Running a Real Estate Business: Dallas Taylor, Jellis Craig

running a real estate business

Wilson Pateras collaborate with clients from the real estate industry – working closely to design clear roadmaps that achieve their personal or business goals.

In this blog, Wilson Pateras sits down with a valued client to discuss their unique experience with our team. Today, Dallas Taylor, Director and Auctioneer at Jellis Craig shares his insights with Wilson Pateras on running a real estate business.

WP: Tell us Dallas, how did you come to be a real estate agent?

Dallas: I started with a Bachelor of Applied Science, specialising in engineering and surveying. After graduating, I was a surveyor for two years. I’m a country boy, so I didn’t exactly enjoy the surveying work I was doing in the city. My second preference at university was property. So, I basically took a step back and went with that. I interviewed in an agency as an assistant and got the role. That was about 20 years ago now and I’ve enjoyed it ever since.

WP: Have you always been with Jellis Craig?

Dallas: No, I was with another company for 11 years. I started there as an assistant and grew into sales. In 2010, I decided for a number of reasons, to start my own business under a group. It was where the market was heading, and I needed to be with a company like Jellis Craig that had broader exposure – especially to the inner city and overseas markets. Jellis Craig was perfect because it had that local imprint.

WP: And why property?

Dallas: What attracted me to property was that you get out what you put in. I’m not a 9-5 person. That’s just not the way that I operate, I actually find it quite mundane. The most attractive thing to me about real estate is that you get rewarded for your effort, and if you don’t put it in, you won’t get it back.

WP: And there’s flexibility? Work/life balance?

Dallas: Over the 20 years, the balance has changed dramatically. For the first 10-12 years it was a whole different balance, swaying heavily towards the career. At that point in time, my girlfriend (now wife) was working long hours as well and it worked out. But over the years we’ve altered the balance because we’ve got four kids. I’m still able to achieve what I want to achieve with family and continue developing at work.

WP: What do you find most satisfying about your work in the real estate industry?

Dallas: The way you can really impact someone’s life through property sales. Especially when a property sells for more than expected, beyond what a vendor is hoping for. Most people make a property transaction once or twice in their life and that’s a big deal. I also enjoy working with all different types of people. From vendors to purchasers, we meet people from all walks of life. That’s another highlight – every day is different.

WP: And what’s the most challenging aspect of your role?

Dallas: The time.

WP: Time?

Dallas: Regardless of who you are, the older you get, the more precious you realise time is. Finding time to be in the moment can be difficult, especially as I’m a very structured person. I like to plan my days and weeks well and I’ve really got to make an effort to manage my time.

WP: And how did you find the transition from being a salesperson, to being a leader within your business? What was that like?

Dallas: I’m a big believer in a ‘do what you say and say what you do’ attitude. So, I took that approach to both roles. I felt that as long as I worked hard, the team would follow – that works well for me. However, greater decision-making came with greater leadership and that was challenging. As a leader in business, some of the decisions you make will be good, and some will be hard. I’ve had to evolve into a position where I can comfortably make those decisions. One of the things that I learned over the years was to make the decisions fast, rather than letting them fester. That’s typically best for all parties. I am fortunate to have Andrew with me on this, another Jellis Craig Director. Our personalities are different, so we’re sort yin and yang. And as the business has grown, we’ve got a few more partners and a great management group. We’ve also got Wilson Pateras, who we can refer to often. To answer your question, having good people around me has made the transition fluid.  

WP: What are true traits in leaders that inspire you?

Dallas: Most importantly, leading by example. Our business model in here is that we’re never going to be managers that sit behind the desks. Every day we’re out on the tools. Every single Saturday I’m doing auctions. The team know that I’m on the grind every day and in some ways, I’m out there earning the right to lead. I think that’s important.

How the real estate industry has changed

WP: Having been in the industry for over 20 years, have you observed a change in the way that the public relate to the real estate category?

Dallas: Yes. I think the biggest change that I’ve seen is in the information available to vendors and purchasers. More often than not, I’ll walk into a meeting and it’s like the client already knows me. They’re also equipped with the information about the properties and recent results. Where the accessibility of information has certainly changed, the core of real estate hasn’t. People still just want someone that they can trust, and know they’ve got their best interests at heart.

