Guy Saddleton Real Estate is moving to a new location in Bellingen. We catch up with Guy himself, to find out what keeps him passionate about real estate.
How did your career in real estate begin?
My career in real estate began in 1994, after I had been living in the Bellingen area for 6 years (having moved from Sydney’s northern beaches). I made a decision that real estate was what I wanted to do; I commenced my real estate licence course at TAFE Coffs Harbour and sought employment in the industry in Bellingen. In those days, there were only 3 agencies in Bellingen, as opposed to the 6 agencies now operating, and I secured a sales position with Kirkland Real Estate.
I was soon achieving the largest number of sales in the Bellingen area and found that I thoroughly enjoyed being able to assist people with selling / buying what is generally their largest personal asset. It was a tough market in the ‘90s, similar to the market we are experiencing right now, and was certainly a good training ground for me.
In 1997 I completed my licence course, became a licensed real estate agent and opened my first real estate agency – Ray White Bellingen, followed by Guy Saddleton Real Estate in 2003.
What makes you passionate about buying and selling for people on the Coffs Coast?
My passion for real estate primarily relates to my enjoyment of engaging with people at a level that goes way beyond ‘casual acquaintance’, and my commitment to delivering a service that exceeds our clients’ expectations. That means regular follow up and reporting and really equates to building relationships with people as we assist them in buying or selling their home or investment property(s).
Tell us about your Bellingen agency, Guy Saddleton Real Estate.
Guy Saddleton Real Estate truly started as a ‘one man show’. I was a single parent to my son Daniel, who is now 23, and initially I limited my number of listings to 3, as I wanted to ensure that I had time to put my parenting first as well as deliver an exceptional service to clients, while I built a business that I would have more time for once Daniel ‘left the nest’. This happened in 2005, and I increased my listing limit to 12 and employed my first staff member.
In 2008, I sold a 50% share in Guy Saddleton Real Estate to Robin Courtney, who had previously worked for me as my property manager in the Ray White Bellingen office, and we started to build our rent roll in addition to the exclusive selling service that we were already offering. The rent roll grew, and we now employ Rebecca Beaton as our property manager 20 hours a week. Lisa Burns and Shane Keys job share our reception / sales support position 6 days per week; John Simon has joined our sales team; Robin manages the office and now focuses on sales rather than property management; and I split my time between business management and sales.
We removed our limit on listings in December 2010 and at the time of writing, have 42 listings on our books: 5 properties under contract, 42 ‘now buyers’ and 71 ‘future buyers’, together with an extensive email list of around 1,200 people interested in buying in our area.
We have also expanded the region that we cover, after many requests over the years, and now cover the area from Sawtell to Crossmaglen to Nambucca to Dorrigo – a large area, all within approximately 30 mins drive of our head office in Bellingen.
We hear you’re relocating. Tell us about the new premises.
Yes, we are genuinely bursting at the seams in our current location and have secured new premises next door to BCU in Church St, Bellingen, where we expect to be fully operational from June 2011. We have received approval to convert the previously residential ‘80s Spanish Hacienda’ to business premises, and extensive works have been carried out. It’s a great location and will see the end of our current desk roster / desk sharing and an opportunity for the whole GSRE team to be more efficient at what they do.
Describe your typical day.
Well a typical day for me starts with a plan and then gets constantly modified as more people with their own plans come into my day. I’m an early morning person and after a coupe of cups of tea and some walking / exercising, I usually sit down to tackle the 75-100 emails a day that I have to respond to. I find I have very few interruptions between 5 and 7am, and then I get ready and head into the office around 7.30am.
Depending on the day, I have various meetings to kick off my day, and I usually check our targets and results at this time, before moving into appointments, reports, follow up calls and general management, interspersed with whatever surprise the day holds for me. In our profession, you really don’t know what your day will finish up being like when you start, and that’s one of the things I love about real estate … it’s definitely not boring!
What keeps you motivated?
What keeps me motivated is constantly striving to deliver a better and better service to our clients, with the ultimate result being a successful matching of a buyer and seller to achieve the best price at any given time. It is very rewarding, as well as often very challenging and results in solid relationship building with all parties, including solicitors, conveyancers, building inspectors, pest inspectors and various tradespeople, as well as buyers and sellers.
What are your predictions for the real estate market for 2011?
Ah, the BIG question … wouldn’t it be great to have a ‘crystal ball’! Well, the marketplace that we work in tends to be what I call ‘more protected’ than other markets. There is no doubt that there is a lot of downward pressure on the market right now, and of course a possible result of that pressure is reduced prices being achieved for property. In all markets, these days the pressure comes from a global perspective, as well as a local perspective, but locally my hope and expectation is that we will maintain a relatively ‘flat’ market price; or in other words, we will maintain current values, rather than see a reduction in prices.
Having said that, it is also my belief that if there is to be any movement in values, it is likely to go down before we see any up. Historically, we talk about peaks in the property cycle every 7-10 years, so if you take the last peak as Jan 2004, we would expect another peak in 2011 – 2014; however, the distance between the 2004 peak and the previous peak in the early 1990s was more like 14 years, and I would think it more likely that the next peak would occur sometime between 2014 and 2018.
What do you enjoy most about living the Coffs Coast lifestyle?
I love the variety of experiences and communities available within such a short distance. For example, from a base in say, Bellingen, it is just 15-25 mins drive to many beautiful beaches, 30 mins drive to the world recognised Dorrigo National Park, 10-20 mins drive to some of the most amazing swimming holes and rivers in the country, and 30 mins drive to the major commercial /retail centre of Coffs Harbour.
There are some fantastic festivals every year, including the Bellingen Global Carnival, The Dorrigo Bluegrass Festival, the Sawtell Chilli Festival, Toast Urunga, the Bellingen Jazz & Blues Festival and many more … it’s simply the best place to live in Australia … indeed, the world!
What keeps you busy outside of work – what do you do to relax?
My younger kids keep me busy out of work; I have 3 sons: Daniel 23 yrs, Sam 12 yrs and Ben 10 yrs. Daniel has successfully completed his Bachelor of Music at the Australian Institute of Music and is successfully pursuing a career in the music industry, with the latest highlight for me being able to watch his band play as support act for Carlos Santana on his recent Australian tour.
Sam and Ben are both VERY active outside boys; they both play Rugby Union, with Sam recently playing in the NSW Country Championships in Tamworth. Sam has now registered for Rugby League as well, and they are both in the representative Skate and Scooter team in Port Macquarie. Suffice it to say, I do a lot of travelling with my boys on my time off and thoroughly enjoy seeing them pursue their passions.
Relaxing for me is most often going to one of my many ‘favourite spots’ in delightfully panoramic settings and enjoying a good book with a glass (or two) of fine wine, as well as enjoying social time with my friends and family in many different settings.
What are you looking forward to in the coming months?
I am looking forward to opening our new office and seeing all the members of our fantastic team continue to deliver and improve excellent service in an environment that will be far more conducive to the jobs that they do.
I’m looking forward to the challenges that the current market provides us with and coming up with creative solutions that achieve the desired result for our clients and for GSRE. Finally, I’m looking forward to seeing myself, my kids, the rest of my family and my friends grow, learn and love in these somewhat challenging times. Thank you for the opportunity to share ‘my story’, and we look forward to being of service to you.