10 years, 2 offices, countless sales: Hard work pays off
THE global financial crisis was coming to an end when Robert and Jacquie Horder decided to open their own real estate agency in Kyogle.
They're the first to admit there "couldn't have been a worse time" to open a business.
Fast forward a decade, and the business is getting through yet another disaster, the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the future is looking bright for PRD Northern Rivers.
The agency's 10-year anniversary is on December 10, and Mr Horder said it had been a rollercoaster.
"I'd worked in the Casino market for five years but was living in Kyogle so I decided to open my own real estate agency," he said.
"It was a struggle for the first few months, but we stayed positive and enthusiastic and laid some really good groundwork."
It was a winning formula.
The business now employs nine staff and last year opened a second office in Lismore.
"Over the past 10 years, we've seen a lot of interest in the Kyogle market from people from lots of different areas, but especially southeast Queensland," Mr Horder said.
"We've also had a lot of buyers coming here from the coast.
"When we opened the Lismore office, it really opened Kyogle to a different market, because obviously I talk about Kyogle a lot to people.
"And they realise it's only 30 minutes away, and it's much more affordable."
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the Horders ‒ like many others in the real estate industry ‒ worried about the future.
Thankfully, the industry bounced back much quicker than expected.
House prices are now surging right across the Northern Rivers, and Mr Horder said they were selling properties within days.
But it's the rental market which is causing some concern within the region.
"In the early days, PRD always had a list of available properties, now we have a waiting list of tenants," Mr Horder said.
"It's very hard for renters.
"The whole region is seeing this happening; there are just not enough properties."
With 10 years under his belt, Mr Horder is looking forward to the next 10 years, and will be taking current and former staff out for a small celebration.
"Hopefully the next 10 years are as good as the last," he said.
"And yes, more expansion is not out of the question. We are always looking for opportunities."