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The cutting edge of real estate in NZ

Posted by Steve Koerber on September 2, 2010

Today I attended the inaugural Future of Real Estate Conference in Auckland hosted by Alistair Helm of

The whole experience was fantastic and the quality of information shared by speakers and participants was truly outstanding.  I came away thinking that I was lucky to be a part of something that I know will grow much bigger in years to come.  I hope to be an integral participant in future conferences.

I thought about writing a big blog post here to cover evertyhing I learnt but one thing I learnt is that posts should be kept short if possible.  So here are some insights and sites recommended and discussed by the various speakers as follows:

Joel Burslem – Joel flew in from the USA.  He is a blogger, respected expert in the real estate field and an integral member of the 1000 Watt Consulting.  The following is a just a small sample of the sites (most are only available in USA for now) he suggested could help if you want to turbo charge your online presence:,,,,,,,

I discovered that Nicholas O’Flaherty and myself live in the same neighbourhood.  Nicholas consults to and runs the team at and also shared his involvement with the Auckland social media club that meets the first Tuesday of every month.  I was salivating at Nicholas’ menu of online journalist contacts and I’m going to investigate the PR side of promoting Remuera and my knowledge of the area and happenings.  One of Nicholas’ takeaways for me was that I should put more focus on becoming the ‘go to’ person for anything ‘Remuera’.  Nicholas introduced the audience to social network icons Ben Gracewood, Luke Appleby, Radio Wammo and local wine shop owner Jayson Bryant.  Other suggestions were and plus sage advice to use Google Analytics to enhance your website’s performance and effectiveness.

Charles Coxhead is one of NZ’s foremost experts on SEO (search engine optimisation) and SEM (search engine management).  Together with Nigel Varcoe he runs and is very knowledgable in all things Google.  He talked about the importance of links and google juice.  I now know that (unlike most platforms) Twitter stops Google juice with a condom to prevent mass spamming – sounds messy doesn’t it!  Check Google Places, Google Base, Google Social Search, Googleme, and so much more!

To be continued…….


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Anyone know which street this is?

Posted by Steve Koerber on August 25, 2010

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Wanted: Personal assistant

Posted by Steve Koerber on June 3, 2010

I have a successful friend/colleague (real estate salesperson) wanting to employ an efficient, driven, trustworthy person with a current real estate license.

The terms of employment and remuneration will be decided when the successful candidate is identified.  Hours can be flexible but may vary between 20 to 35 hours per week.

The following may describe the type of person this role would appeal to:

1.  You’ve previously sold real estate but you would prefer to leave the pressure of commission sales to your boss.  You know your way around a computer, especially microsoft outlook (not outlook express!).

2.  You are enthusiastic and entrepreneurial (perhaps in your twenties?), you have minimal sales experience, but you would appreciate the opportunity to learn from one of the best in the real estate business.  You are prepared to serve an apprenticeship and would be open to moving to commission sales once you have learnt the ropes.

3.  You’ve got a great smile and a great attitude.  You attract positive people and shun negativity.  You live close to central Auckland.

4.  DO NOT apply if you sometimes make spelling mistakes!

If this sounds of interest to you (or someone you know!) please send me an email in the first instance to  Attach a CV if you have one.  If you really are a ‘great’ candidate the absence of a CV may not matter.

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Chaos at the school gate

Posted by Steve Koerber on May 25, 2010

Did you know that school-related travel accounts for nearly half of all morning peak travel?

With this many vehicles dropping off or picking up students it can be a recipe for chaos at the school gates, with parents dropping off their children while double-parked, parking on broken yellow lines, blocking driveways and slowing traffic flow.

To sort out this growing problem, in early 2003 Auckland City Council started to enforce a zero tolerance policy towards those ignoring the traffic rules – the ‘Chaos at the School Gate’ programme. The programme has been very successful and is helping to reduce the danger to children as well as improve traffic flow around schools at this busy time of the day.

The programme includes placing parking officers on patrol outside schools to observe non-compliant behaviours and issue tickets to those illegally parked.

Auckland City Council runs the programme at 15 schools each term. Other schools can go on a waiting list for the next term . Schools that have experienced difficulties with illegal parking have first priority to join the scheme.

Schools on either programme are required to inform parents that the school is part of the Chaos at the School Gate scheme. Schools must put the information in their newsletter and a send a copy of this to the council.

If you would like to be part of the programme please contact

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Would raising the minimum wage in NZ cause businesses to fold?

Posted by Steve Koerber on January 19, 2010

The issue of raising NZ’s minimum wage from $12.50 to $15 has been in the news this month.

