Playground Paradise with Alexander Payne

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When Alexander Payne compares real estate to a playground, our resident podcaster John Caruso wonders if it ever ends with someone scraping their knee.

Early holiday memories of his pith-wearing, sickle-wielding aunt from Picture Point have stayed with Alexander all his life. The former Melburnian recalls many happy holiday moments from the 1970s with his eccentric aunt, together with his four older brothers, slashing and chopping their way through scrub off the beaten track through Noosa National Park.

“The family used to drive up in two cars, you didn’t jump on a plane back then,” Alexander recalls. “There was an old Land Rover and a tinny under the house my aunt built, and we would have all sorts of adventures.

“I remember seeing the Cherry Venture, just after it ran aground in 1973 and then I moved to Noosa in the eighties and lived here while working in the hotel industry and being part of the team that opened The Hyatt Regency Coolum before it became a dinosaur park,” he laughs.

A passion for renovating homes and interior design has always been part of Alexander’s DNA.

“I got my real estate license just before the pandemic, selling homes in the Noosa hinterland which I loved and now I’m with Reed & Co and my patch is Sunshine Beach which is an area I know very well,” Alexander says.

“My husband owns Adrian J Hairdressing on Duke Street – he’s been there for 10 years – and we are lucky enough to live in Sunshine Beach.”

‘Beetles and Bentleys’ is how Alexander describes the neighbourhood.

“Nobody cares whether you’re a ‘have’ or ‘have not’,” he says. “There’s such a wonderful mixture of people who call the area home and you simply can’t judge a book by its cover.

“For me, the place still has a lot of the original essence of what Noosa was like when I first holidayed here in the 70s.”

Alexander said most property owners in Sunshine Beach have had their slice of paradise for quite a while.

“There are people that bought their homes in the 80s and when I’m talking to them, they tell me the only way out of the suburb would be via a pine box,” he says. “Some say that if they did sell, then their kids would put them in a pine box! So, the market is tight, and a lot of property is passed down within families.

“Having said that, there are always opportunities and I’m constantly talking to buyers from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne who are looking for holiday homes, which makes Sunshine Beach perfect.

“There’s always an annual migration of people moving to Noosa. That said, COVID sped up those numbers during that period where people bought forward their decision to move here. The population grew and demand was high. As such, in the last 18 months or so, those numbers reduced, but we’re seeing enquiry rates from interstate increasing again, and I think we are heading back into a more normal cycle. Let’s face it, it’s a brilliant place to live.”

Honesty and providing a great experience, or customer service is the cornerstone of any successful endeavour.

“If you provide those basics, not just in real estate but in any field, you’ll have people coming back to you and they’ll recommend you to others,” Alexander says. “It’s simple really. I see my role as assisting people to sell their homes by providing genuine feedback from the market, and attracting new business or listings, is all about talking to people.

“Imagine a seesaw with the buyer on one side; they start on the playground floor if you like. In the middle is me, the agent, I’m the fulcrum or pivot; and above the ground is the vendor.

“The goal or outcome is the best possible price for the vendor and the agent’s role is to temper the expectations of both the vendor and buyer.

“The negotiations take all factors into consideration including the market and current conditions, and when that seesaw is level, we effectively have signatures on a contract,” explains Alexander.

Being under the Reed & Co umbrella has its benefits too.

“We don’t operate in silos,” he says.

“We’re a team and we look out for each other and that’s important for us as individual agents and for our clients,” Alexander says. “There’s a solid database we access which is fantastic and the interaction between the agents is advantageous for properties that are difficult to sell.

“There are properties sometimes, with certain quirks about them that can make them challenging, however with the backing of the Reed & Co brand we can make those hurdles less challenging.”

For Alexander mixing it with the Beetles and Bentleys may seem a long way from hiking with his aunt through unchartered scrub, however he’s rediscovered the magic of old school Noosa in a patch of paradise he calls home. Sharing his passion and helping others life the dream life is evident in his chosen career.

About the Author /

After 30 years in radio, John now runs the Conversations IN Noosa podcast and in between being our writer, sanity checker, accounts manager, event MC, and delivery boy; he spends time with his first love, recording a daily Drive program for regional radio from home (often in his pyjamas); and presenting Saturday mornings on Hot 91.1. He has previously worked for FoxFM Melbourne, Triple M Brisbane and SeaFM, as well as managing and presenting on ABC Sunshine Coast.

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