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Hard market requires disciplined decisions,

Media Release

October 10, 2008


Hard market requires disciplined decisions, says Tauranga realtor


Disciplined decisions have enabled First National Bethlehem to expand its marketing capacity in a move to meet current conditions head on.

The Bay of Plenty-based company is part of First National’s network of independently owned and operated real estate businesses.

Principal Neil Hamilton said the number of salespeople working at First National Bethlehem had increased by one third over the past six months to a full complement.

“We have gone from eight to 12 residential salespeople.  Each newcomer has approached us individually to work in our business which is well established in both Bethlehem and Katikati,” Mr Hamilton said.

“We now have over 100 years of real estate experience between us all.”

Extra heads provided fresh ideas and enthusiasm to make the most of the opportunities the market provided.

“Hard markets need disciplined decisions to focus on the future, and the belief that obstacles are always surrounded by opportunities.  Our office’s implementation of First National’s Best Practice systems helped us to see this current property downturn in advance so we maintained a disciplined approach to the business.  That has ensured our financial stability.  

"We have also added two new marketing programmes which are helping expand our market share.”

 The first – Action Marketing - is aimed at people selling properties up to $400,000.

The second – Fine Homes – is aimed at sellers of the top 10% valued properties on the market.

The Action Marketing Program is aimed at sellers who are willing to meet the market, are highly motivated to sell, and are willing to engage in a high impact marketing program.  They will be guaranteed a shorter listing period, get a special website link to their “Hot Buyer” list, and may qualify for a significantly reduced commission rate.

“We are all in this together, so it’s important to be strategic and get these houses sold.  We recognize vendors are taking a hit in the current market so the Action Marketing system means we are prepared to take a hit on our commission to help them,” Mr Hamilton said.

Fine Homes, on the other hand, is a premier marketing system designed to bring high end properties in front of people who can afford them.

Mr Hamilton said while times were definitely tough, Tauranga was still relatively insulated from the extremes of the market.

“Tauranga is a very fortunate region.  People always want to come and live here because of the climate and lifestyle.  Values in Tauranga have kept up over the years when values in places like Gisborne, Wanganui, Rotorua were being left behind.  In the two to three years values in those places have caught up dramatically but now they are experiencing significant falls. 

“Auckland too is often a place of extremes, unlike Tauranga where there is a large proportion of retired people who don’t have large mortgages on their homes.”

However many Tauranga properties on the market were still priced 10 – 15% above what they would likely sell for, Mr Hamilton said.

First National New Zealand General Manager John Stewart said Mr Hamilton’s business was a good example to the doom and gloom merchants that clever business people in all industries survived.

“The fact is people still need to buy and sell houses.  What they need from realtors is credible guidance.  Looking around the real estate scene in New Zealand it is easy to see the established, experienced operators who are sticking to their knitting and providing consistently professional, knowlegeable support to customers, are not only surviving but growing their businesses in these lean times.”


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