Episode 5 – Lia Jagielka

Lia’s decision to re-brand her Independent Regional Property Management Agency into a Coronis Now Franchise, has delivered a massive increase in her profits!

Michael Furlong: Morning guys, Michael Furlong here from Rent Roll Maximiser. I have the pleasure of having a chat today with Lia Jagielka, from Coronis Now, Coronis Gippsland.

What’s the best way for me to describe that Lia, and Welcome! What’s the best way?

Lia Jagielka: Coronis Now, I’m also the State Director for Coronis Now

Michael Furlong: We’re going to find out about Coronis because I have an interest in Coronis, I have interest in understanding how it’s all working.

I’m sort of watching from afar, I’ve put a lot of people through, introducing them through to Jodie Stainton. What’s her role?

She’s one of the Directors, but her role is to really try and grow the Franchise Network, isn’t it?

Lia Jagielka: It is, yeah.

Michael Furlong: And you’ve taken on the State-Based Role for that also?

Lia Jagielka: Yes.

Michael Furlong: Yep, fantastic. I’m really keen to find out a little bit about Coronis, but firstly, lets chat about you. This is really about talking, and I reached out because there’s a couple of reasons.

One, I’ve sort of, I won’t say “stalked”, but I watch what you’re doing and I’ve been really interested in watching your video series of late. You’ve been putting out a lot of videos.

I see some of your social media, but I love chatting to other people in the Industry that are “Players”.

You’re a go-to-person, and today I just want to pick your brains and try & uncover who is Lia? All good? Fantastic!

Tell me a little bit about how long you’ve been in the Industry. So, you’re working as Coronis Now, but how long have you been in Real Estate, and this is not your first gig is it?

Lia Jagielka: No, I really fell into Real Estate when I was about 19-20.

Michael Furlong: Not that long ago?

Lia Jagielka: No, no, its 5 or 6 years.
Michael Furlong: So, how long have you been in the Industry?

Lia Jagielka: Nearly 20 years.

Michael Furlong: Okay – same as me. You look so much younger and looks like the Industry has not done any damage at all. Have a look at this!

Lia Jagielka: It’s amazing what makeup & lights can do for you, I actually turned 40 this year.

Michael Furlong: Well, I’ve turned 50 last year, so it’s an Industry where I think you get better with age, like red wine.

Lia Jagielka: Yes, if only I drank it.

Michael Furlong: When you first started, what was the first role? How did that start, was it Reception, Leasing, Sales?

Lia Jagielka: Reception was my first role. I had just moved up to Queensland and applied for every job that I could and I ended up with the job as Reception for a Real Estate in Annerley.

Michael Furlong: What was the reason that you chose Real Estate? Did you know somebody that was in the Industry already?

Lia Jagielka: No, in all honesty – I applied for every job in Office Admin, even bar-work, because back then you didn’t actually need RSA’s or anything like that. I was just looking for a job because I had just moved from Victoria to Queensland.

Michael Furlong: Isn’t it interesting, and we’ll talk about this a little bit later on, but there’s changes to the Legislation & the Education Standards’ coming in.

I’ve always felt that, unfortunately, our Industry has been one where – “Maybe I wanted to become a bar person, or I was looking at retail, or maybe I do hairdressing, I’ll fall into something. Oh, might give Real Estate a go!”

It was never really a chosen profession, for many. It was a fallback position, maybe they’re doing it through Uni.
But, I really feel that the moment that we as an Industry, turn and start to make this a profession – attract younger people to come through, and realise “It’s a bloody good Industry, isn’t it?” Has it been good to you?

Lia Jagielka: it has, look I think even if you’re in High School, if you aspire to get into Real Estate, you aspire to get into the Sales part of it because you look at the glamour and the big sales and multimillion-dollar listings, no one really aspires to be a Property Manager.

So, they don’t really know the ins and outs of Property Management.

Michael Furlong: yep, let’s un-layer that today. Tell me a little bit about your business. It’s relatively new in its Brand, but the business has been established for a while.

So, number of properties, like is it a big portfolio, a little portfolio. Where are you based, demographic? Tell me a little bit about your business.

Lia Jagielka: I’m located in Sale, in Gippsland. So, find Melbourne on the map and go two and a half hours South East, and that’s me.

We manage about 150 properties. I first opened about 5 years ago, under a different Brand under my own Independent, built myself up, and then I joined the Coronis Brand.

Michael Furlong: When you started out, did you start out in a competitive Market? I don’t know Sale very well.

