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Service with a smile ... Harcourts Oamaru sales consultant Natalie Powazynski claimed the real estate company's national award for client experience. PHOTO: GUS PATTERSON

The most important thing about real estate is not houses, but people, Natalie Powazynski says.

The Harcourts Oamaru sales consultant has been awarded the nationwide Harcourts client experience award for exceptional service and customer reviews.

She was also runner-up for the best international client experience award, up against 6700 other sales consultants around the world.

The New Zealand award was announced over a company-wide conference call, and came as a surprise to Miss Powazynski.

“I didn’t think I would win, so I wasn’t dressed up.

“I logged on and saw people wearing make-up, so I quickly put some lippy on.

“People were in sequin dresses and had bow ties on – I was wearing a T-shirt.”

She was expecting the award to go to an agent from one of the bigger centres in New Zealand.

Miss Powazynski has been in the real estate industry for four years, and at Harcourts for one year.

“I always wanted to be a real estate salesperson, but I started out as a personal assistant, which was great to learn the behind-the-scenes part of the job,” she said.

“I loved being able to help all of the people, but decided to take the plunge and become a salesperson in August 2018.

The best part of the job was the people, she said.

“I love getting to hear people’s stories and helping them get to their next chapter is a huge thing for me.”

After moving to Oamaru, from Newcastle in England, seven years ago, she now feels at home in North Otago.

“It’s so central to everything,” she said.

“People are really nice. It’s nice to be able to walk around town and people smile at you.

There were some benefits to being a real estate agent in a small town, she said.

“You become friends with the people you deal with. It’s not just on’.”

As for the lockdown, Miss Powazynski said she enjoyed the time to unwind from what can be a stressful job.

“I was lucky to still be working from home, so we could still put some deals together,” she said,

“I sold two houses with a third under offer, so there’s still plenty of buyers out there.

“Personally, I managed to get some odd jobs done around the house plus I did heaps of baking and plenty of personal development.”