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Listening key to longevity: Agent retires after nearly 30 years

SERVICE FOCUSED: Nancy Truman has retired from real estate after nearly three decades in the industry.
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Nancy Truman has seen many changes in nearly 30 years in the real estate industry but one thing has always remained the same for the 67-year-old who has just retired.

“Listening to your client’s needs” has been paramount to herlongevity and success in property.

It was something that stuck with Ms Truman when buying her own house in Lake Macquarie.

“I would turn up at certain real estate agencies and say I needed to be near work and the kids’ school and they would show me places in Adamstown,” she said.

“They weren’t listening to me. I found a house myself and rang the agent and ended up buying off him because he listened to me and what I was wanting … that was the one thing I learnt, real estate is very big on listening to what people want.”

Herbackground was in banking and hospitality and the Sydney-born Ms Truman came to Newcastle in the 1970s “to get Pippi’s at the Point[at Speers Point] going”.

“When I was 40-odd, I realised hospitality was not a career to stay in until I retired,” she said.

The mother of two studied at night while still working then was given a chance by Raine and Horne Wallsend.

“The principal of Raine and Horne at Wallsend rang and said I believe you haven’t got experience but I need someone quickly and he hired me over the phone,” Ms Truman said.

“On my first day I was running a wedding here in Newcastle and was sitting in training in Raine and Horne in Sydney.

“The principal didn’t realise the training was for principals only, so I was sitting in the boardroom in Raine and Horne in Sydney, thrown right into the deep end.”

That was the start of her career in real estate.

Resilience, work ethic and good people skills proved paramount.

“You have to be able to want to enjoy helping people, you can’t look at the dollars,” she said.

Ms Truman started in the industry when it was common to drive buyers around for hours on end looking through various properties.

“You did an open house, you met a client at the door, you showed them through the property and you would have a chat,” she said.

“Nowadays, it’s not uncommon for someone to buy it without seeing it. You’ll facetime them and walk them through the house and they’ll buy the property.”

There have been plenty of changes, mostly with technology.

Photos were taken by agents on rolls of film, mobile phones had just come in and computers were non-existent.

“You’d go out to a property with a roll of film and get 12 or 14 photos on a roll of film,” she said.

“You were limited to how many you could take because it cost you every time you got them developed. If you didn’t do it right you’d have to go back and do another roll of film and have all of that cost.

“Now you can go out and take 100 photos, come back, photoshop and digitise them and ditch the ones you don’t want.”

Property prices have also changed.

“The first house I sold in Hill Street inWallsend, from memory it was around about $94,000,” Ms Truman said.

“I’ve sold houses in Shortland for $63,000 and, the first time I listed a house for $250,000 in Silver Stream, I absolutely shook in my boots and said to my principal, ‘How am I going to handle a quarter of a million dollar sale’. Now I don’t blink if I list a block of land worth $250,000.”

She has worked in all aspects of real estate and brought an end to her career when shefinished up at Reece Realty in Jesmondduring the week.

Ms Truman now turns her focus to travel but expects to “keep my hand in” where she can.

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