Redefining commercial real estate: How Peter Vines achieved a 58 per cent sales surge in a year

Peter Vines has a vision.

Not just for how he wants to grow his business, but for how he wants to get there.

A collaborative environment, a team that builds a bigger pie, rather than just larger individual slices, and marketing that focuses on storytelling.

The Ray White Commercial Western Sydney Managing Director isn’t really a fan of the phrase of “doing things differently” but that’s exactly what he’s doing.

“Because we’re a more boutique business and we’re not answering to shareholders, we can be a lot more flexible,” he says.

“We can be more creative and we can make decisions very quickly, so we can adapt to opportunities.

“Residential agents are all big on marketing, but commercial agents aren’t.

“So we need to make sure we’re attracting the right people and telling the right message to the right people.”

Peter says that message when it comes to selling commercial property all comes down to painting a picture in buyers minds. 

Not just of what the property they are selling is, but also what it could be.

“We crucially analyse the properties that we’re selling, to not just look at what they are but what they could be” Peter notes.

“We spend a lot of time working out where someone might be able to create value.

“People are buying an asset for what it is today, but they pay a premium for what it will be in the future.

“So we need to be able to clearly articulate that to buyers. You need to tell the story.”

An incredible year

And tell the story Peter has.

In the past 12 months, Peter has achieved a 58 per cent increase in sales, selling more than $520 million in commercial real estate.

His highest sale exceeds $90 million, and while he can’t say too much about that one, he also sold a development site in Ashbury for $45 million and two former Centrelink offices for $37.5 million each in Blacktown and Mount Druitt.

For his efforts, Peter was, earlier this month, awarded the REINSW Awards for Excellence Award forCommercial Salesperson.

“When it comes to awards and that kind of thing, I don’t expect things,” Peter says.

“I expect things to come from the work that I do, and I expect to win certain business because we’re the best place to do it, but not from an accolade perspective, I don’t expect anything.”

In his family’s footsteps

Peter has been in the real estate industry a bit over 20 years now, and has followed in both his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps, with those to men working in residential sales and projects.

Peter started working with his father in Pyrmont as a teenager, gaining experience on reception and in leasing, before heading to London for work.

In London he worked for a boutique agency, mostly selling apartments and houses in South Kensington.

After that he headed to Paris where he joined CBRE for three years in a role that taught him some of life’s toughest, but important, life lessons.

Peter says it was difficult to secure listings and the office culture was very much one of “every man for himself”.

“It taught me resilience partially, but it also taught me what kind of environment I don’t want to work in,” he says.

“And that’s one that’s not collaborative.

“I’m such a big believer in, ‘let’s grow the pie, instead of how can I take more for myself’.”

When Peter returned to Australia he worked with CBRE in Parramatta, as part of their investment and development team, before deciding to strike out on his own.

Going it alone

Four years ago Peter and his wife, Ruby Rozental, bought Ray White Commercial Western Sydney and has since grown the team from four employees to more than 30.

“I’d always had a vision of trying to do something myself, where we could create our own culture and build something meaningful,” he says.

“It was also important for me to grow a retirement plan, in terms of a property management business, and to have a new challenge as well.”

And so what does the next 12 months look like for Peter and the team?

“From a business perspective, we’re very keen to grow our industrial capabilities, and to build an industrial team,” he says.

“And I think we will probably look at acquiring other complementary businesses where they have a certain, specific skill set, or they have a property management business or a team that we want to try and acquire.

“I just feel that if you’re not growing, you’re dying.”

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Editor at Elite Agent.