With 15 years of experience in the industry, it’s no surprise Ray White TRG associate director Evan Williams has some stories to tell – but did you know he could sing them?
Tell me about your story and how you started out in real estate?
My family are very creative, mum and dad taught my siblings and me the importance of using your creativity and your confidence and charisma to create whatever you put your mind to. I started out at the tender age of 21, coming off the back of my third year of opera school at the Sydney Conservatorium. Opera isn’t at its peak in Australia, and I’d just realised I’d have to travel all around the world to make a career of it, and then I had some unexpected news, really the best news I’ve ever had. My then-girlfriend – now my wife – Kashaya, was pregnant with our first child, James. It gave me a reason to hang up the opera costume and put on a suit and get a real job!
What did you really want to be when you were growing up?
I didn’t really know what I wanted to do! I’ve actually just started having these conversations with my son, and I’m asking him the same questions I asked myself at that age. Namely, what are you good at, what do you enjoy, and how do you think you can marry those together to make ends meet?
When my brother and I were about 8 and 10 we used to sing in church, and started performing at weddings – earning $50 per wedding which was a lot of money for 8 and 10 year old boys! We knew we were good at it, and how to perform, so for me it went from there.
Any mentors or inspirational figures along the way?
My biggest inspiration is my wife, who now runs one of the most successful wedding planning businesses in Australia. We’ve been married for close to 15 years now, with three children. When we were young parents and we didn’t have financial backing we had to think outside the box and we certainly did that!
Another would be my grandmothers, they worked very hard to put their families through the private education system and they worked and worked until the job was done.
Any large sales or big moments in your career that stand out?
I hold the Australian Auction Record for the highest price ever paid in an Australian auction. That was for a client I met when I was 21, in my first year of real estate. He had an advertisement in the back of the Wentworth Courier, I gave him a quick call, popped in and met him, and kept in touch with him over the next 12 years. Fast forward to 2017 and he wanted to sell, the property was called Eynesbury, at 22 Albert Street, Edgecliff, and we achieved a record-setting auction price of $33,250,000.
What do you get up to in your downtime?
When you’re working six days a week and you’re married to someone that works from 3.45 am you don’t get a lot of downtime! So I made it non-negotiable that I coach each of my children’s rugby teams from the ages of 7 to 10. I’ve been able to do that for all three of my boys and that is the highlight of my week.
I also like to go for a walk between 5 and 6am. At dawn, before the sun comes up, no one’s around so it’s a great time to clear your head, breathe the fresh air and tackle the day. Most importantly when your head hits the pillow at 9 pm that night you go to sleep straight away!
What’s the most interesting/notable/funny thing you’ve come across in your time working in real estate?
Definitely setting that Australian auction record, but also selling the Keeper’s Cottage at Vaucluse. It’s a constitutional leasehold owned by her majesty and governed by the Harbour Foreshore Trust. It’s the old lighthouse keeper’s cottage and it’s set up like a country estate beneath the lighthouse. I sold that leasehold a couple of years ago to Chinese conglomerate Nanshan and the whole negotiation was done with interpreters. It was a very unique and rewarding experience, a real feather in the cap.
What’s your favourite thing about working in this industry?
Your business can come from anywhere and anything you do. You don’t have to be that agent constantly pestering somebody, you just have to be a decent, nice human being in the community. If someone likes you, that’s enough for them to put their trust in you to hold what is often the biggest asset they will own in their life. It’s been enough for me!
And your least favourite?
There can only be one winner in an auction. You generate such a close rapport with all your bidders, but of course there can only be one winner. That’s the hardest part, but the best solution to that is going out and finding them somewhere else to buy and assisting them with that. You don’t know where your next ticket will come from and everyone deserves to be treated equally and with sincerity.
What advice would you give to yourself if you were starting out?
There is no right or wrong way to practice in this business, but it’s important to experiment with different forms of marketing. You never know where you’re going to find your next buyer or vendor! Back in 2010, I was one of the first people in the industry to use Instagram, I embraced the technology very early on. Having been able to embrace that technology assisted me with my first social interaction with Gavin Rubenstien, who’s now my business partner and fellow director, and a great friend. I have no doubt that technology has brought me closer to many of my clients and friends and family, and will continue to do so.
Make sure you have great relationships with the press and the media. They can be your best friend and really help you take your business to a new level.
Where would you like to think you’ll be in 10 years’ time?
I’ll only be in my mid-40s and all three of my children will have graduated from school, so I plan on making up for time lost in my early 20s with Kashaya. I didn’t have all the parties and fun and trips overseas in my 20s because I was working, therefore I’ll be able to do it in my mid-40s!
Are you a high performing agent who is killing it at the moment? Or perhaps you know someone who deserves a bit of credit for their hard work? If so, then get in touch with us on Instagram @OzHomeNews.