Feature Interview: Melita Bell with Sarah Bell
In our latest feature interview from the AREC2017 Elite Agent Studio, Sarah Bell talks to Melita Bell about the juggle of real estate and being a mum, paying it forward, and why ‘care’ factor is a ‘wow’ factor.
Sarah Bell: Welcome so much to the Elite Agent AREC couch. Melita Bell, one of the standout speakers from yesterday.
Melita Bell: Thank you.
Sarah: Congratulations on your world. Let’s start at the middle, let’s start with your why. Talk to me about your son.
Melita: So my why, as everyone heard today, is I have a beautiful nearly 5-year-old boy, tomorrow is his birthday. When you nearly lose everything in your life – from your life to your home, your business – it really makes you appreciate where you want to go in life. If I couldn’t afford to put a roof over my son’s head and feed him, how hard would I actually get out there and work?
Sarah: I’m a mum, and there’s so many mums out there in the industry, and the hustle-work-hard narrative is at tension at times with our tuckshop-mum narrative. That can be really difficult to resolve and I love that you put that to rest with what you said yesterday, and with what you said about how this is a long game for me.
Melita: Yeah, how good is it that I can put my son in a great school and just take him on a great holiday if I just need to have a few days recharge? Real estate, like I said, you can earn as much as you want or as little as you want, it’s up to you. You’re the only one responsible to make that happen.
Sarah: And that’s another thing that I loved about what you said. It’s not just about you being a mum, you’re a phenomenal real estate agent. I think that, that service place that you’re coming from when you talk about your vendors. I just want them to know that someone cares.
Melita: Yeah, that’s all they want.
Sarah: Where does that come from?
Melita: I think I’ve always been like that. I always put other people first. I think that’s what we do when we’re a mum but when you’ve gone through speaking to a divorce lawyer or financial, like losing everything, and most of my homes I sell, that’s what they’ve gone through so I can relate to them and I can actually point them in the right direction as well, and just listen to them and that’s just what I do. I just sit there and be quiet and just listen to their story. It’s not that I give them advice on what to do but I just wanna make sure that they feel that it’s gonna be okay.
Sarah: A ‘care’ factor is a ‘wow’ factor in a game where sometimes people can be quite focused on their transaction or get ‘commission breath’. It’s to have someone just take that calm minute to understand the situation. You’re a trusted advisor then.
Melita: I tell them my story. I’ve got nothing to hide, that’s who it’s made me today. You’ve just gotta make sure that they feel that they’re okay, they feel safe with you. That’s the biggest thing that I like. I like to make people feel safe.
Sarah: It’s easy to worship perfection. But you are real and you’ve been really honest and really generous in explaining what it is you’ve been through and where that comes and that it’s not perfect. We’re ugly crying in cars over here right? Like that’s real life.
Melita: That’s what you do. I even cry with my owners sometimes when they’re going through a hard situation because when you’ve been through it and shed enough tears, you know what they’re going through. But I guess I’m lucky that I know that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Like David said yesterday, and it’s gonna stick with me forever, ‘If you’re a frog in warm water, get out. Hop out’.
Sarah: You, I guess, coming up as Suzy Niemeyer’s PA, what a fantastic nursery for real estate.
Melita: Yes, it was awesome. They had seven years of it so I ran the show with Suzy and then she nudged me to go out on my own.
Sarah: Jump in the hot water.
Melita: Yeah, but I actually then left her and moved to Toowoomba but I still talk to Suzy nearly every day so again it’s still like we’ve got that relationship.
Sarah: You’re kind of paying it forward as well, which was the name of our article, Paying it Forward, and that you’ve now got these, Georgie and Jamiee, is it?
Melita: They’re my two biggest fans, I always say. They’re just gonna be outstanding. They’re my second family because we talk to each other no matter what. We can tell each other anything and we know when to be professional and we know when to have a good time.
Sarah: How do you carry 56 listings?
Melita: Well 56 is probably one of my largest stock levels cause we’ve had a massive month this month with me listing 21 properties, but it’s not hard to pick up the phone cause I love my clients as well. And half the time we don’t even talk about real estate. I just get in the car and I can make up to a hundred phone calls a day, and it’s just fantastic. I just talk to people.
Sarah: Just chat.
Melita: Yeah, it’s just chatting.
Sarah: That’s what I love about you. Gossip is good. Don’t believe what you’ve heard. The positive gossip, isn’t it?
Melita: Exactly. That’s why I love to gossip, I say, but all the men call it ‘networking’. But, to me, it’s gossiping because I get listings from getting my hair and nails done. How cool is that?
Sarah: There’s no separation between ‘I’m a real estate agent and I’m on, and I’m doing my thing and I’m prospecting, prospecting, prospecting’.
Melita: We don’t even talk about real estate and then they’re like, ‘Oh, you’re a real estate agent, we’re looking at selling’, so you’ve already built that rapport and you haven’t even known because all you’re doing is just talking to the person next to you.
Sarah: Well thank you so much for sharing your story with our magazine and here on the AREC couch and with the industry. Just beautiful.
Melita: And you’ve made me look fabulous on the front cover.
Sarah: And in real life here. Well done.
Melita: Thank you so much.