Meet the real estate agent that every renter desires.
Bob Onofri, age 90, is one of Wollongong’s most well-known real estate brokers and has operated from the same storefront for the past 55 years.
Nothing has changed inside his 1960s workplace over the previous half of a century, including a telephone exchange from before he received a landline.
Technology is not the only thing he avoids, as he has no cell phone, computer, internet, or social media.
Mr. Onofri is also breaking the trend by seldom increasing rent costs, which grew by an average of 12.7 percent throughout the Wollongong region in 2022, according to CoreLogic statistics.
He’s enthusiastic about providing accommodations for tenants with children as cost of living constraints grow.
‘I maintain that extra $20 for the owner is an investment, but that $20 for a family to care after their kids is more vital,’ Mr. Onofri told the ABC.
Mr. Onofri, an Italian-born boilermaker, immigrated to Australia during World War II and worked on the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric System before relocating to Melbourne.
He eventually relocated to Port Kembla where he worked for Electric Power Transmission until he became a real estate agent in 1961.
Mr. Onofri’s unwillingness to boost rents is a long-term boon for landlords, who no longer have to pay letting fees whenever a new tenant comes in, according to competing real estate agents.
‘He has relationships with his landlords and renters and that’s what’s missing these days,’ agent Paul Spinelli said.
That is excellent old-fashioned personalized service.
The typical rent in Wollongong is $620, up from $550 in December 2021, according to Core Logic.
Mr. Onofri referred to the present real estate market as “crazy” and was saddened to read of families sleeping in their cars as a result of the national rental problem.
“That’s terrible. I witness such things, and it pains you. Humans are human beings; we must treat them as such,’ he told real estate view last year.
Several of his clientele are from Italian families who have been interacting with him for several generations.
He stated, “The only reason I’ve stayed in this profession this long is that I serve people.”
People do return, and they return again. I am a firm believer in the importance of healthy relationships.
Mr. Onofri has no current intentions to retire.