Image Property Sunshine Coast’s Nathan Christmas is coming off the back of a boom sales year in one of the country’s hottest real estate markets.
But rather than being burnt out from the huge volume of sales and buyer inquiries, he also managed to achieve work-life balance during a time when a dozen or more offers were common for nearly every listing.
Living on the Sunshine Coast that meant that he went surfing when the waves were pumping, knowing that his business and his income would suffer as a result of him taking some much-needed ‘me time’.
It seems like the holy grail of real estate sales, doesn’t it? So, just how did a 30-year-old manage a career and lifestyle that most agents can only dream about?
Sunshine Coast local Nathan was originally a carpenter, but it was real estate – not the physical bricks and mortar – that was always his passion. So at age 25 he lay down the tools and started his career in property sales.
At the time, the coast market was flat so it was the perfect learning environment for him.
Indeed, he decided to auction his very first listing, but no one registered to bid on the property on auction day.
“It was a good learning experience, and we did get the property sold the very next week,” Nathan recalls.
“You learn the process and learn not to get too bogged down in whether it sells on the day or it sells post-auction.
“Back then, in that area, days on market was 75 days-plus and we managed to get a contract in less than 40 – even if we didn’t get the ‘big moment’ on the day.”
The slow market at the time meant Nathan learnt about having tough conversations with vendors early in his career – a skill that some new entrants, even now, don’t have in their sales toolkits.
After three years, Nathan knew the time was right to move on from his first agency and expand his career ambitions.
Fortuitously, Adam Empringham – now Image Property’s director of sales – had been Nathan’s mentor from the start of his career and had been working on a new platform that sounded like an ideal scenario for Nathan’s dreams and aspirations.
“Some of the tech that they were creating, you hadn’t seen at any other agency,” Nathans remembers.
“Now, with the Supported By Image model and what they’re doing, it’s just incredible. As soon as we need anything – contracts, Form 6s, entry notices – the tech and the support team do everything for us. We’ve literally got our own PA ready to go whenever we need them.
“It’s giving me a lot of freedom. It has taken me to a whole new level, and it’s just given me so much more time. Not just time to put back into my business, but time to actually use for myself, like to go for a surf, if the surf’s good, make sure that I’m always going to the gym in the morning and basically just having a good work-life balance.”
Nathan says the technology and the support team means that agents are not bogged down with time-consuming administration and are also highly responsive to their vendor clients as well as every buyer interaction.
“We are very digital savvy team. Our tech and our backend support literally has helped us through those boom periods as we’re not printing out a million pieces of paper to hand out to people,” he explains.
“You can do all your business on your phone. For example, the data is inputted at each open home, and buyers get a text message instantly. Your level of communication to your buyers is next level.”
A year like no other
You’d think that when property prices are skyrocketing and buyers are lining up to submit offers on every listing, that an agent would be surviving on adrenaline and too many cups of coffee.
But that hasn’t been the reality for Nathan and his team since the start of the coast property boom because of the superior tech stack and next-level support team.
“We’ve actually had quite a fair bit of time up our sleeves because we could take Sundays off. We could take a half day on Friday and just make sure that we were getting the time for us as well,” he says.
“Also, the freedom that a really good commission structure gives you is something I hadn’t experienced before. It gave us a lot more financial freedom.
“I always really wanted to feel like a business owner, and I wanted to run things as a business. You want to be making top dollar and you want to make that personal income – you don’t want to have to give it to someone else.
“The structure here gives you the feeling that you are running a business for yourself and you’re running it as a growing team as well.”
That past two years have been one of extraordinary growth for Nathan and his team, with plans to keep the momentum going.
His passion for real estate is burning as bright as ever – with superior work-life balance, commission, and culture all playing key parts in his career happiness.
“The culture at Image Property is second to none. It’s amazing,” he says.
“You turn up to work and everyone’s having laugh. Everyone’s happy. But the thing is, everyone’s devoted to their work as well.
“You’ve got a lot of people that have got their heads down and they want to do well, but at the same time we have a good laugh and it’s a good crew here.
“We all get along very, very well and everyone’s got their own plans and running their own businesses, but it feels like a team still and it feels really good to be a part of something bigger.”