Real estate agents are permanently on the run and we had the privilege to pin down one of the top agents in the Engel & Völkers group. Vere Killassy from Engel & Völkers Broadacres is one of the many top performing agents in the Fourways area of Johannesburg and we managed to get a behind the scenes look into who he really is.
Vere owned his own IT Finance company for 17 years and has been part of the real estate industry in Jukskei Park for almost 7 years now, of which the past 2 has been as part of the E&V family. His career path had to change when he was granted full custody of his 2 daughters, Teighan 19 and Natasha 15, and he knew he now needed to be there for his girls as both dad and mom. With him being office bound from 7am to 7pm, he decided he needed a new vocation that allowed him to be flexible and have more time at home. Vere sold his company lock stock and barrel and moved into the real estate industry, which gave him the same earning capacity but with more flexible hours. Vere initially joined another brand and although he was successful, the franchise was sold to another entity and this gave him the opportunity to assess the market to see if he could further his success. He decided to join the Engel & Völkers brand as they answered all his questions and ambitions.
“A great deal of a successful agent’s time, money and personal effort goes into marketing their expertise and qualities to the public to build a client base. Once they have done a great job for the clients, repeat business and referrals will follow. The real estate profession changes every day, but the qualities you find in your top-performing agents do not” says Craig Hutchison CEO of Engel & Völkers Southern Africa.
On a more personal note, Vere recently got married to a wonderful woman, Siobhan, this past December. She also has 2 kids, Doug aged 20 and Tabitha 19. They now have a full house and Vere says he would not have it any other way. He is passionate about his family and all his kids. The family does extend even further as they also share their home with 6 cats, 4 dogs and 54 tropical fish – we think we can safely say that you need to be able to be on top of your game in his house. When asked about his hobbies and what he does to relax Vere answers “Work, work and more work. Family and activities are also work that keeps you busy so the term relaxing …What is that?”
We got to do a quick Q&A to gain some more insight into Vere’s life:
Which areas do you work in?
Residential properties in both full and sectional titles within the Jukskei Park, Olivewood Estate and Waterford Estate areas of Fourways.
What are your top three secrets to success?
You need to do the basics, don’t give up and work hard.
What made you join the E&V group?
Upon meeting with the CEO of Engel & Völkers Southern Africa, I knew it would be the perfect fit. I felt at home from the moment I walked through the doors, and in the interview, they answered all my questions and I respected their openness and honesty. It truly is a great brand and a great group, almost like a true work-family. Which is why we always refer to the E&V family.
Can you remember how many properties you have sold? How many?
356 properties to date – One never forgets a sale or rather me personally – as I remember each of my clients and each of the properties I sold.
Please tell us about your accolades / achievements since joining the E&V group in 2015
I settled in with the brand quite quickly upon joining them. Only 2 months after starting, I was already ranking on their monthly, National top achievers programme, which I have managed to achieve 20 times since then, as well as platinum status for 2 quarters. Other accolades at our annual Rewards function includes:
- 2nd Place Agent of the Year – Bond Origination 2015
- 1st Place Agent of the Year – Gauteng 2016
- 1st Place Agent of the Year – Bond Origination 2016
- 2nd Place Agent of the Year – Top Preforming Agent of the Year 2016
- 3rd Place Agent of the Year – Most Exclusive Mandates 2016
- 2nd Place Agent of the Year – Most Units Sold 2016
- Brand Ambassador Nomination for the Year 2016
Which part of the property industry do you enjoy most?
I love people, I love interacting with them and love properties.
What is the most vital business tool that estate agents should have at their disposal in today’s market and why?
Knowledge, know what you are talking about, speak the truth and always give the full picture. Knowledge is POWER!
Do you remember the first property you sold? Please tell us about it.
My first deal was 19 Peridot Street, an abandoned home, I had to search for the owner in Germany and then through social media tracked him down and then sold his home. My first sale September 2010 for R1,2 million and I have sold the property again since then in 2015 for R2,8 million.
What do you find to be the most enjoyable and the most challenging aspects of the job?
The most enjoyable is definitely closing the deal and signing the offer – the rush is unexplainable. On the opposite end, the most challenging is definitely cold calling – it takes a lot of perseverance not to get despondent when clients are irritated with the caller.
What characteristics, in your opinion, make for a great estate agent/broker and why?
Agents need to be hard headed, tough skinned, tenacious, hard workers, and a people person and have the ability to talk.
Please tell us a bit about your best listing currently on your books.
Currently my best listing is ENV99529 if you wish to have a peek. A stunning home where you will want to invite your friends or family over to enjoy their company while sitting at the covered patio overlooking the pool and garden. Or those special moments with your loved one, sipping champagne and looking up at the stars above. It is 529m2 of living space, and 1250m2 of land for R2,4 million.
What is your personal goal to achieve in turnover for the financial year? / What are some of your career goals?
I would like to do 50 million in sales this year, finish 1st in the country overall and get my market share up from 28% to 35%.
What advice would you give to new kids on the block about making a success in their career in property?
Do the basics, work hard, put in the hours and don’t spend your money when you get a pay-out. Learn to manage your money, learn from a top achiever, follow them and learn from them.
On the lighter side:
You’ve been given an elephant. You can’t give it away or sell it. What would you do with the elephant?
Train the elephant to do party tricks and rent it out on a party basis.
How would you convince someone to do something they didn’t want to do?
Prove to them that they can’t live without it, show all the pros and cons of having it, make them want it and make them need it.
Describe the colour yellow to somebody who is blind.
Imagine the sun beating down on you; you are lying on the beach with the waves breaking over your feet. You look up at the sun, the heat burning through your eyelids, that warm glow that you feel burning into your brain – now that is YELLOW.
A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?
Is this Mexico, someone told me you had Tequila.