Looking at the company today and thinking back to its’ origins, it’s interesting to see how, in the 30 or so years since its formation, the business has now grown to become Ireland’s largest, fully diversified property advisory firm servicing the residential and commercial property markets. Sherry FitzGerald was founded in 1982 as a result of the amalgamation of 2 companies – FitzGerald & Partners (founded 1972) and Sherry & Sons (founded in 1949). Back in 1982 we had just one residential office on Merrion Row in Dublin 2 with a second office in Terenure not opening until 1989.
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. We understood the absolute prerequisite to have a strong ethical foundation, combined with a sense of unparalleled customer service. That is why, back then, we introduced a non-negotiable rule of not allowing anyone in the company to buy a second-hand house off our own books, coupled with introducing opening 7 days a week into what had traditionally been a ‘9.30 – 5.30 & closed for lunch’ industry. Our strap line in those early days was ‘the new generation of estate agents’ which subsequently evolved into ‘the agent you’d recommend to a friend’.
In 1992 we were the first organisation in the history of the State, outside the Department of the Environment, to provide coherent house price information to the general public and subsequently launched our Dublin house price index in 1996. Today we employ 4 economists and, through all the challenges of the greatest property crash in Europe, we kept our commitment 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. Every 3 months, over the last 15 years, this national index has been published without fear or favour.
In 1998 we opened our first office outside Dublin in Galway. In the 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. Today DTZ Sherry FitzGerald is Ireland’s most successful and only nationwide commercial property advisor with offices in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick and an associated office in Belfast.
In 1999 we launched Ireland’s first ever national property franchise organisation. Today there are 66 Sherry FitzGerald franchise offices, providing property advice in every corner of Ireland.
In the same year 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, housing both our Commercial and Residential business on Lapps Quay in the heart of Cork city.
The year 2000 also saw the launch of Mortgage Insight, 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.
Meanwhile, DTZ Sherry FitzGerald was growing rapidly. In 2004 the company acquired the niche commercial practice of CS Tierney O’Neill as well as further strengthening the Cork commercial business by acquiring the former Collier Jackson Stops office.
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 leaving the business debt free.
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. Firstly, the "Your Home Away From Home" which saw us underwrite the purchase of 5 Fontenoy Street, Phibsboro for Temple Street Children´s Hospital to use as parents’ accommodation for two families 365 days a year. We subsequently arranged two successful 10km Walkathons to raise funds for the project. Secondly, we were instrumental in the establishment of Amawele - a new national charity which now twins 85 schools in Ireland with schools in the Eastern and West Cape of South Africa.
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. Likewise we can also offer the owners of luxury property abroad access to local expertise when they come to sell, via the global Christie’s International Real Estate network.
In 2013, we acquired our two residential franchise offices in Galway and Limerick and opened our first Blackrock office in 2014. 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 operating in 88 different locations. Currently we employ 315 people directly in our 22 owned offices across a diversified residential and commercial property business (18 residential, 4 commercial), alongside our franchise business with an additional 69 offices throughout Ireland, separately employing over 200 people. Sherry FitzGerald Group remains an Irish privately owned business and committed to leading the marketplace as we have done over the last 32 years.