22 April 2022

Andrew Smith recounts kicking goals and dropping flyers

| Dione David
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Andrew Smith

Civium Director of Property Andrew Smith ditched his public service gig almost 20 years ago to step into an industry he still loves. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

In the days before Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram were a thing in the world of property sales, Andrew Smith walked around Canberra’s commercial districts dropping flyers into mailboxes to advertise properties on the market.

The former public servant left the Department of Defence nearly 20 years ago to become a real estate agent for Civium, back when low-tech solutions for marketing properties were part of the gig.

“That was how it was done back then,” he said.

“When I started out, if you had a property to sell, you’d put the listing on a website and the only other technology you relied on was email. You’d put an ad in the paper and then there were flyer drops.”

Pounding the pavement to achieve a sale was only a small part of his first foray into real estate, but it fits in nicely with his workplace philosophy: do the work – whatever that may be – get the results.

It helped Andrew get where he is today. As Director of Property at Civium, he heads and part-owns the real estate business, overseeing about 20 agents and property managers working in residential and commercial property sales, leasing and property management.

READ ALSO Investors ditching term deposits and looking to commercial properties for a better return

Back in 2003, Andrew was a shareholder of the syndicate that bought the building which now houses the Civium office.

“Through dealing with Doug O’Mara and John Price when our syndicate bought this building, I realised they had great jobs in an action-packed and rewarding industry,” he says.

“After a couple of years dealing with them, I asked if they needed more agents. They said yes, I resigned from my job, joined Doug and John and 16 years later I’m now one of the part-owners and enjoying the job as much as ever.”

Man gesturing to the side

Andrew Smith: “The one thing which hasn’t changed is the personal relationships you need to create and maintain to obtain the full trust of the people you work with and for.” Photo: Civium.

He says the biggest changes in his 16 years in the property industry have been around technology.

“The technology platforms in the industry allow for a larger range of communications methods to be implemented,” he says.

“Having said that, the one thing which hasn’t changed is the personal relationships you need to create and maintain to obtain the full trust of the people you work with and for.”

This, he says, is what he loves most about the industry: “The people you deal with and the interactions with them. Being able to help people obtain the outcomes they want from a property.”

READ ALSO Civium Property Group’s interstate growth built on strong Canberra foundations

Though his days no longer involve flyer drops, what pushed him then still drives him now – an innate sense of competitiveness.

“It plays out in my personal life as well, I think it’s why my hobbies tend to be around fitness and sports, because by nature they feed that.”

Andrew played Aussie rules for Belconnen Magpies and today is president of the board. When he’s not scoring goals for clients, he’s coaching his daughter’s team to do it on-field.

Andrew Smith on phone

A decade from now Andrew Smith says he’ll still be working in the property industry. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

The “property lifer” also has some useful predictions to share with anyone investing in commercial property.

“Commercial property will remain an attractive asset for investors, in particular where the buildings have strong long-term tenants in industries that are not discretionary. By that, I mean businesses that should be able to survive pandemics, recessions, changing spending habits etcetera,” he says.

“Properties that are in high-traffic locations and are easily accessible will attract better tenants and will be more highly sought-after.

“The industrial property market in Canberra will have seen the biggest increases in value, as there is an extreme shortage of industrial land in Canberra. This shortage has seen land prices triple in the last 24 months and with minimal future supply coming into the market I expect the values to keep increasing.”

It’s an exciting and busy time in the property industry and it’s not something Andrew sees himself leaving any time soon.

“If you ask me where I will be in 10 years, I will still be working in the property industry. I love it.”

To talk to Andrew and his team at Civium about your residential and commercial sales and management needs, visit the Civium website or phone 02 6162 0681.


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