From joining the Barry Plant Pakenham office as a sales agent in 2015, to only three years later taking over the Barry Plant Narre Warren office as Managing Director, Nicola has experienced the unpredictability of a banking Royal Commission, a flatlined market in 2018 and 2019, and of course COVID-19 - which is still rearing its ugly head.
None of this though has stopped Nicola from transforming the Narre Warren office into an elite performer. The office, which has achieved outstanding results over the last two years, and has forged a reputation as being one of the best real estate offices in the area.
“Going through a downturn in the market brought about by the Royal Commission coupled with the fact that I had never been a director before, it definitely was an interesting time,” admits Nicola Parreira. “I went from a well-known agent in one suburb, to being no one in another suburb and almost having to start over. That first 6 to 12 months of becoming a Director is not something I would wish on my worst enemy to be honest.”
Nicola’s first-class sales record speaks for itself. She was named Sales Person of the Year for the Barry Plant Group in 2015, as well as Agent of the Year 2017 from RateMyAgent. She has also won a number of customer service awards.
But as successful as Nicola was as a sales agent, it didn’t prepare her for the all-encompassing nature of taking over an office as Director, as well as moving to a new area where she had to make a name for herself all over again. She was also doing this solo.
“It was just transitioning from a sales person to becoming a Director and taking on all these new and different roles, like training staff and being there for them. All the while I had to make a name for myself as a sales agent in an area where no one knew me,” said Nicola Parreira. “It didn’t matter how good I was previously and the sales I had made, I had to prove myself all over again. All this was happening at a time where the market had crashed, there were just no buyers and it was taking three months to sell a property. It was quite a challenging time.”
“I had to learn about the whole business, including the rental side which I wasn’t overly familiar with. I’m also a mother of three, so I was absolutely exhausted!” said Nicola Parreira. “But I knew what I wanted, I knew what I had to do, and I knew what would work. So I adapted. I was doing hours I probably shouldn’t have been doing, but after six months I became the number 1 agent in the area. And I’ve been able to hold that position ever since.”
Nicola’s perseverance amidst a number of difficult obstacles is quite extraordinary. Despite the success and the standing of Barry Plant Narre Warren as one of the area’s top agencies, Nicola does admit that a lot of sacrifices are required to achieve such success.
“The hard thing in our industry is the number of hours that we put in. It’s a very rewarding and fulfilling job, but it does take away a lot of your life. And unfortunately, the better you do, the less family time you have,” said Nicola Parreira. “You have to assess the importance of things such as family. I’ve had to make a lot of sacrifices when it comes to my family. And that’s hard as a mum, it’s hard as a wife. If you don’t have that support around you, you can’t do this job.”
Through her career, Nicola has worked in offices which have been predominantly female through all areas including sales, property management, and administration. This does the buck the trend in terms of gender balance in the industry and individual agencies. Nicola does note that there could be more opportunities for women at the very top end of the industry.
“From the level of a sales person, I’ve been lucky enough where the places I’ve worked have been primarily female-oriented. But for directors, there’s not the same balance,” admits Nicola Parreira. “I would love to see a lot more female directors come along, and it’s only a matter of time. They’re out there and it’s going to happen. But you’ve got to have that support around you to make it happen, because the job will take everything from you. But once you get through that, it’s so rewarding.”