Majella has been working in the property sector for over a decade and has built up a wealth of knowledge and experience of the Cork and West Cork property market throughout the years. A Chartered Estate Agent and RICS Registered Valuer, she provides the very best of service and most successful outcomes for her clients. She is highly committed to her clients and focused on delivering the best results.
Her expert advice is grounded in honesty to ensure her clients have complete confidence in her abilities to manage their properties.
Alongside her sister Caroline, Majella works in DNG Galvin, a long-established innovative family estate agency firm with expertise in the sale, letting and valuation of residential, commercial and agricultural property.
In this episode, we discuss her path into auctioneering, the importance of marketing, networking and being part of business groups and organisations, trends in the property market, the importance of supporting and educating clients on their property journey and the multi-faceted skills required of a modern chartered estate agent.
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About this podcast
Duration: 20:19 mins
Majella's Takeaway Tip
“ It’s about going out there, getting experience and seeing if it’s for you”
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Geraldine:[00:00:00] Welcome to the Cork Creative Podcast. With this podcast, we hope to shed light on the great work being done by local creatives and business people in Cork city and county. In Cork Creative’s third series, we tackle the property market and speak with three local estate agents to get their opinion on their business industry, on the property market in Cork.
In this episode, Patrick Kiely from Flux Learning chats to Majella Galvin, the first chartered estate agent in West Cork. Majella bears the Galvin name, which is synonymous with auctioneering in West Cork. Her father Michael, set up his own auctioneering business 40 years ago, and although he inspired her career choice, it is obvious that her success is down to her own determination, hard work, and passion for her industry.
In this episode, Patrick and Majella discussed her path into auctioneering, the importance of [00:01:00] marketing, networking, and being part of business groups and organizations, trends in the property market, the importance of supporting and educating clients in their property journey, and the multifaceted skills required of a modern chartered estate agent.
Patrick: So Majella, tell us a little about how you got into being an estate agent.
Majella: Well Patrick, growing up I always wanted to be an estate agent. The highlight of my week would be to accompany my father, who was an auctioneer , on Saturday viewings. I suppose, after my leaving cert, then I went to college in Cork. I did two years in Cork studying property, and I then went on to the University of Redding in the UK to do my degree because at the time there was no degree for auctioneering in Ireland. So, um, I graduated in 2010 over in the University of Redding on a very, very cold day. I returned to Ireland after that. I was working for a while in Dublin and I came [00:02:00] home to the family business.
Mm-hmm. , um, great to be back in West Cork, but I suppose this is a, a career really, Patrick, that you know, you’re constantly learning, you’re constantly enhancing your skills. So we would do a minimum of 20 hours CPD per year. Um, now I have to admit I do a lot more because I’m involved in a lot of societies and property industries.
Sure. But I was working away and I did feel like there’s always a mindset in me that I want to constantly improve because I feel the more knowledge I have, the better service I can give to clients. Sure. Which obviously translate the better decisions that they can make, which is very important when they’re buying or selling a property.
Such a big decision in one’s life. Sure. So I progressed to do my chartership with the Society of Chartered Surveyors in Ireland, and I completed that last year actually, and I got the privilege of being the first female chartered [00:03:00] estate agent in West Cork. So I really was honoured for that.
Patrick: Excellent stuff.
So we’ve spoken about how you got into estate agents and the qualifications and the CPD, given the strained nature of the property market at the moment, do you feel pressure in terms of how you market and communicate your service.
Majella: Yeah, I think the, the, the property industry is a very competitive industry. It’s constantly evolving, constantly changing, but I wouldn’t say it’s a pressure. I think it requires agents to be very innovative and creative and think outside the box. Sure. And that is something which we’ve done here at DNG Galvin over the past few years.
Patrick: And can you elaborate a little bit on what thinking outside the box means for you and for DNG Galvin?
Majella: So I think, um, thinking outside the box for DNG Galvin is really moving away from the traditional base. And I suppose our ultimate aim always is to put the customer first. Mm-hmm. . So we’re interested really in how can we [00:04:00] make buying or selling a property easier for our client. Mm-hmm. . If from working in the industry, one of the things which I have experienced is the lack of knowledge among buyers and sellers of the property journey.
