Friday 10th May heralds the 20th anniversary of Tommy’s Real Estate Ltd opening for business in Kent Terrace; a time for celebration and a time for reflection on what has been achieved and on how we can improve our customer service as we progress into the next decade. The enthusiasm and dedication of our staff and the successes achieved have not diminished we take positive steps to ensure Tommy’s continues to be a household name in Wellington real estate in the years ahead. In 20 years Tommy’s salespeople have sold around 16,500 homes between Khandallah and Seatoun, representing around a third of all the homes sold in the area of operation of our city office, alone.
When establishing a new business, choosing a name and a distinctive corporate livery are important considerations and the name “Tommy’s” and our distinctive green colour soon became well known in Wellington City and suburbs. There were some who thought that the name “Tommy’s” sounded more like a takeaway food establishment, but of course, it recognised the name of the company’s iconic founder Tommy Heptinstall, and very quickly became synonymous with real estate and in particular, residential real estate.
Tommy Heptinstall had previously worked in partnership with David Platt, and jointly they set about establishing a sales team at Tommy’s that would deliver a service based on unquestionable ethics, integrity and fair play. Selecting people who, in the main, had no previous real estate experience, they developed a potent sales force with many of those employed in the initial two years still providing the same level of service under Tommy’s banner today. Both Tommy and David continue as company shareholders today but have recognised the need to keep the business moving forward by focusing on employing energized and internet savvy younger people into Tommy’s mix and at the same time encouraging people from within the company structure to take on greater management responsibilities.
In the early days, Tommy’s resisted the temptation to open an array of offices in suburban Wellington – but as the right people and opportunities presented themselves, the company established successful franchised offices operating under strong and experienced management in the Hutt Valley, Tawa/Porirua basin and on the Kapiti coast. This network along with Tommy’s City office gives coverage throughout the greater Wellington area and combines well with Tommy’s membership to the NZ Realtors Network; a group of like-minded and successful agents stationed throughout New Zealand.
Real estate is more about people than it is about houses, and Tommy’s management is appreciative of the support shown by their loyal sales and administrative staff. The company has produced some sales ‘superstars’, and in particular, we recognise the impact Nicki Cruikshank has had over the last several years as a star performer. Nicki is now combining her sales role with the role of sales manager at Tommy’s.
We would also like to pay tribute to our loyal clients. As a company, we owe a deep debt of gratitude to the thousands of clients who have listed their homes for sale with Tommy’s and to the equal number of buyers who have ventured into homeownership through our company. We are eternally grateful for the public support we have enjoyed over the years and the fact that so many people have trusted Tommy’s to guide them through, what can be, an emotional and stressful time.
Space does not allow us to cover many of the notable things that have occurred in the last 20 years but in summary form, we comment on some of these happenings:
- The Real Estate Authority (REA) was established in 2008 with the purpose of promoting and protecting the interests of consumers buying and selling real estate and to promote confidence in the performance of real estate agency work. Whilst Tommy’s may not have always agreed with the REA on every issue, we believe that their administration of the Act and the industry Code of Conduct has certainly assisted the image of the industry and it has our full and ongoing support.
- Compulsory staff training is now a prerequisite to renewing a salesperson’s license each year; an initiative which we support.
- Huge changes have occurred in the area of technology with a significant move from newspaper advertising to electronic media. Tommy’s website offers an array of new services (2D/3D floorplan, interactive furnish, decorating solutions, and immersive 360 degrees VR tours) to customers when viewing property for sale.
- Tommy’s as a company, and their agents as individuals, have supported a number of charities and non-profit entities over the years. This year’s major beneficiary is the Wellington Free Ambulance.
- Tommy’s Lifestyle Magazine was first printed in April 2006 and its popularity continues today. In addition to properties for sale, Tommy’s has endeavoured to cover items of real estate interest in our ‘First Word’ column and welcome suggestions for future articles from the public.
- Throughout the years, Tommy’s City Office won multiple Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) Awards for selling more properties from a single office than any other agency in New Zealand.
In closing, it has been a wonderful 20 years where we have assisted many thousands of people with their real estate requirements. We have an experienced sales force in place to continue the same level of service for the coming years and look forward to your ongoing support.