Howard Jackson is so passionate about Real Estate he can’t imagine a future or a life where he’s not involved in it in some way. He’s also passionate about his local area and has lived there so long he reckons he’s an institution!
Have you always worked in Real Estate? What motivated you to start your Real Estate career?
I came to Real Estate in my mid 40s. I’d run a variety of businesses up to 1997 when I took a job working in the Treasury Department at the Brisbane Casino. While that might sound exciting, believe it or not it can get very boring counting cash, and in 2001 I decided I’d had enough and needed a new challenge. I was starting to build a property portfolio and had always thought that I’d like to try my hand at Real Estate, but had got side tracked by life. I joined REMAX in 2002 and took to it like a duck to water. I achieved Platinum awards with them and at one stage was ranked in the top 100 internationally.
You’ve lived in the Carina/Camp Hill area your whole life – what sort of advantages does this give your business?
I know the area like the back of my hand. I know every street, I know every house and my network of local friends, colleagues and acquaintances is very wide. The amount of business that is referred to me through people I know – even people I went to primary school and secondary college with – is phenomenal. They know that, as a long time local, I have a real emotional investment in the area and its people and will go the extra distance to make sure they get a great price for their property.
What do you love most about your job?
The thrill of getting a deal together – getting the best possible price for a vendor – no matter how long it takes. I thrive on negotiating and will happily put in all the hours necessary to find the common ground between buyer and seller.
Barry Plant is a relatively new brand name in Queensland. What sorts of things have you done to build recognition of the brand in your local area?
While the Barry Plant brand is the biggest in Victoria, you’re right, it’s a new brand here and at least once a week I get called “Barry”! We’ve been doing lots and lots of letterbox drops. Head Office provide designs that are really quirky and eye-catching and we also make sure that we put our photos and names on the back of the drops – so people associate me with the new brand. And we talk about the Barry Plant brand and its credentials at every opportunity – both in business and social settings. We’re the advance guard in this neck of the woods, but it’s a great franchise and I don’t expect to be the only Barry Plant operation in the Brisbane area for long.
Tell us about the Carina area and some typical properties…
The territory that I cover includes Carina, Carina Heights, Carindale and Camp Hill and there’s a diverse range of Real Estate through these suburbs ranging from two bedroom units from $300,000 through to post-war weatherboards ready for a facelift at around $360,000 to the iconic, pre-war “Queenslanders” with their sweeping verandas through to luxury homes in Camp Hill from $1million through to $5 million.
Tell us about your team…
Mark Bellingham, who is my business partner, has been in Real Estate for over 20 years. As well as being a great lister he’s also a marketing specialist and thrives on putting together campaigns for unique properties. We’ve got two very enthusiastic sales consultants and two more starting soon. It’s a balance between having enough staff to grow your business and making sure that everyone is able to earn a decent living. Our rent roll is around 180 properties and I have a full time Property Manager and part time Business Development Manager looking after that. And, of course, a full time administrator to keep us all organised. The fact that we’re pioneering the Barry Plant brand has really helped mould us as a team. It’s a challenge that we’re enjoying.
What is important to you outside of work?
As you know, Real Estate doesn’t give you a lot of free time, but my family is really important to me. My wife and I are now “empty nesters” but we’ve got a grandson who is almost two years old and we just love spending time with him. We’ve just renovated a unit on the Gold Coast and take every opportunity to spend time there.
How do you like to unwind?
I take every opportunity to get out of Brisbane and just totally relax – usually at the beach on the Gold Coast. I like having leisurely Sunday brunches and enjoy walking – preferably on the beach.
Your office is located a stone’s throw from the Brisbane Lions’ home ground, The Gabba. Is it just a co-incidence that you’re a huge supporter?
I played AFL as a kid – and if you do the math, you’ll realise that AFL wasn’t exactly common in Brisbane back then. So when the Brisbane Bears was established I started going to the games and when they became the Lions, I took out membership. It’s a great atmosphere at The Gabba and with free public transport thrown in with every ticket, it’s just so easy to get there.