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Archive for the ‘The lighter side’ Category


12 Properties for Christmas – Day 2

Posted on: December 14th, 2013 | Filed in Featured, Other interesting reads:, The lighter side

Yesterday, my true love gave to me a stunning beachfront property with private beach access...

11 days out from Christmas my true love could give to me … A romantic art noveau house with sweeping views.

Re-live the romance of yesteryear in this huge traditional 1930’s Art Deco home.

Hey, I could almost see myself moving to Hamilton for this, can certainly see the kids and I having fun in the pool, entertaining indoors or out, throw-downs on the lawn or just relaxing in one of those lounges.

By Phillip Dunn
Acting CEO


12 Properties for Christmas

Posted on: December 13th, 2013 | Filed in The lighter side

At, we don’t just think of this time of the year as the silly season. It’s a time to take stock, to celebrate our successes and to spend quality time catching up with friends and family.  We all know, of course, that Christmas is also the time for giving.  With that in mind, we present to you’s “12 Properties of Christmas”! 

So, it can’t hurt to add these to the wish list and if you’re on Santa’s nice list… well, who knows?  It is, afterall, the most magical time of the year!

Twelve days out from Christmas my true love could give me…. a stunning cliff top paradise with private beach access.

Brought to you by Karen Asquith of Mackys Real Estate – Bayleys Orewa

Why go on holiday this summer when you could just stay at home? A living paradise high on the cliff tops, surrounded by palm trees with stunning views of the gulf islands. This three storied home comes complete with a spacious deck on each level, sweeping staircases and a cosy wood burning fire. The best part is your own private beach access – just a stroll down the stairs through the lush bush. You can enjoy the most beautiful sunrise as you eat breakfast then spend the afternoon sunbathing with a pina colada on the private deck – this house will definitely give you that holiday all year round feeling.

By Phillip Dunn
Acting CEO


Real estate, revolution and robots

Posted on: July 9th, 2013 | Filed in International, Market News, social media, Technology, The lighter side’s Acting CEO, Phillip Dunn, is currently in San Francisco to attend Real Estate Connect.

The way we live has undergone massive transformation in recent years. I love using technology and digital tools to help with the simple stuff such as scheduling appointments and staying in touch with friends, to the previously impossible – such as using insights gained from the website to compile our monthly property report.

With how we live changing so much, it makes sense that the way we buy, sell, find and research property is also continuously evolving. The game of real estate is not static. As a web-based company, we’re acutely aware of the need to stay up-to-date with not only our core business, but also with how you want to connect with us, talk to us and what you’ll want to know down the track. Luckily, the future excites us.

San Francisco’s Real Estate Connect Event is the ideal opportunity to learn about, the “trends that will shape our world and business: robotics, crowdfunding, big data, and machine learning”. I, for one, am looking forward to learning more about the connection between robotics and real estate! I intend to connect with like-minded industry colleagues and bring key insights back to

The conference will run from 9 – 11 July. If you’re interested in following the conversation, you can use #ICSF  to stay up-to-date on Twitter. I’ll be posting from my own account  and on behalf of  Follow me now to get the inside view right from day one!

I look forward to keeping you updated during the conference.


Phillip Dunn


Most sought after holiday property hotspots revealed

Posted on: February 8th, 2013 | Filed in The lighter side

Bay of Plenty tops search list for beachfront houses, baches and bungalows

Each summer holiday we wonder where in NZ the top spots to travel are, so the team at have done some analysis of where people have been searching for holiday properties and come up with the top 10 holiday destination in New Zealand.

Forget a quiet, rustic bach on a relaxed beach with uncrowded waves, and few people around – New Zealanders want to own bachs near shopping malls, cinemas, good roads, and the comforts of the city. Data from visitor searches on the website in 2012 showed Mt Maunganui ranked in the number one spot on the site’s top 10 hottest coastal property locations for prospective buyers.

‘The Mount’, as it is affectionately known, recorded a full quarter (25.2%) of all hits in the top ten, with neighboring Papamoa coming in second spot, securing 24% of coastal property web traffic.

Together, these locations in the Tauranga, Bay of Plenty region accounted for almost half of the top ten most-viewed holiday home locations. It’s the second year in a row the two Tauranga coastal towns have dominated search results, with both topping the 2011 rankings.

The trending interest towards the Bay of Plenty region is clearly linked to lifestyle, showcasing a great climate, fantastic beaches, access to medical facilities and good shopping.. Tauranga and its surrounding coastal areas are experiencing high levels of beachfront development recently, which naturally results in increased interest and strong demand. High value, top-end properties valued at over $1 million dollars in these area’s are also attracting a lot of interest, and are pushing up prices and demand.

Thames-Coromandel holiday spots Whitianga, Whangamata and Tairua also featured in the top 10 most searched for locations, but sat well behind Mt Maunganui in popularity. Just one Auckland beachside property location was on this year’s list, with Rodney’s Snells Beach on the east coast making it into ninth spot. Waning in popularity is Whakatane’s Ohope Beach which slipped off the top 10 list from it’s 10th placing in 2011.

