Where people come first

WHEN Hayden Groves quit running DOME Fremantle to pursue a career in real estate, he was given some pearls of wisdom from John Dethridge – “Get your eye off the money!”.

That was nearly 25 years ago, but Groves has never strayed from that mantra and says putting the client first and not the commission is the reason he’s been around for so long in the fickle world of real estate.

Groves is clearly doing something right – he’s president of REIWA and director of Dethridge Groves Real Estate, which just underwent a swish rebranding ahead of its 45th anniversary.

“Do a good job, focus on the outcome and provide terrific customer service, and you’ll be in it for the long haul,“ Groves says.

“My philosophy is put people first, whether that’s the customer or my staff – most of whom have been with me for a long time. Those are my values, and the same ones I shared with John all those years ago.”

The origins of Dethridge Groves can be traced back to 1979, when John Dethridge & Co opened an office on Wray Avenue in Freo.

Dethridge won over locals with his superior customer service and “Fremantle is our Territory” motto, becoming a trusted and prominent leader in the real estate scene.

Over the years the agency become part of the fabric of the local community, receiving awards for its work with the City of Fremantle to restore and retain dwellings and preserve the heritage of the city.

They also share a little bit of history with the Fremantle Herald, collaborating with owner Andrew Smith on using sketch line drawings to market houses in the paper, and on the idea for the Herald at Home section (it’s still going to this day!).

• Dethridge Groves director Hayden Groves (top left) says he always puts people first, including his loyal staff (above) with many long-term employees.

In 1999 Groves joined John Dethridge & Co and quickly made a name for himself in the real estate scene, eventually purchasing the agency in 2004 and renaming it Dethridge Groves Real Estate.

Groves, who writes a weekly column for the Herald as REIWA’s Fremantle branch chairman, says one of the biggest changes in real estate has been the gentrification of Fremantle.

“The affordability has changed and the historic nature of the city means we are playing catch-up with infill,” he says.

“Fremantle wasn’t immune to the property malaise between 2011 and 2021, so in 20 years things have changed a lot, but in fits and starts.

“I think the big changes are yet to come at the old industrial zone in the Knutsford Precinct, and in Beaconsfield and at the old TAFE site. Fremantle is still to come of age.”  

Just shy of Dethridge Groves 45th anniversary, Groves says they’ve rebranded with a new purple colour scheme, emphasising their “We Know Freo” moniker.

“We’ve had some great feedback from the community on it,” Groves says.

“It’s got a bit of a Freo Dockers theme, which is quite fun, and it’s nice and bright and fresh.” 

With such a rich history, the company could easily rest on its laurels, but it’s not – they had Fremantle’s highest residential sale this year, manage and lease more properties in and around Fremantle than any other agency, and have won the Communications and Marketing REIWA Award for Excellence three years in a row (2020-22).

Dethridge Groves has a rich history, but they’re clearly looking to the future. 

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