Arizto real estate on the last frontier – introducing the new Team West Coast

4 Mar 2024

It is perhaps the most unique region in New Zealand to ply the trade of real estate – an entire population which would not fill Auckland's Eden Park, but spread across an area comparable to travelling from that park to Wellington's ‘Beehive'.

From the tiny settlements of Mokihinui in the far north to Haast in the deep south, with the major towns in between of Westport, Greymouth and Hokitika, the country's true West Coast is home to hardy people who make their homes through their own hard work, with a true sense of independence.

And Arizto is proud to have planted our flags there, thanks to the new agents of mates Brodie French in Westport and Vinnie Templeton down State Highway 6 in Hokitika.

Despite the isolation found in parts of the region – there's plenty of places where you're not likely to get bars on your cellphone – the hard-working pair have really made the Arizto offering of fairer commissions and complimentary marketing attractive for their home owner, with collectively over a dozen houses and sections on their books.

On the banks of its namesake river and with an oceanic climate, Hokitika is buzzing at this time of year – with the iconic Wildfoods Festival only days away at time of writing.

Mad-keen on the hunting, fishing and tramping the Westland district affords, Templeton left Auckland to move to a locale where such activities were on the doorstep instead of having to drive for hours.

"Why not just base yourself there and enjoy yourself?"

"You look at yourself as isolated from the rest of the country – that's where the pride of the Coast comes from," he said.

"The beauty is undeniable. People, genuinely Kiwis, haven't been to the West Coast and don't know how beautiful it is."

A registered electrician by trade, he decided "new place, new job," – and in 2021 became the third generation of his family to take up real estate, crediting his mother's 20 years experience as being invaluable.

But the local agency he represented with was very set in the ways – Templeton felt he was half salesperson and half office administrator for the sheer volume of paper work he had to undertake – which is counterintuitive for agents who want to be out and about in the community.

"There's no house to sell in the office – a lot of it is wasted time. I never got a sale from the advertisement in the office wall, the time is not justified."

Reconnecting with an old university friend on Facebook, Templeton found out about the Arizto methods and became very interested in making the switch.

"He told me all about it – after half an hour, I thought ‘it's making more and more sense'.

"The systems in comparison to traditional – it's a no-brainer.

"When you do have it figured out, I think it's the most beautiful system ever."

Still new to the changeover, Templeton would be honest with his vendors about learning the system in a part of the country where he is the solo representative – but they are getting his automatic emails from appraisal meetings and if not, then he's straight in the car to go see them.

Much of the clientele for Hokitika homes are new people to the region – ‘lifestylers' like himself – who are moving past the stereotype that the Coast has constant rainfall.

There's been back-to-back great summers and while the big downpours do occur, isn't short bursts better than weeks of Auckland drizzle?

Therefore, knowing you are looking at buyers who have a long flight or drive to see your listings, Templeton is determined to make sure the homes he sells are as immaculately presented as possible.

"I explain to our vendors that ‘presentation sells properties'.

"You've got to capture them at the online marketing stage to get them there."

And if he had any other questions about the brand, then good friend French was only a phone call away, having previously worked for the same former agency in the Buller district.

An economy driven by primary industry – be it mining, farming or fishing - in Westport they appreciate useful resources and helping each other out, and that's just the way French likes to do business.

"I was born in Motueka and moved to Westport when I was 21," he said.

"Absolutely love it in Westport, it's a slice of paradise with very friendly locals and a great small town vibe."

After three years with his former brand, he has found the transition to Arizto very smooth, with its focus on digital platforms and less overheads.

"Being able to offer low commission and free marketing to my vendors, as well as brilliant service, it's a no brainer.

"We are a small town, so nurturing previous relationships and treating every interaction with prompt service is the real point of difference.

"Coasters like to stick to what they know, so a familiar face helps with a relatively unknown brand. I've had a lot of questions and interactions with the public, all very well received.

Both Templeton and French have pointed out the great advantage to moving into, or across their region, is the changeover price for purchasing homes.

REINZ statistics for January show a median price of $340,000 with first-home buyers the most active – and these are for homes built to withstand all-weather conditions.

"In terms of investment opportunities and capital gain for investors, buying property on the Coast stacks up," said French.

"Our property prices are very low and return on investment is outstanding - to top it off, the rental market is extremely tight.

"The Coast isn't prone to the peaks and troughs as much as the rest of New Zealand – we're reasonably insular."

But even though they may be based hundreds of kilometres away, and he's the only ‘sheriff' of his town, French has praised the Arizto support staff for all their assistance in helping set up this new endeavour.

"Coming from a ‘horse and cart' traditional agency, the Arizto way is a steep learning curve.

"The helpdesk and team leaders have been incredible - thank you all for your prompt service when requested and putting up with the annoying new boy on the Coast."

Just like the whitebait, these two young men are off and running.


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