Agent’s home sweet home
DURING his 42 years in real estate in Lismore, Graham Patch sold more houses than he can remember.
Tomorrow the well-known former Lismore Chamber of Commerce president will celebrate his 80th birthday, a day early, with family at his Alphadale farm.
Mr Patch was born at Coraki and went to school at Spring Grove School and Lismore High school before joining
forces with his brother Barry to run a farm at Spring Grove.
In 1962 when he got an offer to enter the real estate industry at a local agency he changed careers.
Mr Patch said the biggest difference in the career change for him was having to dress up for work.
"In 1962 you would by a house in the down-town part of Lismore for about £2500 and you would buy one up at Goonellabah for £3500," he said.
"If you were getting a bit flashy you would have paid about £4000 to £5000 but that was getting a pretty flash house in those days."
After two years in real estate Mr Patch went into partnership with colleague Ken Taylor and they rented a shopfront in Woodlark St.
"We opened Patch and Taylor Real Estate in July 1964," he said.
"It was all a bit of struggle until the 70s and then things started to blow out because people were earning bigger wages and the price of houses started going up."
Despite the increase in house prices, Mr Patch said the real estate market turnover continued to improve.
It was then, in the mid 1970s he became involved buying land and getting project homes built before selling the house and land packages for about $24,000.
Mr Patch said the Lismore real estate market began to boom in the mid to late 1980s.
Over the years Mr Patch said he had seen many changes around Lismore.
"The commencement of what was then the Teachers college which became Southern Cross University was a big shot in the arm for Lismore," he said.
"Medical facilities have also increased enormously.
"Lismore changed its face from a rural town to a major commercial city."
During his real estate career Mr Patch said he saw the market grow around Lismore with an increase in commercial sales until he retired in 2004.
"From the prices I saw at the beginning of my career you wouldn't have believed people would be paying $500,000 or more for a house around Lismore," he said.