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.