While young people have been one of the worst affected demographics when it comes to the economic impacts of Covid, the pandemic hasn’t put a dent in Fletcher Hautapu’s career plans.In fact, 2020 was a landmark year for the Palmerston North teenager who turned 18 in November. In December, Fletcher became one of New Zealand’s youngest fully licensed real estate agents. Within two weeks he’d listed his first property and in January, while most New Zealanders were still at the beach, Fletcher sold two properties with the support of his team at Harcourts Palmerston North.
“You can’t beat the satisfaction you get from this job when you really put your heart into it”, says Fletcher. “Whether that’s finding someone their dream home or getting a fantastic price for someone who is selling their property. Sometimes the results aren’t what you or they hoped for, but it really says something when you go the extra mile and the client praises your efforts.”
Fletcher says he’s had an interest in real estate for as long as he can remember. “I’d come home with a property publication and flick through the pages for hours on end. When I was 16, I put together a list of what I called my Dream 50, which were the 50 properties, mostly around Palmerston North, that I hoped to represent one day.”
While it’s unusual for someone so young to aspire to a career in real estate, Fletcher realised early on that he had choices. “I could go to university on a scholarship and do a Bachelor of Business, or I could spend that same period of time, which was about three years, learning the ins and outs of real estate.”
“If you’re prepared to invest the time to learn and do the hard work, the rewards in real estate can be very gratifying. It might not happen right away. They might be a few years down the road, but I’ve always had big dreams.”
Fletcher says he’s had an incredible amount of encouragement and support from his colleagues at Harcourts Palmerston North. “I couldn’t have done it without them supporting and teaching me on-the-go, especially Jason and Niamh.”
His clients are also right behind him, describing Fletcher as a “breath of fresh air”. “It was a great experience dealing with Fletcher and Jason,” says one. “What energy! From day one they worked hard getting the house listed and sold.”
The biggest challenge according to Fletcher has been his lack of life experience. “I’d never bought or sold a house before so it wasn’t just about learning how the transaction takes place, it was also about understanding what goes through buyers and seller’s heads and how I can make the whole process easier for them.”
Then there was the hurdle of not having a driver’s license. When Fletcher was asked to show a couple through a property 15 minutes out of town, he found himself with a dilemma. “I hadn’t sat my restricted driver’s license test yet, so I had no way to get there”, says Fletcher. “I had to ask my dad to drive me out.” But every cloud has a silver lining. It was a viewing that led to an appraisal of the couple’s home, then the listing and one the team’s first sales of 2021.
The recent high school leaver says he loves the variety of real estate, meeting new people and constantly learning new things. He believes more young people should consider a career in real estate. “I think it’s a great choice for people my age because it’s a time in our lives when we are blessed with a lack of other commitments.”
Fetcher Hautapu - Harcourts Palmerston North