural aspects of their business – treating customers with respect while focusing on achieving the best outcome, and creating a workplace where all staff are able to enjoy their job – as a great team culture translates in to a great customer experience.
What did I do?
This week I had the opportunity to shadow a number of staff within the business, and discussed what exactly it is they do in their various roles. These included a receptionist, business development manager, property manager, sales consultant, sales assistant and office manager. I literally started at the bottom floor of the building and worked my way to the top.
Through observation and discussion, I was able to gain quite a good understanding of the roles of each team member I worked with.
Jayde is the first point of contact for enquiries at the office. Property managers and sales managers are always very busy, so she helps to ensure phone and email enquiries are directed to the right people. As part of her role she:
- Answers and directs enquiries
- She takes care of advertising properties for rent by uploading them on various on websites such as realestate.com.au and domain.com.au, plus maintains the advertisement by updating them when required eg. price changes, marking as leased.
- Assigns key numbers to new rental properties and keeps track of rental property keys – there are an average of 20 – 30 tradespeople a day coming in to pick up or drop of keys. Owners and property managers also require them at times
- Books prospective tenants in to view rental properties
- Receives rental applications online and forwards them to the right person
- Processes Entry Notices for letting inspections – this requires at least 24 hours notice in writing to show a prospective tenant through a property
- Receipts rent and bond.
Leelee has been in the real estate industry for 16 years and looks after all aspects of the business.
Her role is to streamline office systems, policies and procedures throughout the business. She believes structure is important and that applying it will achieve in the most efficient and effective business outcome.
She says she continues to look for ways to improve every system and procedure which includes applying new policies to coincide with updates to the property act, as well as changes to market and client demand.
Leelee is also in charge of HR and office compliancy.
Business Development Manager
Sarah is one of two business development managers in the office, and predominantly works with tenants and owners. Her primary role is to prospect and gain new business in the rentals department. To do this she follows up on leads from the sales team (for example if they have sold a property to an investor requiring tenants), follows up with existing owners that may have acquired extra properties, and searches databases for potential customers. Her role also includes:
- Conducting listing presentations
- Giving rental appraisals
- Getting properties ready to list and rent – eg. arranging professional cleaners / lawn mowing, attending to maintenance issues
- Writing advertisements
- Organising professionals photograhers
- Conducting rental property viewings
- Processing tenant applications. She confirms tenants can pay their rent, and checks their rental history. Once approved by the owner, she organises for a bond to be paid (plus 2 weeks). Sarah checks the property has been cleaned properly in advance of the tenant moving in, and hands over the keys.
- Once a tenant moves in to a property, Sarah hands over to the property managers.
Sarah explained that she needs to be very well organised as there are many important timeframes that need to be met. She uses an online calendar, and colour codes tasks so she knows which ones need to take priority.
As LJ Hooker Brisbane West manages approximately 1000 rental properties, they have a number of property managers, each looking after a portfolio of 150 properties. The property manager’s role is to:
- Advertise properties for rent in advance of vacancy
- Conduct rental property viewings
- Screen tenants including reference checks, rental history review
- Manage the condition report process.
- Manage the tenancy agreement, signing process, handling questions
- Manage financial accounts for the investment property
- Inspect the property on a regular basis – referred to a Routine Inspections with follow up reports to owners
- Organise tradespeople for repairs and maintenance
- Review and respond to owner and tenant correspondence
- Do entrance and exit property condition reports. During the busy periods this can be very time consuming and there can be around 6 per day
- Release properties
- Maintain a good relationship with tenants and owners by communicate well between both parties
Kym is an award-winning sales consultant at LJ Hooker Brisbane West. A strong work ethic, perseverance and determination are three key elements she attributes to her success in today’s competitive Real Estate Industry. Her role as sales consultant involves:
- Meeting potential sellers, conducting listing presentations and giving sales appraisals
- Assessing a seller’s situation and providing options for best marketing strategy to sell
- Preparing a property for sale – book professional photos, get property cleaned, lawns mowed, write advertisement script to market property on internet / sign board
- Organising and attending open homes on Saturdays
- Attending to Buyer requests and requirements
- Negotiating offers for purchase of property
- Preparing Contract of Sale documents
- Monitoring and attending to contract conditions e.g. arranging building and pest inspections, deposit payments due.
- Liaising with buyers and sellers and keeping them calm and on-side.
Kym is in and out of the office constantly, and said she is on the run at all times (I witnessed this when she ran in after a morning out of the office, excited about a potential sale). It’s the reason why she wears comfortable shoes rather than heels – a lot like teachers do!
Lauren shares the role of sales assistant to Kym. Her role is to:
- Help at the backend so Kym can focus on customers – both buyers and sellers
- Help to prepare appraisals – Kym will give Lauren a broad price range after inspecting a property, and Lauren will find 7 to 9 properties within the price range to give to the owners
- Prepare weekly Open House flyers
- Check correspondence details
- Organise mailouts to the community to show which properties LJHooker have sold in the area recently.
What did I learn?
It was really interesting for me to see how a business of this size operates, and understand the importance of each staff member and their role within it. Everyone I spoke to agreed that there is a great culture within the office, with emphasis put on the importance of teamwork. In what can be a very competitive and fast paced industry, I can’t help but feel that the team approach as well as some very effective systems that have been put in place, creates an environment where staff are happy to go to work and provide the best service possible for their customers. If I was to work in an office environment I know that’s the kind of business I’d like to be a part of.
If you’d like a little bit of insight into being a Real Estate Sales Consultant, head over to my Interviews page or click here to read my interview with Kym Saunders.