Carol Boko: Keeping it Real at Crocker’s

“I’ve always loved property,” says Crockers realty sales executive Carol Boko. “My father was a developer and investor. I started off in property management and then went into sales. I’m passionate about what I do, plus I get to meet so many fascinating people from all walks of life.”


Having been in the industry for 20 years, and with Crockers for the past 15, Carol says she couldn’t envisage ever working anywhere else: “It’s just such a great company to work for, the only one of its kind in the country in fact. There are no franchises, it’s property-based and, if you want to know anything, there are specialists in every department. It would now be very difficult to go elsewhere.”


Carol is quick to name company owner Rob as a massive influence upon her career. “I have watched him, and the company, grow,” she says. “When I first started, there were only around 30 members of staff and now there are over 130 and we even have our own power company! He’s certainly been an amazing mentor.”


One of the most interesting – and valuable – business lessons learnt has been that you must be brave in times of crisis. “You have to hold on to property,” says Carol. “I bought a small block of flats before 2007, then panicked when the global crash hit and put them on the market, even though I didn’t really want to sell. Luckily, they didn’t. But it taught me that you shouldn’t freak out through the tough times. You have to ride the storm.”


Carol laments that newspapers often have too much of a too negative influence on the industry. “If they print something about the market being in trouble, the next day is so quiet,” she says. “Then, when they say the market has picked up, the phones start ringing again. The trouble is, the stats they use are often two to three months old. This can often make our jobs more difficult.” It would be better for everyone, she adds, if sale prices were published to “give everyone a really good feel for what’s actually happening now”.


What has certainly made things easier to sell more properties to a wider customer base is the digital revolution and globalisation. “When I first started, you’d get the occasional overseas enquiry,” Carol says. “Now, half of my clients are from abroad, many of whom often purchase on the word of their property manager. We can target a lot of clients that other companies can’t because of our international database which allows us to reach people that might not even be looking.”


Recent years have been both exciting and stressful for all involved in the real estate industry. “The market is definitely flattening out,” says Carol. “The buyers are still out there, but the craziness has gone and hopefully the wages will soon catch up and more people will be able to afford to start buying again. I don’t think it will drop unless the there is a global crash again. Many lower cost housing areas are actually quite buoyant.”


Being Auckland-wide, Carol has the advantage of being able to read what’s happening more accurately than someone who concentrates on just one area. It is one skill, among others, that has seen her awarded a host of industry gongs. “The awards are great, but that doesn’t motivate me,” she says. “I’m not motivated by that or money, I just really love my job and would really miss it if I wasn’t doing it. Though, I could probably do with a bit more balance!”


New Zealand, and Auckland especially, she adds, is changing rapidly, with many baby boomers cashing in and moving to places such as Northland and Tauranga: “We’re evolving so fast, suddenly becoming this international, global city and it’s such a great place to live.” Though, Carol does warn that progress could come at a price. “The council must ensure that areas are built around libraries and town halls and such, that they have a heart,” she says. “They must be occupied by people who care about where they live, people who acknowledge and cherish that community spirit. That is what makes for healthier communities and that is what is most important.”

Words by: Jamie Christian Desplaces