Andy Soetedja – Estate Manager, Alwood Estate, Red 23

What attracted you to the industry (and when)?
For the longest time, I worked in management and corporate training for a large telecommunications company, before moving over to management in the energy sector. From there, I met someone who kept saying that I’d do very well in the real estate industry. He kept telling me that I had great people skills. If you’re reading this, Jared, it looks like you were right!

What do you love most about the industry?
The people. Understandably, because of the expense of buying real estate, people are very cautious. I find it very rewarding to guide them in the right direction so they can achieve their dream home or first investment property purchase.

What do you consider your proudest industry moment?
Climbing from a cadet to estate manager within two months of being in the industry was a great achievement. But I can’t take all the credit. I was lucky enough to be mentored very well by someone who has been in the industry for a long time.

Biggest regret?
No regrets. As long as I learn from the experience, good or bad, I’m happy going through the journey of business life.

Worst trend?
I don’t think there’s such a thing as a “bad” trend, but more just a process or concept that may not have been explained or understood in the full context. I believe processes help to get things done, but only if understood by all the parties involved, otherwise you get bogged down by it.

Best change?
For me, it’s popping out of the corporate sector into this industry. I haven’t looked back since.

If you had the power, how would you improve the process of buying a home in a new residential housing development?
Having everyone involved in this process (including the customer), so there’s a full understanding of how it is end to end. It would be good for customers to understand how their decisions affect the entire process. I believe if we’re able to achieve this, we can start to show big improvements for the customer in the end-to-end process.

What’s the biggest misconception people have when building a home in a new residential housing development?
They mistakenly think developing land is as easy as calling the construction contractors and saying “OK, folks, bring in your tools and trucks, we’re starting tomorrow”. There is so much more that people aren’t aware of. All it takes is a small delay in one aspect of it, and everything in front of it tumbles down like dominoes. I work with the best contractors and property minds in Australia through Intrapac Property, so I’m fortunate to have smart decision-making behind what I’m selling.

If buying a new home tomorrow, what feature would you most like incorporated in your home and in your new estate?
Soundproofing. As an ex-muso, I love my music and I like it loud And also maybe a room to store my guitars and snowboards.

What tips would you give for future-proofing the decision to buy in a certain estate?
Look across eco-saving options for your home (solar, energy-friendly appliances etc) as this will translate into long-term savings. Also, buy in a relatively eco-friendly estate – did I mention that Alwood achieved five out of six elements in EnviroDevelopment certification? This is a first in the Werribee catchment area.

What should prospective buyers look for when choosing a development?
Pricing aside, look for what would suit their lifestyle. Ask questions and see the pros and cons. I’ve had clients mention they love an estate with larger blocks as it does not make the area as dense, but I have had customers mention they prefer a more “crowded” estate as it makes them feel safe. Certain features may not suit where you are in your life cycle right now but will in the future, so think ahead.

What do you think new developments will be like in 2030?
I believe new developments will be similar to what we have in terms of structure and how they’re made. We’ve got a pretty good plan in Victoria in terms of access and amenities and it’s spread out better than we’d like to believe. I travel to North America often as my partner is working there, and they build everything around their CBD. This typically means less amenities outside of the CBD district, and the further you go the less access you have. Here, you have what I consider “satellite business districts” which emulate Melbourne’s CBD in areas such as Geelong and the future East Werribee Precinct. This will help in reducing the gridlock and travel time to the CBD, as businesses will have options in where they house their base of operations.

Watch this space!

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