Sydney ‘Syd’ Bell began his life as a farmer in the remote Buffalo River area of North East Victoria. After marrying his beloved wife Valerie in 1953, Syd moved on from the farm and commenced a career as a builder, eventually establishing himself in Wangaratta. In 1969 with his wife Val, and five children, he decided that a move to Melbourne would give him and his family greater opportunity for the future. Initially moving to Upwey in 1970, where he relocated a home from the Cardinia Reservoir development and completed an extension to accommodate his large brood.
Syd joined Whitehorse Real Estate on Whitehorse Road, Box Hill in late 1971 and was subsequently offered the sales business, eventuating in the opening of S. S. Bell in 1973.
Real Estate sales were conducted very differently back in those days. Properties were photographed with a polaroid camera with one photo for the window display. All homes were advertised in The Age (ICPOTA) with a lot of abbreviations and a very short description due to the huge cost of “line” advertising. The medium house price in Melbourne at the time was around $30,000.
In late 1975, his youngest daughter Rosalie, joined him as a receptionist and soon took on the roles of office, rental, and accounts manager. Maturing in the business, whilst marrying and bringing up her own family with husband Grant, eventually opening their own office in Emerald in 1993.
By the mid-1970s, the company had expanded into Belgrave and by the mid-1980s the Yarra Junction office opened. Over the decades the company has expanded and has consistently traded with offices in Belgrave, Olinda, Emerald, Montrose, Yarra Junction and Warburton and has just added Yarra Glen to our seven-office network.
Syd's two sons Trevor and Christopher joined the team at Belgrave in the mid-1980s and then opened the Olinda office later that decade. When Syd started to transition into early retirement, Trevor took the reins and continues as one of the owners of the Bell Group. During this period, the company rebranded to the new ‘Bell Real Estate’, with a fresh aesthetic and a view to the future. A company that has always loved innovation, taking a leap of faith as one of the first agents in Melbourne to embrace the world wide web and internet marketing.
The industry has seen enormous changes over the past five decades. The style of properties clients are searching for, the way we conduct business and the advent of technology which has completely transformed the way clients look for property. With the median home in Melbourne currently sitting at $907,000, we are a long way from the levels they all enjoyed back in the early 1970s.
As a family company, Bell Real Estate has been excited to see the third generation of family members joining the dedicated, experienced and passionate team who work together to provide an outstanding customer service experience. Rosalie commented that “We feel like a large family and even staff who are not related feel like members of our extended family group”.
As a company, as individuals and as team members, Bell Real Estate strives to continue the tradition that Syd started way back in 1973.
Sydney Bell passed away in 2020, at 92 years of age. He lived a life of dedication to family, church and running a quality business and his legacy lives on through his family and the teams who continue to honour his memory.
A brand that has become an integral part of the local district, Bell Real Estate are very excited to have reached this 50-year milestone of serving the community and look forward to all the future holds.
Offices in Belgrave, Emerald, Montrose, Olinda, Yarra Glen, Yarra Junction and Warburton