As Ray White Double Bay gears up to celebrate it’s 30-year milestone, Craig Pontey shared some of his insights gathered over 39 years in the property game.
Mr Pontey likened his long career to running a never-ending marathon.
“You run, run, run and get to the finish and fall over the line but it feels like a taxi picks you up and drives you back to the start line and you’ve got to do it all over again. It’s exactly like that,” he said with a chuckle.
“I believe the secret to success is all about energy and having passion. You have to enjoy what you are doing, and I still do. I love talking to people, after all, we are in the people business.
“I have always had Mike [Finger] and we support each other. My wife Wendi is also a great support. I’d be lost without her, she’s a champion and keeps me on track.
“Our relationship with the White family is also very strong, particularly with Brian, it’s closer than it’s ever been.
“The way I look at it is we need to have a high profile agency and we are definitely in the biggest market in Australia right here and that helps the whole Ray White business.
“It’s not just about us, it’s about everyone putting another brick in the wall wherever they are in the Ray White group as it reflects on all of us.
“I’d like to think Double Bay is the centre of the universe and whatever we do helps everyone and what everyone else does helps me too. It’s all about teamwork in Ray White.”
He also reckons he’s ‘the luckiest bloke alive”. “I think I must have been kissed on the butt by a fairy. Things just happened to me out of left field. I even had a heart attack at age 51 and didn’t even know I’d had it,” he said.
“Apparently my profile now shows I am on a mission to hurry up and get things done faster since my heart attack in November 2011. But I don’t feel like that at all.”
As a youngster, Craig Pontey actually thought he wanted to be a lawyer.
He went to university but it wasn’t for him, so he asked his father David Pontey who was a successful real estate agent in the southern suburbs if he could work for him.
“Dad said no but he organised a meeting for me with Sir Keith Campbell, who ran LJ Hooker at the time.
“So I spent $150 on a suit and I ran into the city to LJ Hooker house and while I was in the lift he met Tony Ashford, who ran Stewart Upton, a no sale, no charge real estate business.”
After Sir Keith granted him five minutes but no further opportunity, he ran around to Mr Upton’s office and waited for over three hours to speak to him again about his future.
Mr Pontey gave him his 17-year-old life story and Mr Ashford organised an interview for him at AH Taylor Real Estate.
“He asked to speak to the property manager and he got put through to a bloke called Michael Finger. I remember the call and he said, ‘I think you need to interview him, he’s got good energy’.”
So on 28 November 1978, he started at AH Taylor Real Estate and ended up staying there in various offices and roles until he and Michael Finger joined Trevor Leach in moving to Ray White Double Bay on 11 April 1988. The business had been running since November 1987.
Loyalty is a very important trait to Mr Pontey – he’s had the same banker and insurance broker for over 30 years.
“It’s not always about the money. Real estate is a people business at the end of the day.”
The business that he and Mike Finger run now is considerably more profitable, efficient and nimble than when they owned other Ray White offices at Circular Quay, Alexandria, Surry Hills, Paddington and Green Square too.
Now with 25 salespeople and a total staff of 70, Ray White Double Bay sold in excess of $985 million worth of property in 2016-17.
“We are much more nimble now but our business is much bigger, more enjoyable and more profitable. It’s quicker and faster now. I love it.”