Varun Pinto’s real estate voyage: Anchoring success in Townsville

By Indira Laisram
Varun Pinto // Pic supplied

Varun Pinto, who hails from Mangalore, has been in the merchant navy for a long time. The reason he came to Australia was related to matters of the heart. His girlfriend, now wife, was in Melbourne and he decided to join her. Changing professions is a natural accompaniment of migration but Varun makes it look easy. From a successful career with the merchant navy, he has transitioned to a prosperous career in real estate cutting through the insularity of life in a new town.

It all began at the height of COVID-19. After a decade in Melbourne, Varun and his wife set their sights on Townsville, which offered promising prospects for shore jobs in the merchant navy. And in February 2021, they packed their bags and embarked on a new journey.

However, the shore job in the merchant navy did not materialise. But having spent a whopping 17 years working in the seas, it’s safe to say Varun knew more than a thing or two about navigation—both on land and water.

Varun Pinto with a client // Pic supplied

He took a plunge in real estate. It helped that the real estate industry was categorised as an essential service during the pandemic, and as a result, experienced significant growth.

Moreover, real estate wasn’t entirely new territory for Varun. Back home in Mangalore, his father and brother were in the realty business, so the inspiration was not far to seek. “It was an instantaneous decision,” says Varun.

Varun started with research in the field and completed training within few weeks making the pathway to his new career. In the next month, he was offered a job through Ray White, a leading brand.

Varun Pinto // Pic supplied

Starting in 2021, Varun worked as a sales associate and then immediately became an independent agent, managing his own client base and generating his own leads—something that otherwise takes years for beginners.

And like all good agents, he sought out to gain recognition.

“My wife Livia and I went through a lot of networking events; we made great friends and valuable business connections that made me understand how different businesses were functioning.”

Varun Pinto closing a deal // Pic supplied

The next step was keeping abreast of developments around the world and locally. “I stay updated on global and domestic finance, policies, politics, and the economy through news, videos, and podcasts. This helps me understand not just real estate, but helps me comprehend how policy changes and economic conditions affect people’s mindsets, markets, lifestyles, and financial capabilities,” he says.

Soon Varun discovered negotiations were a favourite part of the real estate business. “I love it. I am good in negotiating the price up,” he says with a smile.

In the two years that he has been in his new career, Varun has sold about 80 properties. “As an independent agent, I’ve sold about 33 properties since August last year,” he says.

Varun Pinto // Pic supplied

Ethnic identity in a small town can be noticeable and, can sometimes, be challenging. But Varun says that has never been the issue for him. “I’ve been welcomed and 95 per cent of my sales have been to non-Indian clients. It’s all about building your reputation, having the knowledge as also the communication skills.”

He adds, “Interpersonal skills have helped me in both my professions. The fact is, I just try to do the right thing. It’s a very small town, and news travels. If you get a good outcome for your seller—that’s all that matters, really.”

So how does he determine the value of a property? “Age of a property, historical value, cost of construction for a similar property in the area, land value, level of interest, what demography of buyers will you be targeting—all these factors help,” he explains.

Varun Pinto // Pic supplied

Varun predicts Townsville is on a growth trajectory in terms of investments, job opportunities and migration.

“And the fact that during the past 8-10 months when the rest of the country was seeing a big slowdown in the real estate market, Townsville was almost 80-85 percent protected from what was happening elsewhere because the median price of houses here is comparatively lower than most cities,” avers Varun, adding, “Things slowed down a tad bit but there are still a lot of buyers, huge tenancy shortage, and lots of first home buyers in the market. I foresee a real growth in realty here for the next few years to come.”

Which works well for Varun, who got into the market when it was strong. It helped him get his name out there. But he has also been supporting community events giving people the opportunity to know him.

Varun Pinto sale // Pic supplied

Investment advice from Varun: “Townsville is a great place to grow your real estate profile, the median price is low and return on investment is high.”

Importantly, he says, “The people are lovely. It’s easy to grow in a city that’s growing, and great to be part of a community and a city that is on a growth trajectory.”

Varun is driven by his passion and hard work. He says, “There hasn’t been a day when I’ve looked back and said I absolutely love what I am doing.”

Quite the embodiment of a true migrant who is contributing to the economic landscape of the adopted country.

Connect with Indira Laisram on Twitter

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