The exciting old professions of real estate professionals

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Jason Akermanis, Blue Moon Property

Most people know Jason Akermanis from when he was one of the star AFL players for the Brisbane Lions.

He was a member of the team’s premier triple race in the early 2000s and even walked away with the coveted Brownlow Medal in 2001.

A larger-than-life personality, Akermanis – or Aker as he is affectionately known – was almost as famous for his festive antics, including his impressive handstands, as his ability to kick a football.

Eleven years later, Aker is scoring goals of a whole different kind – in the real estate business.

He has only recently started selling homes, however, having dabbled in a range of other things since retiring.

“I’ve done a lot of things actually,” Aker says.

“I first made change by playing unique games in Australian rules.

“These one-off matches took me across the country, so it was great. I played for 30 clubs; it was kind of fun.

He also did a lot of media, writing for a range of newspapers and working in both television and radio, where his unique personality shone through.

“Then, as the exchange’s headquarters were in Albury, we moved there, where I was also able to coach and play in the AFL.

“I coached there for four years and got a coaching diploma.”

Last year, the exchange firm launched Zucoin, with Aker owning some of the coins.

Last year, Aker also decided it was time for something different.

So he went ahead and got his full real estate license, plus an auction license, and packed up and headed back to Brisbane.

“I worked for Ray White Ascot for four months, then I opened my own shop, 40 meters away,” he explains.

Her Blue Moon franchise has since gone from strength to strength, fitting well with her personality and lifestyle.

“I was always buying and selling and I did for a long time. Real estate, with the way I ride, was a better kind of job I felt,” says Aker.

“As an auctioneer, I’ve always been comfortable talking around, so I thought I’d give it a try as well.

“I definitely needed to get out of footy and I needed to get out of Albury, and real estate is more flexible, has more scalability for my growth. So it was a no-brainer as to what I had to be.

When it comes to the impact of fame, Aker says there are pros and cons, but Queensland offers a happy medium.

“Queensland is a good state, because there’s not really bigotry,” he says.

“In Melbourne there is no one more famous than an AFL star.

“Queensland has a lot of sports, so you usually only get admiration from people who support your particular sport.

“People know you, but Brisbane is pretty laid back. It’s our good guy culture.

“I get things I don’t deserve from some sides, but others I miss out on because of perception.

“You always get both. So you’re still working hard for your ads like everyone else.

From a personal perspective, Aker particularly enjoys helping his family and friends find their dream home.

“It’s really cool, I don’t mind,” he said.

As for its future, for the foreseeable future, real estate is where Aker sees it.

“I’m not going anywhere.”

Ryan Suhle, Ray White North Lakes

He may only be 19, but Ryan Suhle comes from a background that makes most seem boring.

“I started racing when I was six years old, starting with go-karts,” says Ryan.

“It’s just a great feeling to go fast and go wheel to wheel.

“The people involved are also great to be around and to work with a lot of like-minded and passionate people.”

Ryan’s races took him all over the world, including Italy, where he was supposed to compete in the world cup.

“It was a highlight, despite the fact that I broke a few ribs in a fall in training and was unable to compete.

“They operate on another level there, it was impressive to see.”

One of the big downsides, especially for a 19 year old, is the cost.

“Funding a passion as dear as motor racing is definitely a challenge, and that’s where real estate has come in very handy,” he jokes.

“My parents have been in the industry for a long time, and I started as an assistant to an agent on Saturdays and really enjoyed it. It hooked me and things grew from there.

Although Ryan admits that real estate is a challenging career that requires long hours, he says the effort is very rewarding.

“You write your own paycheck,” he says.

“I know it’s not unique to our industry, but being able to work hard as a young kid and earn as much as you want is really great.”

Ryan has already reached the chairman’s elite within the Ray White Group, but says he is particularly proud of the market share and brand presence his team has built in a short time.

“I think it’s a big advantage to have started so young,” he said.

“I watched my parents build an amazing office in 15 years from the start and I think how great it would have been if they had started at my age.

“Being young I have less commitments outside of work, maybe more energy, but I certainly found my market easier to break into as a young agent because people weren’t taking me too seriously in the first three months.

“I’ve had a few people who just haven’t listed their house with a young agent, but that’s definitely less than I expected when first started.”

As for the future, for Ryan, that includes both real estate and racing.

“I think they’re both high-pressure environments, where even if you have a team behind you in the background, the responsibility and success or failure is ultimately up to you.”

Brand Owned Shaun Diviney

Most people would barely recognize Shaun Diviney these days.

Well, at least not those who knew him as the frontman of the punk rock band Short Stack.

At that time, Shaun had long hair and a baby face. These days, the Brand Property Business Advisor is clean but not clean-shaven.

“We started the band in high school when we were maybe 15 or 16, and started playing PCYCs and little backyard shows,” Shaun recalled.

It was a quick rise for the group, who soon found themselves touring the world and appearing on the cover of rolling stone magazine.

Investing in real estate at a young age, Shaun has always had a passion for real estate.

So when he took a break from the band, he ditched his plans to go to college and decided to “give real estate a shot instead.”

“It’s the first ‘real’ job I’ve ever had,” Shaun laughs.

“I bought my first property when I was 20, so I was familiar with the process from a buyer’s perspective quite early on.

“My team at Brand Property on the Central Coast is next level, and I really love what I do.

“On a personal level, I recently sold a house for a close friend for $250,000 more than the guide.

“It’s a very humbling thing to be able to essentially change the life of someone you love.

“I’m on track to make my first $1 million year at GCI, which I’ve been working toward for some time.”

Shaun admits he sometimes has trouble switching off and stopping, and always finds “rejection” to be a struggle.

“I don’t think enough people are talking about how difficult the industry is, even from people who have been doing it for a while,” he says.

Shaun says he gets up a lot earlier now than when he was on tour, but there is an advantage.

“I can go surfing once in a while between appointments.”

There is also another advantage, in particular being a real estate agent with a high level of experience.

“I can do these awesome interviews!”

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