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Shannon and Aaron help to support their local community

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In 2019, a for-profit real estate agency managed Shannon and Aaron’s Reservoir investment property. When they discovered HomeGround Real Estate’s profits went towards supporting people in their local community, they were keen to learn more.

“Simone explained that HomeGround Real Estate was professional and competitive, just like a regular real estate agency. She also explained that her team would handle the admin required to switch from our existing agency – so it was a real no-brainer!” Shannon said.

The couple said the process of switching agencies was incredibly simple due to the HomeGround team taking care of all the hard work in the process. Knowing their investment property’s management would contribute to a social enterprise that gives back to the community made the choice even simpler.

“HomeGround Real Estate gives socially conscious landlords like us the chance to do something meaningful but simple to address homelessness in Melbourne. We already needed a property manager, so it made perfect sense to let Home Ground manage our property, while at the same time supporting Launch Housing to continue its important work to end homelessness,” she said.

Shannon and Aaron smiling toward the camera, with a quote from their testimonial to the right.

Shannon says knowing the team care about both property owners and their tenants makes a big difference.

“Our property manager Nina is very warm and incredibly helpful. She communicates with us clearly and efficiently about any repairs or issues with our property and she keeps our tenants updated too. She does all the hard work for us. Thanks to her we know that our property and tenants are being very well looked after.

“Homelessness is such a heartbreaking and huge issue, and it’s only getting worse. It can be hard to know what to do to help. Knowing that Home Ground Real Estate and Launch Housing are using the property management fees we pay to continue their work, makes us feel like we’re helping address homelessness in some small way,” she said.

2021 Winner of REIV Awards For Excellence

HomeGround Real Estate wins big at the REIV Awards for Excellence!

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We are excited to share that we have won the REIV Awards for Excellence Community Service Award! The Award recognises the contribution of agencies or individuals to community service and actions that make a difference to the wider community.

At HomeGround Real Estate, we have community service embedded in our DNA. HomeGround was born out of the recognition that our community wants to make a difference, but is not always attracted to the traditional means of contribution to charity.

Manager of HomeGround Real Estate, Simone Curley, said the award was welcome recognition of the real impact HomeGround has made, with the help of a loyal community of rental providers and supporters.

“This recognition would not be possible without our clients – both rental providers and renters – and our amazing team that makes HomeGround the agency it has become today,” she said.

With the issue of homelessness becoming more prevalent during the pandemic, HomeGround’s growth in new rental providers and properties available, especially those offered at below market rates, is testament to a community that cares.

In the past year, HomeGround provided over $550,000 in contributions to Launch Housing’s operating income. While the bulk of this income was secured through property management fees, HomeGround’s generous, community minded rental providers have also made direct donations to Launch Housing’s fundraising efforts.

HomeGround Real Estate’s partnerships with major brands in the real estate sector have also assisted tenants in times of hardship, by making direct contributions to their rental payment to further ease financial pressures.

With HomeGround Real Estate, rental providers also have the opportunity to make a direct contribution to easing Melbourne’s housing crisis by offering their property at below market rent or adding to stock to the register of available social housing.

“I would like to thank our clients who entrust us to offer their property at reduced rent to those who would never be able to afford it,” Simone said.

Simone and HomeGround team are thrilled to have received this award, testament to the growing community of Melburnians who want a better, more compassionate approach to real estate and housing. HomeGround Real Estate are now in the running for the national award for Community Service as well!

“I’d like to thank the REIV for the recognition of HomeGround’s commitment to the Community. And to the other finalists – keep making a difference,” said Simone.

Want to find out more about joining a community that is making a difference every day? Contact us today!

State Government to spend $5.3 billion on more than 12,000 public housing homes

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Public housing numbers are set to increase

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews recently announced the largest investment in public housing by any state or territory across the country. The $5.3 billion announcement came ahead of the recent budget and includes 1,000 new units for Indigenous Australians, 1,000 for victims of domestic violence, and 2,000 for people with a mental illness.

The package will provide 12,000 total homes and over 43,000 jobs over the next four years in an effort to rebuild the Victorian economy following the nation’s longest coronavirus lockdown.

The announcement is welcome news given that Victoria has the lowest proportion of public housing per capita compared to other Australian states.

Read more about the announcement here.

Sleeping rough in the middle of a pandemic

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Colin Johnstone’s story of rough sleeping in Melbourne finally started to see some positive outcomes but it took a world-wide pandemic to begin the change.

