The Managing Director and owner of Pacific Palms Real Estate. An entrepreneur with a keen eye for a business opportunity, meet …
When self-confessed entrepreneur Dominique Vasers attained ample entrance marks to go to Law School, it was anticipated she would embark on a career as a solicitor. Instead, on completing her senior schooling, Dominique promptly purchased a one-way ticket bound for Bali and established her first business as an importer of exotic stones and jewellery.
Since then, Dominique’s entrepreneurship has seen her establish numerous successful international and local companies, while concurrently juggling high-flying white-collar managerial roles.
In the late 1990s, Dominique was based as an ex-pat in Dubai, where she managed the commercial and residential property portfolio for Emirates Banking Group – a position that held her in excellent stead for her role today as Managing Director and owner of Pacific Palms Real Estate.
While working in Dubai, Dominique created a sideline business, opening a jewellery shop that dabbled in crystals and Tarot Card readings. Controversy surrounded the shop, with local Emeritis convinced Dominique was practising voodoo. Protesters tried to stop the launch of the shop due to its esoteric nature, although Dominique stood firm and it is still open for business today.
Following Dubai, Dominique relocated to Hong Kong, where she sized up another business opportunity – establishing a niche flower and gift delivery service. With the arrival of Dominique to Hong Kong, ex-pats living in far-flung Chinese provinces were able to send presents home to loved ones across the globe.
In 2002 Dominique returned home to settle in Australia, purchasing Pacific Palms Real Estate, which has a staff of 14 and twin offices located at Blueys Beach and Smiths Lake.
FOCUS asked Dominique some questions about her buisness:
How did you come to own a real estate business?
After I returned to Australia, my father, who has also been involved in property development and sales, was selling out of a real estate business, and I thought it was a great business to buy.
When you purchased the business it was initially part of a franchise, and you immediately set about going independent. Why?
I felt the shackles of being part of a network. As a resort area, we have a specific emphasis on holiday letting, which other areas might not. I also bought at a time when it was imperative real estate got on board with the internet. So with the help of an advertising agency, I created an independent brand from the ground up.
Are there good mentors in real estate?
John McGrath is a real powerhouse. His systemisations are phenomenal. When I first went independent, I needed to put in place systems for my property management, and I got McGrath’s to come and work with me.
As a coastal shopfront, are you reliant on the internet to help sell properties, and is there a responsibility to authentically represent properties from a visual perspective?
People often see an investment property for the first time on the internet, which is our shopfront. While we’re ultimately negotiators, marketing is our lifeblood.
From an ethical stance, we don’t do anything misleading or illegal with our photography – such as remove power lines or brush up dead grass, for example.
A common complaint is that to secure an exclusive listing, agents will ‘condition’ the seller by setting an unrealistic initial sale price. What do you think about this?
Conditioning has been an industry problem in the past. We prefer to educate people about what it takes to sell a property and guide them through the process. For instance, people aren’t going into your home to buy the books on your bookshelf or the family heirlooms. They want to see the product. It’s all about providing appropriate advice, while not offending.
Sales people have off days, where they just don’t feel like delivering a sales pitch. What advice do you give to staff on these days?
We all have ‘toads to swallow’ or things we don’t want to do. My advice to staff is to deal with this psychological barrier early in the day and not put things off.
What is the hardest market to sell to?
People who come here to live are already sold on the area. For us, it’s about finding the perfect house to match the person. We’re like a dating agency. We can be working with people on our database from three weeks to seven years. We are constantly in contact with clients and working with them when they’re looking for a specific property. It’s such a vast market.
Your website stipulates that the success of one’s career in real estate will largely be determined by the team with which you work. Why is this?
You’ve got to have methods of measurement, but if people are under pressure, they don’t perform as well – and it breeds a negative culture. Everyone in our office knows that family comes first, and it seems to work.
It’s about your attitude and ability to fit into a team. The rest can be trained.
What is the weirdest guest request you’ve ever received?
A gigolo! A client from Sydney asked us to source a local gigolo, although I can’t say who it was! If you’re really keen to find out their identity, you could ask the cleaner who accidently spied the gigolo mid-dance on a coffee table …
Thank you Dominique.