21/07/2022 - 00:00

NAI Harcourts Metro; a local small business success story

21/07/2022 - 00:00


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NAI Harcourts Metro; a local small business success story
Tony Romano, Licensee and Managing Director-NAI Harcourts Metro

NAI Harcourts Metro’s recent partnership with Access Plus WA Deaf is a perfect example of the company’s determination to be more than a Real Estate transaction based business and to also give back to the wider community and create a more modern work culture for employees to thrive.

Licensee and Managing Director Tony Romano says the company’s success has been acknowledged with its win in the Harcourt National Awards as best NAI Harcourts commercial office in Australia in 2022.

The business offers a wide range of commercial real estate services including sales, leasing, property trades, asset management and assisting local, national and international buyers. Its broad reach is the result of the partnership with NAI Global, allowing the Perth company to promote properties via its network of NAI Global and NAI Harcourts offices and at the same time tapping into global data and systems to support clients.

Mr Romano says the company is a Perth small business success story, growing to be a national leader from humble beginning in Spearwood in 2015, when he partnered with local real estate man Sam Fazio to start the company.

Mr Romano says he bought to the team 30 years’ experience in retail banking and business management together with a comprehensive knowledge of the local area thanks to his time as a City of Cockburn councillor and as President of the Melville Cockburn Chamber of Commerce, which perfectly complemented Mr Fazio’s extensive knowledge of the local real estate market.

In 2019/20 the business made a quantum growth leap when it acquired a substantial rent role, opening the way for a relocation to a more central CBD location to better service all of Perth.

Mr Romano says that decision worked very well for the company which has grown to a team of about 12 and provided growth opportunities for all parts of the business but in particular property management and business sales and appraisals.    

He says it’s an excellent mix that buffers the company against markets swings.

“We go through stages where we are busy with the commercial side and the market shifts towards that, and then sometimes the market moves towards the business sales side,” he explains.

He says growing rent roles organically and by purchasing and merging has been a key strategy.

“Rent roles are a crucial element of the business as they provide recurring income and cashflow because they have value and it’s an asset that can be sold at some point in the future if we want to. We’ve got a sizable rent roll now, but always looking for opportunities to grow it,” he explains.       

“I’ve always been a believer in economies-of-scale having worked in the financial services industry. Part of being competitive is being able to compete and to do what you need to get bigger without going overboard – it must be controlled growth, and well planned and that’s always been my personal philosophy.

“Even now we’re looking to acquire rent roles from other organisations and growing even further.

“Part of our strength is that we are diverse, managing properties across the retail, commercial and industrial sectors and our main clients are ‘mum and dad’ investors rather than the big end of town.”

Success has come, he says, thanks to a lot of hard work and building a fantastic team.  

“One of the things that I've always believed in is building long term relationships and a good corporate culture. In real estate, it's often seen as just a transaction that occurs between a buyer and a seller which is facilitated by the agent, but I tended to look at it as a longer term relationship, more than a just a transaction.

“I guess some of my views have been shaped by my commercial background and very supportive view of small business and the challenges faced daily by the owners.

“And then there’s building a team with a good positive culture; I'm very particular about who we hire and how they act with their clients and colleagues and how they view things.

“I've also had to adjust my thinking and approach to the way that I interact with and manage the team. I am now much more conscious of the importance of staff wellbeing. I now give my back-office staff one day a month off as a sort of a ‘mental health’ day and I'm more flexible now in understanding that people sometimes have their personal issues, often around children, that they need to deal with.

“As a team we've got this philosophy about building relationships and putting something back into the community and this is where our partnership with Access Plus WA Deaf comes in.”

NAI Harcourts Metro provide marketing resources to Access Plus Deaf WA helping raise the profile of the language of Auslan – (Australian Sign Language), with the aim of making communication more inclusive and accessible through health and local government sectors, entertainment, and sport.

Our first initiative with Access Plus included making resources available in the form of ‘Cue Cards’ to assist in communicating with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing patients at St John of God Subiaco Hospital.    

Access Plus WA Deaf CEO Rebecca Adams says both organisations have a long and rich history of providing the community with the highest level of service. She says the strategic partnership with NAI Harcourts Metro will help enhance its service to customers. 


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