Q&A with Olivia Porteous
With a career in real estate that spans 22 years, Olivia Porteous has sold real estate all over the globe. At one stage a competitor, Olivia now works alongside her father William as a Director of W Porteous – Perth’s leading agency in prestige property. Olivia’s passion for real estate is clearly evident in her results. She is regularly featured amongst Australia’s top-selling agents, a great achievement for anyone – an outstanding accomplishment however for this super-agent, who also juggles the demands of a hectic family life as a mother of four.
You started your real estate career selling villas in Portugal, many years on you clearly still have a passion for real estate, would you say it’s in your genes?
Although it certainly seems genetic, I would say certain personality types are more suited to sales than others. Real Estate was never my aspiration however I fell into it in Portugal having spent a few years travelling the world being a free spirit. Once I made my first sale I was hooked!
You have a demanding career AND four children, what drives you?
I have extremely high expectations of myself in whatever I do and have high energy levels. I thrive on being busy. I am driven by doing something I love. I love all things real estate closing deals. Every deal is different.
What gets you going in the morning?
Every day starts at 5 am – it’s literally the only time I have to myself before the phone starts ringing! I take the early morning to run with girlfriends, dip in the ocean and get my coffee. We do this 12 months a year come rain, hail or shine or in some cases even in extreme weather warnings!!!! This morning routine is imperative to me having a clear head ready for whatever the day brings.
What book do you think every person on earth should read?
That is such a good question, I am an avid reader and much prefer a good book to TV which I rarely watch. At the moment I am into thrillers which means I am always longing to get into bed at the end of the day to see what happens next! Having said that, I highly recommend all of Paulo Coelho books. He is a Brazilian author who writes books based on his own experiences but touches on spirituality. My sister-in-law gave me her collection and I find myself highlighting passages which resonate with my own experiences.
You have a passion for interiors – is there anything you’ve bought that you love but others don’t like or understand?
I am actually very conservative with my interiors. Less is more for me. I am totally obsessed with art at the moment though and bought a David Boyd painting over the phone at auction recently whilst spoon-feeding my youngest child. My husband has got used to seeing new paintings pop up in the house – I never tell him I have bought it until it is up on the wall – by which time it is too late!
One of your other passions is building, do you think that has contributed to your success in the industry?
Absolutely! My husband and I develop and build. I am fortunate enough that my husband has a design background and has a building company. He has an amazing eye for design and I am very specific about what I like. We are all about simplicity but extremely high-quality finishes choosing just a few materials and sticking with them. Our favourite combination at the moment is travertine alongside oak and copper. I look very much at building with a design that will not date and will still appeal in 20 years. Too cutting edge can mean you limit your resale market.
Do you see yourself selling real estate in 10 years time?
I’ve been selling for the last 22 years so can’t see anything changing in the next 22 years. I love my work and the people I meet. It energises me. It is fantastic to be invited into people’s homes and lives and an absolute privilege to help my clients with what is usually their primary asset.
If you weren’t selling real estate what would you be doing?
I’d probably be a headmistress because I am a bit bossy, very organised and just have that look about me, my mother always says I was born to be a headmistress!!!! Aside from making her take me to display homes from a very young age I always liked playing schools.