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Real Estate - the people behind the names

Rob Ball

Rob Ball is a Licensed Sales Consultant and joint business owner with his wife Ange; and has been working selling real estate in Whitianga and Mercury Bay for nearly fifteen years. Ball & Co Realty is a local family owned boutique concierge style real estate service.

Would you share something of your beginnings

My younger brother and I grew up in our “Nana’s” council (state) house in South London and went to the local comprehensive school. It’s all a miracle really as my grand-parents were bombed out of their home seven times during World War II. That part of London is on the old Roman road to Dover (called Watling Street) and the Luftwaffe apparently used it to navigate; dropping their left-over bombs from their raids on the residents on their way home! We were loved and no worse off than most; however… growing up in South London can give you a passion for travel.

What did you do before real estate?

After the school years and further education, I secured a job at a well-known European and international logistics and freight-forwarding company, gradually working my way up the ladder ‘as you do’ - both in London and Dublin. Down the track; there was less of a demand for European logistics and transport management in Whitianga; however years of forward facing client and customer service, sales, marketing and operational problem solving experience was invaluable.

My family and your hobbies

Funnily enough, some of the big decisions along the way seem to have been prompted by this ‘aircraft’ theme. Ange and I made the decision to take a work sabbatical, get married and travel further afield… after an equipment failure put our EgyptAir flight out of Cairo into a nose-dive over the Mediterranean! When your air “host” sprints down the aisle ‘screaming and flailing’ you know you’re in a bit of trouble! Thankfully, we all made it… and this led us further afield still… onto a wonderful adventure through South America, Asia, Australia and… in New Zealand, we found and fell in love with Mercury Bay! Providing our daughter Gracie with a barefoot ‘Kiwi & Coromandel’ childhood ranks as one of our proudest achievements!

Tell us about real-estate in Whitianga?

As I have always found, it’s so interesting. Some local owners may not realise that the general national/regional media chatter doesn’t really seem to apply to Whitianga. Local residential prices don’t appear to be in any decline. The annual month-on-month median price for Whitianga residential has continued to generally rise despite the winter number of sales per month having been less. I have a feeling Whitianga’s wonderful environment, desirability, plus simple supply and demand trumps the ‘other factors’! It’s very positive that there’s a growing mix of families, new businesses, plus incredibly active retirees! Post Covid seemed to deliver a mindset shift with people embracing and no longer deferring those life choices.

Have there been doubts, challenges or roadblocks along the way?

There certainly has been; many, in fact. One I remember well, was my very first day of real estate in Whitianga. The year was 2008. A long-established agent said to me, “You’re brave!” Puzzled, I enquired, “What do you mean?” The response was, “Well, you’ve just started in a small provincial coastal town in a general financial crisis and the *** has fallen out of the market” In real-estate, if there’s no sale, there’s no fee; it’s all about performance. So Ange toiled in property management and we just dug it out. We kept on doing the work on the ground; and we’ll always be appreciative of those first kind and wonderful local souls who, in the beginning, said, “We’ll give this bloke (or Lady!) a go!”

Relating a little of my journey in this way is an opportunity to say just how accepting and welcoming this community really is. Thank you.

Is there a person from whom you have learned a lot about life and business?

When I think specifically of Real Estate her ein Whitianga, I will always value and higly regard the mentorship of Helen Larsen and Gordon Barnaby. I have learned so much from many wonderful clients, customers and colleagues; with whom, over the years, we have journeyed the wonderful roller-coaster and rich tapestry of real-estate.

What is a dream you have for this town or for this area?

Akin to that saying, ’It’s location, location, location.’ it seems it’s going to be all about ‘balance, balance, balance’! That balance is essential for any future dreams here on the Coromandel when it comes to growth in development. Firstly, the natural Coromandel environment requires our ongoing “Kaitiakitanga”, our guardianship; and with Mercury Bay being such a desirable place for coastal beach living, lifestyle, business and tourism: the dream is for these elements to evolve, in balance ensuring the sustainability of the very special nature and character of the community.


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