Nicknamed Cairns’ King of Real Estate, RE/MAX Principal Tony Williamson never ceases to amaze his staff, clients and competitors.
His solid reputation as a leading real estate guru is what has made RE/MAX the highly successful real estate agency it is today. But it’s also his drive to turn dreams into reality, no matter how hard the challenge, which makes him one of the best in the industry.
Not one to follow the herd, Tony turned heads when he bought a former wedding chapel in Whitfield and moved his business to the Heavey Crescent venue in May last year.
“It was my dream to have a one-stop real estate agency that I owned, although it’s rare for real estate owners in Australia to own their own premises,” he said. “I was on the lookout for a venue where we could do sales, rentals, auctions, training and any real estate transactions from the one venue. When the Whitfield Chapel came along, I thought hard about how to make it work.
“As much as it’s a stunning building, it’s not your traditional mainstream high- profile real estate office, but it ticked all the boxes and we made it work.”
The chapel on the 1340sq m block remains intact and has become a popular auction and training venue, while upstairs has been converted into modern offices for the team of 23, including his wife Asta who handles the business financials.
“I know some of our competitors made a few jokes about us buying the chapel, but our sales have not dropped off. In fact, if anything our sales have gotten better,” he said. “We’re leading the way in auctions, which is the purest way of selling real estate, and we’re having a good time at the same time.”
Tony entered the real estate market when he was in his early 20s and soon became a top agent in his office before taking a break and studying accounting and marketing at James Cook University. Five years with Price Waterhouse followed then a spectacular return to the real estate industry buying Century 21 and then RE/MAX before retiring in 2006. He returned in 2010 and opened his own office without any staff. Today he runs one of the most successful real estate companies in Queensland.
He said his parents piqued his interest in real estate.
“Every year they’d buy a different house, renovate it and then sell it,” he said. “I lived in 12 different houses around Cairns during my school years, which is probably where my desire to become a real estate agent started.”
“I’ve lived in London, Sydney and Brisbane, but I moved back to Cairns because this is the greatest place on earth, and I’m committed to making Cairns better,” said Tony, who was born in Cairns, as were his parents and grandparents.
As a keynote speaker at RE/MAX conferences throughout the world, as RE/MAX’s Asian Ambassador and as a motivational speaker at different events, he constantly promotes Cairns during his travels.
“I do everything I can to get Cairns on the radar,” he said. “With my work I get the chance to speak around Australia and the world, and I always sell the virtues, benefits and features of living in this glorious place.”
He also endorses Cairns whenever he travels with the Northern Pride Rugby League team, of which he is Chairman, attending conferences and meetings as a board member of the Queensland Country Credit Union and as a mentor for the Queensland State of Origin Team, one of only 10 invited businessmen.
He believes his secret to success is his desire to constantly learn.
“The real estate Industry is changing rapidly, and it’s the early adapters that thrive,” he said. “I just want to make sure that the buyers and sellers of Cairns get the absolute best knowledge, integrity and service that they can get.”
His passion for learning is shared amongst his staff, who have training sessions every day to make sure they’re across all trends while also learning from some of the best trainers in the world.
“I’m lucky that I’m in that 1 per cent of people who love their job,” he said. “And I encourage people to consider real estate as a job because it’s a fantastic career.”
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“Every year my parents would buy a different house, renovate it and then sell it,” he said. “I lived in 12 different houses around Cairns during my school years, which is probably where my desire to become a real estate agent started.”
I’m lucky that I’m in that 1 per cent of people who love their job,” he said. “And I encourage people to consider real estate as a job because it’s a fantastic career.