Category Archives: Agent Life
Harcourts Canada is underway with the first office opening in North Vancouver on Vancouver’s famous North Shore. Hayden Duncan the Managing Director and CEO of Harcourts Canada give us a little insight into their journey so far.
Surrounded by stunning mountains and world-class mountain biking, and yet only a 10-minute ferry ride from Vancouver city’s CBD, it really is a great place to live!
Moving fast and recruiting faster
In reflection when looking back, we were optimistic in our original timing and budgets to set up both the franchise systems and a functioning real estate office in a new country, however the response from realtors and consumers here has been really encouraging, and it’s all coming together quickly now.
For example, the first careers and information evening attracted over 20 people, a mixture of current realtors as well as those looking to enter the real estate industry. Two of the twenty have since joined the team and we have a second evening planned for the July 5th.
The thing you come to appreciate is what an enormous amount of resource there is in Harcourts when you have to adapt it all. It is truly mind-blowing and something many of us take for granted, as it’s there and it works!
We are excited to have brought together a fantastic team with us, and already we are offering sales and property management services from day one. With a team totalling nine and more due to make a move to us in the coming months, the future is looking great.
The local market – receptive of our technology and culture
The market is strong in the local area with the average home experienced over 30% capital gain in the last 12 months alone. The days on market, on average, can be counted on one hand.
Many realtors currently working in the industry have not moved with or adopted new technology, so the technology platform of HarcourtsOne and our mobile applications set us apart here.
Our values, and our demonstration of those values, is the other major factor that has attracted people to Harcourts in Canada to date.
In the setting up of the brand in a new market, there are many decisions to make in relation to how we are going to do things, and the values have been without a doubt the compass by which we travel.
Auctions on the way
Auctions seem logical when you consider the heated market, and when looked at with a Harcourts set of eyes.
However, auctions are not a recognised process in Canada, so it is something that we are looking to introduce in the next three months with the assistance of Ben Brady and the Harcourts Auctions team. They have some great systems to streamline the auction process and to help introduce and educate sellers.
When Kyly and I decided to set up Harcourts in Canada we were looking for a challenge, I am delighted to report that we have got what we were hoping for!
Having recently cracked the milestone of $4 million in raised funds, the Harcourts Foundation continues to help local communities globally.
Here are just a few of the local organisations who have benefited from the foundation.
Halberg Disability Sports Foundation Junior Disability Games 2016
Nearly 120 athletes, aged eight to 21 competed over three days of sports competition and comradery at Halberg Disability Sport Foundation Junior Disability Games held at the Avantidrome at St Peter’s in Cambridge in April.
The Halberg Junior Disability Games, supported by the Harcourts Foundation, is unique to New Zealand and gives athletes the opportunity to compete at a national level, try new sports, meet other people from around the country and provides a pathway to pursue further sporting goals.
New playground for Snells Beach
Snells Beach Ratepayers and Residents Association are midway through the development of an exciting, challenging and fun playground for local children, as well as visitors to the area.
A donation from Harcourts Tandem Realty, through the Harcourts Foundation, will allow for stage two of construction to go ahead. Equipment will include a seesaw, climbing net, supernova, basketball court and protective surfaces.
Hearing dogs for the deaf
Hearing Dogs NZ is an organisation which trains dogs to provide valuable services to deaf and hearing-impaired people, much as guide dogs provide for blind people.
A donation by Harcourts Taranaki Property Services through the Harcourts Foundation will allow the charity to purchase new dog grooming equipment and plastic igloo kennels to keep the trainee dogs warm in winter.
Learning to swim in Lucknow
Thanks to a donation from Regent Realty through the Harcourts Foundation, Lucknow School in Havelock North can repair their existing pool fence to the required standard, and allow the construction of a shaded area for children.
Helping at-risk youth
The Combined Youth Service Trust aims to identify young people in the community who are at risk of offending and reach out to them before they do.
A donation by Harcourts Blue Fern Realty Limited through the Harcourts Foundation has enabled the continuation of the Koru programme, which teaches life skills and confidence to troubled under-13s. The grant has enabled an AA Defensive Driving Course to assist youth who have come to the attention of police.
Support for women in Rodney
The Women’s Centre in Rodney helps take care of women and their families with no support, on low incomes, or who are experiencing stress and trauma.
Thanks to a donation from Tandem Realty Limited through the Harcourts Foundation, the Women’s Centre will be able to complete a playground and garden area.
Supporting Alzheimers carers in Taranaki
A donation by Harcourts Taranaki Property Specialists through the Harcourts Foundation will allow Alzheimers Taranaki to purchase a further 10 Wandatrak beacons, which provide a means of finding dementia patients who get lost.
