Insider view: Claire Bathgate, head of sales at Dandara Aberdeen, on how she approaches her role

Job title I am head of sales at Dandara Aberdeen, which means I’m responsible for residential and commercial sales across the Aberdeen area.

Claire Bathgate, head of sales at Dandara Aberdeen
Claire Bathgate, head of sales at Dandara Aberdeen

How did you get started? I actually started my career in the skies as a cabin crew member for more than seven years.

With changing priorities in life, my next role was working for the property advertising section of a newspaper. This sparked my passion for property and I joined a solicitor’s office.

After eight years, I moved overseas to Doha, Qatar, before moving to back and securing a job with Dandara Aberdeen, where I have been since 2016. I was promoted to sales manager after a year.

The housebuilder’s Hazelwood development in the West End of Aberdeen, where two to five-bedroom homes are reported to be selling well

What is your favourite type of property? I may be a bit biased, but I love all our Dandara homes – however, I do have a particular soft spot for the homes at Stoneywood as these were the first homes I started selling when I joined. I would happily move into the homes we have at Hazelwood, too.

What is your typical day like? Every day is different, and this is something I really love about the job. I spend a lot of time liaising with the team and solicitors, as well as meeting with agents and pricing new zones. I am also heavily involved in the marketing of our developments and spend a lot of time strategising for the future. The best bit of the job is seeing happy buyers moving into their new homes.

What has been the biggest challenge or worst time in the business? The market in Aberdeen has been challenging. There have been clear peaks and troughs in terms of property prices, but more recently, the market [here] is experiencing a high level of growth. I think it is important to be adaptable and proactive as things can change so quickly.

Where do you live? We decided to settle in Westhill as we knew the area. There are plenty of schooling options and amenities nearby which suited my family. We also have relatives in the area.

Does your job affect your social life? I used to work weekends, but now I make sure to get time off to enjoy with my family. I like to make sure the team are managing, so I am usually always on call in case there is something needing my attention. Outside of work, people always want to talk about property, but I don’t mind – I love it.

What advice would you give someone wanting to work in the industry? Research, research, research! Check out the company, look at the developments and properties they build and their standards. Knowing what is happening in a company and showing your passion for the industry will get you far. Look into training schemes too, as this may heighten your chances of success.

What do you do in your spare time? It mainly involves standing on the sidelines cheering my children on, walking the dog and chores. I have completed a few 26-mile Kilt Walks for charity and have recently started running a few times a week as Dandara are sponsoring the Run Garioch 10km race in May next year.

How is business in 2021? Like many companies, we initially had to reduce our staffing levels which was tough for everyone, but with a resilient property market we have begun recruiting again and have launched new phases at Hazelwood and The Grange. The property market has picked up this year and our properties are sellingfast – it will be interesting to see how it plays out for the rest of 2021 and into 2022. Although we are seeing better activity and growth, we are yet to see significant price increases like in other areas of Scotland.

What innovations in the industry do you see making the biggest difference in the future? With the COP26 climate conference, prioritising the green agenda within the housebuilding industry has never been more of a hot topic – and an incredibly important one. Our properties incorporate a number of eco-friendly features including solar panels which will hopefully become the standard in the industry nationwide.

What could the industry or the government be doing differently in your opinion? Schemes like the First Home Fund are always well received but are often far too short. The drive to help first-time buyers is fantastic, but there needs to be better criteria to help those who really need it. Getting planning approved can be a very lengthy process, so it would be great if there was a more efficient way for this to be done.

What are your predictions for the market in the years to come? I think Covid has drastically changed the market already. We’ve seen buyers’ priorities completely change, with more space and green areas taking the lead over factors like commutability which were previously much higher up on a buyer’s list. City centre living is now not as crucial for many.

Life file

Born and raised In Aberdeen, and I lived in Edinburgh as a student, and in the Middle East for two and a half years.

Education Albyn primary and secondary before studying at Moray House in Edinburgh.

Family I have two children, Finlay, 14, and Natasha, 12. Daisy, our cocker spaniel, is two!

First Job When I was younger, babysitting and childminding. I also had a weekend job working in a sports shop.

First home A one-bed self-contained flat – small, but in a great location. I loved that it was all mine, having worked and saved hard for a deposit.

Plans for retirement I haven’t thought too much about retirement yet, although maybe I should. I would love to live somewhere warm where I can go for plenty of long walks on the beach.

Personal motto A positive attitude will lead to a positive outcome.