Backchat: openhomeonline director John Simon

john simon, openhomeonline, i love bello shire. bellingen, backchat

What makes openhomeonline different?
I believe the culture and focus at openhomeonline makes us different. My first job in real estate was with a company which had 14 agents working together to achieve the best possible result for a client. We have 3 sales people and strongly believe that in an industry which can be perceived as negative, we strive for a wonderful internal culture which results in happy clients.

What do you like about your business?
The people. From sellers to buyers, every day is different. Every property is different. We are privileged to be asked to help people sell a house they have turned into their home.

What is the most important skill you have?
Negotiation. Definitely negotiation. Over the many years I’ve been doing this, I’ve heard agents say ‘houses sell themselves.’  Wrong….good agents achieve great results. Within the office, we are continually training & focusing on improvement. 

Tell me a bit about the openhomeonline team?
Andrew Perrot and Scott Collins in sales. Jennifer Pont in admin and Natalie Emmington as property manager. Hugely varied backgrounds, from economics, construction, horticulture, indigenous native title and bookkeeping.

Where are the tree changers coming from?
Sydney and Melbourne in particular. These markets have had huge price increases. Some have decided on a rural change. Bellingen is on the ‘shopping list’ whereas the Byron area has been in the past. Much of this is word of mouth. Its interesting to see the clusters of people move from particular areas….Manly, Balmain etc….3 degrees of separation.

People say you are always on your phone. Is it true?
It’s a love/hate relationship. It can cut down on so many aspects of work however the expectation is that you are available 24/7.

What was your previous career?
Horticulture and security.

Did you do any phone tapping?
Not that type of security.

Any future plans?
Yes…to get better at what we do. This will involve evolving with technology. At the end of the day it’s a people and relationship business.
I would also like to link up with yourself and Jo for a reunion dinner in Maratea around 2020!

Your best memory of childhood was?
Sitting on my grandfathers red Massey Fergusson tractor. Magic. I felt completely safe and wanted to live in the country. I miss him. 

Your best sporting moment was?
Breaking a particular benchmark in 50m freestyle my Dad set for me. It was a big ask at the time. 

What would you like to be remembered for?
Helping create a happy life for my family.

john simon, openhomeonline, i love bello shire, bellingen, backchat, real estate

John before the invention of mobile phones.

Friends say that you are?
On the phone too much.

What do you avoid in life?

What are you reading right now?
Elon Musk biography.

What secret can you share with us?
I love listening to Barry Manilow, Neil Diamond and The Beach Boys.
You might regret sharing that!

If only……
I was born in the 50’s.  

What really annoys you?
People who don’t make eye contact when speaking with you.

The best lesson your parents taught you?
You can do anything you set your mind to. Live your dream and believe in yourself. And don’t talk on the phone during meals.

The last big belly laugh you had was?
Walking in New Zealand with 7 other men from Bellingen a couple of weeks ago. Absolutely fantastic.

 If you were PM, what would you do?
I would surround myself with people a whole lot smarter than me. Listen to their advice and then act. Procrastination drives me crazy.

What made you come to Bellingen?
Alayne, my wife is a GP originally from Boston. As a foreign doctor, you must work in a rural area for a period of time. I came through Bellingen 25 years ago whilst traveling to Cape York on a motorbike….it stayed in my head. Alayne and I visited and fell in love with the place.

What project are you currently working on?  
I’m trying my hand at breeding a few cattle.

Who inspires you? 
My grandfather did. He lived an amazing life and continually evolved.

How do you relax? 
With my wife and children….at the river or beach. Also, going somewhere very remote with no mobile phone coverage.

You mean like Bellingen! 
Unfortunately yes.  We need to all contact our State & Federal Members and demand better coverage.
I will when my email works…

Favourite shire eatery? 
Qudo. So much passion. Its worth the wait.

Best coffee in town?     
Hyde Cafe. The team have been super supportive. They are inspirational.

The previous career you wish you could forget?
Pizza delivery.

Because you can’t drive and talk on the phone?
No, because I always went home smelling of salami.

Your current passion is?  
My family….but particularly, right now, our wonderful baby daughter Ruby.

Favourite country to visit and why?  
That’s tough. I love travel. Particularly landscapes. Lets go with New Zealand.

In the movie Johngate, who would play you?
My brother Mark. Everyone gets us mixed up all the time when he’s in town. He’s a lot more outgoing than me.

I thought you were Mark…Don’t tell me I’ve interviewed the wrong guy.              



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