Frank Webster, Property Consultant and former Vice-Chairman, Finders Keepers, shares his experience following a recent trip to speak at property conferences and meet industry counterparts in the southern hemisphere.
My property career continues to offer new challenges and open new doors, here and overseas, with speaking and consultancy invitations in both Australia and New Zealand, culminating in a mutual and deeper understanding of our industry.
It has led to life-long friendships, including Real-iQ founder David Faulkner who contacted me to ask if I would help with his inaugural ‘The Generation of Change’ Property Conference in the Kiwi capital of Wellington.
I was only too pleased to help. A long way to travel yes, but there’s no gain without pain; there’s always something to learn and new connections to make.
Especially when there are so many parallels between us, our two countries and our respective industries, currently both unregulated and experiencing rapid change.
The Kiwi Government is keeping our fellow property managers on their toes, a Tenant Fee ban imposed before the UK; negative tax proposals for landlords; new insulation requirements and a Healthy Homes Bill, causing both investors and agents to re-consider their costs and strategy.
We both share a passion to see a better property management industry. With fruitful careers in Property Management leading to pastures new with our respective consultancies, working alongside business owners and real estate professionals, enabling them to fulfil their potential and navigate the huge changes in our respective private rented sectors.
I met David – originally from Widnes who went to New Zealand on a rugby tour 20+ years ago and stayed – at ‘ARPM 2013’ Australia’s largest conference for Property Managers in Sydney, where I was presenting.
We’ve stayed in touch and have become good friends. David spoke at a property conference in London a few years ago and visited some of the top competing agents here in Oxford.
He reciprocated with a packed itinerary of three conference presentations starting off with the Thomson Reuters Annual Law Conference in Auckland where I addressed Kiwi lawyers on the UK real-estate path towards proper regulation and qualification.
I arrived though, to a country in mourning. A terrible mass shooting had just occurred in Christchurch, killing 50 people. The whole country was in shock; nothing like this ever happens in New Zealand. Some of the Property Managers attending the later Wellington conference, had been directly affected.
My schedule included visits and working meetings with David’s clients. A range of Property Managers, Lettings Specialists and Industry Suppliers – including meeting Bindi Norwell the CEO of the Kiwi Real Estate Institute REINZ.
Auckland based Goodwins were buzzing, following their appointment as an ‘official partner’ for the America’s Cup Challenger team ‘American Magic’. Their role to source and manage the tenancy agreements and place team members in suitable properties for the duration of the Cup build up, and during race-time in March 2021. With the syndicate acting as a guarantor and Goodwins managing the logistics, Auckland landlords will have total peace of mind, a novel opportunity and useful additional income.
This forward thinking, independent family-owned business with three offices in Auckland recently celebrated its 25th anniversary; focused entirely on specialising in quality property letting and management (now why do I like the sound of that!).
Addressing their team with a pocket version of my presentation, I then sat in on their regular business development meeting, as David reviewed their KPI’s.
In Wellington, we meet with more top agents in New Zealand including leading student letting agency Homes& Properties and the inspiring team at Tommys, led by Harrison Vaughan with is compendium of ideas for Wellington landlords.
Our visit to TAPI was inspiring. This young, go-ahead prop-tech business is working with Kiwi Property Managers to reduce the burden of legislation and duplication of compliance, using bespoke ‘chat bot’ technology.
My visit culminated with the two day ‘The Generation of Change’ conference held at the Te Papa National Museum. With motivating presentations on ‘Obstacles or Opportunities’ from highly regarded Dr Farah Palmer a former Black Fern (All Blacks women’s rugby team), to forward thinking property managers Hamish and Claire Wilson from Christchurch and their focus on ‘having an investor mind-set’ to help build your portfolio, to former Barfoot & Thompson top gun Will Alexander opening everyone’s minds to future trends and how prop-tech is enhancing real estate.
David closed the seminar with an impassioned presentation around ‘Knowledge is Power’ – highlighting certain failure for those property managers in NZ (and UK!) who aren’t qualified and the untapped value of being the community Trusted Property Expert.
For me, the take-away common themes were the need to embrace change and be ahead of the game; accentuate the positive through increasing the broad role and opportunity for property managers as overall ‘lifetime property advisor’ for landlords and investors, leading to developing ways to monetise both landlords and tenants using ‘regulation as a force for good’ (the title of my key-note presentation) to be the best you can in your business journey.
I was fortunate to meet some great people, a selection of whom you can see below who joined us for this inspiring event.
Frank Webster, a former vice-chair of the multi-award winning property business Finders Keepers, now offering his experience and guidance to the industry through his consultancy F C Webster Consultancy Ltd M:07836592655 E: [email protected]