EVES Tauranga’s rising star Paige Smith is using her social media influence to help the next generation.

WORDS DANIEL DUNKLEY / PHOTOS SALINA GALVAN

Paige Smith is glued to a smartphone that does not stop buzzing and ringing, with notifications and calls popping up every other minute. Phones are a distraction for many, but not for her – she’s one of EVES’ top Tauranga real estate agents, having quickly gained a reputation for bringing social media innovation to the region’s property game. Twenty-four-year-old Paige is a rising star in a generation that’s approaching the property profession differently. All those notifications and calls? They’re about matching the right people with the right places.

UNO met with Paige near EVES’ Cameron Road office to talk about what it means to be a young expert in real estate, a field typically associated with middle-aged and older professionals. She’s transforming the way people find out about new homes, and central to this is her popular Instagram account, which she uses to generate buzz and connect with buyers and sellers in this region and beyond.

Like many good real estate agents, Paige wins customers by word of mouth. Yet unlike most, she’s taken to social media to build a following and showcase homes to Instagram users, most of whom are in their 20s and 30s. Clever hashtags, a touch of humour and beaming smiles from happy buyers adorn her Instagram grid. Her profile is real estate with a millennial twist.

Paige has a background in design and sees Instagram as a chance to turn an artistic hand to her work. “I’ve found it’s a cool way to be creative and show mates what you’re up to,” she says. “When I came into real estate, there weren’t any agents doing it, so I thought, ‘I’ll give it a go’. I focused my energy on it and gained a bit of a following. I wanted to get my name out there.” Now she has a following of more than 1000 people.

Instagram has a reputation for putting a glamorous spin on things, but Paige
aims to display realistic images of the properties she presents. “I don’t claim to be selling a prince when it’s a frog,” she says. “Property is property, and if you try to fool someone, eventually they’ll see it’s not quite right. You have to be honest about what you’re selling. I don’t glamorise
my photos. Hashtag no filter!”

Paige has worked at EVES for the past 18 months, after finishing up at university and working as a daycare teacher. Property has always been her calling, though. “My favourite books were open-home books,” she says. “I was fascinated with property. My mum was a single mum, and I had three siblings, so I was always thinking, ‘Let’s move to a bigger home!’”

Eventually, friends encouraged her to pursue her passion. “One week, three different people suggested I try real estate,” she says. “I took it as a sign and just thought I’d see what I could do.”

Paige knocked on the door at EVES and walked out with a job. After selling her
first home in her first month, she hasn’t looked back. She’s now one of the best agents in the Bay of Plenty, and is as at ease getting people onto the property
ladder as she is selling luxury homes. She’s finding herself helping first-time buyers with increased frequency. “It’s just who I’m attracting,” she says. “I like helping people into their first home and matching them with property. It’s cool to hear their struggles and give them the honest truth, because your first home isn’t usually your forever home.”

She may have wisdom beyond her years, but Paige empathises with those who
are looking to buy for the first time. Many are close to her own age. “It’s not just about putting up photos,” she says, “but educating buyers.” She says she acts as a “matchmaker” for buyers and properties, and her Instagram is a testament to her dedication – in one comment a happy client calls her a “champion”.

Real estate is a full-on, seven-days-a-week job, but Paige wouldn’t have it any other way. She predicts spring will be busy, with Otumoetai and Matua “hot” areas, and Brookfield and Judea “up and coming” suburbs to watch. For now, she’s off on a short holiday. Not that it’ll get in the way of her growing obsession – her Instagram account will still be working overtime. “It’s a lifestyle, and I really like it,” she says. “Even if I’m out of the country, I’ll be working. I’ll still have my phone.”

paigesmith.eves.co.nz
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