Norther Insight – The Big Interview
Heaton Property managing director Damiano Rea was born and raised in Heaton where he helped out in the family run Italian restaurant from an early age. What goes around comes around and the restaurant was recently relaunched by his brother Zeno as Punto Italian Kitchen.
Damiano attended the Royal Grammar School where he developed an enduring friendship with Liam Stewart. While Damiano chose a career as a professional musician and toured the world, Liam secured a job in the design sector, travelling between London, New York, Los Angeles and Istanbul. When a family came along, Liam settled in London working for estate agent Foxtons.
Then the ‘goes around, comes around’ thing happened again. On a trip back to Newcastle, Liam caught up with Damiano and announced his desire to move his family back to Heaton. But he did not have a job. It was hardly a lightbulb moment but the friends realised Liam had experience in a leading London estate agent and Damiano was looking to turn his lettings agency into a full-service estate agency. The deal was done before the dessert menu arrived.
Damiano says: “The last time I did the Big Interview was in August 2020 and my amazing psychic abilities appear to have deserted me. I confidently announced “As we emerge from the dark days of Covid lockdown…” Little did anyone know we had some sixteen months of lockdown ahead of us.
“With those dark days now firmly behind us, we can finally look to the future with a spring in our step. Our sales division is going great guns under Liam and we are getting instructions from Gosforth and Jesmond in addition to Heaton and Ouseburn. Many of these are personal recommendations. In addition to a wealth of experience, Liam brings nice to the table. He is just a nice guy. We always try to hire nice, although it is not something anyone puts on their CV. Nice helps the job run smoothly and in the event of conflict, nice resolves it nicely.
“Our block management division is taking on ever bigger properties and the hours of midnight oil I burned getting my head around complex block management law is paying off. For our lettings division, the Covid lockdown has proved something of a boon, as staffs have perfected the ‘virtual viewing’ using a specialist 360-degree camera.
“It was a lovely bonus late last year when we won a gold award in the Property Academy Best Estate Agent Guide (BEAG) in association with Rightmove. This puts us in the top five percent of UK lettings and estate agencies and confirms my belief in nice. Nice people win awards for their companies, ratty people less so.
“All our efforts are helped by our location. Heaton continues to be an attractive destination for both residents and start-up, young businesses. Ouseburn, once our dowdy, post-industrial neighbour has regenerated with astonishing speed, recently being designated “the hippest place in the UK” by a national newspaper.
“So, this time round I can say with more confidence, “as we emerge from the dark days of Covid lockdown…” Were you to ask me how I summarise the coming months for Heaton, Ouseburn and Heaton Property I could do so in two words. Nice. Nice.