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Success Stories

What I've learned: Georgia Cleary real estate

Tiffany Loh
Smarter Writer

Tiffany Loh is the Smarter Business™ & News and Digital Editor, with varied writing experience always looking for a unique story

Tiffany Loh
Smarter Writer

Tiffany Loh is the Smarter Business™ & News and Digital Editor, with varied writing experience always looking for a unique story

Georgia Cleary shares her business success story and what she has learned from three decades in the real estate game.

I started in real estate in 1989. I was straight out of school and studying an Economics degree at Sydney University. I worked at the front desk of an agency and my main job was to help the agents. From there I worked my way up the ranks.

Georgia Cleary in the kitchen of a house with flowers and utensils

"We realise the impact of people’s colour palette can affect the mood and feel of a room, so we repaint rooms to appeal to the masses. Don’t underestimate the visual impact of a photo."

GEORGIA CLEARY, GEORGIA CLEARY ESTATE AGENTS

Humble beginnings 

I started my own real estate agency, Georgia Cleary Estate Agents, when I was 27 years old. I was very fortunate to have worked in the McGrath Real Estate family for the first 10 years of my career. Back then, it was a small firm with six to eight agents. Every partner there has since become very successful and has formed their own business. 

Seeing this inspired me to start my own business as I knew I also had the backing of loyal clients who told me, ‘you should do this’. I craved the independence and perfection and I was very set in my ideas about how I wanted things done and how I wanted myself to be profiled.

Over the years, I’ve learned it’s important to be straightforward and honest with people in your dealings with them as a real estate agent. This is particularly true in the digital age where your personal brand and business reputation exist online and negative reviews can be damaging. It’s something we’re always conscious of at BradfieldCleary Real Estate, which I joined in 2007 and became a partner in in 2012.

The simplest ideas are the best

I looked at property listings on websites and saw that many of the empty properties had no personality, so my team and I tried putting furniture in. We soon noticed we got more inspection attendees and higher sale numbers with properties.

We realise the impact of people’s colour palette can affect the mood and feel of a room, so we repaint rooms to appeal to the masses. Don’t underestimate the visual impact of a photo.

I started offering a (real estate) styling service over 20 years ago. Back then we were one of only two companies offering this service. It’s a separate cost to marketing of house, the styling tips are part of the selling fee and the hiring of furniture and other décor is a separate charge. When I first introduced the idea to real estate the feedback was very positive. Finally the photos did the properties justice.

Details make the difference

After that we saw greater numbers at inspections and sale or auction prices dramatically increased. Initially sellers were hesitant to spend the extra money on styling their homes (whether empty or occupied), but the results of a sale showed the value of this strategy. What we do is give home sellers ideas. We have a good knowledge of what works online in the digital era and how to promote a listing to maximise the amount of people visiting that one listing. It’s not all about looking good for an open house, we provide a public relations service.

Even when you have a block of apartments there will always be a display. A lot of agents can offer the service, but it’s having the experience to change a colour of wall, or pull down a curtain and know it will work. Sometimes when we’re styling in winter, we’ll hire a heater to make the house feel warm and inviting. We might hire a fridge to hide pipework to improve the visual aspect. We’ve even baked bread, made coffee and burned candles to add to the aroma aspect as well. And by seeing people’s reactions we know these details make a massive difference.

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Originally published 14th November 2014. Updated 29th July 2019.

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