I’ve driven through Sale, but are there major Franchises there already or is it all Independents? What’s your demographic like?

Lia Jagielka: So, we’ve got 5 decent players in the Real Estate Industry in Sale. 1 is a Franchise, another 1 has just come out of a Franchise, but in all honestly, our biggest Real Estate Agency in Sale is not a Franchise at all.

It’s a complete Independent that has been around since virtually day dot. It can be competitive because of the fact that there’s 5, and Sale isn’t such a large Town or anything, but we do have lots of little Towns around as well.

Michael Furlong: So, your business model is just Property Management? Or I now see that you are doing some Sales as well, explain that.

Because that’s probably not an area that you would’ve done under your own Brand, or you did?

Lia Jagielka: No, so under my own Brand, before I joined Coronis, I was strictly Property Management. But we’ve been asked by a lot of our Landlords to sell their Investment Properties and we kept saying no, because we didn’t do Sales.
There was enough Sales Agents in the area, we just wanted to really focus on Property Management.

When I did the Re-Brand – I wasn’t pushed by anyone else. It was just a big Re-Brand and I sort of just went “You know what, why not open it, and we’ll sell our Landlord Investment Properties?”

“We’ll still stick with, predominantly Investment Properties but we’re not going to try and flood the Market with another Sales Agent.” We still want to stick on the investment side of it.

Michael Furlong: If I was to summarise that – you’re Full Service to your Customers, rather than going out there actively trying to pick up Listings.

Lia Jagielka: Yes.

Michael Furlong: It’s really offering that to your existing Landlords.

Lia Jagielka: Exactly, we already manage the property, we know the Tenant, we know the property inside and out, we know the maintenance that’s been required on it, we know the Vendor quite well, Landlord quite well.

Who better to market it than another Sales Agent that doesn’t know all the ins and outs?

Michael Furlong: Correct, and I know that and I can say that with “hand on heart”, honestly. Because when I had my Agency, which I’ve been out for a couple of years now.

I exactly said the same thing, Lia. Where we looked at it and said we were “Full Service to our Clients”. I would drive 20 minutes or an hour to sell a property, only because that’s where my Clients were.

I didn’t care what was happening in the rest of the Market. I wasn’t trying to pick up external, I was trying to offer value back to through to my Client’s. I get a genuine feel from the Coronis model that it is around Customer Service.

Let’s put your State Director hat on now. The predominant number of people that are in the Franchise Network are working from home, you have bucked the trend there. You have an office, is that right?

Lia Jagielka: Yes, so I did start at home. The only reason why I’ve gone into an office is because I got to the stage where I needed to hire someone and it’s quite hard to train them at my house or train them at their house or something like that.

So, yes, I’ve gone with an office. I think that will help as State Director as well, where if I need to meet with people, they can. Predominantly, Coronis Now is for the ones that are wanting to build up slowly, work from home, keep your overheads low.
It is really to assist people in getting into running their own Real Estate Business without the massive overheads that can come with it.

Michael Furlong: Have you found a significant difference between running your own business, did you have 150 properties then?

Lia Jagielka: We’ve slowly built up, we were probably at about 130, and so we’ve grown another 20 odd.

Michael Furlong: What I imagine is that your income has grown slightly, sorry your turn over, but your income has grown significantly?

Lia Jagielka: Massively!

Michael Furlong: Because of way in which the model works which we’ll un-layer that in a little bit. Tell me a little bit about your Sale Market as in not “Sales”, but Sale.

Is it a House, it wouldn’t be many Apartments? Is it Holiday Letting? What’s a Landlord for you? What’s a typical Landlord?

Lia Jagielka: We’ve got a few Holiday Lettings but nothing major. Majority of the properties that we have around are Houses. We don’t have any of the “high-rise”, the Apartments or anything.

You might get a Unit Complex of 4 or 8. I think there’s a couple in Sale that may have 12 to 16 and that’s kind of about it. We do the Owners Corporations for those as well, but predominantly they are Houses.

At the moment, even Rentals, trying to find a Rental at the moment, it’s just so hard. There’s nothing on the Market at the moment and that’s not just me, that’s all the Real Estate Agents at the moment.

Michael Furlong: What a contrast to the Melbourne CBD Market. At the moment, it’s trying to find a Tenant. I was speaking to an Agency yesterday where they had 90 properties available of their Portfolio.

