Renovating Guide

Depending on your motivations for renovating, you could be looking at a few changes or a complete overhaul. It is important to make sure you are going to get a good return on your investment especially if you are looking to renovate to sell in the near future. Significant investment might turn your home into your castle but if you are looking to recoup that investment when you sell it is good to know how much to invest where.


What adds the most value to your home?

It is the kitchen and bathroom that will deliver the most increase in value from a renovation project but you always have to keep in mind the home and property, and the location.

Whether or not “high specification” adds value varies. If you put in a $30,000 bathroom or kitchen, whether it will add the same amount of value to your home as you spend depends on the home and the neighbourhood. The kitchen and bathroom are a good place to spend money but you can overdo it.

Spending money on kitchens and bathrooms will usually add value to a home. But if you want to know whether to spend $10,000 or $30,000 on your bathroom makeover you need to consider the overall value and location of your home. On a higher priced property you are likely to add at least the value of a ‘high spec’ bathroom but at the lower end then you might be better to spend $10,000 instead. A modern kitchen that doesn’t break the bank will still add value to a home. But if you spend $40,000 on a kitchen in a modest home, you may not get the same value back.

What about insulation and heat pumps?

Insulation and heat pumps are expected today. If your home does not have insulation or heating it may detract from the value so this is a good investment and will usually add some value. Solar panels could result in an increase in value but it is difficult to quantify because cost and value are not the same. You also need to consider what benefits the solar power brings and whether these benefits will be returned over a long or short period.

How much value does landscaping add to your home?

Tidy and well presented landscaping can add a significant amount of value a property. However it may not be a direct relationship between value spent and value added. The added value of well-presented landscaping is generally on the overall saleability of a home through increased street appeal/utility. It is a great way to get potential purchasers through your home on open homes.

In regards to how much should be spent on landscaping, it really depends on the overall value level and type of property. The market expectation of the level of landscaping in a high value suburb is significantly greater than that of a lower value suburb.

The nature of the property can also dictate the nature of the landscaping and site development utilised. For example if you own a high end character villa you ideally want to keep that timber picket fence out front rather than replace it with something more modern.

Property owners should consider the nature of their property and the wider neighbourhood before commencing any major landscaping works.

An example of this could be replacing timber joinery in a villa/character bungalow with modern aluminium joinery as this does not enhance the character and detracts from the value.

Does new carpet and a new roof add value?

These are generally considered as on-going maintenance costs. From a valuation point of view the focus is more along the lines of what would it cost to rectify any issues caused by not maintaining items of this nature rather than the value that they may add to your property.

Because carpets are a chattel, generally they won’t add value but will maintain value and help with saleability. Your roof falls under repairs and maintenance. The roof on a house is expected to be functional and do its job. You will lose money if leaks otherwise it is just a cost. You wouldn’t do it unless it’s needed. As long as the roof of the dwelling is well maintained, functional and in reasonable condition, you will not add huge value by putting on a new roof. But if the roof is leaking and does need replacing then this will detract from the value of a home quite substantially so it is worth renewing your roof if it needs replacing.

Does a garage add value?

The added value of garaging is also very dependent on the locality of the property. In areas which have larger land sites and generally more space, a new garage may not add much in value. However, in inner city suburbs where land is at a premium and the lots are much smaller and off street parking is scarce, a garage could add a significant amount of value to your property.

