Taking in the view

A 4WD frequently caked in dust and far from perfect mobile phone reception is part and parcel of the working day for Richard Gemmell from Elders Real Estate in Dubbo – but he wouldn’t have it any other way.

By Richard Gemmell

I’ve worked in rural real estate for almost 30 years. It’s definitely the country life for me. Over the years I’ve clocked up more kilometres than I care to remember driving all over central and western NSW, and there are days when my Landcruiser is my mobile office. The long road ahead can sometimes be monotonous, but the scenery more than makes up for it – every time.
I have a real passion for rural real estate and love my job. The life of a rural real estate agent can be varied and unpredictable. No two days are ever the same, but that keeps things challenging and exciting.

I’m an early riser, so I’m usually out of bed by 5.30am. It’s 6.00am if I have a ‘sleep in’. Some mornings I’ll go for brisk walk for an hour to get the blood pumping, and then it’s breakfast and off to the office. But on many days I have a long drive ahead of me to get out to a property for a client meeting or buyer inspection – so it’s boots on and off I go.


I jump in my vehicle and set off to travel several hundred kilometres. Distance is one of the biggest challenges rural agents face, but I have a real passion for rural marketing and working with country people so I don’t mind the travel at all.

The trip out to a property can take a few hours. Mobile coverage is bit patchy out on the road, but when service allows I like to get some work done while I’m driving – mobile phone in the cradle and on speaker of course!

Typically, by the time I’ve arrived at my appointment I’ve made numerous calls to clients, fielded incoming enquiries and followed up any leads. Having access to email while I’m out of the office is also essential, as it means all offers and negotiations can be communicated in writing – in particular when distance or time make it impractical to have a face-to-face discussion.

Morning tea with the client is usually a must. Country people are always very welcoming and I’ve always found that my strongest client relationships are built around communication, reliability, trust and an appreciation for genuine hospitality. Having spent almost three decades travelling the length and breadth of central and western NSW, I find it easy to strike up a connection with clients and potential buyers alike. It doesn’t matter if I’m meeting someone for the first time or I’m reconnecting with someone I’ve worked with before.

With morning tea over, I’m off to inspect the property. Rural properties are all so varied. They range from lifestyle farms to vast stations with attributes that may include grazing, cropping and irrigation. All the relevant details need to be noted, so the process can take a lot of time.

Lunch is served and it usually comes from the car fridge in the back of my Landcruiser. I like to find myself a nice spot in a paddock under a tree or on the bank of a dam. I enjoy having a moment to take in the view and my surrounds. This is living.
Sometimes I’ll go back to the homestead and have lunch at the kitchen table with the property owners. This is a great opportunity to have a chat about aspects of the property I’m in the process of inspecting, field any questions they have or discuss marketing options.

After lunch, it’s back to continue the inspection. I’m always very thorough and make sure that by the time I finish the inspection I’m familiar with all aspects of the property. This is critical to identifying the correct target market for the property, crafting the best and most appropriate marketing strategy and connecting with local or interstate buyers, agribusiness corporate companies and international agribusiness investors.

Having an intimate understanding of the property also means I can keep potential buyers interested over the course of an inspection, which is critical as they can last anywhere from a couple of hours to a full day.

By mid-afternoon, I’ve finished the inspection and covered off any questions. I jump in the Landcruiser and start the long drive home. As soon as I’m back in mobile range, my phone starts beeping, beeping, beeping. So I take the opportunity to pick up the voicemail messages that have come through during the course of the day and catch up on any calls.

It’s after dark when I arrive home. When I look down at the odometer it’s not unusual to see that I’ve travelled 600-700km in a single day. That’s a lot of driving time!

My wife greets me at the door. Sometimes by the time I arrive home, there’s a message the potential buyer who inspected the property with me a few hours earlier has already rung through to my home number wanting to make an offer. A great ending to a great day.

It doesn’t get much better than this!