WP: Access to information. That’s a change that came through technology?

Dallas: Yes. Technology’s allowed for sales to move much faster. The moment we list the property, it’s marketed straight onto your phone. More often than not, potential buyers have jumped on Google Maps and know the area, they even know what the homes are like next door. There’s no driving through the suburb, there’s no walking through the floorplan and there’s urgency because they can see how many others are looking. This changes the speed of the transaction.

WP: So, why is it so critical that principals engage with accountants and advisors that have this specific knowledge of their industry?

Dallas: One of my strengths is that I’m good with numbers, but in terms of understanding the whole concepts and the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’, I’ve probably asked you the same question on several different occasions. As I said before, for any business to be successful, you have to have the right people around you. And it helps if they’re very good at what they do. Wilson Pateras is invaluable when it comes to accounting.

WP: And how has collaborating with Wilson Pateras improved your practice?

Dallas: Wilson Pateras has given me the confidence to move forward. We know where we’re at, what we’ve achieved and what we need to do next. It’s also little things, like having clarity around tax and compliance. A lot of businesses have money coming in, but if they’re not balancing, they can have tax debts and obligations catching up with them. Then comes the mini heart attack when you realise there’s a potential debt sitting there. Just having someone reminding you of your responsibilities is the greatest thing.  

WP: What kind of support do you receive on a daily basis?

Dallas: When I’ve got a question about something, I’ll just shoot off an email and the response comes back. I’m sure I send stuff to you that’s is probably not relevant.

WP: You do on a Saturday morning, before you auction!

Dallas: Yeah, exactly.

WP: And do you feel more in control of being able to achieve the goals that you have, and exit the business at some point in the future?

Dallas: Yes. That plan is forming. We’re working towards that end goal but we won’t hit it for a while. Our investment goals are pretty property centric at the moment. Everything I’ve invested in just happens to be property and perhaps we’ll diversify a little bit into equities. Having your perspective on that, and just taking the time to think about where we’re at and where we’re going is important.

WP: In your experience, does superannuation play much of a role for real estate professionals?

Dallas: As I’m self-employed, I needed a prod to be more active. Wilson Pateras encourages me to top up my super, so I’ve made sure to do that for the last six or seven years. It could have easily been one of those things that I’d forgotten to do and then arrive 10 years down the track and realise I’d made a mistake.

WP: And it’s tax effective.

WP: So, when you were looking to appoint Wilson Pateras, what were the key problems that you wanted to solve?

Dallas: Planning for the future. I wanted discipline around a few key areas over the next 10 years, and then 10 years after that.

WP: And at the beginning of a real estate career, what wisdom would you offer to someone in terms of the kind of attention they should pay to their accounting.

Dallas: I think adding structure around any aspect of life is helpful.  You can put disciplines around aspects of your every day for greater success. Whether that’s being fit and healthy, spending time with your family or your business goals. Putting this structure around the accounting side of things just means that you’re most strategically positioned to maximise your income and grow your wealth. It’s not just about the tax return at the end of the year, there’re more to it than taxes. And that’s what most of us plan around. That knowledge comes from having someone in your corner and building a relationship over the years.

WP: The recent rate cuts. How do you think they will or have impacted on people’s enthusiasm for property in your catchment area?

Dallas: The vendors and purchasers see it as a good thing, so it will probably people’s confidence a little bit more. There wasn’t a lot of confidence in the market last year, but now the confidence is back. There’s a lot more at play, however.

WP: And closing, what do you see as the most important feature of your relationship with Wilson Pateras, for yourself as an individual?

Dallas: Moving towards where I need to be and with a greater understanding. With Wilson Pateras’ support, I feel I’m moving forward rather than remaining stagnant, in same position each year. Those are the main things. Particularly around transitioning from one stage of my career to the next and changing ideas around leadership. My biggest enjoyment has been going from a staff of three to a staff of seventy-plus. The support around this has been great and it’s what I get the most enjoyment of. It’s good fun!

Watch the video below

Wilson Pateras are Melbourne-based accountants specialised in helping real estate agents and real estate agencies with accounting, taxation, bookkeeping and financial planning. Learn more about our services for real estate professionals here.

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