Only Realty Property Group acquires Leadhome | Everything Property

Only Realty Property Group acquires Leadhome

Only Realty MD Grant Smee



Only Realty Property Group expands its reach by acquiring the country’s leading technology-driven full-service real estate agency.

The recent acquisition of a majority shareholding in Leadhome strengthens Only Realty Property Group’s national footprint while capitalising on its innovative technology and market presence. This move is expected to position the Group as a formidable player in the SA property market, providing clients with even more comprehensive real estate solutions.

Leadhome joins a series of prominent property acquisitions in the real estate industry by the Group, including Frankie Bells Real Estate (specialists in the corporate and luxury letting market), Adrienne Hersch Properties (experts in the luxury residential market and new developments) and Halbe Properties, as part of their strategy to build the largest network of independent estate agents in the country.

Substantial brand equity, excellent company culture, a solid record of property sales (over 10,000 properties since its inception in 2015) and the potential to build the rental book were crucial motivators for Only Realty to close the deal. “They have a really great internal culture – we spent much time on that in our business. The companies are aligned in many ways regarding teams and people and the Board as a whole. Where that benefits the Group is the extended footprint and the opportunity to cross-pollinate, working together to close deals that eluded us previously,” says Only Realty MD Grant Smee.

The Group was established as a residential letting agency franchise operation in 2009. The first franchise office was in Bloemfontein. Its strategy evolved from pure franchising to branching, taking over available independent real estate agencies from owners moving into different phases of their lives. “That’s when the opportunities started opening up, just after lockdown, and it’s snowballed faster than we could ever have imagined,” says Smee.

Leadhome co-founder Marcél du Toit


Co-founded by Marcél du Toit, Leadhome introduced an innovative fixed-fee pricing model (in contrast to the standard estate agency percentage commission) and created the Osmosis technology platform to optimise many functions performed by traditional agents. Currently, the company boasts a team of about 90 agents who leverage cutting-edge technology to deliver exceptional services, in addition to 40 support staff. With a formidable presence in Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Durban, Leadhome is well-positioned to cater to the needs of its clients across the region. “Their data-driven approach to property acquisitions and marketing will be a hugely valuable addition to Only Realty’s national strategy, enabling us to strengthen all of our agent teams further,” says Smee.

Moreover, Leadhome has never been involved in property rentals, which is Only Realty’s strength. Only Realty knows the rental market well, managing 4,500 properties countrywide, and that’s where Leadhome will benefit. With almost 20 years’ experience in the industry, Smee has, with his team, refined the systems and processes that contribute to a successful rental business, “doing it properly upfront. We’ve done very well at that. Our staff turnover is really low for our industry, which I’m really proud of.”

Leadhome got to market early and enjoyed massive success for a few good years. Smee explains how the pandemic highlighted the risk of being a sales-only business, which made a deal with the Group more attractive regarding the rentals focus. While the pandemic made the industry more aware of the need to increase their digital operations, using tech to enable their teams and agents, Leadhome maintained its advantage through a highly efficient online system that gets agents to the next level concerning securing bookings, managing transactions, and providing transparency to clients. “That’s something that’s not industrywide. The first touchpoints have been taken care of by technologies that have come to the fore over the last two-and-a-half years but what excites me about the underlying tech is the ability to help us manage leads and clients properly. This doesn’t change the game, it just makes it much easier for clients to understand transactions and interact with the business,” says Smee.

Agents reacted positively to the announcement, acknowledging the Group’s continued efforts to invest in the industry. “This builds trust with our agents because they can see how we work to facilitate their success. When we announced the deal with Leadhome, the group’s energy was so positive; the agents feed off it.”

Only Realty’s property market focus is in the R1-R2m bracket, while Leadhome’s is R1.2m and under, ensuring Group coverage of different markets with different brands across SA.

Only Realty director Brad Allen

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