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All about Alison

Alison Aitken has been in the real estate game for three decades, so to say she is at the top of her league is an understatement. The Harcourts Grenadier agent is greatly recognised by both her peers and the community – she was inducted into the prestigious Harcourts’ Hall of Fame in 2011 and in 2019 became the first (and only) Harcourts salesperson to achieve $1 billion in settled sales. Often you read all about properties and what distinguishes them from the rest. We thought we’d take the time to do the same for Alison.



How was lockdown for your bubble?
Extremely comfortable, we got back to the basics of cooking, gardening, exercise, reading (no TV) and plenty of relaxation. I did very little work except talking to my great client base simply to see if they were ok.

Was your heart always set on real estate?
No, an interesting journey through farm cadetship, banking, hospitality and small business ownership – they all helped shape and form me.

What distinguishes you from the competition?
I work for a great company, part of a superb global network. I have a fantastic team of different ages and different skills which complement each other. We work hard and love what we do.

What advice would you give to someone who is wanting to start in Real Estate?
Get a good platform, a company with good management, training, and resources. The best start is to become part of a high performing team. Be prepared for the sacrifices you need to make, without them there are no rewards.


New ‘normal’ for real estate: Ray White

The face of real estate is undergoing a considerable change due to Covid-19 restrictions. Marijke Sheppard of Ray White Rangiora says, “It’s more important than ever before that buyers and sellers do their homework well in advance”.



“They should build a good relationship with their mortgage broker or bank, seek out an agent who is innovative, tech savvy and works for a company that has a vast range of technological features to draw from, is innovative in the platforms they use and leads from the front.”

With face-to-face restrictions, spatial distancing, the demand for digitalising of documents and the ‘new norm’ of private viewings with no open homes, people need to do their homework thoroughly before they even step onto the property.

Strict protocols are in place to ensure the safety of all. Gone will be the ability to open doors and cupboards freely, stay as long as you like or attend multiple open homes.

This is the time for a comprehensive checklist. “Without the luxury of that half hour or more to wander around a house, a checklist is imperative!” Marijke says.

“Buyers need to look at their own homes, note what makes it work, what doesn’t, what is a must in their new home and what they can compromise on.

“The buyer that is prepared will be in a strong position to take advantage of this challenging period in our history and secure their future with a solid investment in a property.”

For more information, phone 027 461 6127 or email


Getting your home noticed online: Mike Pero

COVID-19 has changed the way we buy and sell real estate. With social distancing and more people viewing and transacting property online, it has never been so important for your real estate agent to arrange exceptional virtual property presentations.


Now more than ever, professional video and quality still photography will help your home stand out from other properties for sale.

Compiling online audio-visual begins with still photography taken with a specialised lens and a video walk-through to showcase the property in more detail.

A drone-mounted camera provides the best angles and aerial shots, while dusk lighting and virtual staging provides the finishing touches to the presentation.

Preparation of the property for photo and video begins well before the day the photographer arrives.

It starts by considering your street appeal and building maintenance issues, decluttering and freshening up your decor and perhaps some professional staging.

How a property presents on a website as well as television needs to be kept in mind, as every listing with Mike Pero Real Estate gets a free television commercial, reaching thousands across New Zealand.

As your appointed agent, Annette Pendergast will advise you on the best way to market your property, including an overall online marketing campaign to ensure your home sells quickly and for the best price possible.

“I can provide objective advice on the presentation of your property, and help you prepare in advance and also on the day.”

Annette is an experienced real estate salesperson with Mike Pero Real Estate in Christchurch and delivers strategic, successful marketing campaigns.


30 year real estate journey

“Not bad for a girl from Shirley!” Alison Aitken of Harcourts Grenadier chuckles as she recalls her progress over the years from selling real estate in her own backyard to being inducted into the Harcourts’ Hall of Fame – the first real estate agent in the company to be awarded this honour by her peers.


Recognition at this level does not come without hard work, dedication and a genuine interest in both people and the real estate industry.

