One of Queenstown’s most prominent realtors has brokered his last deal.

Simon Hayes has pulled stumps on a successful 29-year career, initially with Professionals Fisken & Associates, then Harcourts for the past 15-and-a-half years.

Nearing 71, he’s getting out as ‘‘it might be time’’.

‘‘I’ve suspended my licence so if I don’t like retirement, I could do my compulsory training and go back into it, but I don’t see that happening.’’

Incredibly active in the community, he has ‘‘lots of things to keep me busy’’, he says, including chairing the national Abbeyfield trust, which provides affordable housing for older people, while he also has four grandchildren, one based overseas.

Hayes got into real estate in late ’93 after resigning as Skyline Queenstown manager.

He says then-Fiskens boss Bob Jack, whom he knew, had a business advertised for sale.

‘‘I thought, ‘I’ll go and find out about it’, and about an hour-and-a-half later, I left his office with an offer to come and work with him.’’

After doing his papers, Hayes didn’t take long to make his mark.

One of his first sales was a record house price in Frankton’s Kawarau Falls — ‘‘I think I got $210,000, I absolutely smashed it’’.

There was also a multi-million dollar sale of 12 or 13 lots ‘‘that was almost unheard of at the time’’.

‘‘On two occasions I set a new price for 10-acre blocks in that Dalefield-Lower Shotover Road area.’’

When there was an ownership change at Fiskens, he accepted ‘‘a long-standing offer’’ from Harcourts directors Geoff Stevens and Kelvin Collins to cross the road.

‘‘That was good for my career because the technology and training at Harcourts was amazing, and you never stopped learning — it really gave me a new lease on life in terms of real estate.’’

In recent years he teamed up with sales colleagues Chelsey Koberstein and, also, more latterly, Allyra McGrath.

Teams are the way to go, Hayes says.

‘‘One thing that’s changed is your customers all expect service, now.

‘‘You’ve got to be answering your phone or emails or what ever inquiries in a timely manner, because if you don’t, they go somewhere else.

‘‘It’s not physically demanding but it’s mentally demanding — you’ve got people’s major asset.’’

With mortgage rates rising, Hayes says ‘‘what will happen is the need for some people to sell might get greater’’.

As a selling tip, and having also been an auctioneer, he recommends vendors first try the auction method.

‘‘You’re dealing with cash and unconditional buyers, and, sometimes, as much as the price is important, people want to move on, as opposed to dealing with conditional offers where you don’t know you’ve sold it for often quite some time.’’

As to whether Queenstown will follow the rest of the country, where residential prices are dropping, Hayes says: ‘‘You have to think at some point it’s got to, but one thing I think we can be pretty certain of is we’ll be less affected than any other market, just about.

‘‘The reality is, more people want to move here than want to move away.’’

Hayes says he’s had a ‘‘fantastic’’ real estate career.

‘‘Sure, it’s about houses, but it’s really about people.

‘‘I’ve met a lot of really nice people, helped a lot of nice people find a house they want to buy or sell a house they need to sell.

‘‘That’s really what it’s been about.’’

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