‘007’ puts away her signs

One of Gisborne's most successful real estate agents has 'hung up her boots',

One of Gisborne's most successful real estate agents has 'hung up her boots',

Anne James and her ‘companion’ Lettie, the Australian terrier. Picture by Liam Clayton

It’s all about relationships,’ says Anne James as she talks to Debbie Gregory about her 27 years in real estate in Gisborne . . .

The name is James — Anne James. But you can call her 007.

This was the basis of a very successful advertising campaign that saw Anne James blossom as one of the most successful agents in Gisborne.

The Gisborne real estate agent for the past two and a half decades, has finally put away her signs, at the age of 81.

As she says, she has “hung up her boots”.

Known as a no-nonsense woman who calls a spade a spade, the mother, orchardist, market gardener and quality controller in a kiwifruit packhouse, says when she found a career in real estate, it was like coming home.
“It was my forte.”

Working to her catch phrase — “experience doesn’t cost, it pays” — in 2006 Anne reached a peak.

Being named Residential Real Estate Salesperson of the Year for the Waikato region for population between 20,000 to 70,000, which includes Gisborne, was a definite highlight.

“Never before had a Gisborne real estate agent got that award, and never since.”

And the secret?
“Bloody hard work. All hours. If someone asks me how to do this sort of work and be a success — I tell them you have to work hard.”

Apart from her 007 campaign, Anne advertised herself for what she was: “Classic: old-fashioned service can never be outdated” and “experience doesn’t cost — it pays.”

She says it was not “normal” to work up into your 80s as a real estate agent but she loved it.
“I did, I really enjoyed it. The best part was the appreciation most people gave back to me. There are - - - - holes out there but they are in the minority.”

But Anne did not start out as a real estate agent. She was born and grew up in Gisborne. She married Ray James, a school teacher in 1957 and ran a small apple orchard and market garden at Ormond for many years, selling produce in a roadside stall as well as apples to the Apple and Pear Board.

“I got to meet and know a lot of people through that which helped me later when I was in real estate.”

They had four daughters — Michelle, who is an intensive care nurse at Waikato Hospital, Ella, a marketer for McDonalds and based in Auckland, Brenda, who worked with Anne for many years and now works for Ed Hunt Lawyer, and Rozanne who works as a credit controller in Australia.

“All the girls have been successful and all have helped me, but especially Brenda. She is liked by all . . . she is such a lovely very gentle person, not like her mother.”

Also while living at Ormond, Anne worked as a quality controller for a kiwifruit packhouse.

The girls left home and Anne and Ray moved into town. Anne continued to work in the kiwifruit industry until one day she decided to quit.

“It was the long hours . . . I did some huge hours.”

Then, about 27 years ago, they decided to sell their Aberdeen Road house.
“The real estate agent said to me: ‘you would make a good real estate agent’, so I decided to give it a go.”

She worked for different companies and enjoyed much success.

Listed 105 properties and sold 95 . . . in one year

“In one year, I listed 105 properties and sold 95. I was a good lister. I got out and about. There was one area of the business I hated. I felt that as a good lister, I should have had the opportunity to sell it before every man and his dog cashed in on it.”

Then, after a lot of hard work and success, she decided to go out on her own.

“I had not studied to be a principal so I employed one. I had worked it all out with my mentor Ian Keightly and there was some objection from other real estate companies, but I was fine — I had done my homework.”

She says the big positive about her job was the people.
“I loved them. Just yesterday I went to Dunblane to see an old friend who I sold a house to when they moved to Gisborne. I remember they called me up and said they had the deposit and I went to their caravan in the camping ground and they pulled it out from under the bed in the caravan . . . we have been friends ever since.”

When she is out and about, people stop her to say: “I know you — you sold us our house.”
“It is all about relationships. That is what life is all about — community and caring about people.”

Anne says the key to being a good real estate agent is to be a good and kind and generous person.
“You are not there just for the commission. Sometimes you have to let that go.”

An agent is there at a pivotal point in people’s lives — when they make one of their biggest decisions.
“It is really about caring about people.”

She says the job has been very kind to her financially and enabled her to retire comfortably.

Anne is still adjusting to the idea of retirement and does not have many plans except more family time with children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and to be a companion her 10-year-old Australian terrier Lettie.

