Life in real estate: Q&A with LJ Hooker’s Jonathan Reid

Written by realestateview.com.au in Buying on July 15, 2019

As part of a new series, we want to get to know the passionate people who drive this industry forward, from agents, directors, buyers, developers, to those creating new innovations in real estate and construction. Some things about the real estate industry never change, as Sales Consultant for LJ Hooker, Jonathan Reid, points to below.  Yet, there are some aspects of real estate, such as reaching potential customers and how much information there is at people’s fingertips, that are seeing significant changes.

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What made you decide to take the leap and change careers?

I always had an interest in real estate from a young age. Growing up in the inner city suburb of Surry Hills from the age of six, I witnessed the transformation of suburbs like Surry Hills, Redfern, Waterloo, Alexandria and later Zetland. I could see the opportunity for affordable homes/apartments in close proximity to the CBD, especially with a large number of developments starting in the early 2000s. Having spent some time traveling in the late 2000s whilst working in hospitality and meeting my future wife, I knew it was time to start building a solid career in the real estate industry to support us starting our family and life together.

What challenges you the most in your job?

Now that I have three young boys (3-year-old twins and a 1-year-old), balancing my time between home and work is more important than ever. The majority of buyers and sellers I deal with are professional singles or couples who work long hours. A large portion of my appraisals and private viewings are done after hours to accommodate. With the advances in technology, cloud software, etc., this allows me to work from home for portions of each day and spend time with my wife and kids. This helps me balance the work/home life and keeps my energy and motivation levels high.

What essential qualities make a great sales consultant in real estate? 

Product knowledge and customer service are key. Knowing all of the recent sales, current listings in your core market is imperative when discussing price with potential vendors and buyers. Knowledge of floor plans, size aspect, etc. are so important in the negotiation phase. Coming from a retail management background (Toys R Us) in my late teens and early 20s, customer service has always been drummed into me. I feel this is an important component of the sales process that a lot of agents forget and haven’t been properly trained on. At the end of the day, we are selling real estate but we are also providing a service, so customer service is a key component. A large percentage of my business is referral or repeat business. Providing good customer service during the sale process builds strong relationships. Many of my past vendors and buyers are friends of mine on Facebook and Instagram who I regularly talk to. Selling property in a predominantly apartment-filled market, most buyers will only hold a property until its time to upsize. By providing that service and building the long term relationship, you are in a much better position to work with those clients again. Its all about the long game.

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Has working in the industry shaped your home ownership goals?

My wife and I are currently looking to purchase our first family home. After eight years in the industry, I definitely know what to do and what not to do during this process. From contract reviews, amendment requests, finance pre-approvals, valuations, strata reports, building and pest inspections, there are many boxes to tick before completing your purchase.

What were your first few years like working in the industry? 

My first twelve months were spent in leasing/property management. This was a great way to ‘cut my teeth’ in a new industry. Knowing legislation from a property management perspective is very important when making the transition into sales. Busy Saturdays working in the inner city rental market, managing large numbers of prospective tenants through opens homes is a great stepping stone into sales. My next few years were spent working as an assistant to a successful director/business owner in Waterloo. This laid the platform to learn from an experienced agent from the ground up. Processes, structure and attention to detail were key skills I learnt and apply to this day. This mentorship set me up to make the transition to a ‘commission only’ sales agent literally two weeks after my twins were born. It was a sink or swim moment, but I wasn’t overwhelmed because I felt I had the necessary skills to succeed because of the mentorship I received.

 Have you noticed the industry change much during your career? 

The industry has definitely transitioned over the years. Print media advertising has faded away in my core area and been replaced with social media advertising. With a lot of our buyers being young, tech-savvy professionals, reaching our buyers with targeted ads is the most cost-effective form of advertising beyond online real estate portals. A great example of this is a penthouse I recently listed for sale in Waterloo. The property is very unique for the area and would appeal to a number of buyers outside the Waterloo area. To maximise the exposure, I created an Instagram page specifically for the property (@greensquarepenthouse). By using specific hangtags and tagging buyers agents and other local businesses/facilities, I was able to generate a number of buyer appointments at no cost to my vendors. The views and targeting capabilities generated from social media are incredibly cost-effective versus print media. The biggest feature is the retargeting capabilities you can use through Facebook and Instagram. I see the industry continuing in this direction.

Have there been any standout moments for you so far?

Last year I sold a three-bedroom apartment in Waterloo for $2.1m which was the record price at the time for an apartment in Waterloo. It was actually my first sale after moving over to LJ Hooker. 

What’s your philosophy? 

As a father, setting an example for my kids is one of my main focuses. Growing up with a single mum, who worked incredibly hard to give us the best she could, really laid the platform and ingrained this in me. Kids watch what you do, not what you say, so its super important to set this example at work and home so they grow into respectable, hard-working young men. I would love for them to one day work alongside me. This industry can be tough and cutthroat at times, but if you stick to your morals and treat people as you wish to be treated, you will come out on top.

What’s life like at LJ Hooker?

I was approached by LJ Hooker just over two years ago to come on board, after my first twelve months as a sales agent. I could see that the vision of Brendon and Diana Clark (husband and wife Directors) was to grow the biggest office and market share in the Green Square area. It was something I wanted to be a part of, and LJ Hooker seemed to have the strongest brand recognition amongst clients I spoke to during my decision-making process. My wife also assists me on Saturdays at open homes which buyers love and this resonated with joining Brendon and Diana at LJ Hooker Green Square.