In My Career we catch up with Property Negotiator Auctioneera, Fiona Waldron
Name: Fiona Waldron.
Lives: A Kerry woman living in Cobh for the past 30 years.
Job title: Senior Property Negotiator, Auctioneera.
Salary bracket: €45,000-60,000.
Education background: Fully Licenced Estate Agent & Valuer, Member of the Institute of Professional Auctioneers, and Valuers (MIPAV) Certificate in Best Management Practice, University College Cork.
Hobbies: Travel and good food are two of my favourite things. One of the positives to come out of the Covid-19 situation is that the staycation is now as exciting as getting on a plane and going abroad; OK, so we are not guaranteed the weather, but it’s allowed me to see so much of Ireland over the past two years.
We have eaten lobster rolls at the top of Slieve Liag in Donegal, pancakes on the beach in Achill Island, and we enjoyed an amazing lunch in the Titanic Hotel in Belfast city.
All places that were on my to-do list but are now on my can’t-wait-to-return-to list.
Describe your job in five words: Selling property properly, no compromise.
Describe yourself in five words: Diligent, honest, motivated, interested, friendly.
Personality needed for this kind of work? Confidence in your own expertise and decision-making skills is essential, but you also have to be capable of listening to each individual client to deliver the best service. It helps to be a people person, a problem-solver, and most importantly, have a can-do attitude.
How long are you doing this job? 20-plus years.
How did you get this job? I started my career in 2000 in an estate agent’s office in East Cork. During this time, I attended Cork Institute of Technology.
In 2005, I qualified as an estate agent and later became a member of the Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers. Since then, I have worked in agencies in East Cork, Douglas, and spent over six years working on the South Mall in Cork city.
I joined the team in Auctioneera in October, 2020.
Working with Auctioneera has allowed me to bring all my years of experience and use it in a new and exciting way.
We still provide the all-important personal interaction with our clients but through a much more efficient and cost-effective platform. We charge property sellers a fixed fee as opposed to a commission.
Do you need particular qualifications or experience? All estate agents are required to have a licence from the Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA). In terms of getting into this line of work in Cork, the Cork College of Commerce offer an Auctioneering and Property Services Apprenticeship. This is a two-year apprenticeship program aimed at school-leavers, mature applicants, and existing employees who are considering a career as a PSRA licenced auctioneering property services professional. Participants work four days per week on an apprenticeship basis with an auctioneer, estate agent, property management or letting business and attend classes in the college one day per week over two academic years.
Describe a day at work: At Auctioneera.ie, it’s very much about being prepared and organised for the day ahead. In the morning, I will look to see if there are any emails relating to properties that are in the negotiation phase of the sale, where there might be action required on my part to progress things for my clients, the vendors.
After this, I will have a short morning call with my estate agent colleagues and we will discuss various properties. I will then review property market research for any valuation appointments that I have for the day ahead. I will also get organised (gather keys, etc.) for any viewings that I might be hosting. Then I’ll head to the car and fulfil the appointments throughout the day.
I will also of course be getting calls over the course of the day relating to different matters – it could be a vendor checking in for a quick chat or it could be a buyer who wants to discuss an engineer’s structural report on one of my vendor’s properties that they’ve gone sale agreed on.
I’ll also keep an eye on any messages from the office relating to call-back requests; customer service excellence is a top focus for all the Auctioneera team, so I want to ensure I have followed up with everyone, be it sellers or buyers, in a timely manner.
How many hours do you work a week? On average, we work a 39-hour week, but we need to be flexible.
What do you wear to work? Presentation is important when I am meeting clients, so I always aim to be dressed in a professional manner. Smart-looking coats, blazers, blouse, formal trousers and so on.
Is your industry male or female dominated? Neither, it’s a good mix of both.
Does this affect you in any particular way? The mix of personalities and experience helps to get different perspectives on situations.
Is your job stressful? How? Rate it on a scale of 1-10: This career can be quite stressful. There are a lot of emotions attached to buying and selling properties, it can be a long process and we are with our clients every step of the way.
I must admit that since joining Auctioneera, my stress levels have decreased dramatically. The background support is amazing, and because our system is so transparent, any red flags are highlighted and dealt with swiftly and efficiently.
So, on a scale of 1 to 10, from my experience, I would give the profession in general about an 8 but in my current position, with all the support I have, I would say a tough day would be a 4 or 5, but honestly most days are great, and it would be a 1 or 2.
Do you work with others or on your own? We have a large team and offices in Cork, Dublin and Galway. As I joined during lockdown, I have not met all of the team in person, but we start the day with a team meeting, so like many people in other companies, we’ve all adapted. Being out most days meeting clients means I would rarely be office-based anyway for long periods.
When do you plan to retire or give up working? Unless I win the lotto and can afford to spend my time travelling the world in a state-of-the-art campervan, I have no plans to retire until I absolutely have to.
I genuinely love my job and enjoy going to work. Covid has made me realise even more how lucky I am.
Best bits: Trust in the Auctioneera system; I am 100% confident that every client I meet I am offering them the best service at a fraction of the cost of every other estate agent.
Worst bits: When a buyer or vendor has a change of heart, and having to make that dreaded phone call. The only thing to do in this situation is to act quickly and get the deal back on track.
Advice to those who want your job? Go for it! This is one of the very few careers where there are no discriminations, it doesn’t matter what age or sex you are. If you have a passion for it, just do it. My journey began as a single mother in my thirties. I have a friend in her fifties who has just started an apprenticeship and another amazing lady I worked with has just qualified in her early twenties and is well on the way to a very successful career. Get in touch with the College of Commerce in Cork, join LinkedIn and make connections.
Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. The majority of people will be more than happy to help.
Any other comments? If anyone would like to reach out to me for advice, please do. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.