When Col McIntyre began his career in real estate, he was tasked with selling an Isabella Plains property that would sit on his books for 15 months. It might’ve felt like the end of the world to the rookie agent but today it’s a source of great amusement.
“I kept asking the vendor to list it with someone else and he kept refusing,” he says.
“Mind you, in the process of selling that listing, I met a lot of people and made many valuable contacts. In a way, it catapulted my business.”
After 25 years of navigating the Canberra property market, the butcher-turned-director of McIntyre Property is rarely fazed.
When he started in the industry, properties were still largely advertised via print media, and business was conducted face-to-face.
He recalls pounding the pavement to do letterbox drops, door knocking and cold calls to gain business.
Mobile phones were not yet a thing and the internet wasn’t yet mainstream, let alone the omnipotent power it is today.
“I won’t mention names, but I remember one of my previous bosses telling me the internet was just a fad,” he laughs.
These days, Col reckons 99 per cent of business is conducted on his trusty smartphone and marketing is exclusively online.
In a time of virtual tours and dizzying markets, he says technology is by far the biggest catalyst of change in the industry, and has reinvented both the buyer and the seller markets.
“Today’s buyers and sellers are savvy. Back in the day real estate agents held all the information – what price points properties were selling for, all the information that wasn’t available to the general public,” he says.
“Sellers these days know what their properties are worth; they’re just looking for the right person to grab them by the hand, walk them through the journey and negotiate on their behalf.
“On the flip side about 70 per cent of a buyer’s decision is already made before they walk into a house; it’s just a matter of how the home looks, feels and smells.”
The core of the industry however, hasn’t changed.
“It’s a fairly simple business to be honest,” Col says.
“There are four things you need to do well and do often, in order to succeed – list, sell, prospect and negotiate.
“Many people complicate it, try to reinvent the wheel and look for an easier option rather than picking up the phone and talking to people. But it’s still a person-to-person business.”
It’s a philosophy that works.
After 10 years in the industry, Col ventured out on his own. Marking its 15th year this month, the multi award-winning agency McIntyre Property has grown from three employees in one office to 24 across two.
The business has also weathered its share of storms, during which time Col has seen the folly in speculation.
“The GFC [Global Financial Crisis] hit within the very first year we opened our doors,” he says.
“We had one of our biggest years when we first opened our doors.
“Similarly when Covid first started hitting the market we thought it would be doom and gloom. I was expecting we’d be forced to lay off staff, close offices – there were no indicators out there that the market would turn into the rocket that it did.
“I am against letting the negative press dictate outcomes for clients. I go with what’s in front of me.”
McIntyre Property, fortunately, was founded on the same modest rent roll that Col and his wife Jo sold their family home to buy 15 years ago.
“We made sure to build our business on rent roll,” Col says.
“No matter how the market changes people will always need a place to live. That diversity in our portfolio provides stability.”
Coming out of winter and following three rate rises, Col says the ever-mercurial property market is plateaued at the moment, as it tends to do in the nation’s capital following a boom.
Col describes the trend as a return to “getting to know people” after the past three years of “speed dating”.
But he is reserving judgement with a level-headedness that only comes with his years of experience.
He advises giving it “two or three months and we’ll see what’s actually happening in the market”.
In the meantime, he has a fairly simple plan for the future of the business.
“We’ve built a good business and they say if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” he says.
“We’re going to stay the course.”
Visit the McIntyre Property website for more information.