Diversification in the property industry: Spotlight on Grant Foggo, Comprendé


From the moment Grant Foggo joined EO three years ago, he knew he had found his tribe. In fact, he went straight onto the EO board as a way to get even more involved. “There’s a synergy in how EO operates,” Grant explains. “I find the more I drive the business, the more I get from EO, and then it all repeats.”

From leveraging mentorship opportunities to attending events and giving back to the community by volunteering his time, Grant is just one of those people who soaks in every chance to grow, to learn, and to get to the next level. He blames his entrepreneurial spirit. “I’m always running,” he says – and the proof is right there in his business.

Comprendé began nine years ago with the goal of providing a more reliable, personal, and easy-to-work-with property management company. Today, Grant oversees a team of 18 property experts, real estate agents, and rental managers who look after 1,000 properties throughout Wellington. It’s been a huge year of new developments, team-building, and diversification for Comprendé. But something tells us this is only the first chapter of many more to come for the booming EO-inspired business.

Built on trust and dependability

The bedrock of success, as Grant says, is developing an indisputable reputation. That involves long-term relationships with property owners, consistent service, and a commitment to looking after renters.

“This industry can have a rough reputation. We know that historically people have associated property managers with being unreliable – and so we’ve made every effort to prove the stereotype wrong.”

It all starts with one simple, straightforward promise – to pick up the phone. Comprendé has become known for being incredibly easy to get hold of, always with a direct, helpful solution on deck. And the results show. Many of Comprendé’s clients have stuck around for years. In fact, the only thing clients were left wanting was even more opportunity to work with the Comprendé team…so that’s exactly what Grant set about to change.

The next chapters – inspired by clients

“Everything we do starts with what our clients need,” says Grant. And it turns out, property owners really needed and wanted help from Comprendé to sell their homes or manage them as short-term rentals.

In response, Comprendé has opened two new branches of the business – one for real estate sales, and the other for AirBnB rentals.

It’s a completely unique model in the market. Property owners can sell their house or prepare it for short-term rental with people who don’t just know them – but fully understand the value, the history, and the potential of their properties. It ends up saving them so much time and energy looking for external agents and starting from scratch to move to the next level of home ownership.

“New relationships are exhausting, especially when it comes to something as important and nerve-wracking as selling property” Grant explains. “When our property owners are ready to sell, what we’re doing is making the whole process much easier.”

Both the short-term rental branch and the sales branch were born from listening to what customers were struggling with – then plugging that hole in the process. From an entrepreneurial perspective, it was a smart, timely, and incredibly rewarding way to see business opportunities grow exponentially while still being true to their core audience.

At the end of the day, you’re nothing without a strong team

Building new sides to a business isn’t something that happens overnight, or on your own. Grant says the transition has been years in the making – and it certainly hasn’t been easy.

“We’ve spent the last 9 years building up the team. Looking closely at our marketing, shaping our reputation, and most importantly – overinvesting in our culture.”

Part of team culture is not forgetting the little things, like company lunches, celebrating successes, bringing in long term coaches, and investing in DISC profiles to help people identify their strengths and preferences. The other part is much bigger – creating an environment that rewards commitment and curiosity. Grant says that he’s focused heavily on making room for people to grow their careers.  They’ve had plenty of administrative assistants promoted to junior staff to full property managers.

Emma Rogers, who leads Comprendé communications and marketing strategy, explains: “In just the two years I’ve been here, we’ve transitioned quite a bit. Grant has taken a step back to give the rest of the team more space to create. And we’ve built out the team, so there’s plenty of help and room to focus on getting to the next level.”

“We are really proud to have made culture our priority these last few years,” says Grant. The payoff has been huge, for the company, the clients, and the staff.

Eyes ahead but nothing taken for granted

One of the things Grant loves most about EO is just how down to earth and relatable the community is. From the Accelerator programme (in which Grant is a coach) all the way through to international business events bumping into other EO chapter members, he describes a sense of camaraderie, of getting it done, of celebrating one another.

Comprendé is without a doubt headed for bigger impacts. They’re taking on more clients, expanding their scope and market, and collecting (and retaining!) super talent along the way. But Grant says it’s far more than luck that has gotten them this far.

“Our growth has come from investing in our people. And building trust with our pretty excellent clients in the area. To me, it’s been working on those really important things over the last nine years – and having the incredible support of EO – that made us who we are now.”

Published by EO New Zealand

February 18, 2024

Written by Elsa Klein


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