Keith and Sandy Grey Lynn

Full Circle

Keith and Sandy Dowdle have been part of the fabric of Grey Lynn real estate for the past 14 years. They have helped hundreds of local residents both sell and buy into this highly sought after area. It has been a career journey that they have both loved and one that now continues, in a new partnership with Ray White Damerell Group.

Keith and Sandy’s real estate journey has in many ways come full circle. They started their careers at Ray White Kingsland. From there they went to work for the Damerell Group under the guidance of Simon Damerell. They credit Simon Damerell and the team for giving them a wonderful grounding in real estate. The skills we learn’t at Damerell Group set us up for a highly successful real estate career.

‘We were working at the Damerell Group when the 2007-2008 global financial crisis hit’ says Keith. We cut our teeth in that market. ‘It was really tough especially for the salespeople that didn’t react and pivot to the market. Many didn’t survive in the industry’

Custom Residential.

After three years at Damerell Group Keith and Sandy decided to join the Custom Residential office in Grey Lynn, eventually buying into the business. ‘John Wills started Custom as a boutique real estate offering in the area. ‘It’s fresh take on real estate really attracted us’ says Sandy. ‘We were keen to be part of something that we could put our mark on.’ At that time Arch Hill and Grey Lynn were areas that changed hands frequently so it made good business sense to focus our business in those suburbs. It was an area that had a real mix of investors and owner occupiers. 

There were lots of first home buyers looking to secure a property in the area. We really enjoyed educating them on buying into the area and guiding them through the sales and purchase process. For many people we were their first experience with a real estate salesperson.

vision for a boutique brand under a bigger banner
Keith and Sandy Dowdle.

We have also helped many first time sellers in the area. As the area has developed and increased in value we have evolved to become not just real estate salespeople but property advisors. When homeowners are thinking about renovating or adding value to their property they will call us in to look over their architects plans and get our thoughts. ‘We are dealing with buyers on a daily basis so we are very attuned to what people looking to purchase in the area are searching for in a property’ says Sandy.

The best of Custom, backed by the best of Ray White.

‘Like any business, as Custom Residential grew it was impacted by economies of scale, especially when it came to compliance’, says Keith. Compliance has become a massive part of the real estate business. Salespeople need to have a depth of knowledge across all aspects of a property transaction to protect both sellers and buyers. ‘There is also an emotional side to buying and selling property and for us it is always about finding the right balance’. says Sandy. We realised we either needed to get bigger, which didn’t fit the boutique brand, or develop another business model. 

We had a vision for a boutique brand under a bigger banner that could provide the compliance support that would allow us to continue to focus on offering our clients a really bespoke service. ‘It was logical for us to go back to Ray White given the history’ says Sandy. ‘It was a discussion that took place over several years, so it was not a decision we made lightly.’

The new Grey Lynn office under Damerell Group is all about offering the same personalised boutique service that made Custom Residential what it was, but with the support network Ray White Damerell Group offers. We now have access to a dedicated compliance and contracts team which ensures both our buyers and sellers are protected throughout the sales process.

vision for a boutique brand under a bigger banner
The Grey Lynn office at 39/332 Great North Road, Grey Lynn.

The changing face of Grey Lynn.

‘Grey Lynn and Arch Hill have definitely changed’ says Keith. ‘They are both suburbs that now feature more owner occupiers and a real sense of community. The new healthy homes regulations have pushed many investors out of the area. People aren’t moving but instead choosing to add value in the property.  When people do sell on the hill they don’t tend to move far. Generally people look to stay within 5km and our business has grown to reflect this.‘The area has its challenges’ says Keith. There is a definite need to protect the character and heritage while allowing for well designed intensification. 

vision for a boutique brand under a bigger banner at Ray White Grey Lynn

As grey Lynn and Arch Hill change and develop it is important that both buyers and sellers seek professional property advice. Keith and Sandy see their roles as not just real estate salespeople but as property consultants. With over 14 years experience transacting properties in Grey Lynn and Ponsonby, they have a resolute focus on local expertise and unparalleled customer service. 

They have recently appointed Mike Simpson as a sales associate. Mike has managed high-profile brands including Porsche, McLaren, Microsoft and HP and is in the same demographic of 30 something professionals who are buying and selling in the area.

When asked about what they most enjoy about working in real estate the both answer that it is the long lasting friendships and relationships they have built within the community. ‘The houses are in many ways a by-product of the process’ says Keith. ‘You become involved in people’s journey through life, we see them at school, in cafes, walking in the local parks. Its all about relationships and people.

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