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Pathways needed to welcome women into commercial property

By Juliet Helmke
21 July 2022 | 11 minute read
Tara Imlach reb

A commercial property specialist who fell into the industry is encouraging the subsector to create more intentional pathways for women to enter the field.

Property specialist Tara Imlach, from LJ Hooker Commercial Southern Gold Coast, got her introduction to commercial real estate when she was asked to pitch in on a team that was down a member.

“At the time, I thought that it would be a great opportunity for me to further my education in the real estate industry, but as soon as I started to learn and understand the commercial side, I never looked back,” Ms Imlach said.

Now, the agent is seeing her sales figures increase by around 30 per cent annually, hitting a personal record in 2021–22 with recent transactions such as a Currumbin retail investment that achieved over $25,000 per square metre and the $6.2 million sale of the “Man on the Bike” shopping centre, brokered alongside colleague Greg Watson.

She’s now using her role in the industry to advocate for opening avenues to women who may show an aptitude for the commercial side of the business, as Ms Imlach did when she happened into it.

“I like the business side and development opportunities, rather than just the same ongoing cycle of prospect, list, and sell. I like talking about the financial aspects like percentage yields, dollars per square metre, outgoings, return on investment,” she explained as a reason why working in commercial property has seen her go from strength to strength.

Off the back of her years of success, Ms Imlach was recruited to join LJ Hooker Commercial Southern Gold Coast in 2020.

Ms Imlach noted that at the moment, the presence of women in the commercial sector is largely restricted to property management, and she’d like to see more pathways open up for them to stake a claim in sales and leasing.

From her experience switching from residential to commercial, Ms Imlach knows that many of the skills needed are transferable.

“You still need to have interpersonal skills, particularly when dealing with “mum and dad investors or business owners” where it can be a little more of an emotional purchase,” she noted.

But for those who like to get deep into the numbers, it can be a particularly good match.

“Delving into areas such as financial analyses, market demographics and sourcing information needed for a deal can be hugely satisfying,” she added.

According to the agency’s principal Daniel Alexander, Ms Imlach’s appointment was instrumental in establishing the commercial department for LJ Hooker Southern Gold Coast and credits her involvement with their success in tripling their management portfolio.

“Tara was very ambitious in wanting to grow something with us and she was the perfect person to help us grow the commercial side of the business,” Mr Alexander said.

Ms Imlach is hoping her career trajectory will encourage more women to get into commercial and noted that the agency has set up a comprehensive in-house training process for new staff and is always looking to expand the team.

Pathways needed to welcome women into commercial property
Tara Imlach reb
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Juliet Helmke

Based in Sydney, Juliet Helmke has a broad range of reporting and editorial experience across the areas of business, technology, entertainment and the arts. She was formerly Senior Editor at The New York Observer.

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