How the launch of Linda’s Real Estate continues Linda Mahoney’s legacy reshaping of Dubai’s real estate market, one empowered woman at a time
The story so far
In 1986 – long before the Burj Khalifa or Burj al Arab – single mum Linda Mahoney founded Betterhomes from her dining room table, shaping Dubai’s infantile property market through her sheer will and determination to succeed. Throughout the years, the company has gone from strength to strength, taking it from a five-person start-up business to real-estate empire in the region.
More than three decades on, the Betterhomes Group will launch Linda’s, their latest real-estate venture – named after the woman who started it all – which is set to revolutionise brokerage once again. A community-based agency, it will be run by mums, for mums, with an emphasis on flexibility and family-living. We caught up with Linda Mahoney, and director of Linda’s, Noa Wardman, to hear the full story…
Linda, can you please tell us about your story in Dubai real estate?
My story in real estate started in 1986 when, as a mother of two, I founded Betterhomes. I had been working for a short time in my friend’s real estate company and I enjoyed making a positive impact on the lives of people moving to Dubai. Most people landed with limited knowledge of the place and a lot of anxiety about what to expect, and I loved helping them settle in. The great feedback I received helped me decide that this was something I wanted to build a serious career in.
The year I established Betterhomes was the year the oil price crashed. Prices fell 75% over a three-week period and many people thought I was mad: ‘Didn’t I know Dubai was over?’ But, undeterred, I saw the opportunity in the chaos and was confident Dubai had a bright future. It was my opportunity to prove to myself that I could build a business and become independent, even if the timing was terrible and the odds were against us to succeed.
Over the next five years I didn’t take a weekend off or leave Dubai for a vacation. All I did was work. It was relentless, but I was absolutely focused on building a business, paying my bills and getting Betterhomes to a position of stability. I always felt that one of the key factors in our subsequent success was our culture of outworking our competitors and the fact that we were always focused on the long term. I had no special political connection, no financing, and no portfolio from a sponsor. My team and I loved the fact that we could win against the odds and it created a contagious fighting spirit in the office that gave us a distinct advantage.
Now, almost 35 years since setting up Betterhomes in my dining room in Jumeirah, it gives me great satisfaction to see what we have become. We are always evolving, continually revitalising, and continuing to lead our marketplace while maintaining the values that I started with. We have survived regional wars, global financial crises, and relentless competition. Even after all this time when I go into the office it has the same energy and optimism that we had as a five person start up, and that is a true achievement.
How did the idea for Linda’s come about?
Many working mums in Dubai still struggle to find an environment that offers great career opportunities and the flexibility that their family life requires. So, I recently teamed up with Noa Wardman, who is one of Dubai’s most accomplished brokers and a strong, dynamic mother of two to set up Linda’s Real Estate. Strong women and mothers are the bedrock of any society and they are also some of the most capable brokers in the world. Linda’s will provide the kind of environment in which working mothers (and working fathers) thrive, and will work closely with Betterhomes while remaining an independent company. I’m proud and delighted to be able to support my fellow women in real estate.
For interested agents, how does Linda’s offering differ to that of Betterhomes?
Betterhomes remains a fantastic environment for women and working parents with strong female leadership throughout the organisation – you can follow their success and achievements throughout all our media. The main difference is that the Linda’s team will be employing more remote-working practices, which offer the greater degree of flexibility that some parents prefer. Other parents prefer the more structured environment and larger team dynamic that they find in Betterhomes. The key is we are able to offer great candidates a choice of environments within the group.
What makes Noa right for the role of director?
The idea of launching Linda’s was conceived about 18 months ago, but we knew the key to its success was finding someone who could carry the strength of the brand and the concept, someone who has a proven record of balancing work and family. Having watched Noa through the years, we knew we had found that person. Noa is a great believer in empowering women and parents to fulfill their maximum potential and has a proven track record in mastering the work-family balance as a mother and a successful broker for over 12 years. Noa has won many awards and has twice been named Broker of the Year. She is known as the go-to broker for Arabian Ranches and she definitely means business.
Noa Wardman has been a well-known figure within Dubai’s real estate market for the last 12 years. As a testament to her passion and skill for selling homes, she has won multiple accolades for her property sales throughout her career.
Noa, can you tell us why you decided to join Linda’s Real Estate?
I have always had great respect and admiration for Linda, a woman who started a small company and transformed it to what it is today – the best brokerage in the UAE.
I arrived in Dubai in early 2000 and all I could hear was the name Betterhomes! So it has always been in the back of mind that perhaps one day we can build something together. When the concept of Linda’s was introduced to me it was clear it is a great fit and where I wanted to take my career.
Linda Mahoney’s belief that great brokerage is all about building long term relationships in a community is one that I share, along with the same passion, drive, dedication, and tenacity that Linda brought to Betterhomes years ago.
What are you hoping to offer that is missing in Dubai’s real estate market?
I would start by our passion, drive and concept. But, above all, I will say it is our mission. We have pledged to deliver an unrivalled experience to our clients, because we have first-hand knowledge about our community. In simple terms, we are who our clients are. Linda’s is a community brokerage so all brokers will be living in the communities that they serve. That means we shop where you shop, we do the same school run as you do, we play golf at the same course as you do, our kids go to the same schools, our girls are at netball together, our boys are at rugby at the same time, and we are perfectly placed to advise you on your property move because we have done it too.
Will you be specialising in specific types of properties or communities?
Linda’s will initially be focusing on the villa communities of Arabian Ranches, Victory Heights, Mira, Dubai Hills and the Palm, but we will be looking to expand our network across Dubai in the coming months.
Are you still hiring for Linda’s?
Absolutely. We have hired great brokers, experienced and inexperienced, and we are looking at people keen to fulfill their maximum potential and achieve a great career in real estate. While the majority of the team are parents, that isn’t the case for all. Our most important aspect of the whole team is a collective drive and integrity. Linda’s Real Estate is online here and on Instagram.