No doubt good real estate from Doubtless Bay – Arizto's Lee Dickens

4 Jun 2024

When Arizto tells you they cover Cape Reinga to the Bluff, cities to small towns, know we have the agents who fit those roles on the outer limits to a tee.

Leave Auckland, drive through Whangarei, and the busy highway traffic gives way to rolling green, peaceful coves, peninsulas and a choice of any number of white sandy beaches–then you know you have reached the beautiful Far North.

Looking to settle in any of the small communities which take your fancy, from the 6000-plus population township of Kaitaia you have a starting point to go out and find your patch in Ahipara, Kaingaroa, Taipa, Cable Bay or the Karikari Peninsula.

It's a good investment for those looking to sell up in the big smoke and settle down with the mortgage cleared in a less densely populated region – the median house prices in the Far North for April 2024 were $600,000, just down from the $610,000 of the same time last year.

And when you're up there, get Lee Dickens on the phone – with well over 40 sales through Arizto since she joined in September 2021 and another 20-odd properties available on her books – there isn't much she could not show you when it comes to her beloved home region.

"It's such a beautiful place. Full stop. End of story," says the mother of four and soon-to-be grandmother of five.

"People are wanting to move to the far north, not as crowded as the city.

"Chilled lifestyle, the majority of people are really laid back."

She often deals with buyers looking to live close to the iconic Ninety Mile Beach – the tourist Mecca for surfing, fishing, and all sorts of fun in the dunes.

Kaitaia is known for having some of the highest rental yield in the country for property investors, while crossing over to Karikari Peninsula, another prime fishing spot, you'll find the famous 18km long Tokerau beach, just one of many sandy beaches like Rangiputa, Perehipe and Matai Bay.

There is also the local Carrington Estate with a winery, golf course, restaurant and accommodation.

"Every area brings its own attraction," says Lee.

Auckland born and raised, 27 years ago she and her family made the big shift up to their patch of paradise in Doubtless Bay, roughly 40 minutes drive from Kaitaia on the north-east coast.

Explorer James Cook, always a way with the words, gave it that name because he was ‘doubtless' that the area had to be a bay when gazing at it offshore from the deck of HMS Endeavour.

Starting her real estate career in 2001, Lee started in sales and eventually worked in all areas of administration with two brands – including sabbaticals to focus on raising her four children and a brief spell in Australia.

But it was doubtless she would stay in the bay – having built and sold four properties of her own in the area.

"Family and then work are the big focus of my life," she says.

Her roles in the industry included front desk reception, salesperson's PA, and property management, eventually handling the administration for three separate branches.

It was coming back from Aussie when she decided to return to commission-based sales, after working for one of the bigger local companies.

With such a large patch to cover – 45 minute drives one-way being common – Lee wanted to be out and about, and from experiences on the high levels of admin work, she knew there had to be a better system.

Enter Arizto – Lee being very impressed with the fairer commission offering for her clients, and by the same token how that commission was divided between branch and agent.

"For most people your house is your biggest asset.

"I really like the independence you have - the ability to work independent, and not being ‘stuck' in the office doing floor time – it's not productive at all in my book.

"Technology, being able to do everything on the App, that's really great.

"Everything is available, especially when you have digital toolbox, everything's at your fingertips.

"You only get out of it what you put into it.

"Working with Arizto allows more time to yourself as their systems are very functional and fast."

Most of Lee's vendors are more elderly who have enjoyed the Far North but are now at an age where it is time to move back into the urban areas to be closer to the necessary amenities and family.

They too, have found the Arizto system through working with Lee much simpler to deal with.

"The majority think it's really great, but I do have some older clients that need manual Sale & Purchase and Agency Agreements, but that's not a problem," she says.

And given their faith in her abilities, she is selective about matching up the right buyers – with such a distance to travel between listings it is best to arrange appointment viewings, rather than open homes.

"We're given that trust to make those decisions to work independently, and Martin [Towers] and the Business Support Managers are on straight away if we need help.

"They really 110 per cent support their agents."

It's all letting Lee Dickens work at a pace she knows works in the Far North – putting our flag in the far-flung fields.

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