FEELING AT HOME
Hannah Blackiston chats to Jason Boon
conjures up images of a maverick agent who can sell anything, but when Hannah Blackiston visited the team at Richardson & Wrench Elizabeth Bay/Potts Point she discovered there was a lot more to the story. She sat down with Jason and Greg McKinley to find out how why they have two offices on the same street, and how the team balances manic energy with calm business acumen.
Richardson & Wrench’s office presence in Potts Point is a great reflection of their team. Although they’ve moved into a thoroughly modern office space on bustling Macleay Street, just a couple of blocks away they still have one of their old offices.
It’s here that Jason Boon works. The office, which also acts as an auction space, matches his personality perfectly. The walls are adorned with surfboards and a TV which plays surf movies on a loop. His team have the same laid-back vibe, sitting together at connected desks. But there’s an energy in the air, which is the same thing you feel as soon as you meet Jason - a manic hum which is both enthralling and weirdly calming at the same time.
The remainder of the Richardson & Wrench Elizabeth Bay/Potts Point team work in the new modern, open-plan, twostorey office they moved to in 2016. With massive glass panels and a raised desk area, it makes a big impact from the street and calls back to the architect’s office it was before the team moved in.
In this office, you’ll find the two other leaders of R&W Elizabeth Bay. Operating as directors alongside Jason, Greg McKinley and Andrew Hoggart each bring something very different to the team. While Jason is something of a maverick – he was famously fired by John McGrath not once but twice – Greg and Andrew round out the team with business smarts and team values.
“We all seem very different, and we are, but we share the same values and that’s what’s important. Different personalities, but the same values. It’s how we work so well together. Jason, myself and Andrew all focus on different parts of the business and bring different aspects to the team, so we end up with a really well-rounded result,” says Greg.
Greg has been in charge at R&W Elizabeth Bay since 1988, with Andrew coming on board in 1993. Jason joined the team in 1999. All three of the men are deeply passionate about the area they work in, having seen it transform over the years into the family-friendly destination it is today, and between them they have over 60 years of real estate experience.
Across his career, Jason has sold more than $1.6 billion in residential property and it’s easy to see what makes him so successful. His mind is always ticking over, and this crosses over into how he and the team work. He knows each and every
one of his listings inside and out and has a database of buyers ready to go the second a new property hits his books. He’s credited with selling the highest-priced terrace in Australia, a $13.5m property in Potts Point, has been named the top sales agent nationally for the Richardson & Wrench network and he’s sold over 50 properties in a tightly held area across the last 12 months.
“The way we work here, it’s very much a team focused office. We know each other’s listings, we know who we’re dealing with at the time. If a purchase falls through for one of my clients I know if someone else has a property that will suit. In this sort of market you need to have that knowledge,” says Jason.
That tightly held market has been the cause of a lot of change in the team lately. They’ve recently acquired a property management business which has given them a ready-made rent roll and team, and they’re focused on building that to support the business during a quieter market. One of the most recent additions to the team is Joss Reid, a leasing and business development manager. During our interview he comes into the room to grab Jason, they’re heading out to meet a client together. Greg tells me that by working together like this they not only deliver a better experience for their customers, they give their sales team (and new BDM) a better chance at survival.
“Sales isn’t an easy environment. And our office is no different. We expect the staff to put in the work. But what’s important for us is meeting them in the middle. So if they’re keen to learn and they’re putting in the work, we’re going to give them the best chance to succeed,” says Greg. And it seems to work - they’re still mates with agents who have left to open offices elsewhere in the R&W network, and their sales team has a low staff turnover rate.
Despite the office move and the growing numbers, it still feels very much like a small agency. Even with the second office down the street, there’s a thread running through all the team members that connects them. The sales team work across listings together, something that’s vitally important because of the way they build databases. Often working with buyers across the long term while they find the perfect property, it involves being across all the properties on the books.
“We work in a really wide area. Of course we cover Potts Point and Kings Cross, but some of our buyers come from the Blue Mountains or further afield, and the people who sell up here and are looking to move out of the area, we help them with that. The relationships we’re building aren’t short term, that’s not how real estate works at this level. We’re connecting with our clients for the long term,” says Jason.
When they’re not building those relationships, selling real estate, or supporting their growing office and planning for the future, the Jason, Greg and Andrew still like to get down to the beach together and have a surf. And when you sit in a room with them there’s a strong family vibe which can only come from 20 years working together and a matching set of values that drive them to succeed and achieve the best for both their clients and their team.