Property Manager to Principal: Tammy Vitale
Starting a property management business may seem like a momentous task, but according to Tammy Vitale, if you’ve got the drive and the passion to become a principal – the rest will follow in line.
Vitale had an interest in property management from a young age, purchasing her first property in her late 20s. While she continued to expand her property portfolio with her husband over the years, she didn’t begin her real estate career until some years later.
How it All Began
After years of working in the finance industry, Vitale reached a point in her early 40’s where she desired a career change.
“I remember coming home one day and saying to my husband, I don’t think I can stand doing this work anymore,” says Vitale.
“He asked what I wanted to do instead and that’s when I realised I wanted to manage properties, as a career.”
Vitale got herself qualified at the REIQ, studying a Full Licence course giving her the flexibility to open her own agency.
“I knew I wanted to open my own agency one day. But I needed experience under my belt. So, I started as an assistant property manager and worked my way up,” says Vitale.
Before long Vitale was managing the property management department at the popular franchise, REMAX Advantage in Wynnum. She then moved to another agency, Ray White in Wynnum, until the opportunity arose to open her own business.
The Keys to Success
Knowing that she wanted to eventually set up her own business, Vitale spent much of her professional life planning what it would look like.
“For me, I was always motivated to run my own show. It was always in the background – for four to five years beforehand. I knew what kind of brand I wanted to represent, our philosophy and how I wanted to present the business,” says Vitale.
Waiting for the right opportunity was key to Vitale’s success.
“I had my full licence, I had the motivation, I was just waiting to be in a position to be able to do it,” says Vitale.
“The first priority for me was the right location. I wanted an office with a shop front in a prominent place. When a place on the main street in Manly popped up, it allowed us to propel forward.”
Tammy Vitale set up her property management business, Vitale and Co alongside her husband, Armando, in March of 2019.
“Once the office was purchased, we had the job of an office fit out – working out what equipment we needed, what software we wanted to use, what research we had to do,” says Vitale.
“I remember needing to post a property listing but I couldn’t do it, as I hadn’t yet registered with realestate.com.au. We really learnt along the way.”
There’s one aspect of starting her own business that Vitale urges prospective principals to be prepared for. That is, the financial influence.
“The first 12 months are scary. Our incomes both dropped drastically and we relied on our savings to get us by. That is something that you need to be prepared for,” says Vitale.
The Vitale duo started to grow their property management business organically, however they recommend prospective principals consider purchasing a small portfolio to begin with.
“Make an educated decision about your growth strategy. We chose to build our portfolio organically as there weren’t any portfolio’s available to purchase. It was an educated decision as I had a few landlord’s that were able to give me business, but a portfolio would certainly help get you off the ground,” says Vitale.
Network and Connect
Known as the ‘people’s industry’, a large part of a property manager’s job is networking and connecting.
Vitale is well known in the industry for her involvement with the REIQ, presence at industry events and connection with local communities and chambers in her local area. This networking set her up in good stead to launch a business.
“Put your hand up if someone needs something, and be involved in the community. I truly believe that word of mouth has helped us grow,” says Vitale.
“I also recommend that you continue the service you are known in the industry for, and determine your point of difference. Us property managers all do the same task, but we all do it differently. Show them what’s different about your services.”
While there are peaks and troughs of business ownership, Vitale has never looked back.
“If you’ve got money behind you to help you get through that zero stage and gradually build your portfolio, I thoroughly recommend becoming a principal. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done,” says Vitale.
Didn’t complete a Full Licence? Learn more about how you can undertake a Licence Upgrade course with the REIQ. To read more about becoming a principal, learn how to weigh up starting your own business.