Award-winning real estate with a local focus

March 8, 2024 BY

Harcourts North Geelong offers a full suite of services, with women leading the teams of not only residential but also commercial leasing and property management.

Helena Fantela’s introduction to real estate began when she was just a young girl.

As a child on a Sunday afternoon, she recalls the family would be parked outside a house for sale, while her father Mario showed the property to prospective buyers.

An immigrant to Australia, Mario arrived in 1965 as a refugee, spending time at Bonegilla before exploring Australia and then settling in Geelong in 1975, which was when he began his real estate career.

Helena was formally introduced to real estate in 1991, when Mario purchased a closing office due to the “recession we had to have”.

The office was located in Separation Street in North Geelong and was renamed North Geelong Real Estate.

Along with Marie, Helena’s mother, who helped with administration and book keeping duties, Helena started off part time in reception while studying at university.

It wasn’t long before Helena realised where her passion was, as well as recognising the potential in having a profitable Property Management department.

And so, Helena honed her talents into building the rental business into the large portfolio it is today – more than 1,000 properties under management and a strong property management team
of 12.

Unfortunately, in those early days, Helena was often subject to gender bias and scrutiny when having to negotiate or manage difficult situations with some clients.

“In the early days, I would have my authority questioned frequently: clients would request to speak to a male or someone in higher authority, although I was the principal of the business and making all the calls,”
she said.

While those instances still sadly can arise, she is proud to lead and mentor a group of rising female leaders. Helena and her team have received several accolades at both state and national level for their excellence in property management.

In an industry that is evolving rapidly, remaining at the forefront of legislation, technology, business relations and having a cohesive and courageous team have been key.

The business proudly offers a full suite of services, with women leading the teams of not only residential but also commercial leasing and property management.

While the business transitioned to Harcourts North Geelong in 2010, the values that have been entrenched in the company from early on remain the same.

Helena and her brother Joe have been committed to continuing the work of their parents and are very much focused on the local community.

Early on, Helena would work with organisations to assist migrants with rental accommodation and volunteering was a way of life for the family.

This ethos is the fabric of the business today, with the team always proactive in supporting the community where they can, including genU, River’s Gift, Barwon Health and many smaller local organisations.

Still located in Separation Street North Geelong, Helena and Joe have proudly built a team of 30 incredible people, offering residential property management, commercial sales and leasing, short term rentals, owners corporation management and residential sales.

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