Whilst I can understand most wage earners desire to be paid more, most wage earners don’t need to worry about the minimum wage. Only 100,000 workers receive it.

Are you being paid $12.50 an hour? Do you know anyone who is? If so, is that person’s contribution to their employer worth $12.50 an hour or more?

If you were starting a business and needed to employ five people to sit and watch a computer screen, would you be comfortable paying them $12.50 to do so? You may want to pay them less, but you’re not allowed to. How would you feel if you were just starting to turn a profit after going deeply into debt to start your business, then the Government told you you had to pay your screen watchers $15 an hour?

American Samoa’s economy is in tatters because the USA recently forced its tuna industry to pay workers a higher minimum wage. The tuna industry there used to provide the USA with 80% of its canned tuna.  The industry employed one third of the working population. Now one of two companies has shut down, automated much of the canning process and moved to the USA. The poorest of the USA’s territories just got a whole lot poorer because of minimum wage fixing above rates that the market could tolerate.

In NZ how many small and medium manufacturing businesses, already struggling, will fold if told they have to pay their workers more. How will this effect the nation’s export earnings? Think of the extra dole payments needed to pay people out of work.

John key should ignore calls to raise the minimum wage because raising it will damage the economy and increase dependence on social welfare.

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Tiger Woods & The Speed of Trust

Posted by Steve Koerber on December 12, 2009

Words of wisdom for Tiger Woods with thanks to Stephen R. Covey and his excellent book ‘The Speed of Trust’.

Behavior #1: Talk Straight

– Be honest. Tell the truth. Let people know where you stand. Use simple language. Call things what they are. Demonstrate integrity. Don’t manipulate people or distort facts. Don’t spin the truth. Don’t leave false impressions.

Behavior #2: Demonstrate Respect

– Treat everyone with respect. Show kindness in the little things. Behave in ways that demonstrate caring and concern

– A good leader takes nothing for granted and recognizes the contributions made by everyone on the team

– Think about specific things you can do to show others you care about them. Call people. Write thank you notes. Give acknowledgement. Send e-mails of concern. Try to do something each day to put a smile on someone’s face

– Never take existing relationships for granted-particularly relationships with loved ones, family, and friends

Behavior #3: Create Transparency

– Transparency is about being open, real, and genuine and telling the truth in a way that people can verify

– Disclose relationships, interests, and conflicts ahead of time so that everything is always out in the open

Behavior #4: Right Wrongs

– Make things right when you’re wrong. Apologize quickly. Make restitution where possible. Practice service recoveries. Demonstrate personal humility. Don’t cover things up.

Behavior #5: Show Loyalty

– Give credit to others and speak about people as though they were present

– Go out of your way to give credit freely

– Make it a rule to never talk about family members in negative ways

Behavior #6: Deliver Results

– Clarify “results” up front. Make sure you thoroughly understand the expectation

– Before you make a commitment, make sure it’s realistic. To overpromise and underdeliver will make a withdrawal every time

– Try to anticipate needs in advance and deliver before the requests even come

– Establish a track record of results. Get the right things done. Make things happen. Don’t overpromise and underdeliver. Don’t make excuses for not delivering

Behavior #7: Get Better

– In seeking to get better, there are two strategies that are particularly helpful in maximizing your effort: seek feedback, and learn from mistakes (really all experiences)

– Continuously improve. Increase your capabilities. Be a constant learner. Develop feedback systems-both formal and informal. Act on the feedback you receive.

Behavior #8: Confront Reality

– Confronting reality is about taking the tough issues head on. It’s about sharing the bad news as well as the good, naming the “elephant in the room,” addressing the “sacred cows,” and discussing the “undiscussables.”

– Address the tough stuff directly. Acknowledge the unsaid. Lead out courageously in conversation.

Behavior #9: Clarify Expectations

– Create shared vision and agreement about what is to be done up front

– In every interaction-explicitly or implicitly-there are expectations

– Disclose and reveal expectations. Discuss them. Renegotiate them if needed and possible. Don’t assume expectations are clear or shared

– Clarify expectations both at work and at home

– Check for clarity by asking a few simple questions:

  • What have you understood from this conversation?
  • As a result of our interaction, what do you see as your next steps? What do you see as mine?
  • Do you feel that others are clear regarding expectations?
  • What can we do to make things more clear?

