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Best and brightest in real estate step up for awards

John Thistleton 18 September 2019
REI ACT Awards for Excellence

Winners at the annual REI ACT Awards for Excellence. Photos: Supplied.

Innovation and service – and a boundless commitment to the Canberra community – have helped Independent take out a swag of awards at the Real Estate Institute of the ACT Awards for Excellence.

As well as the Innovation and Community Service awards, Independent collected the Marketing and Communications Award and the prized Large Residential Agency of the Year Award.

Independent Managing Director John Minns says the real estate industry is changing quickly, providing significant motivation to demonstrate the future direction of the 60-year-old Canberra business with rebranding.

“A big part of that award was how we are actually able to improve the overall client and consumer experience, and make sure our frontline people have the tools and resources to provide a better experience with the people who they come in touch with, as well as the enterprise-level technology. The combination of those is probably what got us there,” he says.

Independent Managing Director John Minns.

Independent also has a history of supporting the Canberra community. The company established a foundation years ago to provide financial support to community groups.

“This was the year we finally ticked over $1 million in donations from the foundation. I don’t know whether that helped win the award, but it was something everyone here is quite proud of,” Mr Minns said.

But there are also plenty of volunteers within the group.

“We have often been able to put the call out and have a dozen people turn up to man booths or hand-out information,” Mr Minns says.

Independent also employs people from community organisations, including a young man with Down syndrome who has added immeasurably to the firm’s operations.

Independent also received individual awards. Hannah Gill took out the Operational Leader of the Year Award; Tania Butler-Kemp, Mark Larmer and Aaron Lewis received the Residential Sales Team of the Year Award; and Kimberley Nugent was awarded the Residential Property Manager of the Year Award.

Residential Salesperson of the Year Peta Barrett of LJ Hooker, Kippax, says this award means more to her than any other she has won because it wasn’t based on sales volumes.

“It is what you do for the world, for the community and for the industry,” Ms Barrett says. Ms Barrett’s been working in real estate for 22 years. She came to Belconnen from Sydney and has been at the Kippax office of LJ Hooker for 15 years.

Despite winning Auctioneer of the Year back-to-back, Ray White Canberra’s Alec Brown wants more and has his eyes on the national award.

To get to that level, he says, the ability to recall detail and engage with bidders is critical. So too is elocution and your ability to use descriptive language.

“The ability to perform in an unknown environment, not knowing what will be thrown at you next, is what makes it so challenging, yet so appealing,” Mr Brown says.

Auctioneer-of-the Year Alec Brown, Ray White Canberra.

McIntyre Property won the Residential Property Management Team of the Year Award. McIntyre Property principal Col McIntyre says the team of Jasmine Henjak (manager), Lisa Konig, Vanessa Smith, Deanna Elmir, Laura Grimes, Tegan Ketels, Courtenay Crawford, Ellie Donaldson and Jo Matters have excelled. He says having a team manager has made them very accountable.

“There is a lot of reporting back to Jasmine. She keeps a tight hold on arrears, on inspections, rent reviews and where we are up to in the business. That sets us apart in our service and what we offer. All the calls are business-like, they are not easy calls, you are always dealing with something, never a call to say ‘hey, you are doing a great job’. That is taken for granted in property management,” Mr McIntyre says.

REIACT President Michael Kumm says more than 300 people celebrated the awards, which began in 1995 when just nine prizes were presented. This year, 30 awards were handed out.

“Our awards recognise the professionalism and commitment of our members to both consumers and colleagues alike when conducting the everyday business,” Mr Kumm says. “The standard of submissions for this year’s awards was of the highest calibre, with many categories decided by the barest of margins.”

Michael Kumm presented the President’s Award to Peter Walker of Ray White Canberra.

Nineteen of the 30 award winners will now represent the ACT at the REIA National Awards for Excellence in Darwin in April 2020. Since the inception of the National Awards for Excellence in 2006, ACT winners have performed exceptionally well and continue to be the leaders of the real estate industry among their national peers.

Award winners:

  • Marketing and Communications Award: Independent
  • Rookie of the Year: Joshua Meli, Raine & Horne Commercial, Canberra
  • Solicitor of the Year: Matthew Carmody, McGuiness Wilson Lawyers
  • Innovation Award: Independent
  • Project Property Marketer of the Year: Guy Randell, Burgess Rawson ACT
  • Conveyancer of the Year: Karen Watt, KJB Law
  • Small Residential Agency of the Year: En Vogue Property Management
  • Public Housing Property Manager of the Year: Kim Griffiths, Housing ACT
  • Community Housing Sector Property Manager of the Year: Kym Markowski
  • CHC Affordable Housing Business Development Management of the Year: Lyn Fairweather, LJ Hooker, Gungahlin
  • Achievement Award: Ravi Soni, Laing+Simmons Commercial Property, ACT
  • Community Service Award: Independent
  • Operational Leadership Person of the Year: Hannah Gill, Independent Property Management
  • Auctioneer Franchise of the Year: LJ Hooker
  • Residential Property Management Team of the Year: McIntyre Property
  • Large Residential Agency of the Year: Independent
  • Auctioneer of the Year: Alec Brown, Ray White Canberra.
  • Commercial Agency of the Year: Colliers International (ACT)
  • Commercial Property Manager of the Year: Alison Majdandzic, Raine & Horne Commercial, Canberra
  • Commercial Salesperson of the Year: Guy Randell, Burgess Rawson ACT
  • President’s Award: Peter Walker, Ray White Canberra
  • Hall of Fame: ACT Property Inspections Service Provider of the Year
  • Medium Residential Agency of the Year, McGrath Dickson
  • Property Marketer of the Year: Steve Lowe, Agency Team Belconnen
  • Residential Sales Team of the Year: Our Team Independent Inner North, City
  • Novice Auctioneer of the Year: Jack Flynn LJ Hooker, Woden
  • Residential Property Manager of the Year: Kimberly Nugent, Independent Property Management
  • Operational Support Person of the Year: Natalie Mills, McGrath Dickson
  • Allhomes People’s Choice Auctioneer of the Year: Alec Brown
  • Residential Salesperson of the Year: Peta Barrett, LJ Hooker, Kippax.

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