Right at home in the Garden City – meet Arizto's Canterbury team

19 Feb 2024

It is not only New Zealand's second largest city, it is Arizto's second home, and the location of one the best teams in the country's fastest growing real estate company.

Much like their home squad the 14-time Super Rugby title-winning Crusaders, Arizto's Canterbury team prides themselves on doing the basics of their profession really well; having that point of difference of personal service combined with a digital platform that more home owners are starting to appreciate.

In Arizto's Christmas awards, the Canterbury team was acknowledged for having the company's top salesperson in Anna James, followed in runner-up in another local in Kate Lamont – with Lamont having been one of the original recruits for the region alongside Brendon Pierce, who is now the National Compliance Manager.

Relative newcomer Jaggy Bhupal was also in the Top 10 of Arizto sales, reflecting his 2023 Rising Star award.

But home owners and buyers alike could not go wrong with any of the 23-strong team, who collectively have secured roughly a 2% share of a Canterbury market which previously, as its English-entomology suggests, had more understanding of traditional methods.

From North Canterbury, to the Selwyn and Ashburton districts, to the city's urban suburbs, ready to meet the call are David Brant, Karina Bolton, Jennifer Grady, Kian Clements-Ormond, Rhonda Tapp, Sean Powell, Morgan Cathro, Simon Fergusson, Jatin Chopra, Jonah Tui, Steven Overend, Deepak Sharma, Jessica Ashwell, Lance Williams, Simon Watson, Jannetta Thomas, Steve Collier, Angela Allan, Jonathan Rea, and Don Stott.

"The focus of building the Canterbury team was to find salespeople who were passionate about helping people, I think the team that Arizto has built in Canterbury is a true testament to that," said Pierce.

"Anyone of those salespeople could pick up the phone and call another team member for help or to problem solve and it's never a burden. It is truly one of the best team environments I have come across.

"For a long time, the options available for sellers were limited to what colour you wanted the 'For Sale' sign - the process was the same and the results similar.

"What Arizto offers is a fresh approach, which is geared around the vendor having full access to open home registers and viewing numbers and having an offer process which keeps them informed every step of the way."

Kate Lamont

Having moved from the same agency in 2018, Pierce and Lamont share the same belief that there had to be a better way to service owners, especially in terms of better value commissions as house prices rose but in most cases household income did not.

Lamont just wants to get out and help people of all backgrounds either sell or find their next home – reflecting her diverse portfolio across the city and outskirts.

It is a grass-roots style – just working hard with the personal touch on top of the Arizto platform has generated a tremendous amount of referral business, far better than the "glitz and glamour" other agencies try to showcase.

Now an eight-year veteran, Lamont is going so well that soon her personal business will be expanding – with her husband joining her after a career in the building industry.

"At the beginning, it was a completely different business model - you were so used to doing the paper stuff," she said of her switch to Arizto.

"To go to an electronic system was so different - and a bit daunting.

"But the logins were so good, the digital side was so smart. The open homes - people got the information immediately.

"I can change stuff online instantly - that's what I love."

At the time of writing, Lamont was busy putting together four appraisals for her latest batch of potential listings, while she had five properties go unconditional the previous week.

"It's just trying to keep up with the work.

"I just enjoy helping people move forward - it get such a buzz about helping people."

And it all started with just a couple of friends who had expressed interest in listing with her with her previous brand, and were willing to be the "guinea pigs" as she learned the innovative approach of Arizto.

"They all got really good results and they loved the paperless system.

"They could see I was working, they could see the [buyer] comments in real time.

"The sale and purchase agreement - they see it all come through and sign it.

"However, we can still work with the traditional method."

This is not to say real estate in Canterbury does not have unique challenges.

Even nearly 15 years on, the devastating earthquakes of 2010-11 still cast their shadow.

For houses built before that time, Lamont will recommend to her owners to secure their own LIM and Builder's Reports to confirm the home will measure up to EQC standards.

