Listen to when award winning estate agent Lorraine Mulligan of Team Lorraine Mulligan spoke to Newstalk’s Bobby Kerr about the impact of the recession on her business and personal life. Through hard work, hear how she and her team got through it and where she is now, 10 years on.
Read the transcript below….
Bobby: Loads to get through and we really got good guests on the show this morning. Now after losing her marriage, car, and home my next guest has faced her fair share of adversity in her life.
She has turned her struggles into an incredible story of survival and acts as a reminder that there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. Lorraine Mulligan, director of team Lorraine Mulligan of Remax Results Celbridge and Lucan, you’re very welcome to the show.
Lorraine: Thanks very, very much Bobby, lovely to be here with you.
Bobby: This is an incredible story Lorraine; it’s your own story told in your own words. You came from a business of enterprise; your father owned a garage I believe, and you always grew up around work in the house.
Lorraine: Absolutely, I was blessed with a wonderful mum and a wonderful dad, and my dad, he had a petrol station in Roslaire Road road and was involved in supervising supermarkets so from a very, very young age we were basically made to go out and work, which we did, we loved working, and there would be plenty of time for plays, mom and dad stroke the perfect balance with us, so there’s entrepreneurship in the blood very much so.
Bobby: Now you bought your first house when you were just 22 years old, and you sold it about a year and a half later and doubled your money. Well, that was a great thing at the time. Was it actually a bad thing in retrospective?
Lorraine: No, not really because it actually just gave me the passion for the property market.
Lorraine: I found it very, very exciting, I’ll be honest I thought my god, this is very easy to make money quickly. I got into business thinking short hours, you know.
Bobby: You see, that’s my point, was it a kind of dangling of easy money in front of you and on the basis that, you know, all the property deals would be like this if this is my first one and I’ve doubled my money after a year and a half.
Lorraine: Well when you were 22, it probably seemed attractive at the time but now at 44 no it’s certainly not that easy of course.
Bobby: So, having sold that property you got into business. I was interested in the places that you worked, so, you were living in Booterstown and then you went to Enfield is that right?
Lorraine: Yes, that’s right, I was living in Booterstown, and then I met my ex-husband, and we bought a house in Enfield at the time because of better value for money and when we moved Enfield at the time Bobby there was very little there, and you could not meet nicer people. The people there were really, really good to us when we were there, and they gave me a lot of business when I started my own company, so the people were lovely but I found it very hard to settle in Enfield because there’s huge traffic jams going through it and there was very little in the village at the time, so I missed Booterstown, I missed Dublin and, you know, it was very difficult to settle.
Bobby: And then, was it in Enfield that you had your first Remax franchise?
Lorraine: No Bobby, the first Remax franchise was, I actually started in Nass for two years to serve my apprenticeship there, and I totally enjoyed it, and I loved Naas town as well, it’s a perfect town, and then, Remax gave me the opportunity to open a franchise in Celbridge.
Bobby: Again, you know Celbridge, Enfield, Naas, Booterstown, they are all kinda different places aren’t they?
Lorraine: Yes, I kinda ping-ponged around places to find home, but it’s just great where I’m now, thank god.
Bobby: Now, the marriage breakup you say, is like a death in the family.
Bobby: Can you just talk to me a little about how difficult it was, just the disintegration of your marriage.
Lorraine: Yes, no I’m delighted because I’m trying to help other people as well and yeah, the marriage breakup was really worse than a death, I was really blessed as far as my ex-husband is an absolute gentleman and he´s fantastic with our little boy Cian but My heart goes out to anyone who has gone through it, especially if there are kids involved because it´s very, very difficult and unfortunately I do what I do, I do come across it quite often. I might have to sell a family home, and from my experience, it can really, really benefit and help people and give them hope. Out of adversity sometimes comes a lot of greatness too and goodness.
Bobby: And without getting too technical, but the process of actually marriage breakup, in other words, the legal bits, the financial bits, you ended I suppose effectively losing your home and having to rent a property.
Lorraine: Yes, it was very, very difficult… what happen actually Bobby, Karl left the family home and Cian and I where living there and my house got robbed, we weren’t there at the time thank god, but three and a half weeks later the same guys came back again with black balaclavas, there were four of them, and they smashed down our front door 4.20 AM, in the morning.
Bobby: My god!