They have about 2,000 properties in the Portfolio, Multi-office, 90 available. And then I was speaking to another person last night and they have just on 3,000, and they’re at 350 properties available.

So, 10% Vacant and they’re pulling their hair out. So, your Market at the moment is very strong?

Lia Jagielka: Yeah, well my Prospective Tenant Database alone holds 132 people. So, people that are actively looking for other Rental Properties. Department of Housing and Community Housing, last year and the year before, deemed that we didn’t have a Housing Crisis down here.
They started selling up a lot of their Houses, which made those Tenants come into the mainstream. Plus, you have the normal Mainstream Tenants as well.

And then because the Sale Market has just rocketed down here as well, you’ve got a lot of people that quickly sold their House, and they’re in the middle of building or they haven’t found something else, they’re looking to rent as well.

It’s just phenomenal down here at the moment.

Michael Furlong: your Vacancies at the moment are – Zero. I don’t think there be too many Agencies that are like at the moment.

What Property Software are you using?

Lia Jagielka: I use PropertyMe and I absolutely love it. I was a Console girl through and through, until I was introduced to PropertyMe.

Michael Furlong: Did you go across the Console Cloud?

Lia Jagielka: No, I jumped over to PropertyMe. Console Cloud had just started, but there was a lot of things that needed tweaking and things like that, and that’s when I made the move over to PropertyMe.

Michael Furlong: So, you were Gateway? Console Gateway?

Lia Jagielka: I was a Gateway, yeah. And that was one of the main reasons that I looked at PropertyMe because I was working from home.

I didn’t want the big server; I didn’t want the bulky. I wanted to be able to take my laptop, and I’ve also got kids as well.

So, if I was down at the Park with my kids, I could still sit there and send off letters do anything I needed to do work-wise without having a “software” behind me.

Michael Furlong: Absolutely, so really your business model is very agile?

Lia Jagielka: Yes

Michael Furlong: And how have you found that as compared to where you were with SPA, was that the Company?
Lia Jagielka: Superior Property Agency or SPA Gippsland, most people knew us as. We had a couple of Landlords and Tenants that would sort of go “You don’t have an office, what’s going on?”, “Where do I predominantly meet Clients?”

Michael Furlong: So, if you’ve got a House that’s for rent, or you’re wanting a Rental Appraisal, where am I meeting?

Lia Jagielka: At the property.

Michael Furlong: Yeah, at the property.

Lia Jagielka: If you’re signing a Lease or something like that, all of it is electronic now. We don’t really have to sit down at an office and go “and here’s clause 1, and here’s clause 2 and here’s clause 3…”

So, you know, we send it via DocuSign. I can meet you at the property and hand you over the keys. There’s no point, you don’t have to come into an office. Cloud-Based is very fluent, it’s very easy.

And then if you do really want to have a sit down with a Landlord and go through a few things, I had a few Landlords that just wanted a couple more questions answered or something like that, I’d shout them at coffee at the local Cafe, and they would love that too.
Michael Furlong: Yep, absolutely, I think there’s a change with the Customer Service expectations now. Landlords are looking for more real, rather than gloss and glamour

Lia Jagielka: Yes

Michael Furlong: How have you gone through COVID? You wouldn’t have been at the office much or you were able to?

Lia Jagielka: Yeah, because we’re so Regional we were able to, we just had to mask up if we were going anywhere and anything like that.

But other than that, we were still able to work. We only have 2 people in our office and our office is quite large for 2 people, so we can definitely socially distance.

Michael Furlong: Your role in your business, you’re: Director, Property Manager, Sales, Admin, Admin Support…. Any more?

Lia Jagielka: Mostly, I do have Fraser who is at the moment on Reception. He eventually wants to get into more of the Sales. He’s doing a lot of my Admin at the moment.
He’s processing the Applications, doing up the Leases, Management Authorities, all that sort of stuff for me, which takes a load off

But yeah, at the end of the day I’m everything else. Between he and I, we do the marketing. He’s got a bit of a creative flare, I like to think I do, but not really.

We put a lot of things through Canva and put it up into a “load later program”. We do a lot of marketing between us; he does most of the paperwork.

I do the Routines, the Entries, the Vacates, the Meeting New Clients and Property Management, the Business, Ownership part.

Michael Furlong: So, you’re very much hands-on. Lia, it’s been absolutely brilliant chatting with you. I’m going to find out a bit more around the Coronis Models soon.

Thank You for joining us this morning, I look forward to chatting to you soon.

Lia Jagielka: Thanks for having me

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