Real estate offices battle on in flooded town

Three agencies in a flood-hit NSW town have been forced to overcome flooded listings, damaged managements and absent staff.

Dowling Real Estate licensee Gregg Bates is one of the agents battling with flooding at Raymond Terrace, where some residents have been forced to flee their homes.

Mr Bates told REB the torrential rain had caused his agency’s roof to leak, but that he was giving priority to looking after his managements.

“My main property manager mentioned that we had 28 roof leaks, which had to be directed to SES or to insurance companies for assistance,” he said.

“Commercially, we’ve had eight shops suffer, all from roof flooding.”

Mr Bates said this is a bad time of year to have to attend to damages, because most people who work in the building trades are still on holiday.

“We’ve been fortunate in that we’ve had a contractor whose family holiday was washed out and he’s been bailing us out big time, doing jobs and looking at problems,” he said.

“I don’t know if the other agencies have been as lucky as we have to have a guy like that coming in early from holidays and bringing his whole crew.”

LJ Hooker Raymond Terrace principal Joel Osborn said four or five of his 12 staff have been unable to reach the office at different times this week due to the flooding.

Mr Osborn said the flooding had “drastically” affected the agency’s sales and property management business.

“There’s no one looking at houses at the moment, and property management-wise there’s been quite a few damage reports to my property management team,” he said.

“And with us struggling to get staff here, it’s making it a bit hard, but we’re all chipping in to help our landlords and clients.”

Mr Osborn said that none of his town listings appeared to have suffered flood damage, but that he assumed some of his rural listings would be underwater.

His hope was that Raymond Terrace would be able to bounce back faster than last April, when heavy rain and strong winds caused a lot of damage and led to a backlog of repairs.

Another local agent, Steve Bates from Steve Bates Real Estate, has been more fortunate, with all 10 of his staff able to reach work and no damage to his office.

“We do manage a couple of properties that are in the flood-prone area in the business district, but there has been very little damage from the storm,” he told REB.

That appears to have vindicated Mr Bates’s decision not to have taken out business interruption insurance – he said last April was the only time he would have needed it during the 25 years he had owned the agency.

“We had a lot of power outages and couldn’t work. I do know other businesses that had that, which proved quite fruitful,” he said.

[Related: Agent wins marketing award for ‘fire sale’ campaign]

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