After 60 years of real estate, Professionals Whakatane, an institution in Eastern Bay, has undergone a massive change.
While the people and service remain the same, the real estate company's bright red building on Landing Road now includes accents of blue – visual evidence of a revitalisation that comes with a change of ownership.
The Professionals brand has been shelved in the name of progress.
Property Brokers, a well-respected family-owned provincial and rural-based real estate agency took over the Professionals Whakatane business last Friday.
Company directors Kathryn McKay and Maurice Butler, say, "The decision to sell, and let go of the Professionals name, was not made lightly. It was made with the interests of the community in mind."
Continuing, "This decision will give local people even greater access to specialist rural, lifestyle and residential real estate services and property management."
"The infrastructure behind Property Brokers is something that I don't believe anyone in town has had before in our industry, so it's very exciting," Ms McKay said.
"Real estate is a challenging and constantly evolving business, and Property Brokers is well resourced, with a great track record in the provinces. She said being a family-owned business, Property Brokers had a very compatible culture to theirs, and they were looking forward to a progressive future for the business."
"We really believe this is an excellent fit, and the synergy is there with a similar culture and incredible support," she said.
"If you get too caught up in tradition then you'd just go stagnant … It was a tough call, but we think the benefits are there, the town's going to have a more energetic real estate company as another option."
Mr Butler said the service and support they would be able to offer clients in both sales and property management would increase.
"And because Property Brokers is provincial, they genuinely understand provincial towns; it's where they want to be."
They and operations manager Lee-Anne Butler have reassured the public of their continuing community focus.
"The Property Brokers mantra is 'when we shake your hand, we mean it'. People and community are really important.
'If you get too caught up in tradition then you’d just go stagnant … It was a tough
call, but we think the benefits are there, the town’s going to have a more energetic
real estate company as another option.' – Kathryn McKay
"We're all still here, and it's really about relationships … it's still the same, and you're still dealing with local people," she said.
Property Brokers is a proudly provincial company, 100 percent New Zealand owned, and has over 700 staff across 70 locations, throughout New Zealand.
Chief executive officer Bill Highet said the acquisition gave the company a great opportunity to be represented in the Eastern Bay by an expert team well respected by locals.
"We are a growing business, and our real estate track record is backed up with strong training, systems and marketing support," Mr Highet said.
Change is well underway with the Whakatane office a hive of activity, new signs up and staff participating in training sessions this week.
Ms McKay said this was just the beginning as they set about building a stronger and more resourced agency for clients.
Photo credit: Troy Baker D9663-01