Weekend Herald

The OneRoof In­ter­view: Real es­tate dou­ble act

- Words Donna Flem­ing. Photo Fiona Goodall Real Estate · Business · Christchurch · London · Barfoot & Thompson · Grey Lynn · Coatesville · Porsche Automobil Holding SE · Devonport

Matt O’Rourke and Ryan Hard­ing have been work­ing as a team since they started their real es­tate ca­reers with Bar­foot and Thomp­son eight years ago. In that time they’ve sold more than $ 300 mil­lion worth of prop­erty, and it’s all thanks to a for­tu­itous meet­ing on a real es­tate course in Jan­uary 2012.

So you met do­ing your real es­tate pa­pers?

Ryan: Yes, a six week course at Unitec. I stood up and in­tro­duced my­self on the first day and Matt, who was on the other side of the room, in­tro­duced him­self and by the next day we were sit­ting to­gether. We just hit it off. At the time I was liv­ing at home with my mum and dad and by half­way through the course my mum was mak­ing lunch for Matt, my new mate.

What did you do be­fore real es­tate?

Matt: I’m a builder by trade, orig­i­nally from Christchur­ch. I’d been over in Lon­don, do­ing loft con­ver­sions, and I came home af­ter the 2011 earth­quake to check on mum and dad. Their house was con­demned and I was go­ing to re­build it but there was lots of EQC drama so that didn’t hap­pen. My sis­ter was in Auck­land and I moved up here, where I was build­ing.

Then an old whiplash in­jury flared up and the fin­gers in my right hand started to go numb so I gave up build­ing. I’d thought about real es­tate and de­cided maybe it was time to se­ri­ously look at it, so I en­rolled.

Ryan: Our fam­ily is in the tourism coach busi­ness and I went to Europe and worked for Con­tiki for eight years, first as a driver then as a tour man­ager. When I was home on hol­i­day for the sum­mer my brother sug­gested I look at real es­tate af­ter I bought a house here. I had a cou­ple of months be­fore I had to go back to Europe so I

thought I might as well sit my real es­tate pa­pers. I just thought of it as a qual­i­fi­ca­tion that could be use­ful. It was meet­ing Matt that mostly kept me here. We had the chance to work to­gether for Bar­foot & Thomp­son in Grey Lynn and I thought if I don’t stay and give this a go with my good mate, I’ll re­gret it.

Why did you de­cide to work as part­ners?

Ryan: It just seemed like the ob­vi­ous thing to do. We got on so well, there’s only six months dif­fer­ence in age and we have a sim­i­lar per­son­al­ity and sense of hu­mour. I think it would be quite lonely work­ing on your own. When you are a team you can share the highs and lows, be there to sup­port each other.

Matt: It was pretty seam­less. We’ve got a lot in com­mon per­son­ally but pro­fes­sion­ally we work dif­fer­ently. Ryan is into mar­ket­ing and the techy

stuff, like so­cial me­dia and brand­ing, the big­ger pic­ture stuff.

Ryan: Matt’s good at the re­la­tion­ship stuff. He knows peo­ple’s names, loves chat­ting and hav­ing a cof­fee. And him be­ing a builder has added mas­sive value. I will stand at the front door at an open home and hear Matt talk­ing to peo­ple about what ren­o­va­tions they could do, il­lus­trat­ing the po­ten­tial of the house. He can tell them what they’ll need con­sent for and what they won’t.

Do you ever have dis­agree­ments?

Ryan: We’ve had con­ver­sa­tions that have be­come heated. Well, per­haps not heated, maybe it’s more like need­ing to have a se­ri­ous chat about what we are try­ing to achieve. We’ve had dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives on things.

Matt: It’s like any re­la­tion­ship. You have your dif­fer­ences but you are able to re­solve them.

Ryan: That’s why we’ve gone the dis­tance. You see other teams pop­ping up all over the place and then next thing they seem to have dis­solved. I think we’re the long­est- serv­ing team in the area.

Matt:… that’s not mar­ried.

What has helped you to do so well?

Matt: Good sup­port. We are lucky to have a great man­ager in An­drew Cos­grave.

Ryan: And we’ve grown a re­ally good team. We have an amaz­ing as­sis­tant, Sarah Ashurst, who is our oper­a­tions man­ager. And we have two as­so­ciates, Ben Buchanan and Lisa McGee­han, who make life a lot eas­ier for us. Lisa is my part­ner — she used to work for Bar­foot & Thomp­son in Devon­port and my auc­tion­eer rec­om­mended I might want to give her a call so I did. Now we have a three- year- old, Sophia.

Other than build­ing your team, how have things changed since you started out?

Matt: For the first five years we prob­a­bly worked close to seven days a week. We’d both do open homes be­cause we were brand­ing our­selves as Matt and Ryan so we wanted to be ev­ery­where to­gether. But in the past few years we have changed things so that we work an

11- day fort­night. This week I have a four- day week, and next week I will do a seven- day week. We swap around. That gives us the chance to…

Ryan: … stay sane. It did get to the point where we were work­ing all the time and we had to do some­thing dif­fer­ent.

Some­thing we do now is make sure we also look af­ter po­ten­tial buy­ers. You’re work­ing for the ven­dor and you can only sell to one per­son, so there are peo­ple who miss out, and they can be left to floun­der. Lisa and Ben can show other houses we have to those peo­ple and hope­fully it leads to an­other sale. It also means we have a data­base of po­ten­tial buy­ers which can be use­ful.

When you are a team you can share the highs and lows, be there to sup­port each other.

Do you get time to have any in­ter­ests out­side of work?

Ryan: We got into F45 [ fit­ness train­ing] pretty hard. For three months.

Matt: I try to play a bit of golf on my days off and I like tennis. I re­cently bought a life­style block with my fi­ancee Rachel in Coatesvill­e so that is tak­ing up a bit of my time. Now we’ve got a good garage I can un­pack my build­ing tools and do a bit of tin­ker­ing. We’d like to turn the house into a bou­tique venue, maybe do wed­dings, but I think I’ll end up be­ing the labourer for a builder we em­ploy. I’m too busy with work.

Ryan: There’s not a lot of time in be­tween work and fam­ily. My dad be­longs to the Porsche Club so I do car ac­tiv­i­ties with him. I love fast cars. I’m sav­ing for my own.

 ??  ?? Ryan Hard­ing, Ryan’s daugh­ter Sophia and Matt O’Rourke at Matt’s prop­erty in Coatesvill­e.
Ryan Hard­ing, Ryan’s daugh­ter Sophia and Matt O’Rourke at Matt’s prop­erty in Coatesvill­e.

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