Goodwins profile: Danielle Smith – Executive Assistant and Locum Property Manager 

When this editor asked Danielle what she loves about the property industry it came with the proviso that she wasn’t allowed to say “people”. The Licensed Agent and seasoned property manager certainly loves people and highly rates the variety of her dual roles, but what really spins her wheels is helping people who, in various ways, struggle more than others to find a home.

Q: What do you love about property, Danielle?

DS: “I love the feeling of helping people to find a home who are often overlooked. I just like to be that person who listens to everybody, takes everything into consideration, and treats everyone with kindness – give people who deserve it a shot. I feel like there’s not too many people in our industry who are prepared to do that.”

Q: What annoys you about property management?

DS: “I think absent industry regulation is a big issue. It encourages cowboys to undercut professional operators, which ends up hurting landlords and the industry. If the management fee is half the price, then service will be half as good. And it will come back to haunt the property owner.”

Q: Can you think of any particularly memorable tenants – good or bad

DS: “One of my absolute favourite tenants is a lady in her 50s who has a few learning difficulties. She just wanted her own space, but most people overlooked her as a good candidate. So I worked with her for quite a while and got her into a property. And once that owner decided to sell, we worked with her and got her into another property. She’s just so eternally grateful and takes so much pride in her house. Every time she sees me, she gives me a big hug – that’s why I do this job.”

Q: And what about memorable landlords – other than the ones who shower you with bottles of wine? Let’s not go there. How about traits that make someone less suited to being a landlord?

DS: “I think landlords who are resistant to all the legislative changes need to reconsider their position. We don’t necessarily agree with all the changes, but everyone is required to do what they must. If you keep pushing back it makes things extremely tough. Landlords must be adaptable. If you’re stuck in your ways, then maybe it’s time to get out of the game. There’s no need to live with that sort of stress in your life.”

Q: Has the Auckland rental market settled down – are there still acute shortages of good rental properties?

DS: “At the moment, you don’t see the long lines of people trying to get into properties. I haven’t seen that for quite a while. However, right now there seems to be a slight shift, more rentals are popping up. There is still a bit of a shortage for family homes, particularly three-bedroom homes”.

Q: Rents continue to climb in Auckland – where are renters getting good bang for buck?

DS: “Prices in the city seem to have dropped quite a bit. Many shops have gone and there’s the traffic and roadworks, but the CBD still appeals to young couples or singles who don’t have kids or pets.”

Q: Finally, what advice can you offer to landlords who are looking to tenant their property right now?

DS: “Reconsider your position on excluding pet owners. A responsible pet owner is probably a responsible tenant. I also think tenants with pets also really appreciate living in a property that allows pets – they want to do their best to prove that pets are not a bad thing. I’ve got two dogs, so I’m a big advocate for allowing pets. I’ve also got kids. Most parents will tell you that kids create more damage than pets. Dogs might chew on the leg of a couch, but they don’ take chunks out of houses. I see that the tenancy laws in Australia are softening on pets. For example, Queensland renters can seek the property owner’s permission to keep a pet, and property owners can only refuse a request on identified reasonable grounds, such as keeping the pet would breach laws or by-laws.”

The best tenants treat a rental as home-sweet-home. Call Danielle on 021 278 7767 to get the right people living in your property.