EPMEPM: Leadership

Rebecca Freeman, LJ Hooker Residential Perth

Rebecca Freeman is the CEO of LJ Hooker City Residential in Perth. Having worked with the company for 18 years, she is now responsible for growth, human resources, coaching and keeping the profit lines in good shape. “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain” is her favourite quote, and a topic she spoke about at ARPM 2017.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your role at LJ Hooker Residential, Perth.
I’m 37 and have been working with LJ Hooker for 18 years. I moved to Perth and joined the team here seven years ago, and I absolutely love it. Having grown up in southeast Queensland on the beaches then lived in Sydney for six years, I find Perth is the perfect combination of the two. Fabulous beaches and everything a city has to offer! I live in Inglewood with my fiancé Lee and we are currently planning our wedding. I love to travel and have ticked off over 50 countries in my lifetime, and I’m a tragic country music fan.

How did you get your start in real estate?
My real estate career started when I was 14 and my mum was working for LJ Hooker. I used to go into her office and bind her contracts and pencil at her Chattel Auctions for deceased estates. It was from that moment that I knew I wanted to be in the industry.

I’ve worked in all positions in the business: reception, property management, sales, auctioneering and leadership. My main passions were sales and auctioneering, and I spent some time training LJ Hooker salespeople throughout Australia and New Zealand. I grew and learned more from this role, I believe, than any other.

What do you think is special about your local area?
Perth City is a vibrant place that joins the old and the new. In the past five years I’ve seen it move from big country town to thriving metropolitan city. It’s now filled with small bars, five star restaurants and a fabulous riverfront that hosts music events, food trucks, night markets and our fringe festival. There is always something to do, and you will never be bored.

Something (or someone) you can’t live without?
My phone… I’d be lost without it! My fiancé and family; they are the best. We have so much fun when we all get together – it’s one big constant celebration of life.

In your briefcase/bag right now is…?
A copy of The Barefoot Investor, two auction reserve letters for my auctions tomorrow, then all of your girly stuff… Lip gloss, perfume, hairbrush, wallet, iPad, hand cream, and so on.

Who or what inspires you?
My charity work inspires me; I always make sure I’m involved in a couple of charities at a time. It’s so important to give back. There are so many people out there doing it tougher than me – it is such a huge part of my life to ensure I’m either raising money or awareness for some local charities.

The amazing Frank Newton and my mum also inspire me daily.

As a leader yourself, what are the most important behaviour leaders should display?
Lead by example: get your hands dirty and show your team that it can be done. Be approachable, innovative and stay strong and consistent with your values and beliefs. Inconsistency will confuse your team and they’ll start to doubt whether they are in the right place. Never take it for granted that people have chosen to work with you; they spend so much of their time in the office, it’s an absolute privilege to have them there. Stay solution focused and never try and control the uncontrollable.

What Apps do you use most at the moment on your phone or tablet?
I love Fiverr – it feels like I have my own little PA in my handbag; Property Me, Pocket Rex, Taste (I love to cook), Uber (who doesn’t love it?), I Know the Pilot (cheap flights) and of course Facebook.

What changes do you see happening in property management in the next year?
Consumers’ demands will get higher and higher, and there will be more pressure on fees. Our role as property managers will also change.

We are in a huge growth phase. Our business development team are the best we have ever had and they work tirelessly to bring in big numbers monthly; our challenge is to be able to support this growth without losing our customer experience and ensuring we have raving fans. We’ve started to offshore some of our administrative tasks to free up the time of our senior and assistant PMs. We believe that this role will evolve into more of a customer experience officer role: someone to liaise with tenants and landlords and ensure that we’re maximising their income and minimising their risk, not ‘Managing their property’.

Exciting times ahead for both the industry and the consumer! We will be staying at the forefront of this and looking at our policies and procedures systematically to ensure we have all customer touch points covered and maximised.

What do you hope people will take away from your presentation at ARPM?

Only you can control how you react to any situation; so put some thought into it. Also, over the last two years we have changed the way we look at growth; between our two offices we added over 320 new managements in 12 months.

I’ll be sharing some tips on how this was done – plus how to stay on the leading edge, not bleeding edge, of technology, how to help young people understand the human network over the social network and how to embrace ongoing change in the industry.

Only you can control how you react to any situation; so put some thought into it.

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