Goodwins profile: Sue Christie – Property Manager

Sue joined Goodwins four years ago to source and manage large executive homes to support America’s Cup visitors. She’s since tapped into the film sector, ensuring visiting industry execs and A-listers are housed in a style that does justice to their Instagram feeds.

Sue says experience counts in property management. “There’s no beating age and guile,” she says. Having spent a significant chunk of her professional career in the corporate headquarters of large hotel chains, Sue certainly knows what makes people tick when it comes to accommodation.

And while she’s just as comfortable managing properties in Avondale (no disrespect intended), 60% of her portfolio comprises large, fully furnished executive homes. Her client list is heavy with elite sports teams and movie industry players.

However, these days, she’s mostly busy with sorting short-term accommodation for returning ex-pats as they scout the market for a new home and await the arrival of their furniture.

What’s your take on the current state of the Auckland rental market, Sue?

“Supply is still an issue – I think we’ve lost some properties off the back of interest rate rises and the phased-in removal of interest deductibility against rental income. The numbers for some property investors don’t stack up as they once did,” she said. “But plenty are still all in. And that’s a good thing because demand for rentals remains strong.”

What advice would you give to a first-time investor right now?

“Go for a typical three-bedroom home – say, two bathrooms, garage, and easy-care gardens. It will appeal to many groups, and you’ll always fill it and command great rental income,” Sue said. “Apartments work fine, but you’ve got to consider the body corporate. Investing should also consider the biggest factor driving demand for rentals – immigration. The country’s net annual migration gain is back to where it was just prior to the Covid-19 pandemic in December 2019. Those migrating to the country are primarily coming from India, the Philippines and China, with the construction, hospitality, transport, and agriculture sectors seeing the largest numbers of incoming workers.”

What rookie mistakes have you seen that serve as a warning to new landlords?

“I’ve been dealing with a distressed landlord. He’s feeling a bit embarrassed about letting his property without asking for references or validating the tenant’s ID. Nefarious operators are often supremely confident and good at putting people at ease. The tenancy agreement was signed and then everything turned to custard – missed payments, tenant MIA, protracted resolution, costly mistake. A good property manager is gold. We’re detail people and hot on processes and automated systems that mitigate risks. We validate the ID, check references, run credit, background, and judgment checks, conduct inspections, and respond to alerts when payments are late,” Sue said. “Three-month inspections are a biggie, insurance companies stipulate inspections in policies covering rental properties. If a leak has been missed because you neglected to conduct an inspection, the insurance company won’t play ball.”

Managing an investment property is trickier than it used to be. Call Sue on
021 278 7785 to put your property into the hands of a pro.