The co-owner of McGrath Byron Bay, Nick Dunn, has lived and worked in Byron Bay for the last 32 years, so it’s fair to say his knowledge of the area is second to none! He’s been described as an honest, transparent agent, with a love of snowboarding and family. Most importantly, he’s the Agent of the Week!
Tell me about your story and how you started out in real estate?
I grew up in Bondi, moved to Byron Bay when I was 21 and started a structural landscape business. I had that until I was 39, and then thought it was time for a change. I’d worked on just about every home in the area by then so I knew a lot of people and their properties, and thought real estate would be the way to go. I worked at First National for three or four years and took to it well, and then myself and Ian Daniels started a McGrath franchise together.
What did you really want to be when you were growing up?
I didn’t know what I wanted to do! The reason I got into gardening and landscaping was that I wanted to be outdoors, I didn’t want to work inside. Before real estate, I’d never worked in an office environment.
Any mentors or inspirational figures along the way?
In my early days, I listened to a lot of audio from James Tostevin. John McGrath has also been a huge inspiration for me, he’s a fantastic person and he’s been good to us in regards to leadership and training over the years. The other figure would be David Mills, we actually didn’t know each other when we started as partners but it’s been a great experience.
Any large sales or big moments in your career that stand out?
I specialise a lot in the high-end hinterland properties in the area. The most recent is 122 Coopers Shoot Road, the price guide on that property was 12 to 14 million and it sold within that, that was a fantastic sale.
What do you get up to in your downtime?
Every morning I go surfing. I usually get up about 4.30, do a bit of training, then I’m paddling out in the water, and into the office around 8am, that’s my ritual every day. I love cooking, I do a lot of cooking for my family and friends, but that’s about all I can fit in! My wife, Melinda, our daughters and I go snowboarding every year, that’s something we like to do together.
What’s the most interesting/notable/funny thing you’ve come across in your time working in real estate?
I find the most interesting thing is this area, who it attracts. There’s a lot of wealthy clients and quite high profile business people but they seem to live a nice low key life which is interesting. People gravitate here because it’s a relaxed lifestyle, you don’t have to worry about all the trappings.
In terms of funny moments, I once went to a lifestyle property of a few acres and there were some sheep grazing in the back paddock. I went back there again the next week and talked to the owner, and asked about the sheep, still grazing in the same paddock, and the owner asked if I was serious, because those were statues!
What’s your favourite thing about working in this industry?
There’s never a dull moment. Your day goes by so quick it’s almost like there aren’t enough hours, the time just flies. I enjoy meeting all the different types of people; when you’re selling a house sometimes you just can’t wait to meet the person who’d buy that home. It’s a very social job and I enjoy that, it’s very interactive.
I also love the thrill of the negotiation, when it comes down to the skillset that’s my favourite part.
And your least favourite?
When you have to disappoint someone. For example, if you present an offer but the buyers change their mind and you have to tell someone a sale isn’t going through, or on the flipside if the owners pull out and you have to tell the buyer that was so excited about the sale that the owners have changed their minds.
What advice would you give to yourself if you were starting out?
I’m just starting a new agent next week who’s 22 and he’s going to be working directly under me. What I’ve said to him is to take it slowly and learn everything properly from the beginning. It’s a bit like building a house, you have to get the foundations right from the beginning. It might take a little bit longer, but your success throughout your career will be much greater because you’ve learnt it properly and you’re a professional.
Where would you like to think you’ll be in 10 years’ time?
I’d like to still be in the business since I own it, but slowing down, maybe not working every single day. I’ll still continue to be a leader and a mentor, growing young people so they can have a good career, both financially and professionally, for life. And I plan to be travelling and snowboarding more – keeping fit and healthy right to the end.
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