After completing Commerce and Arts degrees at the esteemed University of Melbourne, Loretta spent the next decade of her professional career in the corporate world, becoming a business analyst and strategy consultant. But after her first child arrived, the world of real estate came calling.
“I always had a keen interest in the property market. I bought my first property when I was 19 and still at uni. I was one of those people who’d be running late somewhere, or on my way to a party, and I’d have to pull over because there was an open for inspection and I wanted to stick my nose in and have a look around. It really all started from there,” admits Loretta.
Rather than easing into the industry with a job as a PA or in administration, Loretta was thrown into the deep end and immediately became a sales agent. She spent her first seven and a half years working with David Moxon at the Barry Plant Bundoora office. “It was very challenging at first, there was a lot of door-knocking and cold calling. It was a very humbling experience, but at the same time a lot of fun,” Loretta shares.
Loretta has been prolific as a sales agent since joining the group in 2011. She won Barry Plant Top Seller and Top Lister awards in 2016 and 2017, and was named on the illustrious Top 100 Real Estate Business (REB) agents list for 2017. She was also named in the Top 50 Women in Real Estate in 2017. After taking a sabbatical at the end of 2017 for nine months, Loretta took the next jump in her career, moving away from the Bundoora office and taking on part ownership and becoming a Director in the Barry Plant Preston and Northcote offices. The Preston office was an established office but the Northcote office was new. It was a steep learning curve, outfitting an office, building a team and learning the nuances of a demographic that she was unfamiliar with.
Loretta is still very active as a sales agent, which is rare for CEOs and Directors of agencies. She admits balancing all aspects of the business can be a challenge, and splitting her time between overseeing both offices and selling her own properties can be quite tough. Then there’s making sure to get quality time with her family.
Having been in the industry for almost a decade now, Loretta has noticed an enormous shift in how agencies operate, and how individual agents operate on a day-to-day basis.
“In the past agents just used to list and sell houses, that’s all they did. But now, we’re not just sales agents, but more consultants and industry experts,” said Loretta Khoo. “There are so many more things in terms of technology and service level expectation that really have made role of agents grow. We need to be more educated, and understand property trends and know the market cycles before they even happen. It’s so much more intricate now.”
She has also seen a real shift in the clients, which Loretta believes works to the advantage of females entering the industry.
“Buyers are so much more educated these days. They have floorplans, they have videos, they have photography, they have databases about the history of the property. All of these things come into play with buyers in today’s market,” said Loretta Khoo. “I’m not saying all females, but many of us are typically really good with that detail. We have the ability to sympathise, empathise, and pay attention to the detail. Women are often the key decision makers when it comes to buying and selling, so we can also relate on that level.”
“When I first started in real estate it was a very male dominated industry, and it still is to an extent. But what I can say is that, the women I know in real estate are doing so well. Society as a whole is changing, and real estate as an industry is no different.” explains Loretta.
Loretta has only ever worked for Barry Plant in her property career, and loves the nurturing and community aspect of the company, and how everyone works together as one.
“Barry Plant is a brilliant family. I choose Barry Plant because they sold my house when I wasn’t in real estate. And I had a really good experience in the selling process. I actually had a female representative as my selling agent which was great,” she said. “The way the network operates and the way the franchises work together, we’re just one happy family. Everybody is so supportive from all levels including those in head office.”
Loretta also has some advice for females, and males for that matter, who want to enter the industry in 2021.
“Any female who is wanting to get into the real estate industry, I say go for it! You’ll be brilliant,” said Loretta Khoo. “I’m very big on having a vision and setting goals, and manifesting your own reality. If you just focus on your own race, the sky is the limit whether you’re a female or a male. Get good training and find some mentors who are going to support you, and just block out any of the noise.”