What 50 years in real estate has taught Vic Care

If there’s one thing Vic Care knows after 50 years in real estate, it’s how to build a successful career, and it’s deceptively simple.

“Shoot for the stars – love what you do,” the Barry Plant co-founder says. 

“Have a vision, set your goals high and be the best that you can possibly be. 

“Never compromise standards and provide a product or service that is high quality – something people want to be associated with.”

Speaking on the anniversary of his 50th year in real estate, Vic says he joined EJ Doherty Real Estate in November 1971 and quickly moved through the ranks at the Coburg office to purchase it with his first partner, Gary Harrington.

“I always had a vision of building the largest real estate group of offices in the northern and western suburbs, and under the EJ Doherty brand, I was able to achieve that,” Vic explains.

But Vic also wanted to make a move into the eastern and southern suburbs of Melbourne, and it was with this in mind, he approached Barry Plant proposing a merger.

The two agents didn’t know each other well, but they quickly discovered there were no overlapping offices and that the businesses shared similar values.

On July 1, 1999, the two groups joined forces and the rest, as they say, is history.

“Both of us understood franchising and had been doing it for 10 years at that stage, and we both also had a highly developed understanding of the market and the industry,” Vic says.

“I enjoyed applying my business skills and addressing the legal and financial details to grow the business while Barry, with his involvement with the REIV and his auctioneering awards, had a more public profile.  

“He was passionate about being innovative in marketing the brand and won us a crop of awards. 

“We both had a focus on growing the network, but in particular by mentoring agents and then helping them to become business owners. 

“We preferred growth from within as people then already understood our culture and values.”   

It’s 22 years since Vic and Barry joined forces, and since then, the Barry Plant network has grown to 73 offices across Victoria.

Vic still loves the real estate industry more than ever and is an active director in the business.

In addition, his sound business acumen makes him a sought-after mentor and sounding board for agency owners in the group.

Over the years, there have been many changes in the real estate industry, from the advent of mobile phones to marketing techniques, but Vic says it’s the internet that has brought about the greatest change.

“It meant that buyers could research their options, they could view multiple properties and shortlist and, as agents, we could market to them in a cost-effective way,” Vic explains.

“Vendors could research the best agents, and as a result, the quality of agents in the industry lifted.”

With a clear pennant for transparency in every deal, Vic says the Section 32, or vendor’s statement, has been another milestone that has improved the industry.

“It is a wonderful tool that allows buyers to review all aspects of the property and make an informed decision whether to buy or not. It protects the buyers,” Vic says.

However, on a basic level, Vic believes that real estate hasn’t changed that much. It’s still about people more than it is bricks and mortar, and ebbs and flows are par for the course.

“It still has a highly transactional focus and at the core of each transaction is an agent, a seller and a buyer being brought together to agree on a deal,” Vic says.

“We still show buyers properties and still carry out auctions.” 

Looking at today’s market, Vic cautions agents not to forget how to look after buyers.

“I’ve worked through tight credit markets where there was a glut of properties and not many buyers,” he says.

“Those of us who built strong relationships with buyers, who communicated with them regularly, were the ones who sold those buyers a property.

“It was almost a sole agency on a purchaser.”

Vic says he’s not the only veteran still in the Barry Plant group, with the man himself, Barry, celebrating 50 years in real estate back in 2019.

To young agents just starting, Vic not only advises to “shoot for the stars”, but to treat the people you work with like your family.

“Whether that’s the team at the corporate office or the business owners in the group – build a culture of care and support,” Vic says.

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Deputy Editor at Elite Agent.