Geoff Smith, 49 and Richard Harding, 50 sit at the helm of Ray White Lower North Shore and as well as working together six days a week, the business partners holiday together, play golf together, live in the same street and are godfathers to each other’s children.
“I only got married six years ago and people used to joke that I was Richard’s wife’s second husband
— I was the plus one, I was at their place for dinner all the time,” Geoff said.
Geoff, originally from the country town of Wellington, NSW and Richard, who moved to Sydney from Coffs Harbour, have been business partners since 1998.
Less than 10 years ago Geoff sold Richard a family home in Mosman and a few years later moved into the street himself, just three doors down.
“Our wives probably questioned it, but from our point of view it’s great — we play golf together every week, we go on ski trips, surf trips and we train together,” Richard said.
The pair deal in one of the nation’s most exclusive and expensive property markets. Geoff recently sold four luxury homes for more than $24 million and is adamant there is no decline for unique, prestige properties on the lower north shore.
“Buyer inquiry is good and the market is active,” he said. “There’s three different buyer groups at the moment — locals, expats and Chinese buyers. Locals are by far the biggest buying segment we have. For homes north of $10 million, it would be 60 per cent locals, but below $10 million there’s at least 80 per cent local buyers.”
It seems the pair rarely tire of each other, or the love of listing and selling property.
“I don’t remember when we have had a disagreement. I’m not saying we will always agree, but we will sit down and one of us will say, ‘This is what I think of this’ and the other will say, ‘Okay but could we do it better this way?’ and we come to an agreement,” Richard said.
“Ninety-nine per cent of the time we don’t even need to have a conversation and our staff don’t need to approach us both separately about a problem because they know we’re on the same track,” Geoff adds.
The decision to rebrand their long standing LJ Hooker franchise to Ray White Lower North Shore earlier this year was a strategic step to grow their footprint.
“We are not slowing down at all,” says Richard. “This partnership is definitely a growth exercise for our business.”
Melissa Kehagias – Mosman Daily
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