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Keith Hibbs started Harcourts Property Management Queenstown, originally Executive Accommodation, 18 years ago. He’s sold to Highland Real Estate Group, which operates the Harcourts franchise in six Otago centres, including Queenstown.
Hibbs, who formerly operated a local dairy with his wife Glenys, was one of the resort’s first property managers.
He recalls prospective tenants lining up at his door with cash in hand before the company had Eftpos.
As the business grew rapidly, he brought Glenys on board, while their daughter Kimberly still works there today as a property manager.
Latterly, with a staff of eight, the company’s had nearly 500 properties under full-time management and a growing number of short-term lets.
Hibbs says the business has been his life.
"For more than 15 years I’ve taken calls morning, night and weekends, and I’m pretty proud of what’s been a lot of hard work.
"Some owners have been with us since day one, and they’ve become true friends."
He says he’ll seek out new ventures, and in August heads off to do some voluntary service abroad.
Highland Real Estate director Marie Osborne says there’ve always been strong synergies between the two businesses, and all staff are sad to see Hibbs go.
"He and his family have worked extremely hard over the years to grow the business, working with long- and short-term owners, many of them overseas, who trusted Keith and his team to look after their properties and tenants."
Former Bachcare Holiday Homes manager Paul Hibbett has taken over as business manager.
He grew Bachcare’s Central Otago portfolio from a handful of homes to 200 in just four years.
He’s looking forward to taking "an awesome business" to the next level.
"I want to challenge the status quo and do things a little bit differently while still focusing on the levels of trust, loyalty and dedication we have towards our clients."
Hibbett believes Queenstown’s "a town that really needs good property management", while also keeping up with constant changes in property management regulations.