Fine & Country Fourways on the up and up

Fine & Country Fourways Principals, Geoff and Gill Mander at this year’s annual Fine & Country Sub-Saharan Africa awards

It can often be said that as a real estate agent, you are on call 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. You can imagine then how you are never truly able to switch off when you are the one-half of a very successful Licensee team, the person managing not just their own sales portfolio and clients but juggling the needs of their employees, family and friends. It would take a very special individual to not only cope, but thrive in such a pressurised environment and it is certainly not for the faint of heart. One shining example of this is our very own Gill Mander, co-principal of Fine & Country Fourways.

This busy lady took some time out of her very hectic schedule to tell us what real estate means not just to her, but to her family.

When you ask an agent how they got into real estate, all have their own unique and odd ways of how they got into this particular industry and certainly Gill’s story is no different. Who would have imagined that back in the early 90’s, the very first property that Gill bought in Johannesburg was sold to her by none other than our Fine & Country South Africa CEO, Linda Erasmus, who was working for Seeff at the time. “I consider it amazing how paths cross when I think back and remember Linda sitting across from us in our lounge discussing the offer to purchase and the deal she had managed to strike with the seller,” says Gill when asked about her first real estate transaction.

Gill has yet to have an unpleasant experience in terms of buying and selling property, even when her son and business partner Geoff Mander convinced her to put her house on show with him after he had started in the industry. “I wasn’t even looking to sell but Geoff convinced me to just give it a try. Lo-and-behold an offer appeared and I found myself selling that very Sunday. It turned out to be a very good decision. After this I became very interested in Geoff’s work in real estate. This interest grew even more when I rented office space from the Fine & Country Head Office in Sandton. Being immersed not only in the brand but the culture of real estate showed me eventually that this was the career I wanted to fully pursue, and in 2014 I sold my learning and development business and I have never looked back.” Says Gill of her start in real estate.

   
   

Fine & Country Fourways has grown into a successful family run business that attracts top agents and consistently achieves excellent sales and rentals results. Gill acknowledges that it took some ironing out but the team now play to all their strengths, which sees Gill focusing on sales in specific estates in Broadacres while also looking after human resources, Geoff heads up the entire operation – handling the finances and ensuring that all structures and processes are in place for the efficient running of the office. Geoff’s wife, Jenna, manages the large rental portfolio. “With each of us able to focus on what we are good at, we make a much stronger team. We’ve all carved out our own niche within the business and made it work.” Fine & Country and the Mander family have just further consolidated its partnership with Geoff’s father, Ron Mander, buying a license in the Western Cape.

“Real estate was the natural choice for Geoff, who is a gifted entrepreneur and also wanted to be in control of his own working hours and pay cheque. A regular 9 to 5 job in the corporate environment never appealed to Geoff,” comments Gill when asked about Geoff’s foray in the real estate industry.


Remarking on their individual successes in real estate, Gill believes that all home sellers, just like most people, want to feel valued and respected while also getting the best price for their home. Striking this balance correctly entails the respective agent engaging with their clients through what can be a hugely emotive experience. Gill explains, “Adaptability is absolutely key, as is empathy – some clients want to spend lots of time with their realtor while others are curt and all about business – as an agent you have to be able to read a person correctly and adapt. Either way, listening carefully and finding out as much as possible about the home, what the sellers have enjoyed most and least about the home, and their reason for selling is critical. Professionalism is a given. With the Fine & Country brand, we are always able to present professionally and I think the combination of a professional agent and a professional brand is our formula for success. Sellers want to be able to put their trust in the brand and the person. This is a combination of knowledge and approach,” Gill understands that being able to relate to client’s needs is a big help. “Often selling a home is a very emotional decision, we all know that death, divorce, relocation to another province or country are all reasons that people sell their homes. Successful agents can appreciate this and react accordingly.”

When asked why the decision to join the Fine & Country team, Gill responds, “This is a brand both Geoff and I resonated with and could see a long partnership with. Being part of the Fine & Country brand has allowed us to grow as a business. We especially liked that the quality of marketing was of a world standard. We fully agree with the Fine & Country philosophy of people buying as much into the lifestyle of a property and its location as they do the bricks, mortar and dimensions of its construction. It makes such a difference being able to bring a home to life, enhancing its character and location, the area, the amenities and facilities, from schooling to shopping and terrain to transport, creating a lifestyle image for prospective purchasers and I think seller’s always appreciate the extra mile we go to in achieving this.”

Gill says their management style is relaxed and their doors are always open to their staff, when asked what it’s like to work at Fine & Country Fourways. She adds, “We have deliberately cultivated a working environment that is positive, casual and happy. Every individual at Fine & Country Fourways shares our hard work ethic and for this reason, Geoff and I constantly reward our team with social events where we encourage partners and family to join us. This ensures that our team gets to know each other outside of an office environment and builds team spirit. Geoff and I both make an effort to always be available to the agents whether it’s to discuss deals, challenges or to simply accompany them to client meetings.”

The proof is certainly in the pudding when you see that Fine & Country Fourways is a consistent top achiever at the Annual Fine & Country Licensee and Agent Awards. Last year Fine & Country Fourways won the Best Branded Office Award. This year Geoff and Gill proudly took home an iLead award for their social media, as well as being the overall winner for the office that generated the highest rentals turnover. A number of its agents achieved Top 20 sales membership for also achieving top sales turnover in Sub-Saharan Africa. As Fine & Country Fourways continues to grow its market share in Gauteng, and the Mander team at the helm, the sky is truly the limit.

 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.