Behavior #10: Practice Accountability

– There are two key dimensions to practicing accountability:

  1. Hold yourself accountable
  • When people hold themselves accountable, it encourages others to do the same
  1. Hold others accountable
  • People respond to accountability-particularly the performers. They want to be held accountable

– Hold yourself accountable. Hold others accountable. Take responsibility for results. Be clear on how you’ll communicate how you’re doing-and how others are doing

Behavior #11: Listen First

– Listen before you speak. Understand. Diagnose. Listen with your ears-and your eyes and heart. Don’t assume you know what matters most to others. Don’t presume you have all the answers-or all the questions

Behavior #12: Keep Commitments

– Keeping commitments is the quickest way to build trust in any relationship

– Make commitments carefully and then keep them

– Don’t break confidences

Behavior #13: Extend Trust

– Demonstrate a propensity to trust. Extend trust abundantly to those who have earned your trust. Extend conditionally to those who are earning your trust.

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In real estate, everybody loves a bargain

Posted by Steve Koerber on October 22, 2009

Ever wondered why some people seem to have a real knack for picking up real estate bargains and finding unique opportunities before the masses?

During my real estate career I’ve learnt quite a lot about how clever property speculators become wealthy.  Have I followed their lead and jumped into opportunities myself?  Mostly not, but occassionally I’ve done ok, nothing spectacular.  For obvious reasons, laws make it quite difficult for real estate salespeople to make quick profits from property speculation.

The major lesson I’ve learnt is that successful property speculators and investors work just as hard as successful people in other walks of life.  They study, read, learn, research, etc.  Often, after many failures, small wins eventually turn into bigger wins and the rest is history. 

bushfiresA friend told me a few years ago about their friend who had flown to Canberra days after many homes in its outer suburbs had been burnt down by bushfires.  An extreme event like that caused a short-lived but extreme imbalance in property prices in the affected areas.  This person bought at extreme discounts and made extreme profits within 6 to 12 months when emotions returned to normal.

I’ve written this post because I have a hunch about an opportunity I’ve seen.  Of course I can’t guarantee any results and I will also disclose that I have a vested interest in the area affected – Remuera near the motorway between Market Rd and Greenlane roundabout.  I list and sell more homes in this area than any other real estate salesperson.

newmarketviaductgreenlaneTransit New Zealand is in the process of building a concrete noise barrier behind the houses that border the motorway along Lillington Rd.  When the noise barrier is completed it is likely to reduce noise in the area between Lillington Rd/Clonbern Rd and Remuera Rd.

If the noise reduction is significant, there could be a positive affect on the relative value of many of the homes within this area. 

How good is this opportunity?  Time will tell.  One thing’s for sure though, at the time of writing this blog post, a decrease in motorway noise has not been factored into the purchase price of any of the homes in this area.  Until now, I haven’t spoken to any potential purchasers who’ve mentioned the noise barrier.

The barrier is currently being constructed.  Here is a link to the only information I have.  I have requested more information and will add it here as it comes to hand.

Here is some info about the motorway widening to 4 lanes.

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Frustrated with auctions? Want to know what the vendor’s are expecting?

Posted by Steve Koerber on October 19, 2009

Have you ever been to an open home and asked the question “What are the vendor’s expecting?”

In New Zealand we bring so many homes to the market that have no pricing, it’s no wonder frustrated potential buyers are always asking the same question.  

Auction, tender, by negotiation, set sale, expressions of interest, CV$920,000, POA, PBN, etc, etc.

The other day I had a conversation with a lady who came through one of my open homes.  The property was going to auction and she said to me in a very matter-of-fact manner “You’re the local expert, how much do you expect this home to sell for?”

So how does an “expert” answer a perfectly reasonable question like that?

I’ll analyse her question step by step:

Firstly, she was absolutely correct. I am the local expert.  I’ve sold more homes in the area in question than any other agent.  I look inside more homes than any other agent and/or property valuer.  I see more homes than buyers see.  If anyone has a reliable crystal ball I should have the Ferrari of crystal balls!

Secondly, I still have difficulty guessing how much it will sell for.  It is an auction and the market will ultimately decide the home’s fate (and price).  Sure I could have said to her “it should sell in the $1million to $1.1million bracket”.  Why am I reluctant to say that?  For many reasons –

1.  If buyer sentiment changes (due to unforeseen circumstances) between now and the auction most buyers might freeze.  This would affect the value.

2.  If interest rates went up or down between now and the auction some buyers’ ability to buy might improve or get worse.  This would affect the value.

3.  If all similar properties available for sale all of a sudden sold, this would affect the value.  Similarly if the market was suddenly flooded with similar homes, that would affect the value.

4.  If a neighbour who had won lotto decided they need the land to house their new fleet of luxury cars, that would affect the value.

