In a career spanning 25 years, George Rafty’s dedication, integrity and incomparable work ethic have positioned him as a name synonymous with real estate in Newcastle.
Success at that level only comes about with the combination of focus on the client, coupled with a remarkable work ethic and passion for the business, all qualities George says have their basis in his childhood years.
George is the Principal and Licensed Real Estate Agent for First National Newcastle City, an agency he opened in 2016.
- Tell us a little bit about your career path?
I am born and bred in Newcastle. I was raised in Hamilton South; in the city. From a very young age my mother and father were in the restaurant and café industry. I recall going to the fruit markets with my father from the age of five. We’d go Mondays and Thursdays, and I’d help him get all the fresh produce for the cafes and the restaurants. I basically stayed with them, finished schooling at Newcastle High School and I joined them in the family business. At the age of 28, I decided that real estate was for me.
- What do you believe has shaped your leadership style?
Growing up in the family business with my parents who I believe were very passionate about client service and making sure that you did the right thing by people, assisted me greatly. Having basically worked all through my school years and then after school being involved in the retail industry, I think that taught me a lot and it helped me with my football career as well. I had some time with football playing at a state level. Through all ages, I think a lot of the football background helps you with being a leader and teaching you all the valuable things that you need to become successful.
- What motivates and drives you?
I love what I do and I’m very passionate about real estate, so I think for me, every morning is getting up and being excited about going to work because you’re so blessed in this industry that you get to meet a lot of beautiful people and you become part of their journey. I’ve seen some amazing families do very, very well in real estate and it’s really great to be a part of that.
- What do you believe makes business unique in the Hunter?
I think Newcastle for me is still a country town, although we’re about to become a pretty serious city. I think the secret’s out; the little hidden treasure of Newcastle. Everyone’s finding out about it and we’re getting a lot of people wanting to locate here. I think with Newcastle having that small town vibe so everyone knows everyone, it’s word of mouth and doing the right thing by people that will make you a very successful person in Newcastle.
- What local business person do you find inspiring?
I find a lot of people inspiring in the business world of Newcastle. I find people inspiring when they reach their potential and fulfill their dreams. If I had to pick a couple, let’s say, especially in my industry, I’d probably pay homage to someone like Leah Jay from Leah Jay Property Management. I feel that Leah has certainly achieved way and beyond expectation.
The other person that I would probably say has had a pretty major impact in my life was a lady by the name of Sonja Walkom. Sonja Walkom was to me the queen of real estate. We worked very closely together and were very good friends. Although many people thought you’re not supposed to be working with your opposition, Sonja and I worked really well together. I think we had the same values and the same work ethic. She works seven days a week and so do I; but it wasn’t work, it was a passion and it was about looking out for the people that we worked for.