Agent seizes on niche real estate market
A GRAFTON woman has identified a niche opportunity in the Clarence Valley real estate scene and seized on it.
After three years working with another agent as a dedicated commercial property manager, Natasha Watkinson has struck out on her own, creating the one-woman show NJW Commercial.
She opened the businesses early in January and has been thrilled at the response.
"We've signed two leases so far and have five more offers out there," she said.
The properties leased are the former council depot at South Grafton and another property in the industrial area in Pound St.
The former Grafton girl left the region about 15 years ago eventually moving into corporate work in Brisbane.
"We decided to move back to Grafton to bring up our family when I had my second son about three years ago," she said.
In that time, while working in local commercial property, she noticed there was an opportunity for a business prepared to offer clients a more dedicated service.
"With all respect, most local agents offer residential services with a commercial service as an add-on," she said.
"I could see commercial landlords were looking for a reporting stream that offered constantly updated reports, like profit and loss statements and other vital information they need for their businesses."
Ms Watkinson said she had the software to integrate with her clients' businesses and by concentrating on just one section of the property market, could put vital information at their fingertips.
She has been delighted with the feedback so far.
"It's all been very positive," she said. "People are interested in what we've got to offer and the work is coming in."
She her business offered commercial property sales, leasing and management as well as some consultancy work.
Ms Watkinson said there was plenty of opportunities for growth as the region took advantage of new infrastructure like the highway upgrade.
"A lot of people are worried the bypass will affect Grafton, but I think it's going to create opportunities," she said.
"Prince St will be one area that could benefit with the right planning.
"The council has done the right thing with its Vibrant Places policy, but they need to extend it," she said.
"They need to enable things like closing the area to traffic for special events, which they will be able to do one the RMS doesn't control the road.
"That should coincide with the opening of the highway bypass."
Ms Watkinson said she enjoyed being her own boss, but wanted to build her business.
"I would like to work with someone," she said. "That would be one area I would like the business to grow."