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Women in Real Estate: Sarah Roberts, Director, Residential Lettings & Property Management at Strutt and Parker

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Sarah Roberts began a career in real estate as a Lettings Administrator. When the opportunity to become a Property Manager arose, she seized it and hasn’t looked back since. Here she tells us about how falling into real estate was the best thing that ever happened to her.

Can you tell us a bit about your role?

I am a Director in the Residential Lettings & Property Management department where I handle a variety of properties for a number of different clients. This means managing relationships between our clients (the landlords), contractors and tenants. The properties that I look after are very varied from rural estates, to listed buildings to blocks of flats and are spread out across the UK. 

No day is the same and with legislation constantly changing, we have to be constantly on the ball. The industry is fast paced but that’s one of the reasons why I love it, particularly as I learn something new every day. 
 

Why did you chose a career in the real estate sector and specifically working for BNP Paribas Real Estate?

I joined Strutt and Parker as a Lettings Administrator, having never worked in the industry before. At the time, I was interviewed for the position of secretary to one of the partners. I didn’t get the job but they offered me this other position, and I’ve never looked back. It was purely by accident that I ended up in the role but the best accident that’s ever happened to me. 

I soon realised that I loved the industry and I wanted to progress and go as far as I could. I took qualifications and slowly worked my way up from Lettings Administrator, through to Property Manager, Senior Property Manager, Associate Director, Senior Associate Director, through to Director where I am now.
 

Can you tell us about your career path?

After being in the job as Lettings Administrator for about a year, the Property Manager left and I asked if I could be put forward for the position. At the time of asking they’d already found someone but that person chose not to stay and the management team gave me the chance to take on the role.

For a while I wasn’t sure where I could get to in my career in real estate, having no experience in rural real estate. Then I was promoted to Associate. At the time Strutt and Parker was a partnership, but opportunities really arose for me when BNP Paribas Real Estate merged with the company as I was able to go up to Senior Associate Director and then Director. 

I’m therefore very grateful to BNP Paribas Real Estate for the opportunities that became available to me and also the team and management around me who have put me forward for certain roles. 
 

What is the most challenging part of your job?

Managing the expectations of clients and tenants. We work for the client who is the landlord but have a duty of care to the tenant. People can be challenging but I get great satisfaction from helping people out and knowing that your actions have made the situation better or resolved it. I think what’s important in this role is having the confidence in yourself to know you’ve done everything you could for them. 

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

From the client perspective, we operate best practice as well as compliance with legislation. This means being one-step ahead of legislation and already putting in place the measures to be compliant without having to worry clients. Knowing that you’ve already solved a problem before it arises is something that gives me a great sense of achievement. 
 

Sarah Roberts

People can be challenging but I get great satisfaction from helping people out and knowing that your actions have made the situation better or resolved it. I think what’s important in this role is having the confidence in yourself to know you’ve done everything you could for them.

Sarah Roberts
Director, Residential Lettings & Property Management at Strutt & Parker
London

What is the most important thing that you’ve learnt in this job?

That anything is possible and to believe in yourself. Having not come from a university background I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do what I’m doing but I think I have to stop and reflect on how far I’ve come and how much I enjoy doing what I do. 

What are you most proud of achieving?

The respect I get from my team, colleagues and clients. They come to me for advice, and that extends to people from different offices, who approach me looking for solutions.

I think I’ve learnt to stand my ground and earn the respect of the different clients, contractors and colleagues that I work with. This has created good working relationships and a mutual respect between us. 
 

Do you have any professional aims?

I would like to be the best I can, to do the best job I can do for our clients. This means continuing to learn and grow and going as far as I can in this organisation. I will always aim for the stars! 

What advice would you give to someone looking to start a career similar to yours?

Believe in yourself, learn as much as you can, ask questions and don’t be afraid to ask even if you think you sound stupid. Knowledge is only gained by asking and learning. Trust yourself as the Lettings and Property Management field is often about following your gut feeling and doing what you believe is the right, honorable thing.

Which powerful women do you most admire?

I admire any woman who perseveres even when the odds are against her. No matter what it is that she wants to achieve, if she sticks at it and gets to where she wants to be and is happy, that is very admirable to me.