Roy started working in the family business as a mail boy when he was 14. After graduating in Accountancy from Queensland University of Technology he started working at Henzells in the property management section before moving into real estate sales. Roy took the helm of the family business in 1984 when his father Bevan died. He was 29-years-old and ran the family business in partnership with his mother Judy Henzell until 1990 when he invited Garry Waters to join as a partner. In 1989, with a friendship with Roy dating back to the early 1970s, Garry joined Henzells to implement the development of Pelican Waters. A year later he became a partner. Judy retired in 1999 leaving Roy and Garry as the Henzells Agency partners.
Roy has a joke about dynasties that he is fond of: “The first one starts it, the second one builds it up and the third one crashes it.” But with Henzells going from strength to strength, the prophecy is unlikely to eventuate. Under the direction of partners Roy and Garry the business has been transformed into a one-stop-shop for all property needs. Henzells has expanded its traditional business of general real estate and project management to include an advertising agency, finance arm and development division.
“It’s been a great journey these 75 years,” Roy reflected. Since Roy started as a mail boy during school breaks, he has seen many changes to the business of real estate. New technology has been the main driver of change and for the company to remain relevant for the next 75 years; Roy said it has to move with the times. Roy recalls coming to the office as a boy and finding his dad and the sales staffs at the pool hall behind the barber’s shop playing pool because nothing happened during the week – in those days real estate was sold primarily on weekends. He also remembers his grandfather driving a contract down to Grafton NSW to get it signed.
In his own experience in the 1980s, he had an offer from a buyer via teletex and had to go to the travel office at Alexandra Headlands to collect it. “Now with iphones, you can do everything instantly,” he said. Online tours of properties are becoming increasingly common in real estate and Roy said he’s had customers from Dubai buy land at Pelican Waters who have looked at the site on Google maps.
According to Roy, the job will remain the same – finding a property to meet a client’s needs – but the way it is executed will continue to change. “I think it would be exciting to come back in 40 years and say, ‘Look what’s happening here. Isn’t it great?’
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