5.  If a motorway extension close by was announced, that would affect the value.

6.  If there was only one bidder, that would affect the value.

7.  If there were 20 bidders, that would affect the value.

The most important reason I would be reluctant to say that it should sell in the $1million to $1.1million range is this:  In case it doesn’t!  If the owner is so realistic that they just want to cut it loose it could sell in the $900,000s.  How would the buyer feel when they call me after the auction, me having said $1mil to $1.1mil and I say it sold for $910,000?

Sure, the same person could come to auction, bid it up to $1,050,000 and then see it sail up to $1.2million.  That could happen, but how much control do I (or they) have over that occurence?  Litttle or none!

The market is the market and the value is the price offered by the highest bidder.  When it comes to guessing or estimating the value, vendor expectations are completely irrelevant.  I understand why buyers ask the question, but hopefully I’ve explained why it can’t and shouldn’t be answered.

One of the most profound things I have learnt (from Tony Robbins) is that the quality of your life is determined by the quality of the questions you ask.  If you ask “what are the vendors expecting”, that’s not a great question.  Most people ask it, I know why they ask it, but it’s not going to help you to buy a home!  If you re-phrase and ask “would the vendors accept $1,000,000?” then you would be asking a very good question and you would be more likely to get a realistic answer.  (If I know the answer to that question  I’ll answer it).

Still not convinced?  Still think I must know what every home is worth?  Give my crystal ball a try…..    crystal ball

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Posted by Steve Koerber on July 20, 2009

  •  Style  2 separate blocks of 6 units each – must be sold together
  • For Sale :  $2,950,000
  • Construction : Brick, tile and weatherboard
  • Area of Land  : Each block is on 675sqm of freehold land
  • Floor Area :  85 Panorama Rd = 480sqm, 89 Panorama Rd = 469sqm
  • CV :  85 Panorama Rd = $960,000, 89 Panorama Rd = $970,000
  • Description : Each unit has three bedrooms and one bathroom, open plan dining / lounge and and single carpark
  • Rental Return :  Weekly rental is $3900.00 ie, $325 per unit per week
  • Legal description, rates, 2008 CV :  85 Panorama Rd   89 Panorama Rd
  • Viewing :  By appointment only

 Ref 438964   2/107 Lucerne Road, Remuera









  • For Sale :  $435,000
  • Style of Home : Brick and Tile Unit
  • Area of Land  : 1/3 share of 1011sqm (freehold crosslease)
  • Floor Area :  97sqm approximately
  • CV :  $375,000 (2008)
  • Living Areas :  1
  • Bedrooms:  2 doubles
  • Bathrooms  1
  • Title  click here
  • Legal description, rates, 2008 CV :  click here
  • Aerial View & School Zoning Information click here
  • 2009 Sales Stats : 
  • 3 Hobday Pl Meadowbank, CV $410,000,  2 bedrooms, Sold $395,000
  • 1/27 Lucerne Rd Remuera, CV $395,000, 2 bedrooms Listed at $449,000 Sold $415,000
  • 4/710 Remuera Rd Remuera, CV $425,000, 2 bedrooms, Auction $417,500
  • 2/576A Remuera Rd Remuera, CV $420,000 2 bedrooms, Auction $465,000
  • 42 Richard Farrell Ave Remuera, CV $320,000, 2 bedrooms, Sold $445,000
  • More Info :  A great 2 bedroom brick and tile unit with single internal access garaging well situated toward the bottom of Lucerne Road just moments walk from the Orakei Basin.  Units in locations as good as this are hard to come by so we’d suggest you ‘get in quick’.  Priced well to sell.
  • Viewing  First Open Homes This Saturday & Sunday 14 & 15th August 1 – 1.30pm 
  • Should you view this listing via the listing agent?  Answer here

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In Remuera people trust Barfoot & Thompson

Posted by Steve Koerber on June 3, 2009

BT Horiz lg logoAt Barfoot & Thompson we don’t often shout from the rooftops about our successes.  We just get on with doing the business we’ve been doing for over 80 years.  Whenever you see company Director Peter Thompson quoted in the media you’ll notice a conscious effort to report fact-based data and market commentary.  Check out our newest website for more information.

Speaking of facts, Barfoot & Thompson’s dominance of the Remuera market continues unabated.  Our research of actual sales shows an approximate 50% market share of all residential sales during 2008.  To demonstrate that was no fluke, B&Ts market share since January 2009 has remain ed firmly around the 50% level. 

As a consumer you have choice.  Luckily, in Remuera, this means you can choose to deal with a real estate company that consistently controls half the market.

Especially in Remuera, people trust Barfoot & Thompson.

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