I don’t think many people can say they live and breathe property as much as Teejay Seo.
Teejay is our resident real estate obsessive and an authority on all things related to property investing in the Sydney CBD. I sat down with Teejay to ask him how he started in real estate and what he loved about his job.
Hi Teejay. Property wasn’t your first choice as a career. So how did you get started in real estate and why you love it so much?
I was passionate about football (soccer) and was pursuing a career as a professional player but I’d torn the ligaments in my ankle and couldn’t play. My parents were very keen property investors and they were always out looking at real estate, so they instilled a love of all things real estate in me from a very young age. I bought my first investment property when I was just 18 years old, and had that ankle injury that kept me on the sidelines. It dawned on me then that I could be involved in property as a career and indulge my other real passion. My first real estate job was actually working for the agency I bought that investment property from. They were looking for a sales assistant. I applied and got the job. I’ve been working in the industry ever since.
Even though I’m a real estate nerd, I really love the people side of what we do. I like meeting new people. I enjoy helping them look after their investment and make the best business decisions. It’s quite a rewarding career.
Can you tell us a bit about what you do at Metro Realty and why you chose to work with us?
I’m in charge of new business. That involves growing our property rental portfolio and showing potential investors why we’re the best property managers for them. That’s not a difficult thing to do because I know that we really do go above and beyond for every one of our clients. As part of the role, I also onboard clients, answer their questions and work out how we can best help them. I also do some sales.
One of the reasons I joined Metro Realty was that I was impressed by their emphasis on using technology to make investors’ and tenants’ lives easier. We always use the best technology available so that we’re on top of every part of the leasing process. That includes finding the right tenants. We can notify prospective tenants about when properties are scheduled for inspection and we can answer their queries any time of day or night. We also make sure we treat the tenants just as well as we treat the landlords because quality tenants are one of the most important factors for successful property investing. I think that’s one of the real points of difference between us and many other property managers.
You’ve often said that Metro Realty has a unique culture and that this naturally attracts a certain client base. What do you mean by that?
I think our clients tend to be different from those of a lot of property managers. They’re usually serious about investing – it’s not just a hobby for them but a real way of securing their financial future. That means we have a large number of investors who have multiple properties, as well as a lot of investors who aspire to have a significant portfolio. Because we’re based in the city, our clients also tend to be quite sophisticated in the way they look at their investment properties. They’re not just making decisions based on emotion.
I think our culture works for this kind of investor because everyone in the team is given responsibility for their own actions and the emphasis is on getting the best outcomes. We have a great support team, which frees up the leasing and sales agents to focus on where they can really add value to their clients. Because of this, we’ve always encouraged flexible working and remote working, even before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Without going on about it too much, you’ve now been in real estate for some time. What has changed most since you’ve been working in the industry?
The main thing that has changed is that property managers and real estate agents need to be so much more accountable now. You need to know your product and your client base. Thanks to technology and social media, those agents who aren’t good operators quickly get found out. Today, more than ever before, reputation is everything. And that goes for the way you deal with tenants, just as much as the way you deal with your investor clients.
What’s the most memorable project you’ve worked on?
Every project is important and there are too many highlights to mention each one of them. One that sticks in my mind though actually involved the sale of a penthouse in the Sydney CBD. It was a great property but the agent who was listing it couldn’t move it. He asked Metro Realty if we could help out and we used our extensive network of investors to sell it in no time at all – above what the vendor was hoping for. It just showed the power of having a solid network and knowing your local area inside out.
What does the future hold for you?
From a business point of view, I’d like to help Metro realty grow its portfolio to managing 1,000 properties. We’re already well on the way to that. When I joined a couple of years ago we had only 150, now we’re at around 500.
But real estate is only one of my other two passions. The other is still football. I’m a mad Manchester United supporter and I played in National Premier Leagues NSW for the Marconi Stallions. I’m still playing in Division Two for Balmain. So I’d also love Manchester United and my own team to win a premiership.
If you’d like to know more about how Teejay or Metro Realty can help you contact our expert team today.