The Ray White business wasn’t always focused on real estate. In fact, it began with a young man who was restless in the small country town of Crow’s Nest and willing to sell anything with value.
Selling anything from pigs, to machinery, to insurance, young Ray White quickly made a name for himself in the late 1890s as he conducted business out of a disused railway shed. The first of his many land sales came in 1907, where he sold 12 building sites as an auctioneer.
As an auctioneer, he was very proficient, and had mastered the art early on in his career. Ultimately, this led him to become more successful than his well-established competition in rural Queensland.
Throughout the 1900s, Ray continued to sell and auction a wide variety of products in regional Queensland, until he moved his family to Brisbane in 1924. In the city, he continued the ‘sell anything’ approach, but quickly focused on real estate. Ray sold property from the far north to the west – nothing was off limits – his repertoire including medical practices, farms, and cinemas.
From the beginning, Ray did not restrict the business to one kind of property, so a form of commercial real estate has always been part of the business, which has been passed down through the White family. Ray’s sons drove the business to even greater success, dominating major newspapers with their advertising; in the next generation, Ray’s grandsons introduced a franchising model which took the business to new heights.
Today, members of the White family remain in charge of the company, holding various executive positions. The company itself has close to 1,000 offices in Australia, New Zealand, Asia and the Middle East, and sells billions of dollars of property every year.
The commercial division, which is exclusive to Australia and New Zealand, has 50 businesses led by owners, with more than 250 commercial property agents filling them. The group claims to sell more commercial property than any other real estate, handling more than $2.5 billion in property sales each year.
The commercial teams at Ray White work with many different kinds of properties in the commercial sector. In keeping with the ‘Ray White sells anything’ tradition, they sell office space, land, building sites, retail stores, industrial buildings and hotels. They can even provide solutions for acquisitions, no matter how small or large that business is.