GETTING PEOPLE OUT OF RENTING AND INTO OWNING
Meet Marc Wilkinson, Director of Penfold Properties. When I asked the Marketing Manager at Penfold Properties if I could interview Marc for the September issue of Keeping It Real Estate, I didn’t expect him to say yes. But you’ll never know if you don’t ask, and in this case I got lucky.
I’ve long admired Penfold Properties’ work. I feel like, when you’re looking at many projects where you can buy new, they are often in very remote locations, getting sold through long lines of “channel partners”, houses are getting delivered without a driveway or a fence and when a buyer has a question or concern they might find it difficult to get in touch with someone who can actually assist. This is 100% the opposite with everything Penfold.
Projects are in exceptional locations, all homes are complete turnkey, if you call Penfold you’re talking to a real person who will sort everything out and everyone who buys in a Penfold estate LOVES Penfold. Why is this? What is the difference between Penfold Properties and many others? To be honest, after spending some time with Marc Wilkinson and his team, I know that the difference is coming from the top-down. It’s a chain of integrity, quality and the desire to build house-proud communities that starts with Marc and stays consistent throughout the whole Penfold Properties team.
So before I take up this whole article writing about why I like Penfold so much, I’ll cut it off there and share my interview with the man himself…
So Marc, what is your background and what led to you founding Penfold Property Group?
I’ve had a passion for the building industry for over 30 years. I’ve worked in building development and in manufacturing. I had the opportunity to learn a lot from my time with some of Australia’s largest public development companies. I was with Landlease for 7 years as the National Development Manager and also spent 7 years with Stockland as the project Director before founding Penfold Property Group in 2013.
You transitioned from working with major institutional property developers to starting your own business. Why did you make that move and what lessons could you give others considering something similar?
I started my working life running my own business and have always been keen to go back to being self employed. I learned so much from my time with these exceptional companies and I wanted to take the lessons I had learnt and put them into practice through my own business.
If someone was considering starting their own company in development and in subdivisions, my advice would be that getting the right team of employees around you is imperative. Find exceptional people and know how to mentor and motivate them. We are creating homes and communities where there was once paddocks and in that business, people are everything and it goes two ways. The team need to understand the goals of the business and the business goals need to align with the aspirations of the team. For us, every single person on the Penfold team genuinely cares for our customers and we share in the joy of getting them into a brand new home.
You are undeniably an expert at what you do, what would you say are the really key items needed for a successful project?
I would say that I have very good knowledge and experience that comes with age and opportunity. I feel very confident to meet the constantly changing challenges of the residential market. However, the property industry is very diverse and there are so many aspects that I cannot claim to be an expert.
In terms of the success of our projects, I am persistent and passionate about getting outcomes that make sense for creating new places. We are building communities rather than just subdividing land, so we look very carefully at what that community will need in order for our development to be an exceptional place for people to live. Whether that be another local street, or town centre, or extra greenspace and parks, we push hard for the outcomes needed because they are important to the people that live with the outcome. I think keeping the end in mind, the long term and the legacy of the project is extremely important to long term sustainable success.
What would you say are the advantages that a smaller private development company has over a larger institutional developer?
I would say two significant differences are how well we know every single customer and also how quickly Penfold can act as necessary in order to deliver an outcome. We get to know our customers so well and offer them a service that extends from land choice to the design of their dream home and to finance. And then, if a customer has any concerns, our chain of command is short and I know about everything that goes on, so we can make quick decisions and address concerns very fast.
What advice would you give to a first home buyer looking to buy new and build a house and land in Brisbane?
The key message I always deliver is that if you don’t own a home then you are going to pay a landlord over $1.0m over the next 30 years factoring in a base rate ogf $450/ week. For people who own a home I advise them not to hold it too long. Sell it and use the tax free capital gain to buy a brand new one. Like cars, houses have a point where the maintenance cost is not worth maintaining. The benefit of Penfold is that you don’t have to move out of Brisbane to build your new home.
Your current projects are quite close to one-another. What is it about the Doolandella, Pallara, Ellen Grove area that is particularly special at the moment?
This is a pocket of Brisbane that is so well serviced and within the Brisbane ring. There is such a shortage of land in Brisbane for subdivision that we feel our offering is very good value. We are passionate about not only providing exceptional product but also in providing an exceptional location. We are really proud of our projects in this area. They are selling very fast and our buyers are almost all owner-occupiers – which are good indications that we are delivering homes that meet the requirements of our customers. House buyers are gereally very informed and have many options to choose from, so it’s a great compliment when they choose Penfold.
What are your plans for Penfold Property Group?
We plan to grow slowly and stay in business for a long time to come, sticking to our knitting and selling houses to people that they can be proud of. I’m a big advocate of constant improvement (I’m even studying at university now!) and Penfold Property Group will continue to constantly create exceptional communities that meet the needs and desires of our customers as they change.
What inspired the name Penfold Property Group?
I grew up on Penfold Road in the winery district and I felt it gave me a strong connection to my roots.
What are the values of Penfold Property Group and what do you hope to achieve with the developments the company delivers?
Our values are strongly tied to integrity and providing value and quality for our customer. We very much stand behind our product. We have an office in the area where our current projects are and invite anyone to visit us there any time.
Is there anything else you would like to add / have included so that our readers feel like they know more about you?
Our team are very dedicated here at Penfold Property Group and they will go a long way to satisfy our customers’ needs. The feedback we get from our customer surveys, even from those that don’t end up buying is extremely positive. Don’t feel that you will be pressured into something that isn’t what you want. We really are here to help. Happy customers are our focus and we help our customers through the process of building their dream home.
Penfold Property Group