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Carol Benny, Leading New Zealand Franchise leads in Property Management

With over 125 years of experience, Harcourts is New Zealand’s largest and most trusted real estate brand. This success is based on many factors, but its people and how they work for clients as one team is a key driver. Property management is a significant part of the New Zealand business with over 18,500 properties managed by over 100 offices. We talked to Carol Benny, the Property Management Operations Manager for the network, about the brand, her role and the future for property management in the Harcourts New Zealand business.

Carol, tell us about your background

I have been with Harcourts for almost 16 years. The first eight years were as a property manager for one of our Harcourts franchises, before moving into the corporate role I have today. I have also been on the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) property management committee for over 14 years. My team champion property management on behalf of our offices and assist them and their staff to build better property management businesses.

What are your responsibilities to business owners?

Harcourts New Zealand is committed to assisting our business owners and working with their teams to ensure they are providing the best possible service to clients. It means a lot of time travelling between regions and a typical week could involve up to four days on the road, visiting up to six offices. On a daily basis, we provide training on a wide range of topics such as legislation, systems and procedures and customer service. We also provide ongoing mentoring to our staff. Harcourts maintains an intranet which provides regularly reviewed and updated standardised forms, checklists, manuals and letters that are specific to property management.

An important aspect of what we do is to help business owners recognise and realise the financial benefit of good property management. We offer advice on growth strategies and rent roll acquisition, and then assist with due diligence, valuation, negotiation and induction of an acquisition. We also assist with business planning, monitoring monthly KPIs and researching new products and technologies that may help our offices.

In addition, we produce monthly newsletters for our staff to share with their clients, oversee an awards system which recognises our best property managers and provide industry representation for Harcourts through the REINZ.

How significant is property management to Harcourts New Zealand?

Property Management is a vital and integral part of our business. We are committed to improving the services our offices offer to our clients across New Zealand and there is a huge emphasis on developing property management. Our offices have corporate support behind them at all times. When something challenging happens, being part of New Zealand’s largest real estate group allows the corporate team to step in and assist. This was very evident during the Christchurch earthquakes, when it was all hands on deck to assist.

What is the future for property management in Harcourts New Zealand?

Our goal is for Harcourts to lead New Zealand property management, both in terms of the quality of our service and the results we deliver. Our short term goal is to reach 20,000 properties under management by the end of this financial year, mainly through organic growth. Acquisition of new franchises and existing offices will take us past 20,000 sooner. We will continue to encourage all property owners to have their properties managed by a professional agent, rather than do it themselves, for both the peace of mind and quality of service we provide.

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Carol Benny, Leading New Zealand Franchise leads in Property Management