Staff member notches up 18 years
Chris Chamberlain is Watson Integrity’s longest-serving team member, having been with the company for 18 years.
After attaining a position as New Zealand Logistics Manager for a multi-national company Chris was posted to Christchurch.
‘‘I had been in the corporate world for 15 years or so and had achieved a top job but had to move away from Palmerston North. At that time my son was just a few months old so I decided I would give the job a couple of more years then I would resign and come back to Palmerston North,’’ says Chris.
‘‘I guess I was feeling a bit burnt out as you do when you are dealing with a big staff and I was managing 100-odd staff.’’
Chris stuck with his plan and resigned then spent the next six months taking a break and weighing up his options.
‘‘A career in real estate provided an opportunity to run a business without having to employ staff. I had looked at a business such as a pub or a cafe but they require a lot of capital. Real estate provided a good opportunity to be self employed at very little cost.’’
Chris says when he returned to Palmerston North Ken Watson, whom he knew through having played football, contacted him and invited him to have a coffee and a chat which led to Chris being contracted to Watsons and a career in real estate.
One of the great advantages of the job was that the hours were flexible.
‘‘My wife Debbie had taken five years off work and was keen to return to it so I was able to take over looking after our son, getting him to school and picking him up after school. I could set up a lot of appointments in the evening, a lot of clients preferred to see me when their children were settled for the night. I didn’t mind working until midnight some nights.’’
Over the years, Chris says the one thing that has changed is the technology.
‘‘But in saying that a large number of people prefer the belly to belly approach. It’s building relationships that’s important.’’
Chris feels he was fortunate that he entered the industry during tough times. ‘‘The market then improved before going back down. But the market as it is currently is the best environment I’ve ever seen. Now you can give a written guarantee that you can get a house sold in a couple of weeks.’’
Chris says his background in logistics means he likes to know everything that’s relevant to a property.
‘‘In this industry you’ve got to be spot on. I don’t do grey areas when it comes to business.’’