Rewind to 1990 and Alison enters real estate as PA to her agent husband. “I was thrown in at the deep end, but found I loved the environment.

That gave me the confidence to become an agent myself in 1991. It was a job I could do while balancing my role as a mother of two small children.”

During her journey of nearly 30 years in the business, Alison has proved she has the attributes required to win her clients’ trust.

“I’ve been lucky to have been asked to sell properties for more than one generation of families. I think perhaps I might be doing something right. I certainly do put 100 percent into my work. It is not a part-time business.”

Alison also truly loves running open homes and seeing and talking to so many people she knows.

“My experience has taught me that although every client and every property is different, everyone deserves to be treated with respect, consistency and care. My greatest joy is the people I work with.”

New Year, New Beginnings: Harcourts Merivale

Cindy-Lee Sinclair is thrilled to announce that Matt Kurtovich has joined her team.



“Some people impress from the very first meeting and Matt is one of those individuals,” Cindy-Lee says.

“He is experienced in working with people, and has those personal qualities that make him so well suited to the real estate profession. His capacity for hard work, his commitment to his clients and his ability to stop and listen to the needs, wishes and aspirations of those he works with mark him out as an exceptional person.

“Matt is the type of individual that plays the long game – he builds a meaningful understanding of his clients’ needs by listening and talking through the issues and following up.”

For Matt, it’s all about building relationships. “I’m all about commitment to ‘my people’, and staying with them as their needs and desires change and they move through different homes.”

Matt’s appointment is just one of the exciting new developments taking place at the Harcourts Merivale office, as this popular team grows and expands, so watch this space.

With Harcourts Merivale, you get a great team with the clout of the Harcourts brand; the real estate company with the biggest market share in Canterbury.

We’re quickly heading into the season for new beginnings, so pick up the phone and call now if you are thinking of buying or selling. Contact Cindy-Lee on 03 355 6677 or 0274 888 616. Email



The Seller Buyer Connection

On a daily basis in my job, I find there’s a lot of misconception when it comes to selling houses, real estate salespeople and real estate in general.


By Harcourts Gold New Brighton Licensed Sales Consultant Milena Bartlett


A lot of sellers hire an agent who has sold in the area and operates locally. While this is great, more important is an agent who has a truly consultative approach and will recognise and market the unique features of a property.

I always look at a property and try to identify its unique selling points:

• Does it have a great layout for a family?
• Is it next to a park or reserve
• If so, how can we show that in the photos?
• Is it built for the sun?
• Is it a project or ready to move into – therefore, are we appealing to The Block enthusiasts or time-poor families and busy professionals?

I don’t subscribe to the notion that a house will sell itself. I like to believe the unique selling points incorporated into my marketing plan will ensure the right buyer is identified and captured.

Vendors are our employers, but without the right care and attention given to a potential buyer, we will not have bidders in the auction room or an offer to present.

Buyers need to feel the right information is being supplied in a timely manner, with transparency and willingness to assist with viewings and additional questions. That’s where my background in teaching, retail, and sales of high-end products comes in handy. After all, as they say, ‘people buy from people’.




When it’s time to sell: Joe Butler

Joe Butler knows what he is good at and that’s selling houses. He’s been in the real estate business for some 25 years, has achieved at the highest level and still enjoys every moment of his job. “When you are doing something you like, it doesn’t feel like a job.”



Joe is not your everyday conventional real estate agent though – he offers a great deal more. That’s because he understands property from another perspective; having been involved as the owner of a building and painting company for more than 40 years. “I know about houses from the inside out. I can inspect a client’s house and advise them about any issues there may be and then help them to resolve these. Building is my forté and I know who to contact.”

Joe says that buyers today are very well informed about the value of various properties. “I am totally honest with my clients about what they can expect a buyer to pay. Being realistic is the approach most likely to result in a sale. If my clients have any hesitation about what their home is worth, I will even pay for a registered valuer to take a look.”

