Jo Greening’s move across the ditch wasn’t just a change of scenery, it was the start of a new career in real estate.
“A friend from New Zealand had also moved here to Brisbane when I began working as his PA. Even though it took some convincing on his part, I have always had an interest in real estate and renovations, so it was a natural fit. In the end I’m grateful he talked me into it."
“After that, the business grew quite quickly. We started buying rent rolls, including a Harcourts office, and we decided we’d like to continue with that franchise. We have found that the Harcourts brand and values (people first, doing the right thing, being courageous and fun & laughter) align well with how we like to work and run our business – making our partnership a natural fit.”
PA to Business Owner
Seven years after making the leap into real estate, Jo is Business Owner and Operations Manager at Harcourts Inner East, and she has had to be prepared for anything.
“In sales, there can be great success, but you also get a lot of knock-backs so you have to keep taking it on the chin and move onto the next. In property management, you must be able to stay calm in high-pressure situations, as often people only call you when something goes wrong.”
Using technology to future-proof her business
It was that flexibility of skillset, and advances in their operations, that made the year that was 2020 as smooth as possible.
“For the most part it's been business as usual. Around April last year we were all working from home, but only a few weeks. It obviously changed the way we did inspections, but we've managed to grow and thrive and come away a better, more nimble business – ready for anything that 2021 throws at us.”
“There have been so many advances in technology; the difference between now and just three years ago is night and day. Being in the cloud has changed our business and made getting through last year possible.”
Growth plans in 2021
With vacancy rates below 1% and applications coming in thick and fast, the next challenge Jo faces is recruitment to support their growth plans for 2021.
“This will result in opportunities for property managers and salespeople, and we’re always looking to employ people with the right attitude. Whilst you can train people to follow a process, you can’t teach a desire for providing great customer service to our clients. That’s what our culture is centred around. And it helps if they enjoy having fun. We all spend too much time connected to work for it not to be fun.”
Super education for employees
An important aspect of being an employer that Jo doesn’t have to worry too much about, though, is superannuation.
“We’ve had our REI Super Business Development Manager, Mel Brett, come into the office to speak to the staff about super, which has been so informative. We’re planning to have her again to speak to new staff as well.
“I was a late starter with my super, having only been in Australia for the last 14 years. When I left New Zealand, it wasn’t compulsory. I think it’s great that we’re setting up our people for retirement from the minute they start working. Having been a financial planner in a past life, I know how important it is to get all the right information from the start, and I want that for my staff. The fact that REI Super is an industry fund made the choice easy.”
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