Day in the life of an Irish estate agent: 'Selling Sunset is glamorised but accurate in ways'

ireland
Day In The Life Of An Irish Estate Agent: 'Selling Sunset Is Glamorised But Accurate In Ways' Day In The Life Of An Irish Estate Agent: 'Selling Sunset Is Glamorised But Accurate In Ways'
Dalkey estate agent Bevan Rooke takes us through a typical day in his life, from viewing mansions along the Dublin coast to meeting Dermot Bannon
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Sarah Mooney

More than a few of us have considered starting a new life as a real estate agent after watching one-too-many episodes of Selling Sunset.

The reality show shot in sun-drenched Los Angeles, however, might look somewhat different in a more damp and grey Irish context.

To give us an idea of the life we’re missing out on – along with a small dose of realism – we spoke to an estate agent based in an area with one of Ireland’s highest concentrations of “property millionaires.”

Here, Dalkey estate agent Bevan Rooke takes us through a typical day in his life as a senior sales negotiator with Lisney, from viewing mansions along the Dublin coast to meeting Dermot Bannon.

So just how accurate is Selling Sunset?

“A lot of my friends have... asked me how similar it is, but I think they're all expecting me to be rocking up in a nice car and living in Beverly Hills any day now. Unfortunately, that's not quite the case,” laughs Rooke.

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“It is very glamorised,” he says. “But it is true in some elements, insofar as we're in lots of different houses.

“Especially in Dalkey, you could be in a three-bedroom semi-detached house for €500,000, or you could be in a beautiful seaside modern mansion for €5 million or €10 million even. There's a lot of diversity in that, whereas I think Selling Sunset is all just the most glamorous of houses.

“It is quite accurate in some ways, insofar as you're out and about on the road the whole time. I think the way the girls in Selling Sunset work together and are constantly talking to each other across the office - that's very much what it's like in our office.

“It's good fun, there's never a quiet moment but you know, certainly we don't all drive around in Lamborghinis or Porsches or whatever they have on Selling Sunset.”

So what does a typical day look like for an estate agent in Ireland?

“Every day is different for us,” says Rooke. “Generally speaking, I would get up sort of 7am or 7.15am. Having a bit of breakfast, all of that, getting ready for work.

“We would very much be wearing suits and ties and all that, so getting all dressed up. And the girls would be quite dressed up as well in the office.

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“I live very close to the office, so I either walk or drive down some mornings. If it’s a nice morning and I don't have appointments or don't need the car, I'd walk down, leaving the house around 8.15am or so.

“When we get in, some mornings we would have meetings internally, sort of 8.30am or 8.45am where we go through our properties, our applicants who are buyers or our vendors who are sellers, to keep in communication over that.

“From 9am then, the phones start ringing or people start going in and out of the office. The first hour of the day I would usually use to try and call applicants. I'd also be catching up on emails or getting posts ready to go on Instagram - a lot of the agents, including myself, have our own Instagram pages.

“If I take yesterday as an example, from about 11am I’d have been out on the road. I would have done an inspection first in a house in Glenageary.

“Then I’d have gone down and shown a property that we have off-market which we're asking €5.5 million on with sea views... very much like something that would be on Selling Sunset, so it was quite a cool house.

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“Then probably showing another house later on in the day, that might be a more traditional semi-detached family home in the area, or maybe a period property in Dún Laoghaire or in Dalkey village.

“We'd be back in and out of the office the whole time, very much popping in, getting keys, speaking to colleagues, trading stories, trading information about buyers and sellers, you know, keeping that communication going throughout the day.

“We do find that our car is almost like a second office for us because... we spend so much time in the car going between appointments.”

Is the job a typical 9am-5pm?

“Our office hours are 9am to 5.30pm, that would be fairly standard, but we are sort of always on call,” says Rooke.

“You get home and you have your dinner after work, it’s 6.30pm or whatever. But you look at your phone at 7pm and there are emails coming in... Obviously, some of those queries can wait till the morning but quite often we will be answering queries that evening to try and keep on top of things... You're always switched on I guess.

“Also because I work in Dalkey and I live in Dalkey, I’d quite often be going down to dinner in a restaurant or whatever, quite often bumping into clients or people you know who are selling or thinking of selling, so that's quite good.”

What about your most memorable moments in the job?

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“As I say, every day is so different and we meet so many different interesting people... there's a few standout moments when you meet somebody maybe famous or maybe that you admire.

“I met Dermot Bannon in a house once - not for himself, he was advising clients - and that was that was very exciting for me. I’m a big fan of Room to Improve.

“I think there's some sales where you just get on so well with your clients that you will always kind of remember them. And you'll always think back fondly on the sale because you got on so well with them.

“It's great fun because you're constantly out meeting people and talking to people, getting to know people... we're seeing inside people's homes and their most personal private spaces, so it's great to have that privilege.

“We're very lucky to be able to do that, but it's all part of the job and it's what makes it interesting, is being able to go out and speak to so many people.”

How did you get into real estate?

“I started working with Lisney when I was 16 – when I was in school I came in and did a week’s work experience in transition year. I went on then and I started working kind of part-time, helping them out in the office and doing a few viewings.

“I went off then and did a commerce degree in UCD for three years and then did a masters in real estate... now I’m full time and a senior negotiator here in the Dalkey office, and there’s six of us in the office so it's a nice team.

“[The work experience] was actually this month, 10 years ago. So, still here, and love it.

“I think it's a job that you have to have a passion for and you have to have an interest in people, and you have to have an interest in property... you have to have that want to be out there helping people and meeting people to succeed at it, I think.”

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