Liam Collett recently spent his 21st birthday working in his new real estate franchise on Barrys Point Road, Takapuna.
On 1 August when he opened the doors to Century 21 More Property Realty, the businessman was just 20 and remains arguably the youngest solo franchise owner to do such a thing worldwide.
Liam was born and bred on the North Shore. He grew up in real estate with both his parents leading real estate agents on the Shore for some years. His two grandfathers were also in the property industry, as was one of his great-grandfathers.
“I’m the fourth generation, with real estate a big part of my childhood. We’d deliver countless flyers and sit in the car waiting for listing appointments or open homes to finish. While Sunday was known as auction day. I also remember mum and dad constantly on the phone. Being around it, it’s amazing how much you pick up,” he says.
The youngest of three boys, Liam has been the only one to take up the family real estate baton and his potential was seen early.
At 17 years of age he started out as a PA in the property division of his father’s Glenfield-based real estate business, but within two months he was promoted to Business Development Manager. It was a role he held for three years and during that time he achieved solid growth in the property management side of the business.
“I always wanted to set up my own franchise from scratch as my parents had and thought it’s now or never. Three years earlier I wrote a business plan, which had been sitting in the drawer, so it was a case of dusting it off and bringing my dream to life.”
On deciding real estate companies, Liam and a couple of his business mentors met with visiting Australasian Century 21 owner Charles Tarbey who took them through a business presentation on his company and its vision. Liam was sold and he immediately went about setting up a new Century 21 franchise with the North Shore his territory.
“Century 21 has true global strength and its systems are amazing. For example, vendors can track progress of their property transaction, sales or property management via our online portals making the entire process very transparent. It’s great and exactly what the real estate industry needs.
Liam says his Takapuna business is office number 7,786 for Century 21 globally but admits his greatest claim to fame is his achievements at such an early age.
“Across Century 21 internationally, we don’t think there is anyone who owns and runs a franchise by themselves who is younger,” says Geoff Barnett. National Manager of Century 21 New Zealand.
While traditionally middle-aged people may have treated it as an end of career role, Liam believes real estate is changing fast with more and more young people viewing it as a career-long profession.
“Once upon a time Joe Bloggs could sell a house, but now it’s a lot more complex given all the rules and regulations and the delicacies around successfully selling real estate. At the same time, there are more opportunities for reward, with agents now in greater control of their own standalone businesses within an agency.”
Liam wants to be at the forefront of a generational change in real estate that primarily pushes a focus on extraordinary service and value for money.
“Service needs to be the absolute focus. I think our industry can do so much better and frankly needs to. People’s houses are their most valuable asset and we are entrusted to do the best possible job with that asset. Currently any service gets mostly directed to the vendor while the needs of buyers often get overlooked. That needs to change.”
He believes his team will help drive a positive change to the industry catering for a wide range of the community with over five languages spoken in the office. When recruiting, he highly values trust, integrity and the importance of salespeople keeping their word. He says for success to prevail, positivity must also.
“I’ve got an affirmation that pops up on my phone and I repeat to myself multiple times a day - that all things lead to my success, wealth and happiness. Those who say it’s harder for young people these days, I say ‘the only thing stopping you is yourself. "Remove the self-doubt and you are limitless!”