To start a new business at any time comes with its own challenges, but to do it in a relatively new suburb in the middle of a global pandemic is a feat that would challenge even the greatest entrepreneurs.
For real estate franchise network Harcourts and new franchise Business Owner Vanny Bains however, this is a challenge that was met head on and resulted in the doors to one of Mernda’s first real estate offices, Harcourts Mernda, being opened this month.
Victoria Franchise Development Manager, David Silcock said Mernda had been identified early by the group as one of the growth corridors in Melbourne, adding that it was fantastic to now have a presence in what was fast-developing suburb.
“We’ve identified quite a few growth areas in Melbourne and regional Victoria where we want to find and establish very good local agents and Mernda is certainly one we wanted to enter as it starts to boom,” he explained.
“Prices have actually increased (in Mernda) since COVID-19 began as people are seeing the benefits of not having to commute into the city for work as much, being able to purchase a bigger space and live in a place that’s much greener.”
Mr Silcock said identifying quality agents to operate under the Harcourts banner in these areas was imperative to any new office’s success.
“Opening Harcourts Mernda was almost 12 months in the making and with the support of our corporate team we were able to adapt to the COVID-19 conditions to make it a reality.
“As someone who was in the top 2% of agents nationwide at his former employer, Vanny was an easy choice. He has a great loyal team and a fantastic following in the community, which makes him an incredible asset for not only Harcourts but for the people he will serve in Mernda and its surrounding suburbs,” Mr Silcock added.
After 10 years of working in Epping and Wollert, Mr Bains said he had enjoyed some time already listing and selling properties in and around Mernda, making the permanent move into the ever-expanding suburb a no brainer.
Bal Singh, Vanny Bains and Satnam Pabla
“Like a lot of agencies, I’ve been serving Mernda from outside for quite a while now, so it’s great to now be one of the first offices to open here,” he said.
“There’s a lot of room for growth and a lot of infrastructure coming in such as the train station that was built last year.”
Mr Bains said opening the new office under the Harcourts brand gave him and his team an immediate advantage.
“Harcourts has probably been the fastest growing brand in our area over the past decade. As an internationally recognised company it gives us a bit of strength when we are talking to clients because they already know who we are, that we have a large presence and that we are someone that will work for them.”
With the market remaining steady throughout what has traditionally been a rocky time for real estate this year, Mr Bains forecasts some exciting times ahead for Melbourne’s northern suburbs.
“It (COVID-19) has definitely made quite a difference to all of us but our market hasn’t really dropped as people predicted, in fact, land prices have actually increased during this time,” he explained.
“Transactions are happening quite quickly and personally I think it will be similar moving into 2021. First home buyers, down-sizers and investors are all identifying this region as one that’s attractive to them which is and will continue to create great competition.”
Mr Silcock added that the entire Harcourts group had shown amazing teamwork and inter-office cohesion to get the Mernda office opened in such a turbulent time.
“Everyone adapted quite quickly and most of the training, compliance and paperwork was able to be done digitally through great communication between our corporate offices,” he said.
“We built a very trusting and understanding relationship with Vanny throughout the entire process, worked through the roadblocks and together, executed the vision for this."