Despite the economic difficulties of the 1980’s, the company recruited for the future by forming a team of young property professionals who shared a common vision of a new type of auctioneering company. From the start, we practiced a strong gender balance philosophy, a philosophy we have continued to practice to this day. Our Chairman, Mark FitzGerald has recently joined a Government group, Better Balance for Business, to examine why so few women have senior positions in business. (August 2018)
We understood the absolute prerequisite to have a strong ethical foundation, combined with a sense of unparalleled customer service. With this in mind, we introduced a strict rule of not allowing anyone in the company to buy a second-hand house off our own books. We also introduced opening 7 days a week into what had traditionally been a ‘9.30 – 5.30 & closed for lunch’ industry. Our strapline in those early days was ‘the new generation of estate agents’ which has subsequently evolved into ‘the agent you’d recommend to a friend’.
In 1992 we were the first organisation outside the Department of the Environment, to provide clear house price information to the general public; this led to the launch of our Dublin House Price Index in 1996. Today we continue to employ economists and through all the challenges of the greatest property crash in Europe, we remained committed to research and transparent information by not only retaining this function, but by further resourcing it. Our National Property Index, launched in 1999, is a benchmark in terms of accurate reporting of house price trends and is published every three months.
Growing the business
In 1998 we opened our first office outside of Dublin in Galway and in that same year we launched one of Ireland’s first property websites – www.sherryfitz.ie.
1998 also saw us consolidate our growing commercial presence by forming a joint venture company with the global property advisory firm DTZ Holdings – DTZ Sherry FitzGerald. Rebranded in 2016 to Cushman & Wakefield, it is Ireland’s most successful and only nationwide commercial property advisor with offices in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick. In 2018 Cushman & Wakefield acquired our shareholding in this company though we continue as strategic partners.
In 1999 we launched Ireland’s first ever national property franchise organisation. Today there are over 70 Sherry FitzGerald franchise offices, providing property advice throughout Ireland.
In the same year (1999) the Group acquired the Ross McParland New Homes business which was subsequently rebranded Sherry FitzGerald New Homes.
The new century kicked off with the acquisition of Cork’s leading residential estate agency, Burton Crowley O’Flynn, later rebranded Sherry FitzGerald and now occupying a flagship office on Lapps Quay in the heart of Cork city.
The year 2000 also saw the launch of Mortgage Insight DAC, later rebranded Sherry FitzGerald Financial Services, providing independent mortgage and financial advice.
In 2000 our Chief Executive, Mark FitzGerald, came up with the idea of launching a national property portal and led the process of putting together the team, the partners and the investors that made it happen, with the subsequent successful launch of myhome.ie in 2001. Myhome.ie quickly became Ireland’s largest and most innovative property website and, 5 years after its launch, was acquired by the Irish Times.
In October 2018 we launched our new online digital communications platform, mySherryFitz which offers buyers ground-breaking functionality and enables them to interact with us more efficiently, where and when they want and through their channel of choice. Now our buyers enjoy 24hr access to their property journey with no more office hours restrictions to book viewings, follow properties of interest and avail of our 'Progress Tracker' which helps guide them through the buying process;
The most significant feature of mySherryFitz is that a buyer can now register to make an offer on a property. This feature allows for transparency around the process and gives buyers immediate updates on negotiations as the sale progresses. All the while, our agents are available in person to them, by phone and email, or through our mySherryFitz messages option. MySherryFitz also offers a great resource of advice guides and videos to help both buyers and sellers obtain a good understanding of what steps are involved in the process and what’s required.
By investing in this unique digital technology, we are offering greater transparency throughout the sales process. We continue to develop and progress our service offering for a modern, digital age and look forward to introducing our latest innovations, all focused on further enhancing our client’s property journey with us.
In 2005 Sherry FitzGerald successfully diversified into the U.K. market with the acquisition of the 150-year old, central and West London estate agency of Marsh & Parsons. In the following year, Marsh & Parsons acquired another London estate agency, Vanstons, which was rebranded Marsh & Parsons, and in the subsequent 5 years we grew this network to 14 London offices employing over 200 people. In 2011 we successfully sold the Marsh & Parsons business.
The timing of the Marsh & Parsons acquisition also helped to protect the Sherry FitzGerald parent business during the depths of the property crash, enabling us to keep all our own offices open and 200 people directly employed. This made us the largest Irish property business to emerge from the crash.
In 2006 we launched two community initiatives supported by the Sherry FitzGerald Foundation. "Your Home Away from Home" saw us underwrite the purchase of 5 Fontenoy Street, Phibsboro, Dublin for Temple Street Children´s Hospital to use as parents’ accommodation for two families 365 days a year. We subsequently organised two successful Walkathons to raise funds for the project.
We were also instrumental in the establishment of Amawele - a national charity which grew to twin 100 schools in Ireland with schools in the Eastern and West Cape of South Africa with the aim of opening the minds of children to the human race beyond their immediate environment.
More details around our Corporate Social Responsibility program can be found here.
In 2008 we were chosen by Christie’s International Real Estate to be their exclusive affiliate in Ireland. This partnership gives sellers of prestige homes in Ireland access to international markets. It also offers the owners of luxury property abroad access to local expertise when they come to sell, via the global Christie’s International Real Estate network.
2018 saw 5 new franchise offices open, Sherry FitzGerald Brady O'Flaherty in Maynooth, Sherry FitzGerald Stack in Abbeyfeale, Sherry FitzGerald Hanley in Claremorris and Sherry FitzGerald Madden in Loughrea and Portumna.
There was continued growth in 2019 when Sherry FitzGerald Cumisky in Balbriggan joined the franchise network, opening their second office in Rush in 2020. 2020 we gained 3 new members Sherry FitzGerald Dillon, lettings specialist in West Dublin, Sherry FitzGerald Farrell in Carrick on Shannon and Sherry FitzGerald Durcan in Castlebar.
2021 will see SF Hanley opening their second office in Swinford and SF Cumisky Kelly will be opening in Skerries.
Since its foundation in August 1982, the Sherry FitzGerald Group has grown from a small fledgling company in one location to a nationwide, diversified business. Sherry FitzGerald Group currently employs 650 people and remains an Irish, privately owned business, committed to maintaining its leadership position in the marketplace.
In 2017, after more than 40 years in the estate agency business, Mark FitzGerald stepped down as Chief Executive of Sherry FitzGerald. Mark was succeeded by Steven McKenna, who previously held the position of Chief Financial Officer. Mark remains as Non-Executive Chairman of Sherry FitzGerald.