And I suppose there’s a lot of information out there, but I feel there’s a lack of valuable information out there. And our aim here at DNG Galvin is to simplify the process. So thinking outside the box for us would be when we’re doing our marketing, the value we provide, we want to showcase in the line of tips, give buyers, like one thing we always do is providing sellers with tips on how to prepare their house for sale. You don’t just put your property on the market. There’s a whole stage of preparation. Before that, we’d always work with sellers to prepare their property for sale. Sometimes that would mean bringing in a home stager, you know, it’s how do they get the best value for their [00:05:00] property.
The other thing is making sure they’ve legalities in. A lot of sellers don’t realize that until the property is sale agreed. But if you had an issue with legalities, if planning wasn’t in order and the property became Sale Agreed, you have a big long delay. Sure. So at DNG Galvin here, we like to be proactive and address these issues before the property goes in the market.
Patrick: Literally having all your ducks in rows so the, the buyers and the sellers know where they are within the process. Absolutely. Sure. Back, I suppose, to marketing and communication for a moment. Does the dominance of the communication channels for property by the likes of Daft and myhome.ie restrict your opportunities to market and communicate creatively?
Majella: So Daft and myhome would be the main two property portals in Ireland. Sure. And I suppose they’re one of the first places buyers would go to when they’re looking for a property, but Daft and myhome, in my opinion, are, are only one element of the marketing mix. Mm-hmm. . [00:06:00] Um, for example, our marketing strategy here in DG Galvin is that if we list a property, the first thing we will do is we will do a sneak preview on social media.
Sure. And we have a registration for buyers. We call it the Heads Up Property Alert System where buyers can register their details, what type of property they’re looking for, and when we get a property, before we go to portals with it, we will email them so they’ll be one of the first to know about the properties coming to the market.
Sure. As I say, we then do a launch on our social media channels, our own websites, dnggalvin.ie and then we go to DAFT and myhome. Sure.
Patrick: So it’s a component, but it’s not a central component and it’s almost the last step in the chain in terms of marketing. Absolutely. Okay.
On websites and property websites, generally it’s apparent that there’s more 360 degree walkthroughs and there’s more drone footage of properties.Is this now the new [00:07:00] benchmark for buying and setting a property, and is it expected of buyers and sellers that this is how property would be presented?
Majella: Yes, Patrick. You know, video tours, they really came about during the covid period when people couldn’t physically go to see property. There was property sold, um, online and we’ve sold properties online and I feel that they’re great asset to both buyers and sellers.
Really. Sure. Um, buyers, they’re convenient because I suppose they can see property online, which means they can rule out properties that they feel wouldn’t suit their match. Sure. Which would save time. It also saved the agent’s time and seller’s time. And so I think from a seller’s point of view, then yes, I think sellers do expect it and should expect it.
And we’re moving on to a digital age more and more. I suppose there is different types of tours Patrick but I would always favour the one that would be [00:08:00] authentic, that would be the agent going in, showing the house as it is to the best of its ability and showing the area around it, because I always say, a house is more than bricks and mortar.
Sure. You know, it’s the area you live in and it’s the community you live in. So it’s showcasing nearby communities. So I think that’s very important that you’re not just marketing at home, you’re marketing an area and a lifestyle as well.
Patrick: Of course, you’re putting the property in its local context effectively.
Majella: 100%. Yes.
Patrick: No, that makes perfect sense. Within this local context, I suppose, and the fact that there’s more working from home now, there’s a growing trend for remote work. How is this impacting on the property market in West Cork, and how is it impacting on the types of homes people are looking for in West Cork?
Majella: Um, going back to that Covid word again, Patrick , I think, you know, the West Cork property market changed a lot mm-hmm during the past two -three years and demand for property in West Cork has escalated. Sure. And I suppose it’s [00:09:00] still very strong. Mm-hmm. West Cork is a beautiful place and everybody realized it.
