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Keeping up appearances

12 August 2016 | 10 minute read

Recently, I was chatting to a business owner who told me that whenever he walked into his residential property management department, he felt like he was hosting a “hipster convention”.

After we had a good chuckle about the terminology and I made a note to discuss the topic of dress with the team on my next visit to their office, it got me to thinking. Are we becoming a bit lax with our appearance in the workplace? 

Being in a world where I have a husband who is immersed in a collectable card game, I am no stranger to what a hipster convention, if they exist, may look like.


That said, a convention for hipsters would not be the done thing by hipster standards.

While I thought about dress codes that exist, either through written procedures or culture, a quote comes to mind – dress for the job you want, not for the job you have. While I don’t encourage you to go out there and dress up as Batman during daylight hours, if there’s a job you want, I do encourage you to think about what might be considered appropriate attire when you are working in real estate business.

Put yourself in the shoes of a client for a moment. You have just purchased your first investment property, you are nervous as it’s your first big investment and even more nervous about the prospect of renting it to strangers. You’ve called an agency and are meeting their business development manager to discuss your options.

While you wait, you notice a car drive up to the property. It is unwashed and you wonder if they are scoping the place out. Someone gets out of the car, they are fumbling with a folder, maybe a camera and their hair is scruffy and they look like they have a nervous twitch as they are flicking it out of their eyes. They also look like a bushman with three-day face stubble and their shirt is hanging out. Their shoes are scuffed and they have a few top buttons undone on their shirt.

Would you list your prized investment and new baby with this person? Or are you more likely to list your property with someone who is well-dressed, clean shaven, has had a haircut and looks professional?

You have exactly ten seconds to make that first impression. The next time you are preparing yourself for work, think about what you would like that first impression to be, and if you were looking for a new property manager, would you employ yourself based on that appearance?

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