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Talent Shines Through In Tougher Property Market

PRESS RELEASE
For immediate release
From Professionals Real Estate – Auckland-Northland Region

TALENT SHINES THROUGH IN TOUGHER PROPERTY MARKET

Winners of the Professionals Real Estate Northland-Auckland regional Awards represent an impressive pool of high-achievers, despite a more 'down to earth' housing market.

Topping the awards were two of the Professionals' most consistent and talented performers, Gary Robertson of Star Real Estate, Howick, and Chris Gemmell of Lochore's Real Estate in Birkenhead. Chris was named number one salesperson in the region for the second year in succession, and Gary received the newly-created Golden Legend Award for his unsurpassed record.

The Most Improved title went to Christina Opie of Property Link Group in Papakura. Christopher Timm, of Bay of Islands Realty, was named Rookie of the Year.

Both Gary Robertson and Chris Gemmell have seen a noticeable change in the real estate market since the end of last year, and have adapted their strategies accordingly.

Chris Gemmell says he was absolutely thrilled and "pleasantly surprised" to win the award for a second year in a row. "It has been a challenging year for us. I had an operation at the end of 2005, which took me out for a while, but the main thing has been the changing market. It has meant we've had to be a 'rolling stone' throughout the year: the market has tightened up and toughened and we've had to absorb and roll with those changes. I think the awards were a reflection that everyone else had experienced a toughening market as well."

Chris, who has been in real estate for six years now, says that he and his colleagues, Pat and Marion, were not expecting to fare so well this year, and were thrilled with the award. "I think two years running is a sign of consistency and our focus on providing great service to our clients. Ultimately, it's all about repeat and referral business, and the extended networks that we have: people who have either bought or sold with us before. They represent over three-quarters of our business."

Chris, who is a registered valuer, thinks the North Shore market has gone through a settling pattern. "Sellers are a lot more realistic and have adjusted to a longer period for marketing their property. It's gone out to an average of around six, maybe seven, weeks in our area, but most of our sales are up and gone within a month."

He attributes this faster selling-time to his team's marketing strategies, and his own ability to put the right price on a sale. "Being a registered valuer is a key point of difference I have - with the ability to accurately price properties from day one," he says. "It's a key of our success, really."

Like other agents around the region, Chris and the team at Lochore's Real Estate have noticed the need to "push a bit harder" with their marketing. This has meant rethinking advertisements and enhancing website information.

"All our website listings have the 360-degree panoramic tour and we use a professional photographer to ensure it is not only easier for buyers to view properties quickly, but also, ensuring what goes on the internet is the very best quality. There can be no compromises if you want to achieve top results for a seller. There are only so many agents who are getting it right, and we are so excited that we have struck a winning formula."

Gary Robertson, a winner of the inaugural Golden Legend award, has been with Professionals for 18 years. For the past eight years, Gary has been called up on stage to receive an Auckland-Northland regional award. He has been number one salesperson four times, runner-up three times, and second runner-up once.

He was the first person to qualify for the Professionals 200 Million Dollar Club, and is also one of the only two people nationwide, to remain in the top two per cent sales bracket for 10 consecutive years. Those 10 years have now stretched to 11, and Gary, who is based in Howick, received the brand new award to mark his outstanding achievements.

Like Chris Gemmell, Gary has noticed a marked change of temperature in the previously red-hot real-estate climate. "I think it's a more honest market now; neither a buyer's nor a seller's one, and there's not the hype that there used to be."

Gary enjoys the more realistic state of play. "From 2003 to the end of 2005, property prices just kept going and going. The power was in the vendor's court. That's fine; that's who pays your commission, but you only had to be a good taxi driver to make sales, whereas now you've got to be a lot more professional.

"The power-base has shifted to being more evenly spread between a vendor and a purchaser, so I think this market is going to end up showing truer values. I personally prefer it this way; I've always won out in a tougher market, because your skill levels as an agent, and your negotiating skills, have to be much sharper."

The Golden Legend Award is the highlight of Gary's career as a real estate agent.

"Being in the top two per cent essentially means the top 12 agents in the country, and being there for a whole decade shows that, yes, you're doing something right – because we've had a good market and a bad market during that time. I'm absolutely rapt," he says. "And I'm proud because it shows my loyalty to Professionals."

Other honours at the annual awards included Excellence in Property Management Team, which went for the second consecutive year to The Professional Lochore's Real Estate in Birkenhead, and Rural Salesperson of the Year, which was won by Martin Albrecht of Professionals Glenbarry Real Estate in Bream Bay.

The Professionals Northland-Auckland Awards were held on Friday, June 30 at the Ellerslie Convention Centre.

ENDS
July 18, 2006

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