Replacement chairs for kindergarten
A donation by Harcourts Taranaki Property Specialists through the Harcourts Foundation will allow the Frankleigh Park Kindergarten to replace old, splintered wooden chairs with new, matching varieties so children can sit and eat together at a shared dining table.
Help for relocating families with sick children
Families from South Australia, Northern Territory and Tasmania whose children are diagnosed with heart conditions that require life-saving surgery have no choice but to relocate to Melbourne.
Relocation can be anywhere from a two-week period up to many months, placing incredible emotional and financial stress on these families.
HeartKids is a registered health charity dedicated to providing support to such families of children with heart disease, be it congenital (born with) or acquired, so that they can concentrate on the well-being of their children, knowing they are not alone.
Harcourts Foundation supported HeartKids in both South Australia and Victoria, paying for accommodation and meals for several relocated families, as well as sponsoring a program to better support families with sick children in Tasmania.
“No matter what the cause, The Harcourts Foundation provides support to hundreds of organisations, enriching the lives of thousands of people in our communities.”
Planting for the future of at risk youth
Starting in 2012, Boikanyo The Dion Herson Foundation (BDHF) upholds a vision to support and nurture as many indigent, and at risk youth and their caregivers as possible.
Working in impoverished communities in Mapetla, Protea and Chiawelo Soweto, BDHF has developed what was previously a rubbish dump on the premises of Sediba Thuto Primary School Mapetla – one of Gauteng’s four worst performing schools at that time – and transformed it into a vegetable garden.
The garden is run by the community, serving as both a source of nutritious food and a training venue teaching locals the finer points of market gardening.
Harcourts Delta in Mondeor, donated R26 990 to BDHF, which went toward buying wood chips, a tool shed and compost, which will greatly improve productivity.
The Harcourts Foundation continues to be a powerful influence for good, recently breaking the significant milestone of $4 million in raised funds since its launch in 2008.
On many occasions, whenever an auction hammer falls, a home buyer signs a contract, or an employee sacrifices to give, somewhere in the Harcourts organisation, another few dollars are raised. Bit-by-bit, millions have been raised and many lives continue to be positively affected.
Since the first donation eight years ago, over 700 grants have been made worldwide.
Managing Director of Harcourts, Mike Green, said that as a real estate group with a 127-year history, Harcourts is an established and recognised name within many communities across 10 nations. He said that the Foundation continues to be a key to Harcourts’ future.
“The Foundation is one of the key ways we express our values and connect with our communities, and it really is at the heart of our core values,” said Mike.
“A common thread in every city and town where we have Harcourts offices – whether in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa or the USA – is that there are people and organisations with legitimate needs.
“We are grateful that we can contribute to our communities, and meet some of those needs, and give real, tangible, expression to our values.
“I get to hear many stories of how our grants make a difference. It’s inspiring when you learn of children being given opportunities otherwise unavailable, the underprivileged receiving a hand-up, or volunteer organisations buying new, vital equipment.”
Within the four countries in which the Harcourts Foundation operates, over 50% of the offices make a donation with each property sold, and Harcourts employees everywhere are rising to the challenge of raising more funds for their local communities through innovative and creative ways.
With the Foundation’s Board of Directors, coordinators, Accountants and Regional Ambassadors all donating their time and expertise, 100% of all funds raised continue to go directly to the charities where they are needed most.
Two of the major recipients of Harcourt Foundation grants are White Ribbon Australia and beyondblue.
The Foundation has granted nearly $187,000 to White Ribbon Australia. Most of the funds have been raised through the “Walk a Mile in their Shoes” fund-raiser, held across Australia.
Libby Davies, CEO of White Ribbon Australia, paid tribute to the Foundation’s fundraising enthusiasm.
“The ongoing support from Harcourts Foundation has helped to raise vital funds for White Ribbon’s Breaking the Silence Schools Program.
“This White Ribbon initiative educates young children about respectful relationships. By engaging with children at an early age we can create a positive change and combat the prevalence of violence against women”. Libby Davies CEO White Ribbon says.
“We are delighted by support from the Harcourts Foundation and hope together we can continue to raise awareness and create social change” said Davies.
CEO of beyondblue, Georgie Harman, said she is very grateful for the Harcourts Foundation donations, between 2012 and 2016, of just over $165,000 which is being used to support people with depression, anxiety and their families.
“We really appreciate the efforts made by individuals, and corporate and community groups to donate much-needed funds to help us provide services, information and support for people in need.
“Our Support Service, staffed by trained mental health professionals is available 24/7 to provide short-term, solutions-focused counselling for people in need by phoning 1300 22 4636 or online chat atwww.beyondblue.org.au/get-support.”
While large, national organisations such as White Ribbon Australia and beyondblue have received significant donations from the Foundation, most of the grants continue to be directed toward a wide range of local, community organisations that are quietly going about, doing their work.
