Spend time with award winning Barfoot & Thompson premium real estate agent, Leila MacDonald and within minutes you’ll learn you’re in the presence of a woman of substance. What you see is what you get – strong values, genuineness and congruency.
In an industry where it’s the norm to flaunt sales data, Leila prefers to be more discrete. “It’s not the quantity sold, it’s the quality,” she says. “We don’t go on about what we’ve sold, it’s all about making the client happy and getting the best price.”
You would never know either that she is a ‘Hall of Fame’ recipient in her industry – the first agent ever to receive it in 90 years.Leila shyly clams up talking about herself, however turn the discussion to her family and it’s a whole different story.
She’s a proud Mother of three and hands-on Grandmother of six who still does the school run every Friday and drop-offs on Saturday before her various Open Home appointments.
According Carolyn Vernon, Branch Manager Barfoot & Thompson Remuera, for someone who has spent three decades at the top in the business, Leila has the work capacity of a thirty year old with incredible market knowledge to match.
“Her whole ethos is family based too,” Carolyn says. “It’s non-negotiable that every Thursday night Leila and David with their entire family have dinner together – from teenagers to adults they all get together.”
The ritual has continued for many years. Ask what her signature dish is, immediately Leila says “Tabbouleh or Kibbeh, the national dish of Lebanon.” In the past she’s taught the recipe alongside Jo Seagar to raise funds for Starship Hospital.
It’s clear that relationships are very important to the MacDonald’s – a value that’s strongly embedded in the family DNA. So is a passion and aptitude for the residential market – it’s intergenerational.
First her husband Angus, a former missionary became an agent, then Leila closed her antique store to follow suit over 30 years ago. Now their son, David with a successful real estate career of his own has united with his mother.
Together the duo has proven to be an impressive combination by selling some of the most landmark properties in Remuera.
“Everybody thinks the market is down – well the market is not down – this month we’ve done better than last month,” says Leila.
For them both it’s all about serving clients with integrity and honesty. “It’s not just about a sale transaction, selling homes is emotional and effects the whole family.” she says.
Leila credits her maternal Lebanese Grandmother for instilling bedrock values and principles. “She was very black and white.” Then she recounts a story about giving advice to a client knowingly to lose a sale. Leila’s honest, straight up feedback paid unexpected dividends.
Ask what home means and Leila says: “Loving and caring for each other is most important. Making sure whatever problem they’ve got – you’re always there for them and will support them”
It doesn’t take much to see that this philosophy anchored from a foundation based on family is also extended to clients.