Long time contributor for FOCUS with pearls of wisdom on Real Estate … it’s time to get to more about Amanda Tate.
Let’s go way back. Tell us about life prior to real estate.
I grew up on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, before it became a rat race. It was a relaxed beach lifestyle with a small community centred around the school, Elanora Heights Primary. Narrabeen High was within walking distance of the beach, so a lot of our spare time was spent at the beach basking in the sun, watching the guys surf. Girls didn’t really surf back then, but I was pretty good on a skateboard.
So, from Northern Beaches skater to entering the workforce. Leaving school, what was it you wanted to be?
Much to the horror of my maths teacher, I left school in Year 10. I didn’t enjoy school, and I’m sure some of my teachers didn’t enjoy me! I just wanted to be a manager – the boss – and remember having big, audacious goals. A condition of leaving school early was that I had to do a business secretarial course at the local TAFE, and I ended up Dux of the Year.
What I learnt at TAFE gave me an excellent grounding for everything to do with my career, especially learning to type and basic accounting. I loved anything to do with business and ended up as an insurance loss adjuster after further studies. I’m a firm believer in if you are going to do something, do it well and learn everything there is to know about it.
Not everyone is destined for university. I never thought about real estate, until after we had a few bad experiences with property managers and after a heated discussion with the real estate owner, he suggested that if I thought I could do better, I should buy the business – so we did. That was in 1996, and all the agents back then expected us to fail.
LJ Hooker has become a Tate family affair. Give us a rundown of the family now involved in the business.
All three of our children have worked in the business over the years, with Andrew starting on a school-based traineeship in Year 11. It was hard to hold Andrew back, because he was a natural with people and went out selling homes at 19. Cameron came into the business later and is now managing the office and selling and is my right hand, especially now that Chris has retired. Our daughter, Ashlee, tells us she has bigger things than real estate on the agenda, but has worked in the office since she could see over the front counter. One thing I do know is that all have a great work ethic and a natural entrepreneurial flair. It’s been wonderful having them work in the family business.
This must make you and Chris very proud to see the family coming through?
Very much so, but then being a family business, you also get close to your team and they become an extension of your family.
Your community work is also something you are passionate about. Tell us what you get involved in and how important this is to you.
As we know, it takes a village to raise a child, so we are very aware of the part our business plays in housing people, sometimes very challenging people, and our team shares this vision. We have good relationships with community groups and have set up housing facilities to help families in need.
Some may know I have been very vocal with government waste and lack of accountability for tenants and the damage we allow them to cause, but I won’t just vent; we need solutions, but unfortunately our government is too busy ego bustling to care and just won’t listen, yet continue to write cheques.
Taree Carols in the Park is our Christmas gift to the community, and the part we enjoy most is gathering the whole community together to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas, regardless of status, religious beliefs and race. We have been sponsoring and helping organise this event for over 15 years, and I still get emotional when the fireworks go off and take in the crowd’s enjoyment.
Real estate is ever evolving and a very competitive industry. What do you focus on with your team to stay ahead of the game?
We’re a service based industry, so our focus is always our customers and how to improve the way we provide our services to them. Anyone can sell or manage a house, but are they achieving the best result? We strive to be the professionals in every aspect of real estate and focus on our people. With technology, the way we do real estate is evolving very quickly and real change is on the horizon. If we don’t lift our game and professionalise our services, including our technology, we will be left behind. You can’t get personal experience out of a computer, but you can do a lot of research, and our clients are armed with knowledge. We need to be more knowledgeable, or we offer no value.
For you, what is the best part about being in business in the Manning Valley?
I’ve just come back from a river cruise in Europe and on my first morning crossing the bridge, the traffic was slow and it allowed me to take in the Manning River looking west. The river was like glass, reflecting the water’s edge, including the Anglican Church, and my immediate thoughts were this is every bit as picturesque as the Danube or the Rhine Rivers.
I live on a rural property just six minutes to Taree, and this area has allowed me to run a business and raise a family due to the close proximity of everything and the supportive nature of the community. Every day I count my blessings and know that I am where I am supposed to be.