ADVERTORIAL: For Grant and Kim Leighton, when it comes to providing people with good quality homes, trust, relationships and honest communications are as important as the tools they use to build them.
At Milestone Homes Coromandel’s Ngatea office, the dedicated team of four, with directors Grant and Kim at the helm, reflect on the whirlwind of the last two years – but winding down is not on the cards.
Since the Covid-19 lockdown ended, the locally-owned building company has been busier than ever. They are pulling out all the stops and working tirelessly for all their clients as the demand for homes in Ngatea has increased.
“The first year was an opportunity, and we just had to figure out how to be a part of it,” Grant said.
“Start of 2020 it was: open the doors, we’re trading.
“After Covid-19, it went completely nuts,” he said. “Kiwis returning from abroad, people not travelling overseas, business restructurings in NZ and families re-assessing what they want and where they want to live, all played a part in the market demand.”
Grant and Kim moved from Auckland to Ngatea at the end of 2015 in search of a more community-spirited venture. They love the Coromandel and wanted to be closer to the beaches, Cooks Beach campsite – a family favourite – and still be within reach of Auckland for extended family and friends.
“We’ve certainly had lots of visitors over the last five years,” Kim said.
“We both came out of corporate, we were still doing the commute to Auckland and Australia, and it’s not what we ideally wanted to do.
“We wanted to be down here and have a business of our own that was more community-focused and local.”
Kim said 2018 was a turning point, the year the couple stepped away from their former careers and found Milestone.
“We really liked the business model, the reputation of the brand in NZ, the support from the franchisor and the decades of experience that came with, and of course, the fabulous team in Tauranga that help us out with all the back office business functions, leaving us to focus on our clients.”
“We make affordable and quality housing for people – good family homes, rental investments, a lifestyle or farming house, or a bach – and we really wanted to be in our community.”
The pair said the only foreseeable challenge would be keeping up with the market demand and finding available land in the area.
However, they would take on the task with aplomb. “It’s an exciting challenge and one we want to be part of.”
“We’re expanding outwards now, and we have the confidence to do that,” Grant said.
The pair say more and more people are choosing to live in the Hauraki and Thames-Coromandel area, many of whom have plans to build their dream home.
That’s where Milestone comes in, they said.
The company provides 30 plans for prospective buyers to choose from and from there, designs can be tweaked according to budget and aesthetics. It’s essentially 180 different styles of homes. “In other words, we’ve got great choice, great value and great options for our clients.”
“One of my favourite lines is: half a million dollars buys you an awful lot of petrol,” Grant said.
“Instead, you can come down here and buy an affordable, good quality family home for a third of the price you’d pay in Auckland.”
“But most importantly, is the trust people have in us to build their home.”
And now that they’ve found their feet, the couple – who are joined by Project Assistant Sarah Stephenson and Office Manager Kelsey Dowsett, as well as the Cavoodle office dog Jake – are hoping to give back more to the community.
“We work hard, but we also have a lot of fun, and I think that vibe is extended beyond us to the people in our community,” Kim said.
Grant, an ex-cricketer and ex-hockey player has coached youth sports teams, while Kim has volunteered reading to children. Grant and Sarah are also going through the process of becoming St John volunteers.
“That’s who we want to be,” Grant added. “It’s a privilege to give back to the community, it’s as simple as that.”
PHOTO: The Milestone Homes Coromandel team is made up of Directors Grant and Kim Leighton, Office Manager Kelsey Dowsett, Project Assistant Sarah Stephenson and Cavoodle office dog Jake.