A breath of fresh air in the real estate world, Blackshaw Manuka’s Christine Shaw is a hardworking advocate for her clients, taking pride in authentically helping you make the right decision for you and your home. With 14 years’ experience as a real estate agent and a background in social policy work, Christine has a passion to do real estate in our region, differently.

Christine sat down with Canberra Weekly to talk about her “different” background, what sets her apart from other real estate agents, and her social impact business model.

What do you want Canberrans to know about you?

“I have two children who are the loves of my life! Laura is almost 28 and about to be married at the end of this year to Luke, and Lewis is 22 – so I have three L’s in my life. They’re fantastic and they don’t live too far away.

“I love Canberra. I moved here at 27 from Brisbane, a month after self-government. It’s just got the best of everything – you have all the big city amenities, but, even though 440,000 doesn’t say ‘little country town’, you still have that small town way of working and networking.

“I do a lot of work with Hands Across Canberra – I’m the only agent to have a named fund in perpetuity, and I’m hopeful that we will get many more people to start a named fund. The one thing that some people have said is that I walk the talk. I’m also doing the Vinnies CEO Sleepout if anyone would like to donate!

“I come from a different background. I started in government at Brisbane City Council. When I first entered federal government, I was in social policy at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) portfolio doing overseas aid and then in the immigration portfolio, doing refugee humanitarian work. So, when I had the opportunity to retire early, I decided to do what I’ve always loved – real estate.”

What made you want to enter real estate?

“I bought my first house at 22, and I knew at 22 I wanted to be a real estate agent. From when I was about 17, I was always reading the real estate pages and I knew I wanted to buy an apartment and not have to rely on anyone else. It’s the best and smartest thing I ever did.

“Next month, I’ll have been a real estate agent for 14 years! I started in the middle of the GFC and so many people thought I had rocks in my head, but I didn’t find it difficult as I was able to explain what was happening.”

What can prospective clients expect from you as their agent?

“I always deliver the personal touch. It’s a one-off situation per listing. Sometimes volume can mean you need to churn through a whole lot of listings, but I don’t need to be a volume agent, and I don’t really want to be a volume agent. I prefer having the relationships with my clients.

“I also remember all the buyers from each campaign because buyers do follow you, and that’s a huge compliment. They don’t feel like they’ve had a situation where they don’t want to engage with you anymore.

“I’ve always been able to see beyond the four walls. So, part of what I do with my clients is, if there are foibles in the home, I help them either massage things – for example, close off a wall or remove a door that’s not needed, just make the floorplan a lot easier for sale. Some owners can’t do it, they don’t have the funds, and that’s fine, so I do up the plans with the amendment to show the new buyers. I just like that side of it, it’s fun!

“Because I come from a different background, I have what I call my furniture program, informal as it is, with my friends at YWCA, Havelock and others. If owners have too much furniture, then the Migrant and Refugee Settlement Services (MARSS) can come along and take pieces away. All of the unwanted items by one owner are really needed by many other people.”

How would you describe your real estate style?

“It’s important to be honest. There is a lot of training on how to build rapport, but I always think if you have to be trained how to do that then there’s something there that’s not intuitive. It’s a very emotional industry for owners and so you have the quantitative side of numbers and targets and KPI’s, but the qualitative side is all about emotions – an owner buying or selling a property is an emotional decision.

“I actually ripped up my very first agency agreement. The lady was in tears and was going to sign, and the reason she was selling was because her house wasn’t big enough anymore. Because I’ve been renovating houses since I was 22, and my brother is a builder, I know a lot about what might be possible. So I said, of course with all the usual ACTPLA caveats, she could extend out into the backyard and she could do this and that, and said how about we not sign and talk to a draftsperson. To this day, she is still in that house and I’m still in contact with her.

“I think that’s definitely what sets me apart from other real estate agents. It’s also important to be informed as an agent. I think if you do come to real estate with a background in another area it just helps enhance what you can deliver to the clients. Sometimes it’s not actually about getting the sale and a signature, whereas perhaps training might teach you that it is, and sometimes you can miss the point.

“There are investor owners I stop from selling if it’s the wrong financial year for them and I make sure people go to a financial adviser before they sell. Other agents might think it’s a bit stupid, but I’d rather the owner sell at the right time, and not have to pay extra in capital gains tax.

“If I had a 25-year dream, it would be that there are more social impact models of businesses, where the core of it is to help others in the community. Hopefully, there will be more social impact models like mine in the years to come.”

Testimonial

“With your long career in the Queensland, Federal and now ACT Government policy development, as well as a distinguished career in real estate sales in the ACT (with a particular interest in affordable housing and refugee support), you are a unique, altruistic, amazing human being. I honour you and wish you well in your real estate business. How refreshing – honest, caring, truly devoted beyond self – delivering important social outcomes whilst also delivering a platinum class real estate experience to sellers in the Canberra region.”

Karen Rush, Yarralumla

Christine Shaw at Blackshaw Manuka


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