By Hedgie Gundry
From a humble team of six in 1999 to an elite group of 25 real estate professionals, an impressive 1,700+ properties under management and a host of record sales, Director and Principal of Raine & Horne Newtown Gerard Hill, and his partners Michael Harris and Duncan Gordon, are taking the agency to the next level.
A well-respected landmark since the late 1970s, Raine & Horne Newtown is a predominantly residential real estate agency offering an unwavering focus on success and an in-depth understanding of the diverse local market. Over the years, the team has received numerous industry accolades across both the property management and sales side of the business.
“The majority of our sales are within a five-kilometre radius of our office and our property management portfolio is Sydney-wide,” Gerard said. “In fact, we have a number of government contracts that take us all over the city. We even have properties as far as Windsor and a 45-acre farm in Luddenham.
“It’s pretty varied and challenges our team to find innovative solutions, and we structure our team accordingly.”
“Everyone is committed to what they are doing because we are a strong team. We are all responsible for each other and for each other’s success.”
Gerard Hill, Raine & Horne Newtown
Raine & Horne Newtown’s long-established team of 20 years won the Residential Property Management category at the 2019 REINSW Awards for Excellence. And according to Gerard, the award was a real validation of everyone’s dedication and hard work.
“I know I’m biased, but I truly believe our property management team is without doubt one of the best in the business,” he said. “I began my real estate career in property management, I’m passionate about it and I’m fortunate enough to have an incredible team that shares that passion.
“Our head of property management, Bruna Romano, has been with us for 17 years. And the majority of the senior property managers have been with us for 10 years or more, or are back on board having worked overseas for extended periods of time.
“We’re more like a family. Everyone is completely invested in the business and determined to offer a first-class service.”
Gerard explained that the agency has also created a business where people have the autonomy to do what they need to do.
“This has involved giving valuable time back to our property managers by outsourcing processes such as routine inspections and lease renewals,” he said. “They can then focus on building valuable relationships with landlords and tenants and maximise their income.
“In short, the strength of our team is what sets us apart. You don’t gain success overnight. Everyone is committed to what they are doing because we are a strong team. We are all responsible for each other and for everyone’s success.”
Gerard with team members receiving their Award for Excellence in 2019
The agency’s connection to the vibrant suburb of Newtown is clear and the team is as diverse as the people it serves.
“Newtown is a beautiful community, and everyone loves working here, Gerard said. “It’s one of the most inclusive places to be – home to LGBTQI people and every nationality under the sun – and our team reflects this diversity.
“For me, if the people within your organisation appreciate and understand the people on the other side of the door, then you’re in harmony with your community. It just works.
“I’m really proud of how we remain focused on celebrating individuality, being kind and generous, and making a difference within a supportive and nurturing culture. If we can all do this and get it right, then we’ve got a good business,” he added.
Raine & Horne Newtown also enjoys celebrating as a team with various functions and team-building adventures scheduled throughout the year.
“Ultimately, the most important people in our business are the people who work here. They’re my first responsibility,” Gerard said. “By putting them first, they can then go out and do whatever they need to do to delight the clients.
“People, in general, get to choose where they work. So, if they're choosing to work for you, you've got to respect and honour that.”
“We put people into homes all the time, so are genuinely committed to those who simply don’t have that opportunity. I believe the industry as a whole has a responsibility to give back in this area as much as it can.”
Over the years, Gerard and his team have been involved with countless charities and fundraisers, with homelessness being one of their key focuses. Gerard’s business partner Michael Harris is heavily involved with the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre.
“Michael volunteers for the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre and once a month walks the streets with a local team talking to homeless people about the services they can access,” Gerard explained. “They try to actively engage with people because homelessness can be a very lonely experience.”.
Last year, Raine & Horne Newtown participated in the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre Newtopian Sleepout.
“Almost all of us took part last year and raised more than $35,000,” Gerard said. “Essentially, homelessness sucks and it often occurs due to circumstances beyond someone’s control.
“We put people into homes all the time, so are genuinely committed to those who simply don’t have that opportunity. I believe the industry as a whole has a responsibility to give back in this area as much as it can,” Gerard said.
So what does the future hold for Gerard and his dynamic team?
“Obviously we want to continue to grow both financially and professionally by looking after our clients and making a difference to our local community,” he said. “We’re currently at the end of our first five-year strategic plan and are working closely on our next one, which is almost ready to be unveiled.
“At the heart of this plan is a new business mantra of mine, which is to ‘focus on the ideal, work towards the ideal, speak towards the ideal and act towards the ideal’. We’re genuinely excited about what the future holds, and are looking forward to the next five years and beyond.”