Um, I think we all learned more about it during the Covid when we were confined. And, uh, we really appreciate where we live. Mm-hmm. But we found there’s a lot of people coming from the likes of Dublin, Cork city, UK, wanting to live in West Cork because of its lifestyle. Sure.
Um, so what type of houses are they going for?I think, yeah, during the Covid it would have changed the type of housing people are going for. Say prior to it, people were looking for city central locations. You know, the smaller house would’ve been fine. But since the covid and the remote working has become a big thing now, and it’s still a big thing, I suppose home is more important to people.
They’re spending more and more time there, which means that they’re looking for more spacious homes. Home office is a must for nearly every family. Now, a garden, [00:10:00] you know, broadband and people generally do like to be in the countryside. Because they’re seeing the lifestyle side of it. I think the time that people would’ve spent commuting back and forth to work, they now have that extra time to spend with their families. They want to look at the local amenities, parks, of course, the beautiful beaches of West Cork. So yeah, home life is more important now.
Patrick: I suppose a booming property market in West Cork is the price we pay for the, uh, as you said, the scenery and all the advantages to West Cork.
Majella:.We do have a beautiful place, indeed.
Patrick: And we’re not shy about telling people about that .
So based on your experience, is broadband provision still a major consideration for buyers of property? Does it impact on the buyer decision? Does it impact on the value of the property and the saleability of the house?
Majella: Yes. Broadband, I suppose, is definitely a big, big key requirement for buyers at the moment and has been over the past few years.
In fact, it’s the [00:11:00] first thing nearly people do when they go into a house. They’ll check the broadband speed. You know, it also depends on your buyer profile. If you have a retired couple, broadband may not be as important as a young working professional. Maybe the retired couple might may prefer to be walking the beaches.
It really depends on the buyer profile that you’re selling to. Mm-hmm. . But in the majority of cases, yes, broadband is very important. We have cases where, you know, professional couples come in, they’re working, they need to check the speed, because that depends on whether they can live in the area or not.
So that affects the value of the property to them. Sure. So in the majority of cases, yes, it does affect the value of the property because value is determined by how much demand is there in the marketplace and in the current marketplace,buyers demand broadband.
Patrick: Are you seeing the positive impact or the impact in [00:12:00] general of the national broadband plan. Is broadband now present in more properties and it’s it now more available in portfolio properties that you’re now selling?
Majella: Absolutely, absolutely. And becoming more so. Yes.
Patrick: Very good to hear indeed.
So you spoke previously about thinking outside the box in terms of marketing and communications, so speaking about your vlog for a moment.
What motivated you to start the vlog and what do you hope to achieve with it?
Majella: Okay, so Patrick, I suppose working in the industry every day, and as I said before, seeing the lack of knowledge among buyers and sellers of the buying and selling process and seeing the direct impact it has on the property journey, causing it to be a stressful.
And I suppose my ultimate aim is to educate buyers and sellers about the process so that it becomes an enjoyable process, not a stressful one. How I do this really is by providing [00:13:00] information, valuable tips, making it easier, breaking down all relevant information that they need to know. So that the buyer needs to know all the information and what they need to do to be prepared to speed up the journey.
Sure. Likewise, the seller knows what they have to do so that they can speed up the journey. Sure. And take the stress out of the process. Well, that’s the main aim of it, to help buyers and sellers, but it’s also looking at the wider community. Mm-hmm. , I would’ve done several videos showcasing West Cork.because going back to what I said before, you know, you don’t just buy a house, you buy the area. Sure. Um, so it’s just showcasing what it’s all about.
Patrick: That makes sense. With the vlog, with the digital marketing that you’re undertaking, given the increased technical nature of your work, do you feel that digital skills are a prerequisite now for being a estate agent?
Majella: I do. Patrick. I really do. I think being an estate agent, you have to wear a lot of hats. It’s a real multitasking job. [00:14:00] Obviously, you know your property side, but marketing is becoming more and more prevalent in our everyday jobs. So I think, yeah, you really do need the skills. An agent could outsource their marketing to a marketing company, and that can work for some people.
