Young Agent of the Year, Belfast Telegraph Property Awards 2016
Sarah Agnew, the head of the Residential Management Department at McGeown Estate Agents on the Lisburn Road in Belfast, has recently been shortlisted for the Young Agent of the Year category at the Belfast Telegraph Property Awards 2016. We caught up with Sarah ahead of the awards ceremony to find out more about the promising candidate.
When did you start working for
McGeown Estate Agents?
In 2007, after completing my A levels, I joined McGeown Estate Agents in an administrative role. I wanted to go straight into full time employment and I wanted a career. I saw McGeown Estate Agents as an ideal opportunity to achieve that aim.
What drove you to move from your administrative role to that of an agent?
From the very beginning I was keen to learn and develop my knowledge and expertise. In 2009, I was promoted to the management team and I began researching various property management exams. I knew not only would additional knowledge and qualifications help me personally but would also benefit our overall management team and the business. Daniel McGeown, the company director, supported and encouraged me the whole way along.
What steps did you take to progress to your current position?
In 2012 I passed the Technical Award in Residential Lettings & Property Management and became a member of ARLA and still am to date. Once I completed this exam I was keen to keep advancing and researched different courses which resulted in me going to London to complete the Association of Professional Inventory Providers course and exam.
With increased speculation about the Tenancy Deposit Scheme being introduced in Northern Ireland, I wanted to be in a prime position with professional knowledge of, and a qualification in, providing inventories. In 2013 I passed the exam and became the first person from Northern Ireland to become a member of the Association of Professional Inventory Providers. Arising from this I introduced a system which has resulted in McGeown Estate Agents having no disputes with deposits since the Tenancy Deposit Scheme came into place in 2013.
WHAT DOES YOUR CURRENT POSITION INVOLVE?
To date my role covers every aspect of letting and management. From bringing property onto the market, letting, ensuring the landlord is aware of all current and upcoming legislation, negotiating between tenants and landlords through to ensuring that tenant referencing is complete. I deal with over seven hundred and fifty residential management and letting properties involving in the region of four thousand people. In the past twelve months I have received a further promotion within McGeown Estate Agents. I am now the manager of our Residential Management Department with responsibility for three members of staff.
WHAT SKILLS AND TRAITS DO YOU THINK ARE IMPORTANT IN YOUR ROLE?
I am focused on staying up to date with all legislation and advising landlords on any changes. I am a forward thinker. The months from March through to October are the busiest months of the year in the company for letting and management. During the less intensive months from October to February I use this time to work to identify systems or procedures that can be improved for greater efficiency. I am also always reachable to my clients. I am on call twenty-four hours a day, for landlords and for tenants. I believe there is always a way to solve an issue and a positive can-do attitude is a big part of that.
LOOKING FORWARD, WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE?
The property market is an ever changing, dynamic world. I am still young and still have the bulk of my career ahead of me. I want to continue to progress and represent McGeown Estate Agents to the best of my ability. I also want to represent the NI property industry in an ethical and proper manner.
Our business, like many others in our industry has faced seismic issues and we have overcome them. We are enthusiastic and keen. Every day, I play my role to ensure we maintain our enthusiasm for our business and our industry. I am a loyal, dedicated member of staff and I believe that through hard work and application not only our business but also our industry can continue to make massive strides forward. I will play my part in ensuring that happens.