The full rankings on this year’s list follow:

Top 10 Most Searched for Holiday Home Destinations (Jan – Dec 2012)

By Paul McKenzie, Marketing Manager,

If you have any comments or enquiries about the NZ Property Market or about marketing your property online, please contact me via Email, Google, or Twitter


The answer to your prayers – buy a church

Posted on: February 2nd, 2012 | Filed in The lighter side

It seems a very suitable headline for the advertising of a church for sale just outside Oamaru. This historic church at Awamoko is up for sale and could well be the answer to your prayers or maybe not!

There are currently 9 churches for sale around NZ.

View Churches for sale in NZ in a full screen map

Some grander than others, they are spread around the country and range from the private chapel as part of this homestead in Lawrence in Otago to what must be the most striking church on offer – this Presbyterian church in Roslyn, Dunedin.

Buying a church though can have its risks and complications. This iconic Devonport church when put up for sale late last year encountered a stumbling block in the sale process with the discovery of unmarked graves. This matter has now been resolved with the separate sale of just the building, however it does naturally provide a challenge when dealing with such buildings.

The appeal of these magnificent properties is undeniable – they represent impressive collections of architectural features, extensive use of native timbers crafted into majestic structures that can be skillfully designed into stunning homes for future generations and thereby secure the heritage value of these buildings.

However renovations of churches are not without there challenges – a number of such examples have been sighted on the UK series of Grand Designs over the years – many take a number of years to complete – with some costing more than financial burden.

To those that are strong willed and relish a project then buying a church as a renovation project may well just be the answer to their prayers!



The great tour is done!

Posted on: December 16th, 2010 | Filed in Featured, social media, The lighter side, Website news

Queenstown stopover airport 3

Tuesday the 14th December 2010 may not go down as a historic day is the same manner as the First Moon Landing or the invention of the Guttenberg Press, but in its own way it was a significant day.

It was the day of the Great New Zealand Property Tour – a fun and unique event to showcase the capabilities of the new iPhone app from

Air New Zealand Bookings - Multistop Search for FlightsWe wanted a means by which we could show off the extensive coverage of the app around NZ. So rather than invest in world leading advertising campaign featuring international TV stars to showcase the extremes of NZ coverage; we in typical kiwi style grabbed a couple of flights to set off around the country and try and get to 6 locations across the North and South Island in a day – only using scheduled flights.

14 hours after we set off from Auckland we returned home having taken 6 flights and seen 5 locations around the country and more importantly demonstrated the app at each location.

Due to the vagaries of the weather we had to unfortunately skip the stop-over in Blenheim. We did however touchdown at Napier, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown and Auckland.

Elvis- smallThrough the day we encountered some really great people – Elvis (aka Brian Childs) in Wellington, Louise McLeavy in the Garden City and Mark Martin in Queenstown – all great real estate agents and all passionate about the new app for their clients. It is great to see the way the real estate profession is adopting new technology and demonstrating to their clients the power of open accessible data.

We actively used social media during the day – employing both Twitter and Facebook to engage the growing audience with the fun and appreciation of the app. We created a unique Twitter page which captured 171 followers during the day, this was supported by tweets from key people in our team with their own tweets and also the twitter page. On Facebook we created a special section on the Facebook page to profile the tour and gained over 200 new fans on the day – come and join us and follow us on both now! We also added all the videos we produced on the day tracking our path round the country.

Prizes were flowing thick and fast with vouchers, a Foosball table and 2 iPhones – thanks to the great team at Westpac. These prizes were given away to fast fingered tweeters who decrypted the clues sent out when we landed at each location.Queenstown villas small

We had a chance at each location to launch the app and examine the market and in some cases we chatted to the agents to get them to give us a perspective on the property market. Our time at most locations did not allow us to check out any property with the exception of Queenstown where Mark Martin showed us this amazing Alpine villa property perched magnificently high atop Queenstown Hill. The property was easily found via the app with some awesome photos. We did our own checks on the home, storing images and making notes on bedrooms, bathrooms and gardens.


Starring in order of appearance

Brian Childs (aka Elvis) – Professionals Hutt City

Aaron Davis – apologies from 16,000 ft over Blenheim

Louise McLeavey – Harcourts

Mark Martin – Harcourts Queenstown

Original concept – Bullet PR

Screenplay – Nicholas O’Flaherty

Script – done on the fly productions

App design and build: Cactus Lab – Karl, Matt and the team

Prizes :

Mitre 10

Urbis Magazine

Hire a Hubby

Westpac Bank – Adrian McCaffrey : Marketing Manager – Housing


Video camera operator – Tammy Smith

Video equipment – Flip camera : Barnacle Barnes

All technology used in this production of this blog post and the whole of the NZ Property Tour was courtesy of Apple Computers

Make up – not enough time to apply any!

