Where do you go when you don't want to buy in Sydney or Canberra? You go to Zeb Alaia, Principal at Raine & Horne Goulburn. Inspired by his wife, Zeb only recently took up a career in local real estate, but has achieved immediate success. His passion for the region and vibrant enthusiasm for the role have seen everyone walk out his door with a smile on their face.
Here's what Zeb has to say about his work around Goulburn, as well as the real estate market in general.
An accidental career
After moving to Goulburn in 2008, Zeb and his wife absolutely loved the region – but he wasn't sure where he wanted to work.
"My wife always said I'd do well in consultancy work, and suggested residential real estate. After a few interviews with recruitment agencies, it seemed like they were on the same page. So really, I landed a role in real estate by pure chance, and maybe a bit of encouragement."
It's certainly paid off, with Zeb winning second place in the annual number of sales category at Raine & Horne's annual awards.
"For a small country town like us to come second is a huge achievement."
"Achieving second place in sales was easily the proudest moment of my career. Ric Serrao from the Double Bay office came first, where prices are triple or quadruple what they are in Goulburn. That means for a small country town like us to come second is a huge achievement – a big moment for me for sure."
With such a rapid rise to the top, Zeb's sure to attract demand from buyers and sellers across the region for years to come. And on how it feels to be one of the top real estate agents in the state, Zeb keeps it simple: "I'm just doing what I love."
Working in a growth market
Growth in capital city markets has resulted in an incredible rise in demand for Goulburn property – something Zeb is more than happy to meet.
"The record prices in Sydney and Canberra markets have shifted a lot of buyers to Goulburn and the wider Southern Tablelands. It's increased our profile, certainly, and also the median price range around the region."
"That also means a lot of demand, a lot of calls and people to stay in touch with – but it's exciting."
Finding the right marketing strategy
No two real estate agents are the same. Everyone has a different strategy, a different way of dealing with people – and it seems Zeb's approach to the role is working wonders.
"One of my favourite moments in the job was working on a property in Marulan. It had been on the market for 12 months with little interest when I took it on board, so I knew it would be a challenge. I took it on board and did a complete overhaul of the marketing, giving the home the fresh look it deserved."
"Two weeks later, I'd sold it for the client – for more than what the previous agent had marketed it for too!"
The keys to success
Clearly, Zeb has made an incredible start in the real estate industry. But what are the secrets to Zeb's success?
"Well, our marketing – I know that's different to other agencies but unfortunately those are some secrets I can't reveal! I can say that our team mentality is really strong – a lot of the time, that's what keeps us moving forward."
"This job isn't about you – it's about what you can do for the people you work with."
"On a personal level, there are a few things I think are crucial. You have to keep up to date with what is happening in your community – otherwise you can't help people and educate them on what makes Goulburn such a great place to live. That extends to giving back to the community as well – the whole notion that real estate agents make lots of money is pretty far from the truth, especially once you see what we give back. I try and contribute to everyone around me on as large a scale as possible."
"Perhaps, most importantly, you have to leave your ego at the door. Stay humble. This job isn't about you – it's about what you can do for the people you work with. Listen actively, have good communication skills, and keep your morals and ethics at the forefront no matter what the situation is."
The value of communication
Real estate often comes down to how well you communicate with people. For Zeb, that means understanding peoples' preferences.
"Everyone wants to communicate in a different way. I use telephone, face to face meetings, email, texts, even social media instant messages – sometimes all in the same day!"
Good communication makes for successful working relationships, explains Zeb.
"The only way to stay alive in the industry is prospecting. It's an absolute must, and an exercise you have to learn to love. If you want to achieve your goals, you have to stay in touch with everyone you work with to find new opportunities."
The future of the Goulburn property market
As a newcomer to the industry, Zeb is especially enthusiastic about the future – for both himself and the people he works with.
"Honestly, if the future is anything like the last eight years, we're in for a really positive time. Outside of work, I just want to keep living life to its fullest in the future, and maybe travel some more. Ideally, I'd like to buy my four children houses too! That way, they'll have something to work towards before finishing high school."
With this amazing track record under his belt and so much hope for the future, it fits perfectly that Zeb's final words to anyone hoping to enter the industry in the future are so positive:
"I'd advise anyone looking at real estate to learn what works for you, and make sure you're comfortable asking tough questions. Always be hungry, focus on the best of everything. And above all, always stay humble."