Five Questions for a local
The BPS newsletter will now have regular section called “Talking to a local”. First off the block is Chris Hanley who is the principal of Byron Bay First National. Chris is a long term local and has been in real estate longer than anyone can remember. I purchased my first property through him thirty years ago. Byron Bay First National is one our major agencies and consistently lists close to 50% market share of Byron Bay 2481 properties. Chris is a strong advocate for the community and is the chair of the hugely successful Byron Bay Writers Festival. The BBWF is on this weekend (Aug 5 – 7) so go online and get your tickets now.
1. With so many years as a Byron Bay local, what are the most striking changes you have witnessed?
Not too much in physical changes, you can see that if you fly over. But in my three decades I’ve seen changes in the people mainly. Many more professional people now live here than before. I see them all the time at the airport. They commute here from Melbourne, Sydney or Singapore and Hong Kong. That’s possible to do now. It wasn’t before.
But the essence is still the same. It’s still the quality of the people. Good beautiful people who love the place. We get combative and argumentative but that has always been the case. So in essence it has not changed anywhere near as much as people think.
2. You have also seen many changes in the real estate industry – how would you best describe these changes?
Yes a few things have changed:
– In Byron, and this is a fact that not many people are aware of, Byron Bay has more real estate agents per property than any other place in Australia. So it is highly competitive and a difficult area for some.
– The Internet has changed the business so much obviously.
– And this one is important, it needs to be highlighted; there are far more women in the industry than there was before. And that is definitely a good thing. As you can see from our office at First National, we have a very high ratio of female agents.
– The other big change is there is so much free info on the Internet. It used to be that the agent held all the power but now they don’t. If you know where to go and how to find this information you can be in more control than you think.
3. Why do you think Byron is so unique?
It’s the alchemy. It’s unplanned, not designed, disorganised coming together of a disparate group of people that somehow works. It’s the feeling, it’s cosmic, it’s a strong community.
It’s also so many people here focused on their health and well being. That makes a big difference. The surfing culture – that is also unique and has a great influence. The surfing culture really contributes to the feeling.
Also arts and music. Where else in a small place can you so much in the way of music and festivals. So this is what makes it unique. You can get all the good things that the city can offer – food, culture, activities – but at the same time have the advantages of a small country town.
4. What dangers or dilemmas do we have? Do you ever see the likelihood that Byron could loose its way?
No it don’t think we can. It would be hard.
I have just spent 2 years working on the master plan. That has been a good process and it is an insight in seeing the deeper layers of the community.
You have to realise there are lots of people here with a passion to preserve. That is great and it is a great protection for the place. Some groups think they have more love for the place than others. Some think they are more representative of the wider community than others. But everyone who is here loves this place equally. So when push comes to shove it will find a way and I think Byron’s uniqueness will always be preserved in some way.
5. You also work as a business coach as well as in real estate. Can you talk to that as well?
The answer to how I run my business and how I am as a business coach is the same. It’s all, about the people. You can be in the house business or the fish business it’s still about the people. How you deal with people is the key. How you deal with the customer is how it’s always been and how it will always be. The priority is to look after your staff and build a good culture. You have to start with that. It’s all about how to build a good culture and look after your people – both the people behind the counter and the people in front. It’s not so complicated