Agents and their spaces: Robin Parker

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He prefers remote camping sites to five-star hotels, feels more comfortable in a wetsuit than a business suit, and has lived in the same family home for 30 years. Although he’s one of Bayside’s leading sales agents, Marshall White Sandringham Director Robin Parker admits he ‘goes against the grain’.

07 February 2023

Unsurprisingly, a career in Real Estate wasn’t always part of the plan for the lifelong Bayside local. However, a serious workplace injury more than two decades ago forced the surfing obsessed landscaper to re-evaluate his life, and his career.

“I was in my late 30s and the orthopaedic surgeon told me I’d most likely be in a wheelchair by the time I was 50 if I continued to work.”

At the time, Robin was running two Hampton-based businesses, a landscape construction and design company as well as a woodyard and garden supplies business, and he knew then that he had no option but to quit the hard physical labour.

After surgery and rehab, a friend who works in real estate suggested he join him.

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Although Robin had always thought an office job was not for him, he embarked on this opportunity for a new start with his typical enthusiasm and positive work ethic. In retrospect, the career choice was a logical one for the easy-going father of three, with a lifetime of business and social connections in the local area, the ability to embrace change, and a silver lining attitude to life.

Fast forward 25 years, and Robin has notched up 10 years with Marshall White, was named Salesperson of the Year in 2017, and has recently opened the company’s newest office in Sandringham.

Robin says he copes with the challenges of real estate by working in sprints.

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“As agents, it’s a given that our workload is demanding, but as I explain to new agents, the key is to do it in sprints rather than a marathon. You’ve got to make it work for you. You need to have a focus, an endpoint. Towards the end of each year, I know I’m almost at the finish line and that I’ll be heading down the coast for the summer, and then I’ll be able to switch off – well, almost.”

Robin and his wife Geri, who met as teenagers, and their three adult sons Tom, Andy and Matt, have spent over three decades of summers camping and surfing at Wilsons Promontory.

All the family love to surf and Robin, who first hit the waves and caught the bug as an 8-year-old, has amassed a collection of boards. At one time he counted 37 piled up in various spaces in their family home in Hampton, but, with a renovation set to begin, it was time for most of them to go.

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“We love living here, so have never wanted to move. We travel a lot, so it’s good to have a solid base, close to the shops, train and beach. It was great when the kids could walk to school, too.”

His home’s latest renovation was inspired by elements he sees in the stunning Bayside homes he has the privilege of selling.

The transformation included widening the hallway, expanding the open plan area, new engineered oak flooring, a stunning new marble kitchen, and floor to ceiling glass to invite views of the bluestone-surrounds swimming pool. And of course, a dedicated space to display a limited number of surfboards. Robin has kept a few of his current favourite boards including longboards and stand-up paddleboards.

The couple, both from Bayside Melbourne, met on the Sunshine Coast, where 19-year-old Robin was working and living in a sharehouse on the beach, and Geri was visiting on a university holiday. Geri is a recently retired music teacher, and all three of their sons play a variety of instruments.

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Queensland continues to hold a special place in their hearts and they regularly return to the Sunshine state for holidays, including a recent hiking trip to Carnarvon Gorge. However it is remote Western Australia where the adventurous couple like to spend time exploring, hiking, camping, snorkelling and of course, surfing.

“We have fallen in love with the Ningaloo Coast of WA. We have been four times now since discovering the area in 2014. It’s incredible, the isolation, the beautiful water, reef and surf. We also drive inland to Karijini National Park, hiring a 4WD campervan in Exmouth and heading into the outback.”

However, it doesn’t matter how far away from it all Robin gets, he still makes sure he can look after his clients.

“As a Director, I don’t ever switch off completely.” Robin believes that the benefits of the digital age have worked favourably in enabling him to stay in touch with clients at all times. “The ability for all parties to be able to electronically sign legal documents for a listing or selling a property has made a huge difference. However, without doubt, face to face contact is still very important and an aspect of working in real estate that I enjoy the most. It’s the best way to build and maintain relationships with clients and develop trust. That will never change.”

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As well as completing the renovations in the family home, Robin spent months overseeing the shopfitting of the new Sandringham office and is excited to have expanded Marshall White’s Bayside reach further south along the Bay.

Robin is clearly at home in his Bayside surroundings, and when he’s not travelling or catching a wave, he’ll be busy selling properties in the tightly held area.

“This area, Hampton, Sandringham, Black Rock, and Beaumaris is where I grew up, went to school, played cricket and footy and have spent my adult life with my wife and children. My work and family life here has always kept me engaged and integrated within the community and the lifestyle that draws buyers to the Bayside area. It’s definitely my ‘patch’. The Sandringham team is here for the long haul.”

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