Lorraine: Came up the stairs after the keys of my car and took my car so I got an awful fright. I was very lucky that my dad was there that particular night because mom and dad live in Wexford, so it was great that dad was there for Cian and I, but I was really, really chucked over it, and I just couldn’t sleep in the house, I was terrified, so I sold the house in the recession for little or nothing but my sanity was really, really important, and my health was really important, and a little boy relied on me, I had a business rely on me, and I had clients rely on me, so I felt the best thing to do was to sell the family home and to go renting in Celbridge which I did for the last couple of years. So yeah, it was tough but look I bought a house since and things are great again so, it’s all good going forward.
Bobby: So, Lorraine there you were having to sell your house and you’re an estate agent without a house, you’re almost effectively homeless, you have to go and rent a property.
Lorraine: Absolutely Bobby, it was very, very frightening because it was kind of ironic, I was selling all these homes and didn’t have a home myself, but I was one of the lucky ones, so far as a lovely couple came, their son wanted to rent a house, and they came into the office and I got a lovely three bed in Primrose gate in Celbridge, which I loved, I was very, very happy there, but what’s really, really worrying Bobby and the government really, really need to do something about this, there is a desperate lack of rented accommodation at the moment, and I have a lot, a lot of lovely people looking to find homes, they are in between properties for very different reasons, and look, everyday an investor is ringing me and looking for me to put a property on the market to sell for them, and there’s all these lovely people, you have people social affordable, you have special people, so many lovely people desperate for property, and there’s nothing to give them so this is very, very difficult on people, the government really, really needs to step in and bring more rented accommodation for everybody, and in this day and age, there’s no excuses.
Bobby: And Lorraine, as somebody who was at the coal face of the property industry, do you have any concerns that we’re going to make all the same mistakes again, is there any signs that you’re seeing out there that tells you that its overheating, you know, that people are borrowing more than they should, is there anything that worry’s you about the next five years?
Lorraine: It’s very, very hard to know, Bobby, and to be honest with you, what I will say when, I suppose the property price register is usually helpful to people as well, because people can see from what the last house is sold or apartment sold in a particular area, so people kinda know in around what they need to spend. Now I know you can’t judge talking about the property price register because someone might have sold because it needs to sell quickly because they are trying to purchase something else, sometimes might have been a bank repossession, so I find I’m dealing with a very, very educated buyer database now, whereas before a house sold nobody knew what it went for, whereas now buyers are very, very educated with access to google and the property price register.
Also, the banks have gone on the bank panel as well and, if say one of my competitors estate agreed a property I can’t obviously do my own valuations because it’s a conflict of interests, so I would have to go in when a property goes sale agreed with one of my competitors and I’d have to make sure that the buyers are, you know the price is within reason, fair and actual. The banks will always allow a bit over the asking price but if it’s absolutely screaming crazy mad, and we just can’t sign of on this so, there is restrains there, I do feel as well especially when I went to get a mortgage I found the banks were very zealous about lending money, they really check everything. So, yeah absolutely.
Bobby: So, you think maybe that because the banks were burnt because individuals were burnt, you’re sort of saying that maybe that the infrastructure, the financial infrastructure around buying and selling is maybe slightly better than it was.
Lorraine: Yeah, absolutely Bobby, and I would say as well that a lot of people have a lot of deposits with endowment properties so, they might be buying, you know, expensive piece of property, but a lot of them have serious cash deposits to go down on it so their repayments in general in a lot of stuff are not too high.
Bobby: One other question for you, if I’m buying a property and it’s going for five hundred grand, and I put in my offer five hundred grand, and the state agent brings me back and says that’s great Bobby, but I have an offer of 510 here. How do I know he has an offer of 510?
Lorraine: Bobby that’s a brilliant question and buyers are entitled to see biding logs in all offices now. So, within Team Lorraine, what we do is if you have purchased that property from us, we really appreciate your custom, Bobby, and you can come and view the bidding log, but all bids must have emailed in writing to us, and we have a copy of all these emails in writing in the office. If it’s somebody elderly and they can’t use the email we would ask a text, but we have to have a, we screenshot everything, and we have to have it on in writing.
Bobby: Who polices that?
Lorraine: The Irish Professional Auctioneers and Valuers Institute. They would police that, and we do get audited, like I was audited there about four months ago, and I was delighted, everything is always 110% within the office anyway. I’m a bit meticulous for paperwork, and my team were just fantastic. We would be very, very careful with that so. It’s nice for buyers to know that they can view the bidding logs, but I have to say in general auctioneers don’t mess people around, like people, sometimes people might be bidding on something else that we don’t have and say we’re kind of dubious in this whatever, but a lot of times there are genuine buyers……..