Luke Smith, managing director of Avory Smith Group, on how he got started in property, his proudest achievement and what he would change about the industry. He also shares his cultural recommendations.
What do you value in people?
Honesty and passion.
What do you like most about yourself?
My belief that every idea is possible.
What does your job entail?
Managing Avory Smith Group’s London expansion. With plans to open seven offices in the next three years, it is keeping me rather busy. My role in the company is to manage staff at ground level, but also liaise with stakeholders in the business. We have a handful of active investors who are helping us push the brand forward.
How did you join the property industry?
Just as I left the army, I walked along my local high street and handed my CV out to every shop, from butchers to estate agents. Luckily, a local independent agency took me in and gave me a start. It was from there that a job in property turned from a timely convenience into an insatiable appetite to climb the ladder.
What do you like most about the property industry?
Client relationships. I have been lucky enough to buy and sell with some seriously interesting people in this job, many of whom I still go for beers with three or four years later.
And what do you dislike most about it?
The lack of regulation. Any decent agent will agree with me when I say that we need an exam process, we need licencing and we need more regulation. This will clear up some of the unscrupulous characters that plague our industry, eventually ridding us of the parodical image to which we are often held.
What barriers or challenges have you overcome?
My ‘sweat-the-small-stuff’ personality has thrown up some problems as a business owner. With time now being so precious, I have had to learn to let go of some tasks and rely on the team around me. Luckily, they are ace and do a great job of constantly pushing our brand forward.
What are you most proud of in your career?
It is a hard question for me to answer. It is very rare that I sit and dwell on past achievements. The nature of my personality often means a quick switch to the next goal as soon as something else has been achieved. If I had to pick, it would be getting my first set of business cards when I worked for Savills; the first agency I worked for never provided any. That was a huge thrill. I spent the next week or two making sure every single friend and family member had one.
What advice would you give someone starting a career in the property industry?
Go for the position with the best mentor, not the best salary. During your first year in the game, be a sponge and soak up every bit of knowledge you can. Oh, and work Saturdays as much as you can to pick up more clients.
What would you like to change about the property industry?
The changes I would encourage are quickly on their way! The importance of personal brand is being realised. We need a good TV show in the London market quickly – maybe Million Dollar Listing London? Perhaps a Netflix producer is reading this right now….