Launched in 1982 by Bill Rawson, with less than ten years of real estate experience behind him, few would have guessed the extraordinary trajectory the original Bill Rawson Estates would take. Today, the Rawson brand is recognised as one of the largest and most influential in South African real estate, active in over 4000 suburbs across the country and beyond.
Having grown a start-up agency (run from a garage) into a multi-franchise super-brand with offshoots in development, property finance, rentals, commercial property and property auctions, it’s no surprise that Bill Rawson is considered an industry mastermind. When asked the secret to the last 40 years of success, however, Rawson speaks not of business acumen, but of the strength of people working together as family.
“Rawson Properties wasn’t built by one person, it was built by a team,” he says. “Our success is a direct result of our passion and dedication to sharing the life-changing potential of property.”
“Our ultimate objective has always been to create a space where people can be commercially active, earning a living and feeding their families,” adds Rawson Property Group Managing Director, Tony Clarke. “It’s been incredibly rewarding to see individuals, teams and businesses grow in good times and in times of extraordinary uncertainty. This comes down to the unwavering dedication and heart of each and every member of our ‘yellow family’.”
The Rawson family isn’t limited to those in yellow, however. According to Jeanne-Mare Oosthuizen, General Manager of the Rawson Property Group, Rawson clients have been an equally important ingredient in the organisation’s recipe for success.
“We’ve always been deeply focussed on customer-centricity,” she says. “At the end of the day, our biggest wins come in the form of happy clients, successful transactions, and knowing we’ve added real value throughout the process and beyond.”
To better enable this level of service, the Group invests heavily in continuous training and ground-breaking proprietary technology.
“Our award-winning Rawson Engage tech ecosystem has been designed to give agents access to everything they need to deliver an exceptional property experience,” says Oosthuizen. “The agility that comes with being tech-enabled has been absolutely key in navigating the changing real estate landscape. It’s enabled us to turn challenges into opportunities and, regardless of circumstances, offer ever-increasing value to our franchisees, agents and clients.”
Whether it’s Rawson’s customer-centric attitude or tech-enabled and growth-positive environment, the brand has certainly gone from strength to strength in recent years. Agent numbers have grown by 43% in the last 3 years, group sales revenue has increased by 44% since 2019, and rental units have increased by 27% in the same time.
In its lifetime, Rawson Finance has also helped over 13 000 families achieve their property dreams and paid over R50million to Rawson agents in bond commission. Even Rawson Developers has thrived under the Rawson banner, completing 59 successful residential developments, comprising over 3500 units.
These successes haven’t gone unnoticed by the world at large, either. In fact, the Rawson Property Group has received dozens of accolades over its many years of service. These include 12 International Property Awards in 2014 and 2015, and 13 Global Brands Awards between 2017 and 2021.
Their most meaningful award to date didn’t come from an international body, however. Instead – true to form – the Rawson Property Group’s proudest moment came from within.
“Last year, our franchisees got together and arranged, of their own accord, to nominate our team for Best Real Estate Franchisor,” says Tony Clarke. “It’s hard to convey just how proud we were in that moment. It really was a testament to the culture of leadership, mentorship and passion that we strive to cultivate throughout our Rawson Property Group family.”
That culture will continue to take centre stage as the Rawson Property Group celebrates the successes of its past and the promise of a bright future.
“We need to celebrate how we’ve evolved, how we’ve grown, how we’ve taken risks and transformed and how we’ve serviced our clients, placing them in the centre of our universe,” says Clarke. “But at this 40th birthday milestone, we’re also celebrating the people who make this brand what it is – a force to be reckoned with, an industry leader, and a massive, yellow family with all of us driving towards the same dream: being the very best there is.”