After 46 years in the industry, Ray White Double Bay director Michael Finger is an enduring leader who is respected by many.
The power of strong partnerships resonates throughout Mr Finger’s whole life and at age 63, he still writes between $1.8M and $2.2M as well as driving and growing the already successful Double Bay office.
The business of managing businesses is a passion for Mr Finger and many of the people who he mentors aren’t limited to the Ray White group.
“A young 17-year-old boy called me from the Central Coast about five years ago and said he that when he grew up he wants to be ‘just like Michael Finger’,” he said.
A few twists and turns later the now 20-year-old is a successful agent who still calls Mr Finger daily to get advice on how to auction and winning listings.
“I probably get up to three calls a week for help from various agents that I mentor. People just want to pick my brains and they just want to be with me. It’s really interesting and I love helping,” he said.
Loyalty is one of the hallmarks of Mr Finger’s success, a testament to the fact that he and his partner Craig Pontey have worked so well together for more than 39 years.
The pair started together at a business called AH Taylor Real Estate in 1978 as property managers. In fact, Mr Finger hired Mr Pontey and was his boss for many years.
“I always knew I wanted to be in real estate but there was no Google in those early days so when I finished school I got the phone book and wrote letters using a typewriter to every valuer in Sydney to get my first job,” he said.
“I called every valuer from A to Z in the phonebook and no-one wanted a 17-year-old kid with no experience straight from school. So my dad ended up helping me find an in and I was a sidekick to this valuer between 1972-75 and I studied Land Economics and Valuation at night at university.
“It was a solid course and I got a really good grounding.”
After the credit squeeze in 1975, the bank valuations’ work dried up and he again wrote to lots of agents and got an interview at AH Taylor Real Estate which led him into property management.
“I worked as a junior at Petersham for six months and was then put out to their Randwick office. I employed Craig at Petersham and then he came to Randwick too and then we both went to their office in Edgecliff.”
Mr Finger said there was no doubt he liked winning and he was “always streetwise and focused on anything (he) wanted to achieve”.
“If I saw a target and I always found a way to resolve everything to make it work. It was always the thrill of the kill.”
The family has always been close and every Friday night the Fingers host at least 20-30 of their extended family for dinner.
He met his wife Sue when she was just 14 years old and they have been together ever since.
“I crashed a party one night. I went with one girl and left with Sue. That’s how we met. She is an absolutely amazing woman,” Mr Finger said of his wife who became a teacher.
“She is very strong and an amazing mother and an incredible grandmother and a wonderful wife. She is so great.”
Mr Finger’s father David was a Holocaust survivor from Romania who was a tailor.
“I came from very humble beginnings, my dad came from nothing and died with little material wealth but he was so loved by all and my mum is a very strong lady, and still aged 85, she’s very sharp. Mum is a nurturer too but my dad was emotionally very attached to us. He always hugged and kissed me every time he saw me until he died 13 years ago. “