D’Leanne Lewis, principal at Laing+Simmons Double Bay + Bondi Beach, has just broken $100 million in sales.
When SCHWARTZWILLIAMS asked her the key to her success, she simply answered, "Discipline."
When asked to elaborate, she said, "I know that I'm very disciplined. You form habits, and you fine tune them, you hone them over time, and get either better at them, or you get lazy and you don't succeed."
Lewis said a friend recently described her as "diligently disciplined", and agreed that hard work was in her nature.
"I get frustrated with myself when I don't perform to my highest," she said, admitting, "I don't know what 99% looks like."
Lewis's career path has been relatively straightforward. She began working at Laing+Simmons 23 years ago as a PA.
"One thing lead to another," she said, "and I ended up never leaving."
Lewis became a mother recently, and was frank about the impact of motherhood on her life, and in particular how time management is now more important than ever.
"I was good at time management before, but now I'm much better," she said. "I've got a little person in my life who relies on me, so her needs are number one."
But clients can still expect the same high level of service from Lewis. "When I'm committing to a client and they're committing to me, I make sure that I'm 100% there for them as well. I have to make sure I'm allocating correctly."
"I work harder now than ever to be a great role model for my daughter and the best agent for my clients,” she said.
“I am also fortunate to have a very supportive husband and family,” added Lewis, and said, "I have really good help, but I don't want (my daughter) to be brought up by nannies. I want to be present for her and share her growth and those special moments."
"I'm a lot more selfish with my time," continued Lewis. "If there's one thing that had to give, it would probably be my friendships have suffered a bit because I just literally don't have time to see my girlfriends. So instead of seeing them one on one, I say let's all get together."
Lewis believes that real estate is a good profession for anyone who is prepared to work hard.
"I think it's a really good industry if you want to work hard because the rewards are there," she said.
"Whether you're a woman or a man I don't think it makes much difference."
Lewis says she has never experienced gender discrimination.
"I was brought up in South Africa," she explained, "when there was apartheid, so i don't buy into the whole discrimination thing. If there is, then I just ignore it. I think it's ridiculous. I don't give it any life."
Although there was a time, when Lewis was pregnant, that a number of agents indicated to prospective clients that she might be happy to take on less work at that time.
"When I was pregnant I starting hearing that my competition was saying to clients, when they found out that I was going for the same listing, that I wasn't going to be available, and let me help her."
Lewis said she heard the comment five or six times, from different agents, so she thought she should put a stop to it.
"I ended up calling the five or six guys who were responsible for it. And I never lost a listing over it, which is interesting."
Lewis said she told them, "I'm ok. I still have my two eyes, my two ears, one mouth, two arms. I can still work."
"So that put a stop to that," concluded Lewis.
Lewis said a Facebook post about the experience gained her a lot of support, both from agents and clients and even the media, and she has never had an incident like it again.
"In this day and age, it's ridiculous to assume that because you are a women, or because you're pregnant that you can't do a job that you're capable of doing. That was the only time I felt there is an element of chauvinism in this industry. But my only thought was let's put a stop to it, and they never did it again."
Lewis is philosophical about the property outlook for 2017.
"At the end of the day people have to live somewhere. You're either going to rent or you're going to buy. If the market comes off, then it comes off right across the board. It's all relative," she said.
"Families grow and their needs change, and families diminish and their needs change. So I always take a pretty pragmatic view to these types of things," she said.
"All we can do is go with the flow. If the timing is right for you, you need to sell your house now. It's got to feel right."
In 2016, Lewis sold:
- the iconic Bronte Shell House for more than $9.71 million;
- 20A Benelong Crescent, Bellevue Hill, for over $5.8 million;
- the landmark ‘Rose Garden House’ at 92 Victoria Rd, Bellevue Hill which sold before auction for $7 million;
- 20 Gordon Avenue, Coogee which sold for over $5.8 million;
- 6 Greville St, Clovelly which sold for over $5.5 million;
- 1 Graylind Pl, Vaucluse which sold for $7.2 million;
- and the penthouse at 105a Darling Point Road, which sold for a building record of $2.75 million.
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