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Breaking ground in real estate

25 November 2009

Breaking ground in real estate

A new independent real estate company – GoodGround – has officially opened its doors from its home base in Waipu.

With the new Real Estate Agents Act (REAA) 2008 coming into force this month, Principal Martin Albrecht says the timing is right to fulfil his vision of developing virtual ‘clusters’ of sales specialists.

“Our virtual business model is based on ‘clusters’ of sales specialists in key locations an hour’s drive from main city centres who specialise in coastal property, second homes, farms, lifestyle blocks and rentals.

“We’re actively looking to recruit an additional 20 sales specialists before the end of 2009 in Whangarei, Waipu and Auckland’s North Shore enabling real estate to be bought and sold from our virtual network from Whangarei to the Harbour Bridge, and everywhere in between,” says Martin Albrecht.

Albrecht, a former sheep and beef farmer, is interested in hiring sales specialists with specific property expertise and wants to lay down a challenge to the traditional real estate industry.

“We not only provide the traditional listing service that you’d expect from a real estate agency, but we couple this with sales specialists that can offer expert advice in their chosen field.

“I challenge the traditional real estate model to meet our standards. Our unparalleled expert knowledge means dealing with GoodGround is more than just a transaction.”

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Albrecht says GoodGround welcomes the new Act and the Professional Conduct and Client Care, which real estate agents must comply with or face disciplinary action. He says in his mind some segments of the industry were getting complacent.

“The only legislation that was holding agents accountable was an internally run scheme; and we all know it’s simply not possible to be judge and jury,” he says.

The new legislation introduces an independent authority to oversee licensing, complaints, disciplinary and enforcement processes and provide information for consumers.

“We think the establishment of an independent authority will restore consumer confidence in our industry,” Albrecht adds.

GoodGround’s aim is to exceed client’s expectations and do more than the Act requires.

“Customer service is paramount and this is clear in our approach to sole agency agreements. Repeatedly I’ve heard complaints from vendors that if the sole agency isn’t performing they are stuck with them, sometimes for up to 90 days.

“All GoodGround clients that choose us as their sole agent will receive a guarantee of service that will enable them to pull out of the agreement if they are dissatisfied. It gives the client peace of mind and focuses our sales specialists on doing the best job they can in the most time-efficient way.

“The new legislation has been borne out of consumer discontent so we see our approach as best practice because it keeps us accountable to our clients and their level of satisfaction,” he says.

GoodGround defines its team of professionals as next generation, which Albrecht defines as being technology savvy and devoid of baggage.

“Our people are specialists in their fields – whether that’s coastal or lifestyle blocks, and they are future-looking. They want to work in the new regime and not hark back to the ‘old days’.

“To run an effective virtual network that prides itself on client satisfaction, we’re investing heavily in technology. We utilise Skype and our sales specialists have phones that allow them to review a sale and purchase agreement with a client on the spot. We’re focused on maximising our client’s precious time,” Albrecht adds.

Albrecht says that despite the recent commentary about the property market, lifestyle blocks are still popular.

“Inherent in every Kiwi is a love for the land and doing your own thing. For most people it’s a short drive to the beach from many lifestyle blocks. Baby boomers enjoyed their half acres in 50s and 60s and now hark for a simpler way of life. Motorways and internet communications make this possible.”

GoodGround has plans to rollout clusters in other parts of the country by mid-2010, with Nelson the first off the block.


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