Helen Mc Cormack is a real estate auctioneer and Business All-Star Accredited Master Practitioner based in Co. Limerick.
Having worked in a booming sales market for eight years prior to 2009, she took the bold move of setting up her own business at the height of the recession.
Helen’s business diversified into lettings and property management at the time with a key focus on building long term relationships with clients.
The business has grown to encompass a strong client base with relationships based on trust and integrity.
Helen offers services in the area of Property Sales, Lettings & Property Management and Valuations and she marries her work life with busy family life as a mother of two children.
Here’s how she spends a typical day…
A Day in the Life
Getting ahead of the day is the most important part of the Day!
I always like to tidy up the Inbox the night before or send/respond to some emails on ‘delay delivery’ to get ahead for the next day. This is ‘decluttering’ so that I can stick to my schedule and focus on the present and future deals that are presenting.
My mindset is checking in with myself to ensure that I have optimised my input into each negotiation I am involved in for that specific moment during the lifecycle of the transaction; so that I am not at the mercy of people looking for me. I ensure that I do my best to attend to matters proactively.
6.50 am – Wake up
Spend some time in prayer thanking God for a new day, my family, our home, work and clients and surrendering all the things that weigh on me / the world that I have little control of. Always gain a sense of peace and am ready to start the day with enthusiasm!
Get up – wake up Rebecca (16) and Robert (14)! Let our adorable Bruno (lockdown puppy) out for a walk around. Feed the 3 cats. Have a glass of sparkling water and an espresso.
Drive daughter Rebecca to cousin’s house for a lift to school with friend and cousin’s wife Marianne who is also heading into the city with her daughter Emily. We live 25 minutes outside Limerick in the countryside (which we love).
Get ready for work – luckily I am quite good at having clothes ready in advance so there is a reasonable selection to choose from! I always wear ‘business attire’ but with the freedom that it reflects my own personality and style.
Leave the house. Drop Bruno at my mum’s house and drive Robert to school. Choosing to drive my kids in the mornings is a deliberate choice. I could arrange to have them collected many days but I realise that these routines are precious for them and for me. Being self-employed allows me flexibility in this regard.
Make calls, where appropriate / listen to late voicemails from the day before while driving to work or check in with my mentor Des Ryan on occasion.
Arrive in the office. Check-in with the team/today’s dashboard. Verify top 3 / 5 priorities. Adjust if necessary. I love the office environment – there is great energy, it is a hub of activity and calls and although it can be challenging – is very uplifting. The business works on systems and prioritisation. Many opportunities need to be acted on swiftly and I find it is very important that all aspects are kept ‘in flow’ in order to obtain optimal results. Preempting clients’ needs is at the forefront of the mindset of the team. Firefighting can start early distracting from the schedule and communication is very open as well as a ‘thinking on your feet’ mentality. We are recently enjoying our new electric desks that also have a Stand-Up function.
I am very protective of my mornings and realise a tone can be set for the day the minute you hit the office or the phone rings. I innately know what needs to be attended to and don’t let others unnecessarily control my time as all sorts of scenarios can present themselves. I work from this mindset and now find that the ability to prioritise is paramount. We use this tool which has become automatic for me. Thank you, Steven Covey!
I go through new enquiries for Sales and Commercial Rentals that have come in and start making calls and speaking to enquirers. I quickly gauge their level of interest and how ‘hot’ the interest is which dictates how I schedule the appointments. I update underbidders if a new offer came in. Every day, I am obsessed with the deal or deals that are in front of me. I have a firm conviction that everything sells it’s just a case of when and for how much! There is an art to selling and I am keenly aware that timing is a very important part of that. The external environment can change quickly, even subtleties can affect the interest or the deal. The most minute detail can interfere with consumer confidence. It is a very important skill to always be striking while the iron is hot in this industry as well as communicating. I never forget this every day.
10.30 am New Listing
When listing a new house / doing a Video or Virtual Tour we ensure that the appointment is generally scheduled for the morning for both myself and the videographer as the lighting is brighter. I am keenly aware that the vendor has made a special effort to have the place ready for the initial photos. I generally would have checked the weather forecast in advance of taking details for a new listing as photography as well as a detailed brochure are part of the Critical Success Factors in the presentation of a property for sale; with first impressions lasting. A picture, after all, tells a thousand words. I am aware that buyers are excited by new listings also and we aim to deliver on these expectations through presentations online and on social media.
12:15 pm to 1 pm
Brunch or early lunch either in the office or head out with Zoe to a café of our choice. I like to be back for the traditional ‘lunch’ time so that I can have a peaceful time during the period of 1 to 2 pm to either do viewings or reconfirm my schedule and calls for the rest of the day.
1:00 pm to 2:15 pm
Block Book viewings of one listing / possibly two if they are within close proximity of each other.
2.30 pm to 4:45 pm
A cappuccino works wonders with a light snack; nuts or a piece of fruit and some water for the afternoon.
I tend to work on more administration resales and listings or market appraisals/valuations including research of the wider marketplace and speaking to other agents if necessary.
Dealing with sales that may be slow to close and finding out all the facts from the solicitors in order to be able to communicate confidence to the vendor and purchaser. The auctioneer plays a very important role from Sale Agreed status to the closure of sale and often a pivotal role in ensuring good relations are kept between all parties.
Check-in with plans for Rebecca coming out from school and whether she wants to come up to the office or go home.
4.45pm – 5.45pm
Further viewings/block booking of one listing.
6:00 pm – 6.20 pm
Food shopping on the way home. Call Rebecca for a chat about the day and see how she is – let her know when I will be home.
Collect my son from school. Have a chat about the day/share stories.
Collect Rebecca and Bruno the dog from my mums.
Arrive at home. Have a hug and a chat. Light the fire.
Meet friends Patricia and Tracey locally for a walk/jog or intermittent walking and jogging. We have a Whatsapp Group so we plan it in advance earlier in the day at a time that suits us. We are all busy working moms so it tends to be late!
Make Dinner and have a family meal. Have a chat with the kids again. Help with homework where needed. Wash all the gear in the kids’ sports bag or any washing needed for school the next day.
Start winding down. Check-in on Social Media business-wise or the news of the day. Respond to any urgent emails that arrived. Dry all the gear needed for school or sports the next day. Tidy the kitchen.
Have a fabulous bath. Drink more sparkling water. Start telling the kids to put away the technology and go to bed (this could go on for quite a while lol….)
Go to bed, glance at a list of tasks for tomorrow, prioritise the top 5, give thanks for the day, and sleep like a baby!
The All-Ireland Business Foundation would like to thank Helen McCormack for sharing her story with our readers.
To learn more about Helen and her work with Helen McCormack Estate Agents, visit her All-Star showcase page here.