Childhood aspirations to be a pilot were soon overtaken by a career in real estate that took off and soared in its own right for the newly elected Real Estate Institute of Victoria president, Adam Docking.
A respected Melbourne real estate agent with the industry in his blood, Mr Docking will serve…
A respected Melbourne real estate agent with the industry in his blood, Mr Docking will serve as the REIV president for 2021-22, having already completed two terms as senior vice president and vice president for one.
He replaces Leah Calnan, who will remain on the board.
Speaking to Australian Property Investor Magazine, Mr Docking outlined his plans for the REIV, shared some insight into his own property investments and portfolio strategies, explained what is driving the Victorian market and where his drives are going on the golf course.
A second-generation real estate agent, Mr Docking is director of MJ Docking & Associates, a residential, commercial and property management firm founded by his father Max Docking in 1983.
He has grown up, lived and worked in the vicinity of the Ringwood area, around 23 kilometres east of the Melbourne CBD, all his life.
After completing his school years at Yarra Valley Anglican School in Ringwood, he obtained his Diploma in Real Estate at Swinburne University of Technology and by the next year, gained his full Real Estate Agent’s Licence.
Joining M J Docking & Associates in 1994, he was appointed Director and Officer in Effective Control of the Vermont office upon his father’s retirement in 1998. He is still at the helm of the business that his family has proudly and successfully run for nearly 40 years and is a highly sought after agent and auctioneer.
No one-size solution
Despite building his property portfolio with a mix of commercial, local and interstate property, he has remained a local and now lives in nearby Vermont South with his wife and two children.
Mr Docking said there was no one type of property that would always perform best and suggested investors should find what fits with their budgets and marry that with what they are trying to achieve.
“What I can say is that real estate has stood the test of time and it’s not surprising that property in some form appears in most investment portfolios,” he said.
“Property has also shone through as an investment option during COVID.
Mr Docking said in the early stages of building his property portfolio, he had a focus on older properties with upside potential through renovation and value-adding.
“I always go by the saying ‘stick with what you know’, and so the bulk of my portfolio now is residential," he said.
“As I gained a greater understanding of investing we began to branch out into commercial property.
“To give you an idea, the first rental property I purchased for $151,500, that at the time was about $1,500 over budget, which worried us then, but it was eventually re-evaluated for just under $1 million.
“As real estate agents we have to be careful to not provide investment advice, so I’m careful to ensure my comments about personal preferences are not misinterpreted as advice for people who are looking to make a decision about their own financial security."
Although an expert in the Victorian property market, Mr Docking has ventured into the interstate market too, purchasing a holiday rental in Queensland.
“It was a lifestyle choice, but it was not our first investment," Mr Docking said.
“Once we built a foundation in areas we knew, it gave us the ability to buy property for reasons other than just straight investment.”
Steering REIV through COVID
Upon his election, Mr Docking said he was humbled and excited by the opportunity to support REIV members through their emergence from lockdowns as the sector looks towards the future.
“My priorities won’t deviate too far from what the organisation has landed on as its strategy over the next few years,” he said.
“Our focus remains on uniting the sector, providing a ‘voice’, and delivering valuable content and we need to strengthen our relationship with government and continue to represent the view of the industry so it’s reflected in legislation.
“It’s a humbling mantle, this one, and I’m excited by the opportunity to support REIV members through their emergence from COVID-19 lockdowns as the sector looks towards the future.
“As I said when I took the presidency reins, if there was ever any doubt about the strength and resilience of the real estate sector, or the talent and leadership capability of the people in it, then the pandemic has disproved it.
“As we look to 2022, I’m determined to continue building REIV’s position as the voice of real estate and ensure the sector is recognised as the significant economic contributor that it is.”
Mr Docking said his experience as a senior member of the REIV for several years had been rewarding and provided the foundations for a successful term as president.
He described sector-impacting legislative changes and new regulations, such as the introduction of the updated Rental Tenancies Act (RTA), as areas that had required significant focus and would continue to demand his attention.
“There’s the need to educate and train members on the RTA was and that continues to be a major undertaking.
He added that the “extraordinary” rise of regional Victorian property values, as metro-based residents and businesses considered a tree-change, was another interesting and important trend.
Victoria’s residential median property prices have broken new records, with four consecutive quarters showing highest-ever results.
Asked if he envisaged this growth continuing as lockdowns eased and the weight of unaffordability and other factors began to weigh on the market, Mr Docking said there may be more growth before things steady.
“A late start to the typically busy spring selling season means momentum should continue through to Christmas, and a return to in-person inspections is giving buyers and sellers more confidence to transact,” he said.
“Beyond that, as Victoria emerges from COVID-19 restrictions, we expect the market to stabilise.”
“The prospects for regional Victoria are promising — the strengthening of technology has meant the office is wherever the laptop is, so the ability to work from home is the way forward, meaning the regions are a lot closer than ever.”
Balancing the demands of his own business, REIV presidency and a family is no mean feat but one he is managing with the help of a dedicated team.
“There is no hiding that the presidency is a very big part of the working week but I am fortunate enough to have fantastic staff who help lighten the load.
“Those close to me are used some somewhat unique working hours.”
Outside the office, Mr Docking has enjoyed compiling a healthy amount of memorabilia from his AFL team Richmond’s recent successes, getting out on the golf course and committing to his mother’s legacy of regularly donating blood.
“I had always said I wanted to at least hang one premiership photo on my wall but thankfully I now have three and have almost run out of room for more,” he said of his beloved Tigers.
“With the golf, coming out of lockdown, I think I lost more balls than I had hits but luckily I have been able to dust the cobwebs off since and am hitting them a bit straighter.”
“It was my mother who taught me the importance of donating blood and when she was diagnosed with cancer, which she ultimately overcame, I came in and took over the mantle.”
Mr Docking will be deputised at the REIV by Richard Simpson (Senior Vice President) and Andrew Meehan (Vice President).