Changing views

December 1, 2016

Changing views

They’ve made a name for themselves by helping others achieve their dreams and are rebuilding the reputation of real estate agents in the process. While their road to success has been winding, Paul and Julie Anderson have done it all together and are now backing themselves in their biggest move
yet – becoming Team Anderson.

It’s ‘The Great Australian Dream’ and a big-ticket bucket list item for most – to own one’s own home. Yet despite their role in helping everyday people achieve this goal, the reaction reserved for real estate agents is often one of distrust.

But as Paul and Julie Anderson welcome me into their beautiful canal-front apartment for this interview with a hug and a smile rather than a handshake and ‘the nod’, I know immediately that they are paving a different path for themselves in what is a highly competitive and often cut-throat industry. Here is a couple who knows what they stand for; who have created their own success and forged a brand that represents who they are, that they are happy to put their name to.

And that is exactly what they have done, venturing out on their own after three years in the industry to become Team Anderson Property Group. Though working under the umbrella of Modern Agents, it’s a huge move for the husband and wife team, who have run their own business before, but until 2013, had never even contemplated real estate as a career.

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“We owned a steel detailing business that did drawings for fabricators for large commercial and industrial projects like airports, shopping centres and hospitals,” explains Paul. “We had 10 staff and had been going for 25 years, but in the end, we couldn’t compete in this new age of outsourcing.”

Making a courageous decision to close their business while they were still ahead, and having worked side-by-side for most of their lives together, Paul and Julie were faced with an uncertain future. But as the saying goes, when one door closes, another opens, and it was through the process of finding another business to take over their company’s lease that Paul found inspiration.

There are things that are happening now that wouldn’t have even been on our radar, we didn’t know we could have dreamT this big. It’s just knowing that no matter how big your bucket list is, anything is possible.”

“Loren Wimhurst (a local real estate agent) was looking at taking over our lease, and after we talked, she said to me, ‘Have you ever considered real estate, as business owners usually make good agents,” says Paul.

“I really didn’t know what I was going to do at the time. At 50 years of age, to be reinventing myself was a bit daunting. So I had a coffee with Loren and she told me the ins and outs of the industry, and then two weeks later I saw an ad for McGrath Academy.

“I’d read all of John McGrath’s books and had always been inspired by him, so I thought, ‘This is the opportunity!’ Out of 32 applicants for the academy, they only took five and I was one of them, and it was the best thing that could have happened to me.”

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Having worked with local contractors as a draftsman when he first moved to the Coast from Redcliffe with Julie 32 years ago, and having consulted with engineers responsible for developing a variety of subdivisions while running their business, Paul’s knowledge of the area made his new career a perfect match. After a two-week intensive training course to secure his real estate license, Paul started working at McGrath Buderim and spent 18 months under the wing of an experienced mentor based at McGrath in Sydney, before jumping ship to Aspire Estate Agents in February 2015.

It was then that Julie decided to follow suit, obtaining a real estate license of her own so she could rejoin Paul in the workforce, with the pair having been practically inseparable since they met as teenagers back in 1979.

At 50 years of age, to be reinventing myself was a bit daunting.”

“Paul had watched me catch the train and later on I was at a nightclub with my sister and he spotted me and he came up and tapped me on the shoulder and asked me to dance,” Julie smiles at Paul as she recounts the memory, “He said, ‘You catch the 7:23 train from Sandgate, don’t you?’ and I said ‘Yes?’ and he said, ‘I’ve been watching you’,” laughs Julie, “and we’ve been together since the day we met.”

Paul and Julie went on to raise three sons, with two living in London and one residing in Wodonga, Victoria, and despite now being empty nesters sharing solely their own company, as I watch them exchange banter, finish each other’s stories and frequently praise each other, it’s clear they are still full of respect and admiration for each other – making them the perfect team.

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So as they got back to working side-by-side combining their strengths, Paul and Julie quickly earnt a reputation at Aspire for their kind and genuine nature and out-of-the-box approach, and set out to challenge the public’s perceptions of their industry, one sale at a time.

“Everyone thinks it’s a quick buck – go and do real estate for a few months, turn over a few commissions and you’re laughing, but Paul has said many a time that it’s actually the hardest thing he has ever done, because it’s really hard work to do it properly,” says Julie.

“There are too many people out there who just tell people what they want to hear rather than the truth, and you’re playing with their lives,” says Paul. “It’s a personal experience; it’s not about houses, it’s about dealing with people and emotions. Houses sell themselves, but we’re about the management of people and helping them get through this stressful time.”

While they thrived under Aspire, Paul and Julie knew they wanted to get back to being their own bosses, and made the decision in September to take the next step by branching out on their own and backing themselves as Team Anderson.

“People buy from people, so we appreciated the opportunity to be able to brand ourselves under the Modern Agents business model,” says Julie.
“We want to do things differently and there are a lot of things in the pipeline for us training and marketing-wise that we never could have done in the past, but now can,” explains Paul.

Within a week of going out on their own, everything began falling into place. They downsized their home and moved into the stress-free lifestyle environment they’d always dreamt of. They were invited to Richard Branson’s Makepeace Island for the Entrepreneur’s Paradise event, where they met CEO of The Butterfly Experience, Deborah Morandin and gained her support. They were able to start thanking the community for their support by giving back through sportsclub sponsorships. And most importantly, they were rewarded with making sales based around their own principles.

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“We’re not there for the money, we’re there because we care. Sometimes we care a bit too much, sometimes to our detriment, but then when you get that sale and you see the tears of joy in your client’s eyes, it just makes it all worthwhile,” says Paul with a smile.

He goes on to tell me about how he recently sold a property to a couple that was new to the Coast, four months after they first viewed it, because he’d earnt their trust through offering his unconditional help.

“Often people are not telling you the whole story and you’ve got to peel back the onion a little bit, because the more we know, the more we can help. After getting to know the couple, I didn’t care whether they did or didn’t buy the property, but I didn’t want them to buy in an area that didn’t suit their lifestyle. So they would ring me asking, ‘What do you think of this area?’ and I’d tell them honestly and give them all the information they needed. And in the end they came back and bought the house.

“It’s not like we’re trying to be saints, but it’s just human decency – we’d feel bad if they bought somewhere and we knew something was happening in the future that wouldn’t suit them.”

Houses sell themselves, but we’re about the management of people and helping them get through this stressful time.”

“It’s really a job of high highs and low lows,” Julie adds, “It’s an emotional rollercoaster a lot of the time because you’re dealing with people’s biggest asset and with that and the sum of money that is involved, of course it becomes emotional. But that’s why we’re so set on honesty – a property is only going to be worth what somebody is prepared to pay, and it’s our job to negotiate the best outcome for all concerned.”

In making dreams come true for others without compromising their values, this humble and dedicated husband and wife team is already on their way to achieving their own goal of changing the face of their industry. And as long as they have each other for support, there is plenty more they can accomplish.

“Moving into a lifestyle environment was one of our bucket list items, so we’ve ticked that off,” Julie smiles, “that as well as getting into charity work and going on holidays with our sons and their partners. So many exciting things are happening for us at the moment, we hadn’t really explored how big our bucket list could be. There are things that are happening now that wouldn’t have been on our radar, we didn’t know we could have dreamt this big. It’s just knowing that no matter how big your bucket list is, anything is possible.”

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