“We have a little camping spot by the lake over at Rotoma where we use our boat for water skiing and fishing — it is nice and central for us to meet up.”

She is grateful to the people of Gisborne, Brenda and all her family.

It’s all about relationships,’ says Anne James as she talks to Debbie Gregory about her 27 years in real estate in Gisborne . . .

The name is James — Anne James. But you can call her 007.

This was the basis of a very successful advertising campaign that saw Anne James blossom as one of the most successful agents in Gisborne.

The Gisborne real estate agent for the past two and a half decades, has finally put away her signs, at the age of 81.

As she says, she has “hung up her boots”.

Known as a no-nonsense woman who calls a spade a spade, the mother, orchardist, market gardener and quality controller in a kiwifruit packhouse, says when she found a career in real estate, it was like coming home.
“It was my forte.”

Working to her catch phrase — “experience doesn’t cost, it pays” — in 2006 Anne reached a peak.

Being named Residential Real Estate Salesperson of the Year for the Waikato region for population between 20,000 to 70,000, which includes Gisborne, was a definite highlight.

“Never before had a Gisborne real estate agent got that award, and never since.”

And the secret?
“Bloody hard work. All hours. If someone asks me how to do this sort of work and be a success — I tell them you have to work hard.”

Apart from her 007 campaign, Anne advertised herself for what she was: “Classic: old-fashioned service can never be outdated” and “experience doesn’t cost — it pays.”

She says it was not “normal” to work up into your 80s as a real estate agent but she loved it.
“I did, I really enjoyed it. The best part was the appreciation most people gave back to me. There are - - - - holes out there but they are in the minority.”

But Anne did not start out as a real estate agent. She was born and grew up in Gisborne. She married Ray James, a school teacher in 1957 and ran a small apple orchard and market garden at Ormond for many years, selling produce in a roadside stall as well as apples to the Apple and Pear Board.

“I got to meet and know a lot of people through that which helped me later when I was in real estate.”

They had four daughters — Michelle, who is an intensive care nurse at Waikato Hospital, Ella, a marketer for McDonalds and based in Auckland, Brenda, who worked with Anne for many years and now works for Ed Hunt Lawyer, and Rozanne who works as a credit controller in Australia.

“All the girls have been successful and all have helped me, but especially Brenda. She is liked by all . . . she is such a lovely very gentle person, not like her mother.”

Also while living at Ormond, Anne worked as a quality controller for a kiwifruit packhouse.

The girls left home and Anne and Ray moved into town. Anne continued to work in the kiwifruit industry until one day she decided to quit.

“It was the long hours . . . I did some huge hours.”

Then, about 27 years ago, they decided to sell their Aberdeen Road house.
“The real estate agent said to me: ‘you would make a good real estate agent’, so I decided to give it a go.”

She worked for different companies and enjoyed much success.

Listed 105 properties and sold 95 . . . in one year

“In one year, I listed 105 properties and sold 95. I was a good lister. I got out and about. There was one area of the business I hated. I felt that as a good lister, I should have had the opportunity to sell it before every man and his dog cashed in on it.”

Then, after a lot of hard work and success, she decided to go out on her own.

“I had not studied to be a principal so I employed one. I had worked it all out with my mentor Ian Keightly and there was some objection from other real estate companies, but I was fine — I had done my homework.”

She says the big positive about her job was the people.
“I loved them. Just yesterday I went to Dunblane to see an old friend who I sold a house to when they moved to Gisborne. I remember they called me up and said they had the deposit and I went to their caravan in the camping ground and they pulled it out from under the bed in the caravan . . . we have been friends ever since.”

When she is out and about, people stop her to say: “I know you — you sold us our house.”
“It is all about relationships. That is what life is all about — community and caring about people.”

Anne says the key to being a good real estate agent is to be a good and kind and generous person.
“You are not there just for the commission. Sometimes you have to let that go.”

An agent is there at a pivotal point in people’s lives — when they make one of their biggest decisions.
“It is really about caring about people.”

She says the job has been very kind to her financially and enabled her to retire comfortably.

Anne is still adjusting to the idea of retirement and does not have many plans except more family time with children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and to be a companion her 10-year-old Australian terrier Lettie.

“We have a little camping spot by the lake over at Rotoma where we use our boat for water skiing and fishing — it is nice and central for us to meet up.”

She is grateful to the people of Gisborne, Brenda and all her family.

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