Sarah Case is a Director of RT Edgar Toorak and is the only female real estate director in the Toorak/ South Yarra market. Despite her own success, Sarah is frank that there is still lots of work to be done across the industry if women are to be equally represented in senior and leadership roles. “It’s still an uphill battle for women primarily because of the nature of the job” she says. “Real estate is very competitive and success means not only long hours, but also being available outside normal business hours, including on weekends. To survive and succeed in this industry takes sacrifice, incredible hard work, tenacity and a very thick skin”.
“Women make fantastic real estate agents. They are great listeners, they ask the right questions and are innately intuitive, they think beyond the obvious”. In her experience, women genuinely care about the importance of matching families with the right homes. This is a tremendous asset because in nine out of ten families, women are the decision makers, they’re the ones who will decide whether a property is the right one for their family”.
Sarah says that she is fortunate to work with a fantastic group of women at the Toorak office. It is important to her that she makes herself available to speak with women who are attracted to the industry. While encouraging women to pursue their passion, she is always very honest in her advice; “Outwardly, real estate looks like quite a glamorous industry but the demands of the job are tough. It is highly competitive and income based on commission is uncertain. Additionally entry level salaries are low when compared with other jobs”.
Sarah’s journey through the real estate ranks has meant missing out on a lot of family time. At the luxury end of the market real estate is still inherently inflexible as an industry and less accommodating of women trying to juggle the demands of a career and family. Discrimination toward women is still a feature of the industry in Sarah’s view; “Unfortunately, there are still men who are unwilling to help and support women.”
Despite the long hours and missed weekends, Sarah still loves what she describes as the “game of pairs”, matching buyers and sellers with their perfect home. She particularly loves selling luxury homes. She is proud of her role as a strong female leader and for anyone looking to build a career in real estate she has some good advice; “Be realistic about your expectations and be very clear about the demands of the job”.