You can read about these gratefully received donations on the Foundation website at:www.harcourtsfoundation.org.
As you read this article, Harcourts people and offices somewhere are raising more money or planning fundraising events, with $5 million firmly in their sites. Stay tuned for more good news from Harcourts Foundation.
Thanks to a special collaboration between Apple and Harcourts, Australia could be on the road to a healthier, fitter real estate industry.
The new fitness project, launched at the recent Harcourts South Australian annual awards, is focused on Harcourts staff using the new Apple Watch and an app called Harcourts Wellness.
The project represents a continuation of a strengthening relationship between Harcourts and Apple, which started last year when Apple featured a case study on their website, recognising Harcourts’ cutting-edge mobile technology using the iPhone and iPad.
Harcourts Wellness uses the pre-installed Activity app on the Apple Watch, allowing wearers to measure burnt calories through movement, exercise and standing.
Harcourts’ Head of eBusiness, Gregg Toyama, said the new project will give the 200 participating Harcourts Sales Consultants and staff the ability to track their activity day-to-day and provide them a bird’s-eye view of their lifestyle.
It’s a timely project, with a recent Australian Bureau of Statistics report showing that rental, hiring and real estate industry was the nation’s 10th fattest employment sector, with 63.7 per cent of workers in this field either overweight or obese.
“Like so many people in the real estate industry, Harcourts staff are very busy – whether it be attending meetings, doing a listing presentation or signing contract – and allocating time in a busy schedule for exercise is a challenge,” Mr Toyama said.
“By using the Harcourts Wellness app on the Apple Watch, our people will be continually updated with their activity rate, and whether they are achieving their predetermined goals. It’s like wearing a little coach on your wrist.
“We believe that this technology presents us with an opportunity to not only improvement health and well-being of our staff, but also bring a positive energy to our culture.
“Already in South Australia we will be running friendly competitions within and across offices, with leader boards, where each staff can see where they rank.
“Some offices have changed their meetings to include a time of standing and movement – all small changes, but over the course of a year, it can make a big difference to individuals’ fitness.”
Adrian McFedries has been appointed Chief Strategy Officer for Harcourts International.
It’s a role he takes over from Gilbert Enoka, who has left to work full time as All Blacks Manager – Leadership.
Born in Christchurch, New Zealand – Mr McFedries says he grew up with “all things blue” as Harcourts is the largest and most popular real estate group operating in the city.
His new role as Chief Strategy Officer means he will be part of the drive to further Harcourts’ global expansion and focus on growth and support for the existing Harcourts markets.
The real estate group, which was founded in Wellington in 1888, is now operating in ten countries: New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, South Africa, Indonesia, China/ Hong Kong, the United States, Canada, the United Arab Emirates.
Mr McFedries brings a wealth of experience to the role. He most recently invested in, and worked as Managing Director of Jetts Fitness and was instrumental in overseeing the transition of the company from fast-start Australian company to a successful international fitness chain operating in five countries and growing.
He has also been an active investor, board member and advisor to many leading brands, including Flight Centre, Pandora Jewellery, Eagle Boys, Grill’d, OPSM, BUPA, ANZ, Telstra and Hoyts.
This leadership and vision saw him be invited to join the Harcourts International Board seven years ago, a position he has held ever since.
Managing Director of Harcourts International, Mike Green, says that as Harcourts continues to expand in both existing and new markets, the appointment of Mr McFedries will ensure current initiatives around the Harcourts brand, technology, operations and systems will continue to support the wider team around the globe.
“There is no doubt that Adrian has been an important and valued influence as a Board Member for Harcourts International for the last several years, and we as a leadership team are very excited to welcome Adrian into this pivotal leadership role,” Mr Green says.
“It’s not every day that you can appoint a key member to your leadership team who is already familiar with your values, systems and the “Harcourts way” of doing business, and we are excited about the future, and continuing to deliver exceptional customer service.”
Mr McFedries has a proven track record of leading rapid, profitable growth, and more often than not “changing the game” in industries, particularly for internationally distributed networks.
“My focus in this role with Harcourts International will be on our group strategy, its relevance to our clients, their changing behaviours and how our office owners, sales agents and teams remain the market leaders for results and client connection,” Mr McFedries says.
“On the world stage, Harcourts is an exceptional business and is on the cusp of moving into its next stage of growth internationally as it reaches beyond 10 countries with a disciplined focus.
“The more I’m in business the more you realise it’s all about people, and after seven years on the Harcourts Board, I’m a big believer in all things Harcourts – its values, its culture and its way of doing business – and genuinely enjoy the people.
“I love franchising and the challenge of growth, even more so if the company was founded in my native New Zealand, so I look forward to working with the broader team in this new journey.”