The saying goes: Work to live not live to work, and that couldn’t sum up Alec Brown of Ray White Canberra more perfectly. Despite being the first Canberra agent to make it through to the Australasian Real Estate Institutes’ Auctioneering Championships and going on to place second in the nation, he is as humble as his beginnings, having grown up enjoying a quintessential Central Coast lifestyle filled with sand and soil. Now, he’s found a home in the capital and a career he loves even more. He is married with three children.
Let’s go back to the beginning, tell me about your childhood.
I grew up on the Central Coast, in a beautiful spot called Avoca Beach. Aside from the beach my brother and I were really big on outdoor activities including rock climbing, sailing, camping, white-water kayaking, mountain biking, you name it. As a family, our obsession turned to triathlons and we’d ultimately travel up and down the east coast competing for a number of years before I moved to Canberra to attend ADFA.
What was your first job?
Like a lot of kids, it started with a basic paper route, from 14 I was working Saturdays in a local bike shop and then washed dishes in a restaurant at night. I spent just about everything I earned on bikes.
Did you always want to work in the real estate industry?
No, I was certain I was going to be a career army officer but, of course, it’s hard to predict life’s twists and turns. During my time as a tradie I always looked on with interest, but it wasn’t until I was almost 30 that I made the move to real estate.
If you weren’t an agent, what would you be doing?
Part of me says graphic designer and the other part says running a local cafe somewhere along Wollongong’s northern beaches.
You’ve got a rep of being the ACT’s best auctioneer, where do you think this skill derives from?
Auctioneering is my passion and so it makes work easy doing what you love. As a kid I did a lot of drama, public speaking and debating which I think has helped me but the skills of the craft are learnt, it’s a daily discipline but fun at the same time.
How do you keep a work/life balance?
I start most mornings with a ride, usually before dawn when the kids are asleep and the roads are quiet. I haven’t perfected the balance yet but it’s a work in progress.
What cycling trails do you frequent around Canberra?
We are super lucky here in Canberra, there’s so much choice for good riding catering to all levels. In minutes you can find yourself everywhere or nowhere from a casual ride around the lake to the rolling hills of Tidbinbilla or Lake George.
What else keeps you busy?
Between work, the family and cycling there’s not a huge amount of time left but we love getting away to Wollongong. My three boys are all learning to surf and my wife and I love getting out for a good meal. Throw in a bit of gardening or renovating and that’s my week covered.
What advice would you give to your kids if they wanted to follow in their dad’s footsteps and work in property?
The most important aspect of real estate I think is empathy – really understanding your clients’ needs and never assuming anything on their behalf. It’s an extremely rewarding career and if you’re prepared to listen and deliver a service above expectation, you’ll enjoy every day.
What do you consider your greatest achievement, outside of property?
I love charity auctioneering and fundraising events. A few years ago while raising money for The Stellar Bella Foundation I challenged myself to ride up Black Mountain as many times as I could in a three-week period, with supporters pledging a donation per lap. I racked up 107 laps – more than doubling my expectations and tripling the donation goal I’d set. Canberra has been fantastic for me and my family and it’s always nice to have a chance to give back.