Monthly Archives

September 2017

Do you need a building inspection?

Q: Our agent has suggested that we get a building inspection before we list our home for sale. It seems like a waste of money to me – if a buyer wants one then can’t they just get it themselves? What’s your advice? James L.

Personally, we think it is a sensible idea. It costs money but it could save you plenty, in fact, it can be the difference between selling and not selling – especially at auction.

Why? We recommend that all buyers, whatever property they are looking at, get a building inspection before buying or bidding at auction. If we have a vendor’s inspection available for them to view then it can give them the confidence to do their own inspection – this is particularly important for monolithic- (plaster) clad properties. When an agent allows a potential buyer to view the vendor’s inspection report they must be very clear that the inspection was undertaken at the vendor’s cost and that the buyer should do their own due diligence, but it can certainly give the buyer the confidence to move forward in his or her decision making.

Getting your home inspected before you list it for sale can also help you avoid any unexpected surprises. Almost every home, even new builds, are likely to have issues raised in an inspection, so having one done before listing for sale gives you the opportunity to fix anything that may scare a potential buyer off. What most sellers don’t realize is the building inspection is the place where many sales fall apart. A pre-listing building inspection will allow you to get a clear picture about the state of your house – including any problems that may derail your sale. By getting most or all of the problems taken care of you increase the chances of having a smooth and pleasant transaction.

It pays to do this well before you go to market – there are few things as stressful as selling your home, and you certainly don’t want to add to the stress by having to do last minute ‘repairs’, so get an inspection well before you want to go to market and give yourself time to get your house ready for sale. Good luck!

Don’t forget: We have a full catalogue of all our weekly questions and answers on our website www.thestones.co.nz – click on Property-Tips

Top tips for buying an apartment as an investment

When choosing an apartment to rent out there are some specifics that can make a big difference to the desirability of your property. First is the number of bedrooms and floor size. Two bedroom apartments are most popular, and if you’re looking for a two bedroom unit, look at buying something above 80m2 and above 110m2 for a three bedroom. More bedrooms mean that as an investor you can charge more rent, and your tenants can split the rent further to reduce their costs.

The position of the unit in the building is the next thing to look at. If your unit is in a quiet suburb, your tenants or buyers will probably be young families or empty nesters. These tenants will be looking for an easily accessible but safe, smaller apartment block with a unit on the first two floors. Renting families are likely to want an apartment with its own garage or allocated parking spot. They may also pay more for a home with a good view of the city or harbour.

If you are looking to buy in an inner city apartment block, you will most probably be renting your unit to young professionals. In the upper-end markets these tenants will pay for good views, but in the general tenant market, any level of the building will work.

A unit which is newer or has been renovated to incorporate modern open plan living will also be more attractive to tenants. Look for an apartment which provides plenty of natural light and areas which can be used to entertain and relax.

Seasoned investors have told us that no matter who your market is, the ground floor of an apartment block is by far the best choice for an investor because you don’t eliminate any of your market. If you go above the ground floor you eliminate both the older generation who don’t want to go up the stairs and people with young kids.

Finally, as a landlord, you may be better off buying a newer apartment as there is generally less maintenance involved, and it may also be easier to rent out.

Are apartments a worthwhile investment?

Q: We are thinking of selling our home in St Heliers and buying a luxury apartment somewhere closer to the city, but will we get the same capital gain with an apartment? Bruce L.

A: Unfortunately no-one can accurately predict what will happen to house prices, or to apartment prices for that matter. There was a time when investing in apartments was considered to be a far inferior choice to buying a home or duplex. The value of real estate is in the land, the experts said, so you should put your investing dollars in houses where the land value appreciates for many years to come.

However, that rule doesn’t always apply – certainly not these days.

There are plenty of new up-market apartments being built around Auckland now, and not all of them are in the City centre. There are new developments springing up in the suburbs, from Meadowbank to Mission Bay and out to Orewa, and the majority are bigger, more luxurious and in better locations than previously.

What this means is that many apartments now offer good solid capital gains in line with houses, due to their position and location: It might be better to own a small slice of a highly valuable piece or land, rather than a large slice of a lower-value patch.

But as well as that, there are more single and two-person households today than there’s ever been, and most of these people don’t want to live in a five bedroom house out in the suburbs. They want to be close to the CBD, close to work and entertainment, so the apartment market is growing. Our lifestyle has become more cosmopolitan, with beaches, cafes, and restaurants creeping higher on the priority list.

So the answer is that we really can’t be sure, but that experience overseas tells us that this new style of apartment will hold its own in terms of capital gain with more traditional real estate.

Next week we will give you a few tips on what to look out for when buying an apartment, luxury or otherwise.

Ten More Top Moving Tips.

Here is the second instalment of our moving tips.

  1. Buy a roll of stretch wrap.
    It works like gladwrap but on a bigger scale. You can group items together, and it’ll protect your furniture from getting scuffed and scratched.
  2. Keep sandwich bags handy for holding any small parts of things you have to take apart, like curtain rods or mounted flat-screen TVs.
    Tape the sandwich bags to the back of the item they correspond to. You can also use this method with the cords for your electronics.
  3. Beer boxes are the best for books because they have handles on the sides.
    So be sure to hit up your local liquor store.
  4. Take a photo of how your electronics are connected so you can remember how and where all the wires go.
  5. Cut down on boxes by making all of your baskets, laundry bins, hampers, and suitcases work for you.
    Pack them with stuff. Use the wheeled suitcases for heavy things like books.
  6. The fastest way to pack a closet:
    Leave clothes on their hangers, simply grab a bunch, fold them once and drop them into a box. This makes for much faster unpacking.
  7. Change your address at least two weeks prior to moving.
    This might seem like a no-brainer for important things like utilities and cable but don’t sweat the small stuff. You’ve also got credit cards, your bank, magazine subscriptions, and your mail to worry about.
  8. If you own items that you want to get rid of but are too valuable to just give away, start selling on trademe at least 6 weeks before moving.
    It’s an easy way to make you feel like you aren’t procrastinating, and you might be able to make enough money back to pay for the entire move itself. It takes time for items to sell though so you’ll want to plan accordingly.
  9. Arrange for a charity organisation to come pick up the items you don’t want at least a week or two before moving.
    It’ll save you the trouble of having to take it there yourself.
  10. Remember to defrost your refrigerator at least a day before moving and wipe up any liquid.
    Otherwise you’re going to have stinky wet mess when you get to your new home.

What we haven’t mentioned is that there are several very helpful services that look after transferring internet, power, gas, Sky etc. from your current to your new home. Call us if you would like our recommendation.

 Good luck with your next move!