Local Leaders

Along came Holly: Boutique real estate agency punching above its weight

Wendy Johnson13 March 2019
Holly Komorowski of Home by Holly; one of the most influential women in the ACT property market. Photos: Supplied.

Holly Komorowski of Home by Holly – one of the most influential women in the ACT property market. Photos: Supplied.

When Holly Komorowski was looking to buy a house, never in her wildest dreams did she think it would lead to opening her own real estate agency.

Today, Holly is happily entrenched on the flip side of the property market—selling to clients and managing their properties through home.by holly. And she’s loving every minute of it.

“I was trying to buy a house in Canberra at a time when the market was really strong,” says Holly. “It took about a year of going to auctions, missing out, and trying again before I finally purchased. Now that I look back, it was like being on an apprenticeship in the real estate industry for 12 months. One day my partner said, ‘You’d be good at real estate. You should give it a go.’ So I did.”

The timing was perfect for Holly. Her first career was as a school teacher. She had kids and thrived on being a stay-at-home mum. Then it was time. Time to re-enter the workforce.

“I wanted to do something different but wasn’t sure what,” says Holly. “This proved to be perfect.”

Holly started from scratch, but with sheer determination and enough passion to fill a multi-storey apartment building. After gaining her license, she landed a job at one of Canberra’s largest real estate agencies, staying for five years. She connected people and property and built an appreciation of the human side of real estate—the stories and personal narratives inspired her. Finding clients the homes of their dreams energized her.

Then it was time once more for Holly to take a leap of faith and open her own agency. She’s now one of the most influential women in the ACT property market.

Everything about Home by Holly is different and so ‘not the way things have always been done’. The brand is fresh, inviting and highly noticeable, featuring a feminine touch. The agency’s soft pink signs call out ‘Buy me’ (instead of the blunt ‘For sale’) and big heart stickers announce #soldby.Holly au (instead of just ‘Sold’).

But the agency’s differences stretch well beyond the brand.

“Our culture isn’t what you’d associate with a traditional real estate agency,” says Holly. “Our language is more personal and conversational. We tell the story of each home, instead of just listing the cold, hard facts about the property. You only have to trawl through our social media presence to get that. We’re authentic and natural.”

Home by Holly—which now has a core team of seven talented and devoted women—is also about service, but not just any service. It’s about 100 per cent service 100 per cent of the time.

“We’re happy being boutique. We’re not aiming to be the biggest,” says Holly. “We’re aiming to be awesome and high performing every day.”

In its first year of business, Home by Holly won the 2017 National Residential Property Campaign of the Year at the Annual realestate.com.au excellence Awards—the first Canberra agency do so. The award celebrated a social-media campaign which saw 44 Frome Street in Griffith sell for just under $1.5 million after two weeks. Home by Holly picked up the same award the next year in 2018, for the sale of 19 Simpson Street in Watson, a record sale for the suburb.

“It’s not winning, and winning twice, that we’re most proud,” says Holly. “It’s the affirmation that what we’re doing is working and resonating with buyers and sellers. It’s affirmation that we’ve established fabulous brand recognition in such a short time and that our brand has penetrated the market Canberra-wide in such a short time, quite an achievement for such a new business. It’s affirmation of the measurable and commercial benefit my business is generating.”

Although a young business, Home by Holly has won two real estate awards.

Holly isn’t afraid to use the term ‘market disruptor’ when referring to how her agency operates in what is very much a male-dominated industry. Thinking big is part of the plan, with Holly investing in heading to New York last month to attend ‘Inman Connect’, an international week-long event bringing together more than 4,000 top-producing individuals in the real estate industry.

Success is also supported by Holly’s in-depth knowledge of the capital. She was born here, has lived in Tuggeranong, Weston Creek, Belconnen, the Inner North and the Inner South. And she and her team have sold properties in all corners of the ACT.

Her career as a school teacher gave Holly the foundation to ensure a highly caring, professional and organised approach to real estate. She gets that people, including families, are busy, busy, busy and incorporates this reality into the service she provides.

Although Home by Holly sales are growing at a rate of more than 50 per cent year-on-year, continuing to set local benchmarks and consistently achieving above many market averages, Holly knows there’s no time to rest on her laurels.

“When I left a large agency to branch out on my own it was a big step for the marketplace,” says Holly. “Now there are more and more individual agents branching out and new agencies being formed. It’s interesting to watch.”

The business operates what Holly calls her ‘collective’—four agents, three executive assistants, a property manager, two photographers, a videographer and a creative director.

“I love the collective approach which includes working with highly skilled, intelligent and talented creatives, which ensures our marketing is innovative, personalised and continually evolving,” says Holly. “Even the term itself is inclusive.”

Giving back is also a driver. “I believe in giving back to the community that does so much to support us,” says Holly, “so Home by Holly supports organisations like the Design Canberra Festival and local charities like Red Cross and Cure Brain Cancer as well as sports club like the Ainslie AFC girls and women’s teams. I have three daughters in the under-15.”

For more information, visit: www.homebyholly.com.au

Original Article published by Wendy Johnson on The RiotACT.

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