She visits, appraises, and sells many homes on the outskirts of the ‘Four Avenues' – the Bealey, Fitzgerald, Moorhouse, and either Rolleston or Deans avenues whose roads are like the veins of the city.

Whether the house is worth $1 million or $500,000, and whether the buyer walks into the open home wearing a suit or workman's gear – Lamont treats everyone equally.

"My reviews are really good, I work with some fantastic people - buyers and sellers.

"I like to make people happy at the end."


Having started with another real estate company in Hamilton in January 2021 before he moved to Christchurch 12 months later and joined Arizto, our ‘Rising Star' Bhupal appreciates the support he has behind him as he pounds the pavement.

"Self-Motivation is the key here to get more work. Some people are motivated with money and some are success hungry - I fall in the latter category.

"It all started in March 2022 when I work up one Saturday and was cursing myself as I had an empty calendar and I said to myself, ‘ I need to be outside - meeting people, running opens, private viewings on the weekend'.

"I tried social media marketing, meeting new people, went to different events arranged by banks, brokers, lawyers to form connection.

"Big thanks to Anna James as she gave me some of her open homes to run - I met clients there and some future vendors too."

An admitted novice on digital systems like Arizto's until he began training on them, Bhupal has made the springboard from those technical systems and looked to extend his reach in the online space.

"I try and feature in my listing videos, which I think is very important," he said

"For people to remember you, they need to see you consistently. I keep the same routine with every listing and I market it on different groups on social media along with paid marketing etc.

"When a potential client sees the consistency and the effort which is being put and the great results which come out on the other side, [then] when it is time for them to sell, they would remember and call for a meeting.

"Not every client is going to go with us for XYZ reason but with our amazing offerings and 'what you say', 'how you say' and 'how you connect', securing the listing gets easy - especially if clients have seen you in action and have checked feedback portals and previous sales."

Bhupal's clients trust him with their biggest asset, so he knows how important gaining their confidence can be – with one of the key methods being showing them how straight forward the process can be under Arizto's digital format.

A classic example was a modern 2019 home he sold in December in the Selwyn District's rapidly growing town of Rolleston.

"When the seller connected with me, the seller was overseas.

"When open homes were run, another agent covered for me. I did the negotiations over the phone and till date haven't met the seller or buyer, as now I am overseas.

"I think being so digital, it has taken about 75% of my work load and saved ample time."

This extends to the support team, who both Bhupal and Lamont credit for making their work for vendors so much more straight forward.

"Incredible. If the systems are in place and support is available promptly, then most of the times virtual works better [than office staff] as again, it saves time," said Bhupal.

"The vibe within the Christchurch team to say the least is awesome. Everyone tends to help each other.

"Even though in a way we are competition for each other, but majority of team members feel that in order to represent and grow the brand, we need to stick together and be one team."


And the team will be busy – the latest statistics from REINZ for January 2024 show Canterbury's median property price increased by 1%, year-on-year, to $649,000, while for December it was 1.4% to $660,000 - noteworthy in the Christmas and New Year holiday months.

After a post-earthquake slow down – the greater Christchurch population is projected to grow from close to 520,000 in 2019 by nearly 100,000 more come 2038 – suburbs will have to expand with more houses built.

But even with the facelift, the city is a grand old lady that will always have a busy real estate market.

"As a born and bred East-sider, I don't think you can go past the beauty the east of Christchurch has," says Pierce.

"Our 'Redzone' has been curated into some of the most open and nature-filled areas in the country and the shoreline of New Brighton, Redcliffs and Sumner are something to behold.

"South New Brighton is one of the cheapest places to purchase beach-adjacent property and is a stone's throw from anywhere in the city."

"Canterbury is full of hard-working people who love to know they are looked after.

"As we have grown and shown what we are capable of by recording some great sale results through different marketing methods and with different types of property, all at a fairer fee with no added extras, Cantabrians have realised the traditional way of conducting real estate is not the only way."

There you have it, in black and white. Or should that be red and black?

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