Goodwins profile: Lisa Sargison – General Manager, New Business
Twenty-seven years is a long time in real estate. However, for Lisa Sargison – Goodwins’ newly appointed general manager of new business – time has flown as she has progressed through a rewarding career and roles in sales, business development, and management of body corporates and residential and commercial property. One month in the hot seat at Goodwins, with a brief to grow the company’s residential business development team, Lisa was most recently general manager of residential property management at Bayleys.
Q: What is it about property management that appeals to you, Lisa
LS: “It all comes down to providing quality service to landlords and tenants. We work hard to ensure the properties we tenant are decent quality and compliant, that rent is paid on time, and tenants are looking after the place. It is not rocket science, but it is an exercise in care and attention. We care for our clients, both landlords and tenants, we manage their properties as if they were our own.”
Q: How are residential property investors feeling right now?
LS: “New legislation and additional compliance make DIY property management much tougher. It is a minefield if you do not know what you are doing. Right now, there is a team of MBIE investigators actively conducting physical audits of tenanted properties. They are finding all sorts of things, and if the property is not compliant, landlords can be fined.”
Q: What are some of the more common things property owners overlook?
LS: “In my experience, owners of non-compliant properties often have not done much, if anything, to make their properties compliant. Sometimes, they have improved insulation – but that is about it. Often, there is no draft stopping, drainage, adequate heating, etc. which needs to be done – it is not a choice. The first question we ask a property owner is “Do you have a healthy homes report, and is your property compliant? If not, we recommend that a company take them through the process and help them achieve compliance. Ensuring the property is compliant is a specialist niche.”
Q: Spring is a time of change – what’s happening out there?
LS: “Winter has been quiet, though the election lead-up was a compounding factor. People generally do not make life-changing decisions in times of political uncertainty. We are over that hump, and things are ramping up; the market is steady, and we expect to see an increase in movement. Currently, there is a good balance of supply and demand. Tenants are not lining up to see properties, and FOMO has reduced; however, there is a consistent level of enquiry.
Q: What kind of properties are in the highest demand?
LS: “It depends on the area. There are plenty of couples who work in the City looking for two-bedroom apartments close to the city. Students want to be close to their campus and transport hubs. In the suburbs, often people want a home close to a specific school, for example. There are all sorts of scenarios.”
Q: What’s your best advice for property investors?
LS: “Well, it is self-serving, but I mean it: property management is best left to a professional. Prior to the legislative changes, DIY property management was reasonably uncomplicated. However, times have changed, and there are serious consequences for getting things wrong. More property owners recognise the risks and are looking for professional help. Property owners need to approach the letting process as they would if they were selling their property. Tenants are looking for a clean and tidy property; ensure that the garden and lawns are tidy, and if needed, an exterior wash can be beneficial.
Q: Finally, what makes Goodwins different to other real estate firms you’ve worked for?
LS: “Goodwins is young and innovative – a great technology user with a good culture that bridges internal teams with clients. That is why I chose to work here. Their use of technology has been a breath of fresh air. Most firms use the same technology to manage properties, but Goodwins operates an ecosystem of apps alongside the main platform to streamline admin and communication. It makes everyone’s jobs easier and promotes smoother workflow, enabling us to concentrate on managing our clients rather than the vast array of admin that goes with property management.”
Managing an investment property is a bigger headache than it used to be. Call Lisa on 021 278 0707 to put your property into the hands of a pro.