At the beginning of the pandemic Colin was behind Federation Square when he noticed two women approaching him. His first instinct was to leave the area but he soon found that the women were from Launch Housing. They were there to make sure everyone had accommodation as COVID-19 began to take hold of the city.

A world of difference

When Colin checked in to his hotel accommodation he was over the moon. “To be honest, when I walked in I had a shower and it brought a tear to me eye,” he says.

The two women who offered Colin help at Federation Square started him on a new path that has brought hope and opportunity despite an enduring second lockdown.

Read more about Colin’s journey to secure housing here.

Vendor Advocacy Services

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This article was originally published to Simone Curley’s LinkedIn on November 4th 2020.

Real estate is an industry built on relationships. Without networking and referrals, your business would struggle to survive. As an agent, referrals and repeat business are the greatest compliments. To know that someone trusted me enough to choose me again or refer to their family or friends is an honour.

Early last year, I was contacted to sell a property in Monbulk. I’d been referred by a former client’s neighbour who I met when selling a property a few years ago. I was faced with a dilemma. Firstly, I had no local knowledge of Monbulk (other than a Sunday drive to the Dandenong Ranges) and secondly, HomeGround Real Estate does not have a sales division. The sale was an emotional one so they needed to trust their agent.

While I was unable to list the property, I knew I could help them through the process as a vendor advocate.

We researched local agents and met with three agents to determine their opinion of value, method of sale, marketing costs and strategy, plus their commission. The other deciding factor was how active they were in the area and to know if they had a good database of buyers for the particular property. This information was summarised and presented to the vendor for their review.

Fast forward a few weeks and all the documentation was in order, marketing was complete and the property was online. We then had the first open for inspection.

In one week the property was sold. The selling agent focussed on the buyers and we focussed on the vendor and between the two of us we received a fantastic result for both parties.

The question that all vendors ask is “How much will it cost me to use you as a vendors advocate?” Nothing! The vendor only has to pay the commission to the selling agent who will pay a percentage of the commission to HomeGround Real Estate.

We have now helped 12 vendors sell their properties and although there is comfort in having an agent on your side there is an additional benefit knowing that all profits are reinvested through Launch Housing to help fulfil their mission to end homelessness.

A Risk Worth Taking

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This article was originally published to Simone Curley’s LinkedIn on October 14th 2020.

I’ve been invited to share my journey at the PM Reach Conference. For those of you who don’t know me here’s why;

A couple of years ago I was at the top of my game…or so it appeared. A director of a successful real estate agency with an established network of clients, working in an area rich in culture and community. I was leading a large property management department and still dabbling in property sales and auctioneering, I seemed to have it all…and then I quit.

Everyone thought I was either having a mid-life crisis or a breakdown. What was I going to do next? Who was I going to work for? Would I just end up at another real estate agency making someone else richer?

There were many sleepless nights and a few tears along the way – actually there were more than a few tears, there was a flood of tears…but in my heart I knew that there was something else out there. Something that would reignite my passion for real estate and make me want to get up in the morning. Something with meaning.

I wanted to give back but I had no idea how I could do that in the industry. And then I found HomeGround Real Estate.

This was a match made in heaven. A social enterprise real estate agency that invests its profits back into the community through Launch Housing to help end homelessness. I now lead a team for a cause worth leading.

I’ve got to be honest, talking to a room full of real estate professionals about my journey terrifies the hell out of me and to be honest, I’m a bit embarrassed by it! But through the nerves and no doubt – tears, I know that my story will resonate with someone in the room to believe in themselves and their purpose.

The HomeGround Journey

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How Emma found the right real estate agent in Melbourne

Choosing the right real estate agent to rent and manage your property is an important decision. Rental Providers generally invite multiple agents to inspect their property to give them a rent appraisal and provide them information about their services and fees.

For first-time rental provider Emma, she was looking for an agency that were experts in their field; “trustworthiness and an organisation that understands the property leasing market were important factors when choosing an agent.”

Like many progressive Melburnians, Emma wanted to find a way to give back to the community and didn’t know it yet but she was looking for a real estate agency that was making a difference.

“The factor that made HomeGround stand out from the rest is their commitment to creating positive social change. Through all their profits feeding into Launch Housing, they are committed to ending homelessness. Simone and her team are passionate about property and caring for people. This creates a real ripple effect of positive actions. This is real estate with a new social responsibility.”

