Howick locals Neil and Debbie Craigen opened RE/MAX Experience late last year with the plan to build an experienced sales team equipped with the most advanced resources available for doing real estate business and benefitting buyers, sellers and agents.
“We have local knowledge and expertise plus the global reach of a network that is in more than 110 countries,” said Neil.
The husband-and-wife ownership brings together Neil’s long-standing career in banking and finance spanning two countries with Debbie’s strengths in business administration across a range of sectors including education and real estate, where she was on the team of the top Australasian agent for a period of time.
The Craigens bought their first house in Howick 20 years ago when they relocated from Zimbabwe.
Since then, they have followed a passion for property, buying and selling their own homes and investment properties in Auckland and its fringes.
They have lived in the local area since 2000 and now find themselves living less than 800 metres from their first real estate office.
“While RE/MAX Experience is located in Howick village, we are not limited by geographical boundaries and can help people buy and sell property anywhere,” Neil said.
‘Experience’ was a deliberate name choice for their real estate venture.
“We believe the customer experience is the start of a relationship that continues for a lifetime. That relationship is about creating wealth through property.”
With Neil’s background combined with their passion for property, the RE/MAX Experience team will have a focus on providing education for all investors – especially first home buyers – and conducting regular information seminars.
“We are in the business of wealth creation. We will ensure you have the best information you need to invest for the long term with good returns and remain with you ensuring you are geared correctly for your ongoing financial situation.”
He said that, for many, the Great Kiwi Dream is the BMW, the boat and the bach.
“People are living longer than ever. If you want to enjoy staying alive, you have to make sure your money stays alive with you. Property is a lower risk investment with great growth potential when investing is wisely executed.”
Neil had 16 years of banking and finance experience at senior level with New Zealand’s major banks, most recently Kiwi Bank, and has known RE/MAX New Zealand CEO Don Ha for more than a decade, connecting through business and property sales.
“I’d decided it was time to do something for myself, which led to a conversation about buying a franchise. Don knew we would be a good fit for his network as we share very similar values.
“My leadership style revolves around creating the right culture for the business environment and helping others be successful. Agents joining RE/MAX Experience set a path to building their own business within my business.
“If you are aware of the FISH philosophy, you’ll recognise the elements of service to others while focusing on their needs and having fun while taking responsibility in how I shape the business and support our team.”
Embodied into the RE/MAX Experience culture is a Dr Seuss quote from ‘Oh, the Places You’ll Go’. It reads: “You’re off to great places. Today is your day. Your mountain is waiting. So… get on your way.” “And will you succeed? YES! You will indeed! 98 and 3/4 per cent guaranteed!”
Neil says this dovetails with the RE/MAX vision, core purpose and values, of creating unlimited opportunities, and the iconic RE/MAX balloon raising to great heights.
The RE/MAX Experience team will initially focus on real estate sales but a property management side to the business will soon develop.
Don Ha said business owners pivoting from travel and banking industries or expanding an already successful business into real estate were among those now heading new RE/MAX offices.
“Neil Craigen is one example. He was regional manager with one of New Zealand’s largest banks but saw a pending restructure as compromising his financial future and personal life. He is now a business owner in control of his future.”
Don said the Craigens were the calibre of business owners and agents he sought to feed New Zealand real estate customers’ appetite for exceptional real estate service.
“I have a long relationship with Neil and Debbie based on mutual respect, so I am delighted and excited to have them join RE/MAX New Zealand and pleased to see them springboard their growth from a Howick base,” he said.
Debbie Craigen, Broker Owner, RE/MAX Experience – M. 0212 538 737
Lyn Cox, RE/MAX public relations – M. 0418 793 096
About RE/MAX: From a single office that opened in 1973 in Denver, Colorado, RE/MAX has grown into a global real estate network with more than 134,000 sales associates in more than 110 countries and territories. Its entrepreneurial culture affords its agents and franchisees the flexibility to operate their businesses with great independence.