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The person and the plan behind this agency’s Queensland expansion

31 July 2019 Hannah Dowling
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate

The announcement came this week that James Bell would be joining the ranks of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, leading the organisation’s expansion plans into Queensland. He spoke to REB about how he’s gearing up for growth.

Mr Bell, an industry professional with 20 years of experience, discussed his newly appointed position and gave some insight into surviving the industry for over two decades.

In light of the announcement, Mr Bell stated that he is most excited to align himself with the “trusted” lifestyle brand that Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate (BHGRE) has developed.


“I think for me it’s an alignment with a brand that, when I was an agency, I wish was around,” he said. “That lifestyle [and] trusted brand that the Better Homes and Gardens just is, I think that’s going to be fantastic.”

The road to BHGRE

The concept of a lifestyle brand has been paramount to Mr Bell, implementing the idea into his own business previously.

“My wife and I, when we had our business probably about eight years ago, we made the decision that real estate has really become a lifestyle. So, weve switched our brand to a lifestyle and sort of hyper-local business.”

Joining the BHGRE brand seemed like the logical step for Mr Bell as he progresses into a new era of his career.

“Its a lifestyle business Australia-wide. And its that trust, that brand recognition during that time that I think will do something that [other] people do struggle with.”

From experience to strategy 

Mr Bell found his feet in real estate after working a receptionist job at a family agency in 1999.

“I worked my way through different property management roles, then into sales, ended up purchasing the business circa 2006 and I ran the business until 2018,” Mr Bell said.

He was also involved in auctioneering, training and consultancy throughout this period.

Mr Bell claimed that his array of experience in the industry is going to be vital to implementing the planned growth and support for the brand throughout Queensland.

“I think its about leveraging the skill set that Ive developed over the 20 years in terms of practice in real estate training, coaching and mentoring, and bringing that to [the] organisation,” Mr Bell said.

“I think for a franchise to be able to provide a highly in-depth support is probably something that’s not available at the moment.

“Along with myself, theres Karmen Costigan and Michelle Delaney whove just got unbelievable skill sets around property management and the strategic management that will be able to assist those that want to align themselves with a lifestyle brand.”

Adding to the nature of BHGRE, the industry professional places great importance on “living up” to the values held up by his new organisation.

“One of them that I really love is authenticity,” he stated. “I think a consumer in this day and age wants to deal with people that are authentic.”

Mr Bell stated he believes these values to be an “excellent positioning tool” for the brand to utilise in pursuit of clients.

Top tip

As someone with so much diverse experience, Mr Bell shared with REB his greatest tip for success, stating: “For me, its about consistency. And consistency I think sometimes as an agent themselves can be quite overwhelming.

“Theres many different moving parts in a real estate career, and for me, it took me a while. But understanding the value of support within your own organisation and external to your own organisation was a major turning point in my career.”

Core values

He also shared the importance of learning and knowing what your responsibility is as an agent, and understanding where it ends.

“I wasnt going to bed at night and having the owners problems sitting on my shoulders,” Mr Bell said.

He stated he believes this clear distinction of responsibility is “an integral part of success” in the industry.

“And understanding that you have to be human first. Because human connection, human relationships are what drives success in our industry.”

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The person and the plan behind this agency’s Queensland expansion
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