At just 31 next month, Asha Kerr has clocked up a decade of experience in the local real estate industry, for the past six years as a selling agent. The new co-owner, since February, of Century 21 Mid-Coast Port Macquarie, it’s thought she’s the youngest licensee-owner of a real estate business in our region. Born and bred in Port, she’s lived here for longer than most of our population.
I started selling real estate in 2003 when the bubble was just starting to burst, so I’ve never enjoyed the luxury of selling in boom times – it’s always been just plain hard work, achieving the best possible outcome for my clients. It’s taught me to be tenacious at my craft. Both I and my husband, Neil Hobbis – he specialises in rural properties – are licensed agents and auctioneers so we have a competitive home life, living and breathing real estate! We own real estate and we believe in what real estate can do for people.
I’ve sold a wide variety of properties in my career. Every sale’s the best and most important. I’ve helped people sell to move closer to family, handled delicate, emotional estate sales, and helped clients sell on the road to moving up in the world. My dad said to me: Find a career you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. It was the best advice! I was born in Port and attended St Joseph’s primary and high. I’ve only ever left here briefly, for a short stint jillarooing in the N.T. when I was 18. I have the coolest 10-year-old son, Jaxon, who’s at St Agnes. Somehow we get him to soccer every Saturday – which is open-house day in the real estate world! He plays with Port United, and loves surfing with Dad when the waves are pumpin’. My family and I live in Lake Cathie. Neil has two beautiful daughters, Tess and Amy, both St Paul’s and MacKillop students. Amy’s now at uni in Newcastle and doing amazing stuff.
Century 21 is on Horton Street at the Colonial Arcade entrance. Louise Budnick, my business partner; is a local, too; her children Lily and Jesse are also at St Agnes. She and her husband Kevin, a well-known roof tiler, spend their spare time water-skiing and are active in touch football. We took over the business from Bill and Vicki McNamara and are lucky to have Vicki now employed by us as manager of our clients’ investment properties. Louise’s role is also predominantly as property manager: both have a wealth of experience. I started in property management; many owners I looked after didn’t live here and trusted my local knowledge to ensure their property was achieving best returns.
When I left school I did a few retail jobs. I had Jaxon when I was quite young. I really wanted him to be proud of where he came from. I went to TAFE at night and completed the minimum requirement to manage or sell real estate. I started with Hills, working alongside Margaret and (the now late) Rob Hill, both mentors of mine and successful businesspeople – probably where the passion to run my own business came from. I sold real estate while continuing studying for my real estate licence and auctioneer’s accreditation. Long hours are a must in anything you want to do well at. Both Louise and I have a desire to keep on achieving; I strive every day to provide the level of service I’d expect to receive myself. We believe our clients will value the service provided by working directors.
With short study, anyone can open a real estate office. But Century 21 won’t allow use of its brand without being satisfied with the quality of the agents. We have a bright future: we’ll expand into Lake Cathie-Bonny Hills and develop our rural sector too. The economy’s slowly improving; we live in sought-after location; we’ve fantastic education facilities, water supply, and developments like Sovereign Hills. People are relocating to Port every day. We’ve exciting things like the Glasshouse opening; despite the negatives, it’s there now and looks fabulous. The airport has increased flights, we’ve beautiful beaches and great restaurants.
Neil and I are both active Five Star Fitness members and enjoy the cycle classes. I completed the Camden Haven triathlon this year and I’m looking forward to joining Port Triathlon Club in summer.
I’m also a Meals on Wheels volunteer … anyone with spare time should consider helping this organisation. You know, if everyone does a little, no one has to do a lot.’