LIMERICK woman Helen McCormack had her talents in making a house a home highlighted last month when she was named Mid West Real Estate Business Person by the All-Ireland Business Foundation (AIBF).
She has been laying the foundations for success since first opening her own business, Helen McCormack Estate Agents, during the depths of recession in 2009.
Ms McCormack remembers the venture as a risk given the challenging climate of the post-2008 housing market, but says it created an ideal environment for her to connect with clients who were “in difficult situations and give them sound advice, or sometimes a listening ear to discuss their options”.
Ms McCormack says her recent win is a celebration of the hallmarks she holds fast to in her practice: trust, competence, performance, and customer-centricity.
“I’m delighted personally and on behalf the team. It’s a wonderful validation of how we serve our clients, and of my own 22 years of working in the property sector.”
Ms McCormack is no stranger to accolade, having been awarded by the AIBF previously on two other occasions, receiving prizes for ‘Master Practitioner in Real Estate’ (2022) and ‘Thought Leader in Real Estate’ (2021).
She says the key to her business’ growth and success has been in managing to stay flexible and adaptive, recalling how she turned to the digital world to help keep her business afloat during the Covid-19 lockdown.
“I remember sitting at home on the patio in April 2020 during lockdown and getting my daughter to hold the camera while I introduced myself and the business.
“This was initially a reaction to lockdown but quickly became integral. Video marketing of our properties, to communicate with the market, as well as presenting our sales and lettings is now a necessary part of doing business.”
Always looking for new trends, Ms McCormack believes that – in light of extreme competition in the housing market – Irish people need to look to the European model of homeownership.
“We need to embrace apartments as homes, as they do in Europe. This is slowly becoming more common in the Irish mindset, through necessity mostly and due to apartments being more affordable.
“They may not be a dream home but they can be a stepping stone. I have experience of several buyers who bought apartments as owner-occupied dwellings around ten years ago who have now traded up into their first house.”