This is a sentiment we are hearing again and again from rental providers in and around Melbourne. Particularly with the enormous social and economic impact caused by COVID-19, people want to pull together to support the community around them and help people who are struggling to meet their basic needs like shelter and food essentials.

At HomeGround Real Estate we are highly aware Melburnians need extra support at this challenging time, and as a premium property management service all our profits get invested back into the community. Our agents have decades of combined experience as real estate agents, and have now chosen to make a difference by working for a non-profit real estate agency.

For Emma, this was an important factor. She wanted to know that her fees would deliver a professional service and that the agent she hired would genuinely care for her renters. 

“HomeGround offers me the ease and efficiency of their professional property management team. Along with the knowledge that my renter will be treated with care and decency, after all the property is their home. On a broader scale, the fees will go to support ending homelessness in Melbourne. It is my hope that HomeGround’s success will inspire more real estate agents to contribute more widely to their local communities.

Emma signed on with HomeGround Real Estate this week. Her property is now listed on our website and can be viewed here.

To book an inspection contact us now.

Ivy and Di

Ivy’s Road To A Safe Home

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At HomeGround Real Estate, our profits are reinvested to support Launch Housing in their mission to end homelessness. Ivy is one of Launch Housing’s clients whose road to homelessness started in childhood.

Finding Her Feet

While growing up, Ivy had a violent father and became a ward of the state at 13 years old. Ivy has had many obstacles thrown her way including her 13-year abusive relationship with the father of her three children.

“It got to the point where it was dangerous…  he broke my legs… I had to leave but the boys were removed from me… I was so scared of him, I let that happen… If I went to fight it in court, he would come and bash me.”

With little money and no self-esteem, Ivy fell in with a bad crowd. A drug crowd that led to her role as a witness in a murder trial. At this time, she feared for her life.

“I got stalked by him (the accused)… he was out of jail and they were still investigating him and I had to run.”

But when the man she was living with found out about her criminal stalker, he automatically kicked her out of the home. With no one else to turn to and nowhere else to go, Ivy spent the first of many nights with no roof over her head.

“I ended up sleeping under a pier at a beach. I literally dug a hole and laid my sleeping bag in it.”

A New Path

Ivy ended up at a crisis centre. That’s where she first met Launch Housing Social Worker, Di who helped her find transitional housing. Di was her case worker for two years, supporting her through the process of finding a permanent home.

Ivy remembers the day she was told a house was available for her. She was overjoyed at having a place of her own where she now lives with her youngest son.

“My son is my biggest motivation. He now lives with me full time, which is just amazing… That would never have happened without Launch Housing.”


Watch Ivy’s Story HERE | Learn more about Launch Housing HERE

COVID-19 Response

On The Ground Response To COVID-19

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Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Australia Launch Housing has been an essential part of Melbourne’s response to those in vulnerable situations. The work they do, in part funded by HomeGround Real Estate’s profits, has meant that people across Melbourne are safe and supported.

Looking Out For Those In Need

Launch Housing outreach workers alone have seen 51% more clients compared to pre-COVID-19 times. Since 16 March 2020 Launch Housing has housed roughly 2,500 people in crisis accommodation. Our city can be proud that we have been able to help those that would have been sleeping rough in the middle of a world health crisis.

In this tough time Launch Housing volunteers have been able to distribute over 240 wellbeing and care packs made by the community to their clients. And well over 1000 hygiene masks have also been given to Launch Housing clients.

Launch Housing’s Private Rental Assistance Program has also reached capacity as they help families stay in rental accommodation amidst job losses across the state. The average number of households that are helped by the Private Rental Assistance Program each month has doubled since the beginning of the pandemic.

To learn more about Launch Housing’s ongoing effort during the COVID-19 pandemic visit their website HERE.

Moratorium on evictions

What Does The Extended Moratorium On Evictions Mean For You

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The moratorium on evictions, originally introduced on 29 March 2020, has been extended by the Victorian Government until 28 March 2021. The measures include a moratorium on evictions, rent relief for eligible renters, suspension of rental increases, and a continued dispute resolution process.

“Victoria has and will continue to see the coronavirus affect the property market. It’s important that our rental providers and renters are aware of the changes and looked after as we move through this together” said Simone Curley, Manager of HomeGround Real Estate.

To ensure a transparent process, Consumer Affairs Victoria has recommended that any changes to agreements are put in writing and registered with their office. More information, including specific information for renters and rental providers can be found on the Consumer Affairs Victoria website.

“Our doors are always open and we encourage our rental providers and renters to speak with us if they have any questions” said Simone.

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