REALMARK Coastal managing director Sean Hughes finished high school and went straight into real estate.
It was a natural progression; he grew up around the industry, his mother Jenny is a real estate agent and co-director of their company and his grandmother was also an agent.
“My mum was a nurse; she retired at 54 and then went into real estate,” Jenny said.
“She did very well in the Floreat area and retired at 68.
“I was a high school teacher, ran a cooking school, took some time off to raise four children and was involved in network marketing before joining the industry.”
Jenny encouraged Sean to buy his first house at 16.
“People at school asked why I needed a house when I lived at home for free, but Mum always believed that wealth creation through real estate was the way to go,” he said.
“That transaction gave me my taste of the industry and from there Mum and I teamed up and have been working together ever since.”
Sean said his age was an issue initially, but the market had changed over the past two decades.
“I’d be 18 and going up against someone who was older and even though we’d have the same amount of experience in the industry, the perception was they’d have more because they were older,” he said.
“But the consumer no longer sees age as a successful recipe. I think a lot of people want to deal with young energetic people; knowledge is important but is so obtainable these days, so energy and enthusiasm are just as important.”
Both Sean and Jenny did not think it was necessary to gain a lot of other experience before joining the industry.
“If they want to succeed they need an inner drive; if they’ve got |the knowledge of the product and |can exude that, then age is |irrelevant,” Jenny said.
A willingness to work hard was also important, with Sean and Jenny working seven days a week initially.
“The success doesn’t come without all the hard work at the front end,” Sean said.
“Here we are, 18 years and 24 years on respectively and we’re still working six days a week.”
Sean said being able to come into the industry and shadow Jenny, an experienced agent, helped fast-track his career.
“Whatever your age and skills, it can be hard to do it on your own, so shadowing someone, or being in an environment where you’ve got someone to show you the ropes day-to-day, is beneficial,” he said.
Sean and Jenny also said people skills were important and a consistent requirement for success.
“Nanna used to have a mobile phone the size of a brick and a pager, and while it’s been interesting to see how technology has changed and helped with the speed of how we run things now, the basics haven’t changed,” Sean said.
“It’s still about meeting people, creating good client rapport, good service and getting results; real estate is a people business.”
While Jenny has thought about retiring, it is not on the cards any time soon.
“We’ve been saying for years that part of our exit plan is for Mum to work five days and then four, but she loves it so much she ends up doing six days a week anyway,” Sean said.
Jenny said half the pleasure for her over the years had been the two of them working together and their shared achievements and successes. n