But I like to show the authentic, real life of an agent and how it works. Mm-hmm. . And that may involve taking snippets of my day. You know, it may involve when I’m out walking land, during land valuations, showing my wellie boots and saying, right, walk in the boots of an estate agent. So, you know, I do feel it’s very important, but also going back to the digital side of it, we’re really moving more and more online every day.
Buyers and sellers want more instant reactions? Sure. So going back to websites, we’ve a new website, um, the DNG have a new website launching now the end of the month where buyers [00:15:00] and sellers will have 24 hour access to getting updates bidding. And I think it just goes to show, you know, where the digital world does come in the property industry.
Patrick: So you’re already working an awful lot with digital marketing. You’re working with an awful lot of digital skills , what are your plans for 2023? What do you look to implement in 2023 to help with digital marketing?
Majella: Well, we have an exciting plan for 2023, um, obviously to continue what we’re doing at the moment, but also I suppose it’s growing to meet clients’ needs.
And one thing which is on the plans, exciting for us, is a podcast. We’re going to do a series for buyers and sellers. Our first series is going to be focused on buyers, helping them on their property journey, kind of step by step guide and bringing different property industry experts in to give their opinion.
For example, mortgage advisors, interior designers, someone in the legal profession to just [00:16:00] share the journey and how we can make it easier. So the podcast is definitely one of the exciting benchmarks of 2023 for DNG Galvin.
Patrick: Very good. You obviously have a, a major grá for this industry and for your role within the industry.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to take a similar career path? What would that advice be?
Majella: The first thing is you have to love what you do. Mm-hmm. This is not a 9-5 job. Mm-hmm. And I’m very fortunate that I really love what I do. Mm-hmm. I think it’s very important that you get as much experience on the ground as an estate agent as possible.
Sure. And that’s where you really, really learn. Mm-hmm. Focus on communication skills. Mm-hmm. , because at the end of the day, it’s a people’s business. Sure. Think of courses -selling property, digital marketing, and I suppose at the end of the day, it’s about going out there, getting an experience and seeing if it’s for [00:17:00] you.
Sure. It’s for some people, it’s not for others, so it’s just on the ground really getting experience.
Patrick: Sure. The combination of experience and rounding out the skillset with those courses and digital marketing as you said.
With your role within the industry, you’re involved in a lot of professional organizations.Can you give us a brief rundown as to what your involvement with those organizations are and what your day-to-day engagement with them would look like?
Majella: So yes, I am involved in quite, quite a bit. Um, Patrick, I, I do admit that.
I’m a member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland, and that’s the main leading professional body in Ireland for all sectors of the property industry. I am chair of the Southern Region Committee.
I’m also involved in the residential committee within the Society of Chartered Surveyors and the Membership and Public Affairs Committee. Um, so there’s quite a few groups in that.
I suppose my role there really is to take a step ahead and look at what’s [00:18:00] coming in the industry, to review day-to-day things. And we work on coming up with policies, presenting them to the government bodies. Sure. And just, seeing how we can help members and everyday practices in the estate agency profession.
Patrick: A proactive role in that you’re trying to respond to the market before it’s obliged.
Majella: Absolutely. Absolutely. Absolutely. And I think there’s so much benefit from being involved in these groups. You gain so much knowledge about the market, about the profession. And that obviously transfers back to the service you can provide to clients.
So I also play a very active role in Network Ireland, West Cork. I joined it just kind of during the Covid times and it’s an amazing organization for women in business. I’m on the committee. I currently do their monthly newsletters and am communications officer, but I think it’s been involved with that amazing group of inspiring business people. The opportunities. We [00:19:00] get the events every month. We’re constantly learning, networking, meeting new people. The other thing I suppose I had the privilege of being involved in is the Network Ireland Businesswoman Awards. And this year I received highly commended in the Nationals. So it was…
Majella: Thank you. It was a great experience. Sure. And very, very rewarding. .
Patrick: That’s fantastic. Majella, I think that concludes our podcast for today. All that is left to do for myself and for Cork Creative is to say thank you very much for agreeing to be interviewed and for sharing your insights in the property market and your career in general.
Wish you every good luck for 2023 and we’ll keep an eye out for those podcasts.
Majella: Thank you very much Patrick.[00:20:00]