Lead­ing the way in property man­age­ment


A ca­reer in real es­tate is not what Greg Wat­son had his sights set on when he left univer­sity, but it has cer­tainly been a ca­reer path to suc­cess.

With a Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence and de­grees in psy­chol­ogy and in­for­ma­tion sys­tems Greg was look­ing at a ca­reer in de­sign­ing com­puter sys­tems for busi­nesses.

‘‘But I re­alised that wasn’t my thing, I’m a peo­ple per­son and I like help­ing peo­ple,’’ says Greg.

At that time his fa­ther Ken and brother Mar­cus were look­ing at start­ing a real es­tate business and asked if Greg was in­ter­ested in join­ing them.

‘‘I was in­ter­ested even though I never thought real es­tate was some­thing I would do.’’

At first Greg worked in ad­min­is­tra­tion then moved into sales. Mov­ing from sales to property man­age­ment was a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion. When the com­pany’s property man­ager de­parted Wat­son Real Es­tate Greg saw it as an op­por­tu­nity to grow that part of the business. ‘‘I took an op­por­tu­nity from early on to just try to grad­u­ally im­prove every as­pect of what we do in property man­age­ment on an on-go­ing ba­sis.’’

Greg says part of the com­pany’s phi­los­o­phy to­ward con­tin­u­ally im­prov­ing is to at­tend con­fer­ences with their staff. ‘‘In 2008 we at­tended an REINZ property man­age­ment con­fer­ence in Ro­torua and we saw an­other of­fice win an award as of­fice of the year. A week later the staff set a goal of want­ing to win the award to be the best of­fice in New Zealand within two years. Ev­ery­one worked hard on im­prov­ing what we do and we won top of­fice of the year in 2009, a year sooner than we hoped.’’

Since that ini­tial win Greg says he is ex­tremely proud that his team and the com­pany have won every cat­e­gory in the REINZ na­tional awards for property man­age­ment.

Greg be­lieves Wat­sons would never be able to com­pete with large property man­age­ment com­pa­nies in terms of the size of their mar­kets and bud­gets.

‘‘So we de­cided to com­pete on the ba­sis of in­no­va­tion and word of mouth.’’

That in­no­va­tion has in­cluded Wat­sons be­ing the first com­pany to ad­ver­tise rental prop­er­ties on the in­ter­net, as far as Greg is aware, and the first com­pany to pro­duce full colour brochures of its rental prop­er­ties.

‘‘We were also the first to pro­duce walk­through videos of rental prop­er­ties and the first to give money back guar­an­tees. But of course these are all com­mon place in property man­age­ment now so that’s why it’s im­por­tant to keep look­ing for in­no­va­tions to keep ahead.’’

Greg says these are the sorts of things that lead to happy clients and happy ten­ants who then tell their friends. ‘‘And this leads to our lat­est in­no­va­tion which is to live stream view­ings of prop­er­ties for ten­ants. Every in­no­va­tion we come up with is de­signed to cre­ate a bet­ter client ex­pe­ri­ence or to get bet­ter re­sults.’’

Con­se­quently, Greg says Wat­sons has made a lot of changes to im­prove cus­tomer ser­vice and sub­se­quently help land­lords earn more and re­duce va­can­cies.

‘‘In 2012 our com­pany won the Global Business Net­works In­ter­na­tional Bench­mark Award for our ap­proach to in­no­va­tion. I would never have thought a property man­age­ment com­pany with a staff of 10 would win an in­ter­na­tional award up against com­pa­nies such as Canon In­dia and Dubai Po­lice who have a staff of 30,000. That was a won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ence.’’

Greg is ex­cited about the fu­ture of property man­age­ment. ‘‘There are al­ways ways to im­prove what we do and cre­ate a greater client ex­pe­ri­ence. We have a ded­i­cated team who are re­ally en­thu­si­as­tic about do­ing a great job. We will con­tinue to em­ploy top peo­ple and train them in the lat­est tech­niques in property man­age­ment. Our pro­fes­sion is be­com­ing very skilled and owners will see even greater value from hav­ing their prop­er­ties man­aged.’’

Greg sees tech­nol­ogy as play­ing an im­por­tant part in ed­u­cat­ing and re­la­tion­ship build­ing with clients. ‘‘Our Face­book page ‘Wat­son Real Es­tate Ltd’ has con­stant up­dates and help­ful ad­vice for owners and ten­ants. We are see­ing more peo­ple tak­ing ad­van­tage of fol­low­ing our page. They see real value in it. It will be in­ter­est­ing to see what property man­age­ment will look like in 20 years’ time and I look for­ward to help­ing our clients well into the fu­ture.’’

Wat­son Property Man­age­ment owner and Business De­vel­op­ment Man­ager Greg Wat­son.

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