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Whites keep up family tradition

By Tammy Laval

When Brian White negotiated his first rental agreement for 2 pound a week, he was so excited he spent the entire weekend helping the tenants move in.

While his enthusiasm didn’t stretch quite that far again, the grandson of real estate icon Ray White says he never lost the thrill of helping people find answers to their property needs.

Brain, who is now the joint chairman of Ray White, visited the recently opened Ray White Mackay City Office on Monday.

Taking time out to chat to the Daily Mercury, Brain said he was impressed with the way locals had embraced Mackay’s recent growth.

“It’s a great story”, he said.  “The resident of Mackay have been the essential drivers of this growth and many people participated and reaped the benefits.  Mackay is becoming quite a significant market in terms of the Australian property industry. That wasn’t the case three or four years ago.  We never used to use ‘lifestyle’ in describing centres, but we do now – and Mackay is certainly a good place to be.”

Brian confesses he has a soft spot for our town, having spent a lot of time here before he and his brother turned the family owned business into a 1000-office franchise spanning Australia, New Zealand and South-East Asia.  He says experience in Mackay, Townsville and Cairns gave him and Paul the encouragement to expand outside Queensland.

Real estate has been part of Brain’s life since he was a young tacker, so much so that his father Alan used to interrupt the drive to school to do a bit of business.

Brain and Paul weren’t much help then – waiting in the car for dad to list houses was a boring past time.  The two would eventually become impatient and start blowing the car horn, which was not so good for business!

Brian laughs as he recounts his father’s annoyance.  “He would come back and say ‘There goes your holiday’.”

Brian’s three sons, who work for Ray White, were also immersed in the industry at a young age and Brain laughs as he describes himself conducting auctions with one kid on his shoulders and another on the ground, trying to stop them fighting.

“It’s very hard to describe the joys of a family business.  I had a terrific working relationship with my father (Alan), because he’d had a working relationship with his father (Ray) he was able to understand my needs.  In turn, I’m able to understand my kids’ needs.  A lot of family businesses so sadly crumble when the older generation is not capable of accepting the needs of their children.  It’s up to the older generation to accommodate change and the needs of the next generation.”

Although a lot has changed over the years, Brain says the biggest story of all is what hasn’t changed.

“Being able to communicate effectively, understand and listen still form the basics of this whole industry.  If you can’t do these things you can’t be a problem solver, and that’s never changed.”

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