Meet the new face in Clarence Valley real estate
While COVID-19 has dealt a devastating blow to many businesses, Allison Whaites' real estate agency is thriving.
In 2018 Ms Whaites decided to take the plunge and start her own agency in the Clarence Valley region. Since then, the business has continued to grow.
"I'd always worked for another agency or for a franchise in Grafton and Coffs Harbour, but I knew it was time to go out on my own, and I've not looked back," she said.
Ms Whaites said her family-run business is very different to other real estate agencies, from flexible inspection times to workshops on the local real estate market.
"We found that a lot of private inspections were preferred at night or on weekends. We do more on a Sunday now which is interesting," she said.
"We were also the only agency open through the Christmas period because there was still plenty of demand for properties."
Ms Whaites said that their commission fees were also much lower than her competitors.
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"Commission fees are very high and that's understandable when you live in the city because it has to cover those costs, but we don't believe someone in the Clarence Valley should be paying $15-20,000 to list their property. It's not the right market to pay that much," she said.
"We actually sell a lot of properties off market because we've already got a large database of people looking for something specific, so that keeps costs down for vendors. We're also the only buyer's agent in the Clarence Valley and we've done many of those in the last 12 months with lots of investors looking at the local market."
Later this year, Ms Whaites will move into an office space on Spring St, South Grafton.
"It's been fun working from home all this time, but I'm excited to have an office people can come and visit," she said.
"I simply love South Grafton; it's a beautiful place to live and work, so choosing the office location for me was an easy choice."