Peggy and Sean Wilcox – Mooney Real Estate
After several years in a less-than-fulfilling job, Peggy Wilcox decided it was time for a change and to finally follow that little voice that had always wanted to try working in Real Estate. Not to spoil the ending but things worked out well and now, three years down the track, she owns her own agency – Mooney Real Estate – along with husband Sean. Katrina chatted to both of them about starting the agency and what it’s like working with your spouse.
The Westies: Have you always been in Real Estate?
Peggy: No. I was an accountant for 10 years, and it killed my life!
My last job was at State Records in Kingswood and every day I would open the door and I instantly felt like my life was draining away. It was horrible. I knew that I always wanted to do real estate, but it was always too hard. It was never the right time to start a new career, it was always about having babies or my husband trying to figure out what he wanted to do. So it was never a right time, but I decided to approach a couple of agencies in town to get some experience. I offered to work for free because I didn’t want to give up the State Records job – it was a really good paying job, and it was only three days a week, it fit in well with the kids. I didn’t want to lose that in case things went shitty in real estate.
I got rejected from the first place I approached, the second took me on and within two months I was there full time and got rid of my State Records job.
The Westies: How long ago was that?
Peggy: Three years ago.
The Westies: Wow, that’s not long ago. When did you have the thought to start your own agency?
Peggy: It was never actually in the plan at all. However, after I worked at two or three agencies, I just kept butting heads with the owners because they wouldn’t let me do things the way I thought they should be done. I was embracing new technology and doing a lot of Facebook advertising and they didn’t always agree with that. So it got to that point where it was holding me back. I thought, if I couldn’t do my own thing it was either get out of the industry or go out on my own.
The Westies: Sean, What did you think when your Wife comes to you and says “Let’s start a real estate agency!”
Sean: It was my idea. I thought that she was better than the place that she was working at, and that she would be better at being her own boss and doing it her way.
The Westies: And when did you officially start the business?
Peggy: July 2016.
The Westies: Can tell me a little bit about that process?
Peggy: Originally we were going to open up a franchise. It wasn’t until just before we were going to sign the franchise agreement that we backed out and thought “No, we want to go independent”. So that all changed very quickly and we had a ten-week period when we had to create the brand, get my license to open and do EVERYTHING. It was a very quick process.
The Westies: You both seem so chilled, like it’s not a huge deal to start your own Real Estate Agency!
Sean: We’ve just always been like that. You have to roll the dice. We have always been spontaneous. If it feels good, we do it. If it works, it works and if it doesn’t at least you don’t die wondering.
Peggy: We had a business advisor for a little while. He didn’t like the fact that I would just wing everything. He was very old school. He kept saying “You need a plan”. I am more comfortable if I’m just going to wing it.
The Westies: What is it like working together?
Sean: We don’t actually. Even though we share the same office, we don’t really work together much because our jobs are so different. Sometimes we talk about things that we are doing but it’s really independent, which is good.
Peggy: It works well in that way because we are not in each other’s space.
The Westies: You’re running a great competition at the moment for schools in Penrith, fill me in on that?
Peggy: We are giving away $15,000 to local schools! $10.000 for first prize, second prize is $3000 and third is $2000. The first portion of our competition is for people to nominate their school and where you think the money should be spent – so at the moment we have a lot of nominations for schools that have no air conditioning, and with Penrith being the hottest place in the state that is crazy!
The next phase of the comp will be the voting. We will take all those nominations and all the parents can come vote. That will determine where the money will go. So the school that gets the most votes will get the money. That way I don’t have to choose what school to give air conditioning to!
The Westies: I know that you are not big planners, but do you have an idea of what where you are headed in the next few years?
Peggy: We’re both a bit different in that sense. I want to stay small, I want it to always be a boutique business, largely where I am in control of everything because I don’t like letting go of things. But I think Sean sees it as going bigger and having more staff.
Sean: I’ve got ambitions. I want it to be fairly big. I don’t want it to be an agency that has 20-30 staff, but I definitely want it to be a business where we could potentially take two months off to travel, where the business is looking after itself and we are not needed. I think if it is too small we won’t ever be able to do that. I want it to get to the point where it would run on its’ own. The thought of having franchises and being in different suburbs, that is not what interests me – just being big in this area and having a bigger market share definitely does.
Interview: Katrina James
Photos: Katrina James