Louise admits that real estate was a career she fell into. After having her second child, she gave up the corporate events world as she was doing too much travel and wanted to find something closer to home. Property and real estate had always been an interest of Louise’s, so she got herself a job writing ad copy for the Barry Plant Heathmont and Croydon offices.
But rather than just working on the marketing side, Louise found she had a desire to forge a career as a sales agent.
“My eldest child was going off to school, so some people would say that’s a ridiculous time to go into real estate,” said Louise Carrigg. “I spoke to Jenny Bakken who was the director of Barry Plant Heathmont at the time, and I asked if there was any chance I could do real estate part-time. We both laughed, looked at each other, and said ‘Probably not, but let’s try anyway! Six weeks later I was a fully-fledged commission agent, and the rest is history.”
Louise went from wanting to do the job part-time and have a bit of fun with it, to the job becoming a full-time passion. She was not only focused on achieving great results and turning Barry Plant Heathmont into one of the area’s most successful agencies, but she also had an inner self-confidence that she could succeed in the industry.
“Being a mother of two kids and working in my own neighbourhood, I just felt excited about the opportunity that real estate in my own local area could give me,” said Louise Carrigg. “I did really well quite quickly. I think that was due to the age that I was coming in at, and that I was a female. I was able to build rapport and trust with clients really quickly. It just came at a perfect time in my life where I had that natural energy that the job requires, good corporate experience, and a love for communication and great service, plus drive – arguably the most important ingredient for success”.
Louise is also in the unique position where she is working day-to-day with her husband, Chris Carrigg, who is General Manager of the Heathmont and Ringwood offices. With 14 years’ experience at NAB, Chris joined Louise when the opportunity to buy Barry Plant Heathmont came up in 2014. Two years later, Louise and Chris also purchased the Ringwood office.
“If you had have asked us 20 years ago if we would ever have been able to work together, I probably would have said no. But the dynamic is actually really good,” Louise explained. “We both bring really different personalities and skill sets to the business. We quickly divided the work, with myself predominantly running the sales side of the business and Chris running the Property Management side.”
The Barry Plant offices in both Ringwood and Heathmont buck the trend when it comes to women working in sales teams. While real estate is generally more male dominated when it comes to the sales area, Louise has more women in those positions.
“We’re slanted to having more female sales agents than males, it’s not a conscious decision but I think comes from me being a female in the leadership position. I know what a busy working female is capable of doing, and really think it’s important to give them the space and structure to do it. I think that’s the critical element for females in real estate. It crosses over to men as well. It’s just the type of job that you need to find your own way to do it,” said Louise Carrigg.
“I’ve got a single mother on my team with three young kids. Some would say a career as a full time sales agent is not achievable in that situation. But I think if you work together to make the business goals line up with the targets they want to achieve, and put a structure around their week that is productive rather than fully policed, then that is the most important thing. I did my first two years part-time, and wrote over $500,000 worth of commission in both years. I know that it is possible,” Louise explains.
Louise believes it’s vitally important that partners and families of those in the real estate industry have insight and understanding of the job and all it entails.
“So many of our crew have families. It’s not easy, and I think to some extent success in real estate is about having time to grow into the role and those around you also growing with you. We spend time focusing together on how to make our jobs work with our lives, with our families, taking breathers when needed for ourselves or for our families/supports. Real estate is going to be a lot easier if you have those support networks around you that understand what’s involved in the rollercoaster.”
Louise also recognises that more work is needed in terms of women in the real estate industry, especially from a mentoring and development perspective.
“I think across the board, there is still scope to improve when it comes to supporting female sales agents. Barry Plant are currently working and developing appropriate mentor programs for female sales agent specifically. It’s very exciting!” said Louise Carrigg.