Tim and Fiona Gregory RE/MAX Property Services Caloundra, QLD

Tim and Fiona Gregory work as a husband and wife team with RE/MAX in Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast. In a career already spanning 36 years, Tim has successfully negotiated the sale of over 1,500 properties in Sydney, Tasmania, rural New South Wales and on the Sunshine Coast. Fiona began her career in real estate in 2001 after serving for nine years as a Detective in the Queensland Police Service. Joining a prominent national franchise on the southern outskirts of Brisbane, she was soon recognised as an Elite Performer in the group’s top 100 agents nationally. They are both involved in a number of local community groups, and, like so many who choose to make the Sunshine Coast their home, love live music, healthy food, a glass of good wine and the perfect sunny coast lifestyle.

What were your first jobs, and what were the most important things they taught you?
Fiona’s first job was in sales in a camera store; Tim’s was in sales in a drapery. The most important lessons for both of us were about listening and asking lots of questions to get a clear understanding of what a client is ultimately hoping to achieve.

What do you like most about your work now?
The magic for us is flexibility and being able to work together, selling as a team. We know working with your spouse is not for everyone, but we complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses and it works for us. With just on 54 years’ combined real estate experience we’ve seen the good, the bad and the downright disastrous in couples working together; we’ve learned to stick to what we’re good at.

What do you still find the most challenging about what you do, and how do you deal with it?
We’re both quite opinionated, given we each had a lot of real estate experience individually even before we teamed up! We found that in order to work together we needed to align each task with whoever had the stronger relevant core skill, or who loved that task the most (or hated it the least) to get things done efficiently.

In terms of the industry, the most challenging thing for us is working in a really tightly held area. There’s major infrastructure development going on which is due to be completed at the end of 2016, so sellers are holding on waiting for a magic wand to be waved over values in the area. What are we doing? It’s really just a process of working extra hard to uncover the sellers who are ready to act in the short term and building relationships with the rest.

Describe what a typical day looks like for you.
We’re usually up early for a quick whirl around the garden and time with the pets, then it’s coffee at the beach to plan our day. Mornings are usually admin and office-based, then we’re out talking to people and doing appointments and prospecting in the afternoon.

We’ve started a community Facebook page and website for our local area called We Love Currimundi, so at the moment we’re introducing ourselves to all the local business owners and getting their details to put in our free business directory.

We end the day the same way we started, notwithstanding any late appointments. It feels great to get your bare feet on the ground, with a glass of wine in hand, and pat a pooch! It helps to keep a healthy perspective on your day.

Define ‘success’ for you personally? What will you have achieved?
For us it’s in maintaining the balance between career, family, health and lifestyle. That’s what feels the most aligned with our values. We have six children and four grandchildren, so apart from financial goals our biggest hot buttons are spending quality time with them on a regular basis. It can be logistically challenging just getting them all in one space!

The other measure of success is how often we get away to travel. At the beginning of each year we plan two one-week trips inside Australia, plus two weeks at the end of June and December, at least one of those being overseas. That discipline keeps us energised, striving for goals, interested and interesting!

That may not sound all that grand to people who are super-ambitious, but we’ve found we have a very different perspective on what makes us happy after our shared experience of losing our first partners [to cancer] and having to be both Mum and Dad to our kids. Being happy and feeling successful is represented by different things to different people, and that’s okay.

Is there one thing that’s not obvious about you that you wish more people would ‘get’?
We genuinely care about our clients – in fact, we’re more attached to what is right for our client than what is right for us. Everything else falls into alignment when you put the client ahead of your own interests.

What’s your secret skill or superpower that makes you so good at what you do?
Listening; and then asking the high-mileage questions that drill down to the heart of what a client’s hopes and motivations are. The most powerful tools are questions and silence.

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received, and why?
The best compliment is when a client says, ‘I trust you absolutely, just tell me what we need to do next.’ You might think that means you have free range to do whatever you want, but it actually imposes a responsibility that matches the level of trust given. That sort of trust definitely brings out the best in both of us.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger selves, what would it be? What would you do differently?
We’re in agreement here. Our advice would be ‘Don’t take your foot off the pedal just because you’re earning a comfortable living; push through to the next level.’ One thing we would do differently if we had the chance would be branding ourselves. More and more we feel it’s about relationships, as well as the company you’re working with.

What are your goals for the next 12 months?
In the short term we’re working on a personal branding project in the digital space; we’re so fortunate to work in a very collaborative office where that is openly encouraged.

In the longer term we see ourselves going all-out for the next 10 years, until we retire right here in our own patch on the Sunshine Coast. There are some exciting things about to happen in our office and we’re really looking forward to being a part of that as it all unfolds.

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