The power of perception for women in property

Sharyn Burgess says women can be successful in all areas of property as long as they remember that ‘perception is deception’.

With over 15 years of lending industry experience, Sharyn knows what it takes for women to excel in property.

She shared with KnowHow’s Bushy Martin on Property Hub’s Get Invested podcast the lessons learned from her experience as a mortgage broker and investor.

Understanding ‘perception is deception’

One of the biggest factors holding women back in property is their perception.

“I’m one of those people that always likes to think that perception is deception. So I can look at something and I can perceive it, and then I can kind of go, Is this real? Is it in my head?” Sharyn said.

“So I was at a function in Sydney for brokers, and there was a broker up on stage and I thought, that is everything I do not want to be. So even myself as a broker, and I’d already been in the industry for years, I still had this perception that maybe they weren’t trustworthy or maybe they were all about the money or how much they could make. And it was something that actually almost prevented me from becoming a broker, because I was so dead set against not being that person because it went against my core values and my beliefs that I thought, I cannot do this. But perception is deception, it’s just not real.”

Embracing the advantages women bring to broking

Sharyn said female mortgage brokers often bring an extra level of care and empathy to their clients.

“It definitely is a male dominated industry. But I think for the most part, it is simply just a perception where women perceive that because there are so many men, it’s not for women. But in fact, there are a growing number of larger brokerages that are actually bringing on a huge force of women because they understand that women get it. They get it from all facets. They understand it’s tough to juggle, and they have the ability to be a whole lot more empathetic to somebody’s situation and maybe be a little bit more invested into getting that loan across the line for them as well,” she said.

Bushy added: “Sonya and I really believe in a diverse and varied workforce so that we’re getting different views, different skills, and different approaches. And I think you hit it on the head because of the level of care that I see you bring to every person you help. And what I love about the way you approach the whole exercise is if if you, for whatever reason, might be a circumstance or a bank issue where you can’t get a result for them, then that’s not the end of the equation. You’re not like one of these, I can’t help you see you later people. You’re helping them, you’re putting them on the plan, you’re giving them a different approach and that level of empathy and understanding and then the genuine care that goes with it.”

Building resilience

Sharyn revealed that despite facing many roadblocks, she has learned that a solution can always be found with the right mindset.

“My biggest challenges at each moment in time have always been a little bit different. Some of them might be borrowing capacity issues because I had recently changed from a sole trader to a business person, or my ABN was only in place for 12 months, or I’d had a baby and was technically on maternity leave. So there were all these roadblocks,” she said.

“But again, perception is deception. There was always a way to get it done. And it was always about, what’s the price I was willing to pay to get that property. Because sometimes it wasn’t always streamline or as smooth as I wanted it to be. But it’s just working through those challenges.”

Bushy added: “Having the experience early on and starting to understand that there are a whole heap of landmines you can be stepping on in the lending space without being aware, and sadly, common sense doesn’t come into the thinking when it comes to the equation. So starting to see that first hand, I can now see why as a broker helping others, the optimism and the ability to solve problems by manoeuvring and navigating in such a way that’s always going to get a result is a big part of the resilience that you bring to the table.”

Listen to the full interview here.

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