Focused on lifestyle – that’s the Barfoot & Thompson Papakura rural team.
Cherry Cooper, Suzie Causebrook, Kim Neill and Fiona Ritchie are based at the Papakura office of Barfoot & Thompson, but they are more likely to be found out and about in the surrounding countryside.
Covering rural/lifestyle real estate from coast to coast, Kaiaua to Te Akau and Te Kauwhata to Clevedon, they are busy helping clients who want to live in our lovely corner of the world.
Cherry, Suzy, Fiona and Kim form a boutique team whose combined knowledge and affection for the Franklin area is unrivalled. Not only have they all made their homes here, they are also very proud of the things that make Franklin special.
“We all come from farming backgrounds and live on lifestyle blocks, so we understand the rural life … we live it,” says Cherry. “We know this area really well.
“We cover all sizes and price ranges of rural properties, from half a hectare up to large farms, anything from a large garden to something big enough to run some stock. Our clients may be looking for somewhere for the children to just have a pet lamb, or somewhere to develop an orchard or start a herd.
“While we provide personal service to buyers and sellers, we also have the added bonus of back up from the company-wide rural teams, and can go one step further with nationwide support through our association with the NZ Realtors' Network.
“Barfoot & Thompson is a family firm which means we work together to help our clients, but what really sets our team apart is the non-franchised network. When you choose to list with us you benefit not only from personal expertise but also the resources of a company that has been part of the fabric of real estate across Auckland for over 90 years.
“In fact it’s not uncommon for us to strike up relationships with clients that see us doing more than one transaction for them.”
Buyers are still pouring out of Auckland, eager to swap the pressures of city life for the peace of the countryside. Good internet access has made working from home a reality, while retirees are looking for a peaceful place to call home.
For buyers new to rural living, drawing on the knowledge of their salesperson can make the transition much easier, and it’s this extra service the team is happy to provide.
“We have a lot of after sales contact,” says Kim. “From advising on contractors for hay or shearing, explaining about water supplies – particularly for those fresh from the city - or talking about fencing issues, we can draw on our personal experience to assist. It might just be the best local markets or some information on calf club at the local school - it all helps when you are starting afresh.”
With one of the highest equine populations in the country, the Franklin area continues to attract those with this interest. Anyone with any type of equestrian interest can’t go far wrong with this fab four. Equestrian pursuits have figured large for all of them, whether discovering exciting territory following hounds, riding through the wonderful Waiuku forest or along the beach, competing in show jumping or exhibiting at Clevedon or Franklin A&P shows.
This area abounds in properties perfect for horses, from small blocks with room for the kid’s first pony to extensive acreage with space to roam. Settling buyers on the right property is the team’s forte.
The coastline is another drawcard for buyers and in this too the B&T rural team has personal experience. A sabbatical from economic development work saw Fiona involved in yacht deliveries, and she is now an active member of the Clevedon Gamefishing Club. Community involvement is also important to Fiona with her local club and NZ Warbirds memberships, and lately her support of the Pink Ribbon Breast Cancer Appeal through coordinating a cake stall fundraiser in Hunua on October 13.
Cherry Cooper has made her mark as a waterfront specialist, which has seen her achieve some stunning prices for her clients over time. A Franklin resident for the past 30 years, Cherry’s involvement in the equestrian field includes very strong support for the Waiau Pa Pony Club and both Maramarua and Pakuranga Hunts, giving her a wealth of contacts that help her to succeed in the area.
Self-described ‘country kid’ Suzy Causebrook also lives the life on a lifestyle property where she and her daughter India can indulge their love of all things equine. India is a successful show jumper and Jake, Suzy's son, plays local rugby. Suzy’s knowledge and experience covers big farms down to little lifestyle blocks.
Kim Neill grew up on a King Country sheep and beef farm and now lives on a lifestyle property in Te Kauwhata. The former equine dentist credits her previous career with giving her unique negotiation skills – convincing a 600 kg horse to co-operate needs a whole new level of patience and determination! Kim promises “good old fashioned customer service with a healthy measure of number eight wire mentality”.
The team all love experiencing what Franklin has to offer and are eager to share their enjoyment with prospective clients. They are big supporters of their community through various sponsorships, including the Franklin Hospice Garden Ramble which is coming up in November – it’s a really great event that they love to be part of.
“We love helping clients to find anything they need locally, from schools to shoes, tractors or a damn fine coffee. Just ask us!”