Joe says that spending quality time with clients and listening to them is very important. “As a former Royal Marine sniper I learned patience and time management and I bring those attributes, as well as a great deal of energy to each vendor.”

To take advantage of the Joe Butler difference, phone him on 021 328 193 or email



A passion for real estate: Ray White Rangiora

Just as no two homes are identical, real estate agents also come in their own unique package.



Now a team of three, Marijke Sheppard and PA Nicola Stokes have welcomed Amy Sheppard to the team. Amy joins Marijke as a salesperson for Ray White Rangiora after six years as a website designer and developer, bringing with her a degree in Visual Communication, which Marijke says is ideal in this ever-changing world.

Although new to the industry, Amy has a serious passion for the North Canterbury area and her strong work ethic, coupled with her social media and marketing skills, make her a valuable member of this dynamic real estate team, adding another dimension to the group.

The team endeavours to provide the very best service they can. With Marijke’s experience, the team’s attention to detail, plus the diverse collective skillset they offer, this team provides a professional 10/10 experience for all clients, from the very first point of contact to the final sign off.

“It is important that we, as sales professionals, are knowledgeable, up to date, well-informed and can be trusted to communicate effectively to our clients,” Marijke says. “Our goal is to ensure that all of our clients get the very best,” she adds.

For more information, phone Marijke (pronounced Ma-rye-ka) for a chat on 027 461 6127, email or visit

Morris and Co Real Estate Ltd Licensed (REAA 2008).




The season for selling

It’s the beginning of August already, and spring house-selling season is just around the corner. So if you have been toying with the idea of putting your house on the market either to upgrade or downsize, why not be smart and get a jump on other sellers. “Contact a real estate specialist now,” says Cindy-Lee Sinclair of Harcourts Merivale.



“Early spring is a really good time to sell because the market isn’t loaded with available properties and there are plenty of buyers looking.”

With Cindy-Lee working on your behalf you will have the benefit of her stellar record in real estate and her years of practical experience. For Cindy and her team of consultants, achieving exceptional results is the minimum standard. They know how to make things happen for their clients.

They are always keeping at the forefront of developments in marketing and communication techniques. “We’ve recently invested in the latest information technology to help us bring sellers and buyers together. It will truly revolutionise the way we market properties, as well as being environment-friendly by cutting down on paper. I’m all for a paperless office!”

But remember too, with Cindy-Lee as your agent you get even more – the clout of the Harcourts brand, the real estate company with the biggest market share in Canterbury. So make that smart decision to sell as soon as you can. It will pay off.
You can contact Cindy-Lee on 03 355 6677 or 0274 888 616. Email


The smarter way to sell: Tall Poppy Real Estate

Robyn Hallett has joined the Tall Poppy Real Estate team – bringing fairer fees to homeowners in Christchurch.



Robyn has been delighting clients in real estate since 2010. With a strong sales and marketing background spanning 25 years, she has a wealth of experience, giving her a clear understanding of how to market properties to their maximum effect. “When you’ve put the effort into marketing, you achieve the best result,” she says.

This wealth of experience means she puts the clients’ interests first, communicates clearly with regular follow-ups, and negotiates strongly and effectively. Her professionalism inspires trust and confidence, ensuring the process of selling or buying a property is kept easy and straightforward, leaving all parties delighted.

Her passion for real estate is plain to see, enabling her to go that extra mile, to obtain the best possible price, at the least cost, with minimum stress. Hard work is at the heart of her real estate philosophy. Working to high standards of business ethics, she understands the responsibility involved in managing the sale of what is usually her clients’ most valuable financial asset.

This from a recent seller: “Robyn gave us a detailed plan of how she was going to market the property, follow-up and feedback was excellent. We felt well-informed throughout the whole process. We particularly appreciated her effort and patience to understand our needs, helping us weigh up what was right for us, and gave sound advice.”

If you are looking for someone honest and caring, then contact Robyn on 027 762 9644. #WithYouAllTheWay