At age 35, Kiani Mills is the co-founder of Edwards Mills, a buyers advocacy company, as well as the creator of Imperiale, a real estate conveyancing firm which she co-founded in 2021 with MAFS graduate Jake Edwards.
But getting to the top of the ladder wasn’t easy. Kiani, one of six children born and raised in Frankston, lacked structure as a child and teen.
After leaving school to pursue a career in law, she landed a job as a legal trainee when she was 18 earning $14,000/year. She commuted daily from Frankston, eating sausage rolls from 7/11 on the train, as that was all her budget would allow.
She was promoted to a Paralegal in the property law department, and that’s where she fell in love with conveyancing. Kiani spent the next few years raising her son, pursuing her passion for property law and conveyancing as a Paralegal, paying expenses, and managing her personal life.
However, despite working the whole three months of her maternity leave while caring for a newborn and a toddler, she returned to work only to be told she no longer had a job.
“Working in a law firm under the protection of 15 lawyers doesn’t set you up to run a new business. However, I did it anyway and loved (and hated) every minute of it,” Kiani recalls.
Kiani started her conveyancing business out of her house, set up on her kitchen bench, having clients come over for a cup of tea whilst she printed their documents on her $100 printer.
“From there, six months passed, and myself and my first employee moved into our Collins St Office, in the Paris end, I was very proud. Here we gained two more staff, then moved to Level 10, 525 Flinders St, with a perfect glass office overlooking the Yarra River and Nobu at Crown Casino.
“The real-life version of Suits! We grew to six before moving to our long-term home leasing at 70 Bridport St, Albert Park. Having a whole building not even two years into running a new business was surreal and brought new challenges and triumphs.
“We opened further offices in Mornington, Glen Waverley, Ballarat and Port Melbourne, adopting the digital world of PEXA and deeming ourselves a paperless office… We were up to 9 staff, a BDM and myself before the global pandemic decided to pounce whilst I was mid-holiday in Bali… Lucky for us, we escaped in the nick of time and got on the last plane!
“This saw us close all of our offices and announce to the world that we had gone digital. This also led to the launch into Queensland and NSW, with Queensland taking off instantly thanks to a couple of big referral partners.
“This financial year has seen us with 56 per cent growth in profit and exceeding our expected targets and milestones. However, as they say, it isn’t all roses and rainbows. There have been massive hurdles to jump, trials and tribulations and painful moments where the thought of giving up crept in. I am and always will be fighting the silent battle in business and wondering, ‘will this all be taken away.
“This lights the fire inside of me, which gives me drive and commitment to myself, my family, my staff and the whole Imperiale family, our clients and referral partners. I do it every day because I want to, but more importantly, I get to. I am privileged to be in this position where I get to help, give back, and run a business the way I do.”
Kiani remembers the company’s early years as being complete chaos.
“Well… I would describe the company’s early days, knowing what I know now, as a hot mess! I had eyes bigger than my belly, so I would say yes to everything and work it out later, or just work later. My solution to being too busy was to hire people like me, which was a BIG mistake. People like me had the social skills but didn’t have the work dedication skills to keep them at their desks.”
Kiani notes that getting into real estate was a by-product of property law. Until she left working in Law Firms, she wasn’t really aware of how much of an influence the Real Estate Industry had as she wasn’t exposed to that world until she left the big city. Then very quickly, Real Estate became her passion/obsession.
“The personable nature of it, the fluctuation in the market, every day was different, different values, interest rates, people, rules, everything. It was a wonder to me, and I fell deeply in love with it.
“There is still a lot of an ‘a grey area’ in the Real Estate industry, which baffles me at times; however, for the most part, it is exciting and does sit in line with my desire to help others make their dreams come true, and this just happens to be a very sought after vehicle. So hence starting a Conveyancing company was a no-brainer for me. I had the skills to be forged in an industry that I loved.
“We were never short on clients, which was a relief; however, as most small business owners, I was wearing every hat, controlling the flow of everything and still trying to do most things myself, even though I had support.
“Starry-eyed but determined, I loved the challenge, the fast pace, the thrill of it all. Help as many people as possible, say yes and deliver, even if it meant sacrificing time with the kids, eating and/or sleeping!”
Why we need conveyancers like Impériale
Impériale Conveyancing is a professional property concierge and advisor who connects the dots for individuals at every stage of the property journey.
Kiani explains that the most common mistake she finds, even with Google, is that consumers do not have their Contract of Sale examined before signing. She also notes that so many things could be wrong with a property/contract, and Solicitors/Conveyancers provide this service for free.
Conveyancers provide knowledgeable advice and personalised service when buying, selling, subdividing, transferring, or developing real estate. They also produce and manage all necessary paperwork throughout the transaction.
She encourages everyone to use this service. “Another issue is that people bid at auctions when they shouldn’t or don’t fully comprehend the implications of doing so. Buying at auction has stringent guidelines, and it is not for everyone,” she adds.
“Finally, not doing thorough due diligence into the local area, planning approvals, etc., you can find most things on the internet or with a quick call to Council, so please don’t assume all is rosy.
“There may be a Department of Housing Development pinned to be built across the street, a giant freeway earmarked to be built, you may be within an ineligible zoning area, and your lender will not accept. Please google the heck out of any property you look at and be smart.”
“I believe that the easiest way to make Real Estate a fairer game is for all buyers to utilise the resources of a Buyers Advocate. Sellers can allow a professional to manage the game to ensure the best result. I strongly believe having the buyer represented by a professional also means it is a LOT more of a fair game.
“Buyers really are at a disadvantage. I started Edwards & Mills Buyers Advocacy with my business partner Jake Edwards to help assist my clients and give them a leg up in the buying game.
“Understanding the value of a good buyer’s advocate can be the difference in winning at auction, finding out about an off-market, savings 6 months of your life from weekend inspections, saving you money, and peace of mind that the due diligence has been completed correctly.”
‘Imperiale’ is the feminine equivalent of ’empire’, as Kiani’s mission is not just to establish her own business but also to assist others in building theirs.
Learn more about Imperiale Conveyancing at https://imperiale.com.au/