Amanda Anderson graduated high school not knowing what career path she wanted to follow, it was when she took a job at the Land Tax Office that an interest sparked in real estate.
“I was 18 and loved learning about property.” Amanda, 34, said, “I studied for my agent’s representative certificate and then applied for a residential sales cadet position at a real estate agency in St Kilda.”
Amanda discovered quickly that the industry wasn’t all penthouses and sea views, citing her time at the agency as the biggest eye opener of her life, both personally and professionally.
“Our sales meetings were ‘kicks up the butt’ to go out and sell more houses or go and sell shoes instead.”
And while Amanda doesn’t advocate that type of management herself, she said it got her working hard and long hours to ensure she was smashing goals and bringing in clients.
Though one can only work under that kind of pressure for so long, so Amanda decided to try her hand as a buyer’s agent working on behalf of the purchaser’s of the property instead of representing the people selling.
“I’d really found my niche representing buyers instead of owners.”
Amanda was 23 and working six to seven days a week as a buyer’s agent when she discovered a lump on her breast that triggered a wake-up call to rethink her life.
“I think a lot of people have those poignant moments in their life that you look back on as a real turning point.” Amanda said.
“I realised I wasn’t entirely happy in my life and wanted to travel more and experience the world.”
It was then that a friend of Amanda’s suggested she apply for a position as a flight attendant, however from the first day on the job Amanda knew her passion lay with real estate.
“I knew from my very first day as a flight attendant that the job wasn’t for me, but it offered a lot of flexibility.”
“I worked the same amount of hours in one month that I used to work in a week as a real estate agent and [had] the ability to travel at heavily discounted rates.”
Fast forward almost a decade, and a career climb to Associate Director of Collier’s International, Amanda now owns tenant representation business, The Tenant Company, which advocates itself on helping small business owner’s negotiate their lease.
“We want to ensure that our clients get the absolute best deal that they can, as a lease lasts for years and can be one of the biggest expenses that a small business will have.”
And being a small business owner herself, and a working mum, Amanda knows the dedication and strength it takes to build a company.
“I wish I had had the confidence to start my own business earlier…It’s been a game changer for me.”
“I know a lot about commercial property but I’ve had to learn so much about running and operating a business.”
Amanda is a huge believer that experience is the best education you can get, noting that tenant representation is a very specific area of commercial real estate, and experience is essential.
“I would recommend starting out with a leasing role so that you can get an understanding of negotiation principles as well as the legislation that governs commercial property leases.”
“When you put yourself out there and people respond and have faith in you, and you alone, that is huge.”
The Tenant Company will celebrate a year in business on March 1.
When you were 10, what did you want to be?
A lawyer or an actress! Clearly I can be overly dramatic so both of these appealed to me. They also meant that I would have been in the spotlight – I obviously wasn’t shy at 10.
If you have one day to try any job in the world, what would you do?
I would love to be a travel writer. I get so excited by travelling, and especially when we take our daughter on holidays. If I could do any job it would be to get paid for writing about where in the world to take your kids on holiday!
Let’s cut it down:
How does someone get into the industry? To start, you’re going to need to have a clean criminal history and be at least 18 years of age. As a minimum you’ll need to complete an Agent’s Representative Course or a Certificate IV in Property Services.
Do you need any formal qualifications? To work in real estate in Victoria you need to have completed your Agent’s Representative Course or Certificate IV in Property Services and be working for a licensed estate agency. If you want to open your own agency, you’ll need to be working full-time in real estate for at least 12 months before you can apply for your own agency licence.
Can this be my full-time job? Sure can! Amanda says that with a few years of experience in the industry, you should be able to make six figures in tenant representation, however it is commission based and can be quite fickle. According to PayScale Australia, you’re looking at $49,000 at a starting wage in real estate.
Does Amanda have any advice? “It’s a good idea to determine what area you want to focus on and become the expert in that area. Real Estate is so broad, there’s residential and commercial; then sales, leasing, property management, tenant representation. Speak with people in the industry and see if you can do work experience in the different specialisations to find out what you enjoy the most.”