Crosby: Hi Marie, thanks for spending the time with me on this. Let’s get straight into it, where’s your place in delivering our homes?
Marie: Well off the cusp I’m a sales consultant working at Hobsonville Point now and I really love getting people into their homes, you know selling a product that I really believe in. Yes, I like to sell something I believe in.
Crosby: And how has that been over the years? The good and the not so?
Marie: Well, you know there was really only one person who wasn’t pleased with their home. They felt it was a bit small - It was a one beddy and she was an elderly lady. So that was a bit of a shame, but we really don’t get much negative feedback. Clients just walk into their new home for the first time and love them!
Crosby: How about recently then, tell me about one of your most recent clients?
Marie: Yes, that’s a real positive one. A young couple came to visit us months ago. They wanted one of our homes, but couldn’t sell their house. Then, just a few weeks ago off the back of a Facebook advert actually, they came back in. They had now sold their house and pretty much knew exactly what they wanted. They got less money than they expected for their house but made an offer on another one of our homes that suited them better price-wise. A lovely young couple with a toddler and another on the way.
Crosby: Why did they want this property, especially since there is a lot of choice in the marketplace?
Marie: Well for one thing our it has a big reserve on their front doorstep, and the backyard is good enough for the young ones, when they are older, with no roads to cross they can play in the park. It was also a good price point and ticked all the boxes for them. I think they will be really happy there.
Crosby: You have a passion for this then, what gives you the most satisfaction or enjoyment?
Marie: I really love to help people in the process of buying a home and in selling them a great investment. I am a big believer in people investing in the future and getting on the property ladder. You know the question I am asked about the most, probably by every second person who visits us is ‘do I live in Hobsonville Point?’. Now I live in Orewa, always have, but what I can say is I do own a house in Hobsonville Point. We have had it for a few years now and it has only had one tenant. So, with conviction I can say that Hobsonville Point is not a bad place to own a home in.
Crosby: What are some of the things you do that people may not think a sales consultant does?
Marie: Ok, we have to follow the clients through with their lawyers and banks etc – and it doesn’t really stop. Yes, Universal has a Customer Service department, and that helps immensely but quite often I am the one clients like to contact. You know, we are the person that they have most confidence with, we sold them the home in the first place. But it’s all the little things as well, we let people get in to measure for curtains, we show valuers through the home and today for example I am measuring the space for a fridge. There are lots of questions along the way supporting them through the process from start to finish including welcoming them into their new home on settlement day. Also, for first home buyers, I really keep them up to speed on the process. All the little things really make a difference. I have a Customer Service background so….
Crosby: Oh really, where did you work before Universal?
Marie: Ah no, I did that at Universal. I was a Customer Service rep for five years. Actually, before that I was in the Construction department, straight out of school, updating purchase orders, construction programmes and colour options, those type of things. So, I have been at Universal for ahemm, [quietly] 20 years.
Crosby: You’ve seen many of the ins and outs then of working with clients and how we build houses. Why after a number of years did you choose Sales then?
Marie: Well I am not going to lie - for me it was preparing for the future, with kids on the horizon and my husband’s work I wasn’t going to be able work in the 8 to 5 type arrangement – but I really love property. So, this job share Sales Consultant opportunity came about and I applied and here we are.
Crosby: Let’s look forward, what do you see as the future of property sales?
Marie: We still need people on the ground; People still need a personal touch. Looking at the internet might allow people to be better informed and come armed with their research, but at the end of the day they want to see the property or sit down and discuss floor plans and the specifications in detail face to face with someone. Maybe it’s a Kiwi thing and more people will start buying without a Consultant or Agent, but I don’t see it, especially in New Zealand. Of course, we sell only once construction has started so we have to talk them through the plans and when the market is hot or where we only have limited availability; they don’t have the luxury of waiting until the property is completed. Almost everything we sell is sold before construction is completed.
Crosby: So, to conclude this pleasant discussion – what else keeps you busy?
Marie: With a five and an eight-year old they are fairly full on and keep me busy, and I love baking, cooking, camping and bike riding with my family. But my husband and I really love property, it’s our passion, we live and breathe it. My husband is a builder so we do some of our own renovations etc.
Crosby: Thanks Marie. It’s a nice sunny day, so I will let you get back to Hobsonville.