Toni Bentley first heard about HomeGround Real Estate through her work in the social sector around 2014, when social enterprises were starting to gain momentum.
She was a long-time renter and did not own property at the time, but remembers thinking: “Wow, what a great concept: using money from real estate that works to help people who don’t have a home and are in need of it. It fitted my own values and sense of social justice.”
A couple years later she purchased an apartment of her own in Northcote and later chose HomeGround to manage it on her behalf.
“As someone who’s been a long-term renter and who’s had some challenging experiences with commercial real estate as a tenant, I wanted to go with an organisation that was ethical and cared about the vulnerable and marginalised in our society,” she says.
“Having a home is the most basic of human needs. If you don’t have a home, you can barely survive let alone thrive. Knowing there’s a real estate agent like HomeGround that put all profits toward ending homelessness was really important.”
Toni has spent 14 years in her current rental property but for many years before that, she had to move almost as many times, dealing with an onslaught of rent increases, lack of maintenance, and a slew of other rental issues.
“I felt uncomfortable with the idea of being a landlord given my own experience. Knowing I could do my little bit by working with HomeGround makes me feel really comfortable. Where people are renting is their home, it doesn’t matter how long they’re there.”
She says her experience listing her property with HomeGround Real Estate has been smooth and easy.
“The communication has always been super clear and quick, I feel kept in the loop, and I get a good sense of people who’d like to move in. I know what it’s like as a renter and with maintenance, things have been addressed straight away,” she says.
“I hope my tenants are getting a good experience. I feel confident in Nina (my property manager) and the team who’s working with my tenants. The team is very personable, warm and professional which is important. I’d imagine they’d be the same with my tenants as they are with me.”