Stacey chose a challenging time to jump ship from Haart to Keller Williams, just a few weeks before the Covid pandemic and the subsequent lockdown banned house sales.
This followed an eight year career starting at Connells but then moving to Haart where she rose to be a branch manager at its Hockley office near Chelmsford.
The 34-year-old, who has a young daughter at nursery and a teenage son, says she made the leap from traditional agency partly because the commute and office hours of her previous job made it difficult to be there to pick her child up from the school gate every day.
But Stacey also says two other key factors were in play – working from home no longer has the stigma it used to, and that her old employer ensured she was always focussing on the next listing, rather than looking after the sales progression for her existing ones.
“I think Covid has forced everyone in the industry to take a different view of home working – it used to be that it was seen as kind of ‘slacking’ but now agencies are realising that it gives staff a better work/life balance, that they usually work more efficiently than in the office, and spend fewer hours commuting to work in a car every day,” she says.
Her former employer agrees. It is currently part-way through a huge programme of setting up Haart partners across the UK based out of local hubs but directly employed but otherwise free to run their operations as they see fit from home.
Stacey says being a self-employed estate agent is ideal if your home life means a nine-to-five existence isn’t possible, but admits agents must be self-motivated to make it a success and strict about their time management.
“Also, I took my partner with me to one of the interview because I wanted him to understand it would be several months before my sales pipeline came through and I started earning a salary again,” she adds.