Goodwins profile: Vicki Carrington – General Manager – Residential Property Management
Vicki says tenants prefer homes that are fully compliant with healthy homes standards. “They seem unwilling to wait months for improvements to happen,” she says. Nevertheless, demand for rental homes remains high, with more people looking to rent than ever before. However, demand isn’t evenly distributed.
Vicki joined Goodwins 13 years ago after a successful stint in commercial roles at Vodafone (now called One). Secretly, she’d long harboured a desire to work in real estate. But it wasn’t until she started looking after Goodwins account, that she decided to make the leap. The more she talked to different people at Goodwins the more their personal approach to doing business appealed. Today she oversees Goodwins’ property management operation.
What surprised you most when you started working in real estate? “Auckland itself delivered a few surprises. I thought I knew the city well. I’ve discovered many new areas since working with Goodwins, that I didn’t know existed.”
What’s changed at Goodwins? “We’ve grown – not just bigger, but also in terms of quality,” she says. “In 2011 we became a fully-fledged independent agency, which allowed us to change and refine the roles and processes that underpin the Goodwins way. We’re able to tailor an approach that suits every property owner, without having to seek approval from head office. Our people are more accessible, too – you get to speak to the letting agent, our property managers, and even our owners. It’s a more personal approach to business that large corporate agencies struggle to deliver.”
Does demand for rentals still exceed supply? “For the most part, there is an excess of rentals – particularly for the higher-end properties,” says Vicki. “I don’t think people fully appreciate the degree to which the floods and Cyclone Gabrielle have impacted the rental market. Some months we’ve had up to 100 rentals available, but we’re back down to our monthly average of around 40 available properties. Generally, people are a little less inclined to move over winter, so that may dampen demand. Top-end properties don’t really follow broader trends, with demand more closely tied to corporate relocations and events, says Vicki.
How can property owners enhance the appeal of their rentals? “We see properties through the eyes of both owners and tenants, and our recommendations are based on what we believe will attract tenants and in the long run be most beneficial for our owners. And today that means focusing on making your rental warm, dry, and healthy. Putting aside some funds for a heat pump could be your best investment.”
Is selling a house in winter a bad idea? “That might be the accepted wisdom, but Goodwins has had some good successes in the so-called offseason,” says Vicki. “Sometimes I think seasons are given too much weight. Macro factors, such as interest rates and economic confidence have a far greater bearing on buying and selling sentiment. Buying a house in Auckland has never been cheap. Right now, it’s getting harder thanks to peak interest rates and lending hurdles. Healthy homes legislation is a factor, too – some property owners who initially look at renting their property then re-consider when they learn it will cost them $10,000 to get their property compliant,” says Vicki.
Can you see opportunities for more lateral thinking in real estate promotion? “It’s a good question. We’re in all the right places – Instagram, Facebook, database communications, and main online property destinations,” says Vicki.” TikTok gets a lot of attention, but I’ve yet to see property providers get much cut-through there, though it’s a little difficult to gauge. When so much is digital it’s refreshing to know that our redesigned property signboards get so much attention. This is why contextual relevance is so important. You’ve got to be in the places your audiences expect to see you – and that’s often out in the neighbourhood.”
Don’t let so-called small things undermine rental returns. Talk to Vicki and her team of property experts. They’ll explain what you can do better to attract the right kind of tenants. Call Vicki now – 021 278-776.