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 In Lifestyle, Lifestyle Property Management

Marshall White Property Management

Jacqui Bendall, Rising Star Award

In a classic example of a ‘career pivot’ due to the COVID pandemic, Jacqui Bendall switched from running her own travel agency to working in real estate…

In a classic example of a ‘career pivot’ due to the COVID pandemic, Jacqui Bendall switched from running her own travel agency to working in real estate. The move has certainly been a positive one for Jacqui, who was recently named Marshall White’s Property Management ‘Rising Star’ for 2021.

Jacqui, a well-known and respected member of the Boroondara business community, founded Surrey Travel more than 20 years ago. When COVID hit, Jacqui had recently relaunched – with a brand update – and was working from her offices in Kew with a team of six.

“What happened last year really came out of the blue. But I’m not someone to sit still and not do anything. Eventually, I decided I had to get back out there,” she explained.

Long-time friend, Paula Matlock, Director, Property Management, recognised that Jacqui had precisely the right personal qualities and professional skills to join Marshall White’s property management team.

“Jacqui is used to paying meticulous attention to the needs of her clients and I knew that she could apply this skill when matching the right tenant to the most suitable property,” Paula said.

So, with Paula’s encouragement, Jacqui enrolled in the agents’ representative course and joined Marshall White’s leasing team at the Boroondara office.

“I learned the ropes pretty quickly,” Jacqui said.  “I had all my computer skills, from years of using sometimes quite complex travel booking systems, and the agents’ course provided me with a good overview of all the industry legal aspects and terminology.”

“I just love what I do. No day is the same. The market, the industry, the properties – it’s always changing and evolving, it’s exciting”

Paula said that Jacqui has been so successful in the relatively short time she has been in the role, that she has taken on more responsibility, mentoring an assistant.

“Jacqui is an expert in dealing openly and honestly with a wide range of people so her communication with rental providers, renters and tradespeople is friendly, calm and efficient. Her business mantra is to “deliver more than what is expected,” Paula said.

Although still saddened at COVID’s devastation of the travel industry, Jacqui now feels ‘at home’ at Marshall White Boroondara and was thrilled to be awarded the ‘Rising Star’ award.

“It’s lovely to be recognised but I honestly just really enjoy doing what I do and was fortunate to be able to achieve what I did. In some ways Property Management is very similar to travel. You have to really listen to the client and understand exactly what they want and need. I enjoy the backstory of why someone needs a specific type of property and then being able to match them to something. It’s a bit like suggesting the perfect resort or hotel that meets all the needs for the travel client,” Jacqui said.

“You have to ask all the right questions. Do they have pets? Do they need to be close to a particular school? It’s more important than ever during lockdowns as a person’s home needs to be a safe place, a sanctuary that satisfies their current needs, particularly with home schooling and working from home.  The constraints around inspecting properties makes it all the more hard. I am always super honest with prospective renters if I don’t believe the property is the right fit, she explains.

Jacqui has a great deal of empathy for clients who have been impacted by COVID.

“Many people are going through challenging times, which may be why they need to move. Because of the pandemic owners may have come back from overseas and either want or need to move into their properties, or others may have to sell their properties, so there’s a lot of displaced renters that need to find a home.

Jacqui, along with husband Andrew, and kids, Josh, 22, and Sammy, 20, are Boroondara ‘through and through’.

“One grandfather and one great grandfather were Mayors of Hawthorn, and my dad Robert Patterson was a well-known accountant and Hawthorn Rotarian. The kids went to Xavier and Ruyton and Andrew and I play golf, when we can, at Kew Golf Club – so over the years, and through the business as well, you get to know a lot of people,” Jacqui said.

Jacqui has reconnected with many of her former travel clients through her new role.

“It’s funny! A lot of people have seen my name on the ‘For Lease’ boards and people who I haven’t heard from in ages have been ringing me, saying they saw my name – so I’ve been getting enquiries from people I know who need help. It’s been lovely to reconnect.”

“I’ve also discovered quite a few of my former clients are Marshall White clients, so I’ve reconnected with them too.  So sometimes knowing both clients it can feel a bit like being a matchmaker – matching the right renter to the right property and the right owner.”

Would Jacqui consider returning to the travel industry if it does open up again?

“That’s a tough one. There’s so much uncertainty. Right now, real estate seems like the right place to be.”

Discover more about Jacqui below:

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