Facebook pages – Skinny marketing – Andrew & Anthony

Video upload – Skinny Marketing

Catering services – Air New Zealand Koru lounges

Tweeter – @nzpropertytour : Robyn Ellson

Tweeter – @realestateconz : Kerry Kissane

Tweeter – @bulletpr : Alex Erasmus

Tweeter – @alistairnz : Alistair Helm

Ground Transportation – Christchurch : Jackie (Christchurch Blue Star Taxis)

Flight planning co-ordination : Air New Zealand excellent online booking

Flight rescheduling : Adrian – Air New Zealand Koru lounge concierge

All flights – Air New Zealand

Special thanks to Westpac bank for being a great partner in developing and promoting the app


Adding a dose of humour to real estate search

Posted on: April 14th, 2010 | Filed in Cool sites, International, The lighter side Australia's leading real estate websiteThe leading Australian website (not related to – just smart use of domain name) has undergone a significant rebuild. There are many aspects of the site re-design that underlie the leadership role that the site plays in the Australian market. The site eclipses the nearest competitor, the Fairfax owned by a significant margin.

The last annual report showed the site with over 5 million unique browsers per month more than twice their competitor and with a content of over 570,000 listings.

The new site is worth a view as there are some very impressive developments. My favourite would be the “compare” feature which creates the ability of side by side comparison of favourite properties, much in the way you would do with a comparison shop or a digital camera.

However the thing that I found engaging is their digital media campaign. The site has 8 exclusively made 90 second videos that in a light hearted way pokes fun at scenarios where property seekers use all kinds of underhand (as opposed to “under-arm”) tactics to get the upper hand in property buying.

I have watched them all and think that they strike the right balance of suitable tongue-in-cheek, mixed with warmth and that great Aussie charm! If I had to select a favourite it would be this one called “Detour”. Enjoy.

And just in case anyone was wondering we have exciting news coming very soon in regard to


Living in a shoe box

Posted on: December 10th, 2009 | Filed in The lighter side

1203_MicroApt_CHEAt 14.1 square metres this New York apartment would have to be one of the smallest real estate offerings – and at US$150,000 (NZ$208,000) – it could be one of the priciest at a staggering NZ$14,775 per sq metre!

However I guess that is the cost of Manhattan – one of the priciest parts of the big Apple. The couple who own the property Zaarath and Christopher Prokop have been featured in the New York Post and on the US real estate website of Zillow and provide in the article some great perspective of how to live in a property which is smaller than a single garage or boat shed!

The key aspect of life in this tiny apartment is not to use it for anything more than sleeping – the owners eat out all the time and best of all was the description of the fact that they jog to work picking up their clothes from dry cleaners on the way – beats closet storage!

When it comes to NZ and especially Auckland there has been much written around the quality of living experiences in some of the recent decade’s apartment blocks built around the CBD – none quite of the scale of 14 sq m, more like 30 sq metres. The main difference between NY and Auckland is the fact that NY has been a city of high density inner city living for more than a century and has developed a culture and a rich infrastructure of services to meet this demand of lifestyle city living, whilst Auckland has little of this type of infrastructure.

Another compelling difference is in quality of build and services. In the case of NY that is evident in this apartment’s US$700 per month service fee which will go to the on-going up-keep and maintenance as well as services for the apartment block. Most modern Auckland apartment blocks were built with less extensive services envisaged or provided.

As to the kind of apartments on offer in Auckland today – two at the small end of the scale caught my eye – this 1 bedroom 40 sq m on the market at $108,000 or else how about this colourful 22 sq m one on the market at $129,000.


Building your investing skills – fast, fun and so real!

Posted on: November 20th, 2009 | Filed in Money Matters, The lighter side

The Investment GameI am sure like me there are many times when you hear about the results of an investment proposal after it has grown in value or fallen in value and you wished there was a way you could have experienced the risk and challenges of the investment market without risking your home and livelihood.

Well there is now a game, which having played it recently I can say is as close to real investing as you can possibly get. The Investment Game developed locally by Frank Newman brings out the real competitive characteristics often not seen since the last time you played Monopoly.

openbox_lrHowever the comparison of this game to Monopoly really starts and ends with the fact that it uses virtual money and is played on a board – this game is vastly different and far more challenging and engaging.

The game is certainly not for kids and the word game is only true as in there is a winner who at the end of the allotted time has the greatest wealth – pretty simple, but wait to see how the game operates. The game is played on a table with the ubiquitous board, player pieces and dice – however without a PC on hand this game goes nowhere – this game comes to life around the virtualisation of a marketplace defined by a share market, a property market and the financial market.

boardvisual_lrEveryone starts with identical wealth and selects their investment strategy – combination of shares, property, education and derivatives. Set against this chosen path the players face the changes and trends in the market which as perfectly life-like, especially as they are based on real data of market movements of the past 20 years.

This is as the profile and feedback says more of an education that a pure game, however it does not lack that aggressive and at times manic pace of ambition which pervades any good team game. This game is fun and having played it with the team at the other week – we collectively decided we want to play it again, a 90 minutes game certainly didn’t feel like we did justice to it, so I suspect we will have a re-match very soon.

The game is 100% kiwi owned and developed and with the support of key sponsors (full disclosure here is a sponsor) this excellent game is available in stores or by online ordering which Frank Newman has set up through this link. The game costs $149.95 plus $10 post and packaging within NZ.

This game would make a great Christmas present or client gift – it has been rated as the best new game of the year by the NZ Games Association.

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