Raine and Horne

R&HC’s first female director, leaving an indelible mark on the company’s history. Louise recalls: “Being a separate entity from the residential franchise network, Raine & Horne Commercial was chaired by Max Raine, with Cliff Marriott as its NSW CEO. The former Head of Research shares insights into the distinctive characteristics of R&HC under Max Raine’s leadership. “As a family-owned business, R&HC embodied Max Raine’s ‘way of doing things’,” Louise said. “All correspondence was via Australia Post with one facsimile machine. Letters were carbon copied and Max and Cliff—or Mr Raine and Mr Marriott as I was expected to call them in my early years—read every piece of correspondence that left the company.” As a commercial real estate agency, R&HC had a strong focus on delivering results. Louise recalls: “Sales and leasing teams had targets and success was celebrated. It was client focused, with entertainment a key part of business. The annual R&HC ferry cruise became legendary among clients.” According to Louise, Max Raine possessed an unparalleled commitment to cost management, surpassing any other businessperson she encountered in her career. “His formidable cost management ethic came to the fore during the early 1990s property downturn,” she said. “Max made bold decisions, such as relocating the office from the prime CBD to the more affordable Clock Tower in Harrington Street in the Rocks, slashing salaries, and downsizing staff. She witnessed Max’s negotiating prowess first-hand when he meticulously renegotiated R&HC’s advertising contract, patiently driving down costs. Michael Smith Co-Principal Raine & Horne Marrickville and Co-Principal Raine & Horne Commercial Inner West/South Sydney One of Raine & Horne’s most enthusiastic brand champions Michael Smith began his property career in February 1973, before launching into his own business. In October 1978, Michael and wife Yvonne launched a small independent agency in Earlwood, in Sydney’s Inner West fittingly called, Michael Smith Real Estate. The fledgling office was no overnight sensation, except for the birth of Michael and Yvonne’s son Luke on 28 December 1978. Luke and his younger brother Nick are now Co-Principals of Raine & Horne Commercial Inner West/South Sydney. Michael states proudly: “Luke and Nick are highly respected within the industry, the Raine & Horne network and the south Sydney and inner west commercial property marketplaces.” The Earlwood independent made half a sale in its first four months and picked up six managements. “With this part of the learning curve out of the way, in the fifth month I made nine property sales with the help of my youthful charisma and energy, plus the auction method of sale,” Michael recalls with a chuckle. Reading and studying various books and magazines sourced from the USA, Michael soon realised his business needed to be part of something more significant for security and growth. “In the weird dead calm of very little market activity, I noticed all the good properties were listed and sold by the nearest Raine & Horne office,” he said. A lightbulb moment then occurred, and the Smiths realised they needed to be part of an extensive network. “With the franchise deed on my desk ready to sign with a competitor, Peter Halyard from Raine & Horne walked through the door, and the rest, as they say, is history,” Michael said. The Smiths joined Raine & Horne in July 1983, just after the super brand celebrated 100 years. This makes 2023 a celebration for Michael and Yvonne, who are marking 40 years at the same time Raine & Horne commemorates 140 years. Simply put, the Smiths have been with Raine & Horne for 80 percent of their real estate business life. Linking with Raine & Horne delivered instant dividends in 1983. “It gave us a good reputable name reflecting professionalism, great systems, and 100 years of experience on tap,” Michael said. “It also gave us camaraderie and the benefit of great auctioneers and regular in-room auctions.” In August 1987, the Smiths relocated the business to Marrickville, purchasing a local agency but trading as Raine & Horne Marrickville. Michael explains: “The move to Marrickville aimed to take advantage of a more diverse marketplace – a strong commercial precinct and a vibrant industrial area.” Now approaching a well-deserved retirement having mapped out a succession plan with his younger principals, Michael says the career highlights all revolve around working with positive people. “People like Max Raine, Graeme Skarratt, Keith Jones and Angus Raine, and fellow franchisees such as Colin Henry, John Surian, and Andrew Kemeny,” Michael said. “All successful businesspeople and great Raine & Horne representatives.” Significantly, Michael’s highlights don’t include awardwinning sales, of which there have been many. Diversity and inclusion were not focal points in those days in corporate Australia, although a few professional women were present across departments at Raine & Horne 134

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