Penny Lyons - Sotheby’s

New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty Taupo broke the status quo in the district’s

already saturated real estate market by targeting mid to high end sellers and buyers from

across New Zealand and the world, achieving over $60 million in sales in its first year of


New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty Taupo launched in January 2017 and in the

space of a year has firmly established itself in Taupo’s real estate scene, despite there

already being several large agencies and close to 100 real estate professionals operating in

the area at the time.

Identifying and acting on an opportunity

Director and sales associate Penny Lyons says prior to establishing the Taupo office of New

Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty, many of the local real estate professionals thought

she was mad trying to set up yet another agency in an already crowded market place. “I was

challenged by some agencies,” she says.

With 20 years of experience in advertising, sales and marketing at Media Works Taupo

behind her, Penny says she was ready to move out of the corporate world and began

looking for a new business opportunity. She soon spotted a gap in Taupo’s property market

– though Taupo is home to numerous mid to high end holiday and residential homes, it had

no luxury brand specifically marketing these properties.

Having identified this opportunity, Penny was quick to act and began researching the

Sotheby’s International Realty franchise, which has a worldwide reputation as a luxury


Due diligence and research

On approaching the franchise based in Hawke’s Bay, she found they had already considered

Taupo as a future business location and were waiting for the right local person with the right

experience and networks to approach them. Despite the franchisor being a good fit for the

Taupo market, Penny says she still spent four to five months carrying out proper due

diligence on the company and market research on the industry before committing herself to

setting up a Taupo branch.

“I knew I would do well if I believed in the brand,” she says. “It’s also about getting the right

team around you… In terms of staff, we have agents with different skillsets and


Niche market and specialist staff

Having begun life in January 2017 from Penny’s house, the agency moved to new offices on

the prominent corner of Ruapehu St and Horomatangi St two months later. Prior to launching

Penny and her team identified where they wanted to sit in the real estate market in Taupo

and what their key points of difference were.

New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty Taupo focused strongly on establishing itself

specifically marketing and selling unique and premium properties. “Luxury isn’t a price point,

it’s about the overall experience,” says Penny. It also promoted the skillset and knowledge of

its highly experienced staff.

Small but specialised

Having started out with just Penny and two other sales associates, the team has since

attracted a further four highly skilled agents from both business and real estate backgrounds.

Penny says she doesn’t plan for New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty Taupo to

become too large as they are “a unique, niche brand rather than mainstream” and they plan

to stay that way.

“14 months down the track our results have been better than we expected, which is exciting

for the future of New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty Taupo,” says Penny.

“We have definitely made our mark and are extremely pleased with our market share in the

mid to high end market.”

Are you looking to set up a business in Taupo?

Penny’s advice to readers looking to establish a business or franchise in Taupo is to do what

she did.

 “Do your research and due diligence. You need to believe 100 per cent in the brand

or product.”

 “Choose the right people to be around you.”

 Most importantly she says: “Don’t doubt yourself, just do it.”

If you are looking to base yourself in Taupo and want to relocate your business, or you have

a business idea you would like advice on, contact Enterprise Great Lake Taupo. Our

advisors have all run their own businesses and can help get you started and point you in the

right direction.

© 2018 by Enterprise Great Lake Taupo

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32 Roberts Street


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(021) 1321475