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Storage is one of the most sought after features when searching for a new home. Extra storage makes a home all the more attractive to potential buyers, whether it’s additional garage space for your mountain bikes (that you never ride but promise you’re going to start using) or a walk in wardrobe (yes, yes and yes!) these features are a calling card because people crave order and functionality, at least in some capacity. What this means for you is that if you plan on spending some time in your home that you should consider where you can maximise your storage to create a living environment that is spacious and well thought out.
Take advantage of the space that you do have
This is really about utilising any areas that have not reached their full potential. Small changes like taking your kitchen cabinetry and extending it floor to ceiling maximises the space that may have sat above the cupboards, unused and collecting dust. You may have only added centimetres on either side, but this could result in the inclusion of an entire other shelf to fill.
Incorporate storage in unassuming places
Finding space where perhaps traditionally there wasn’t is such a useful way to up the anti. Looking at furniture like a master bed or lounge and selecting an option that has built in storage underneath is a great way to add depth and storage solution for items you may not use too frequently. Some lounges or ottomans will even be hollow, perfect for soft furnishings that you may not want to display. Ultimately this could free up some wall space, or keep the cupboards at a level that is full, but functional.
Think small
The vacuum cupboard has to be one of the most underrated storage solutions in the business. Everyones all, attics and garages but it’s important to take notice of the small things as well. There is often ample opportunities to create narrow storage solutions with a big impact and now there are plenty of accessories to build a space that you’ll forget how to live without. Small spice drawers, wine racks, there are so many options to explore, I just takes a little imagination.
Work smarter not harder
Sometimes it’s about using the same space in a slightly different way. Perhaps it’s using the same drawer and separating it with dividers to store items vertically. This is particularly useful for kitchen commodities like baking trays that are normally stacked on top of one another, storing them vertically means it can operate almost like a filing cabinet and you don’t have to take out all the other trays to find just the right one you’re looking for. You could use a similar tactic in your linen cupboard by storing each set of sheets inside one pillowcase (revolutionary!) this makes stacking simple and you’ll never accidentally pull out 3 other pillowcases with the one you were looking for.
Author: Rosalie Molloy 


The latest results are out and NZ’s property value growth has enjoyed a comeback recently, with the national property value average rising from February’s 6.5% to 7.3% in March. This 0.8% lift may not seem monumental, but it represents the strongest annual growth rate since June 2017 – no doubt underpinned by continued low interest rates and high employment rates.
NZ’s average value of housing stock is now $667,618 with residential real estate asset worth a total of $1.08Trillion. 
To understand the types of buyers currently active in the market, we looked to CoreLogic’s unique measure of buyer classification data, covered off in this month’s NZ Property Market and Economic Update Report.  
Just 27% of sales went to a group of people identified as ‘movers’: those who have sold an existing property and purchased another.  This group is also currently showing great skill for biding their time. Patience may be a virtue, but it’s easier to practice when you’re not desperate to get onto the property ladder in the first place. 
‘First home buyers’ are making the most of KiwiSaver fund access for deposits and a more partly flexible lending environment, with the easing of Loan to Value ratios and lower interest rates, somewhat countering stricter serviceability criteria. They’ve held their ground in the past few months and account for a healthy 22% of sales across the country. This group is willing to sacrifice home type/location to take that first step on the ladder, especially in Auckland.
‘Multiple property owners’ (those who own more than one property) have returned to their market share of 37%, but it’s those not requiring finance that are keeping up the share, as mortgaged multiple property owners now account for only 24% of sales (non-mortgaged with 14%) compared to 27% and 12% respectively in 2016. They may be facing extra regulations around the provision of rental property, and the threat of more tax but it doesn’t appear to be deterring all property investors, just those who require funding.
Head of Research Nick Goodall  comments: “Although the mix of buyer type varies around the country, ‘first home buyers’ are currently the group showing greater resilience in NZ’s property market and  contributing to values holding firm - an interesting market dynamic to note as we head towards the Winter period”.
To get a fuller picture of what’s happening in the NZ Property Market, download your free copy of the report here
When a property is recently listed on the market for sale, it gets the shiny ‘new listing’ label. In our data analyses, we classify ‘new listings’ as properties that have newly been listed in the last week. “They’re a good indicator of market confidence and play a role in influencing price pressures”, Head of Research Nick Goodall explains. 
According to the latest NZ Property and Economic Update Report, even though new listings have eased off over the past 3-4 weeks, the only areas where ‘new listing’ activity figures are lower than those enjoyed a year ago are in Wellington and Canterbury. Otago’s new listings have shot up (this could be vendors looking to cash in on recent value improvements, or perhaps its property investors exiting the market before new rental quality requirements becoming law). If you look at NZ as a whole, new listings are actually up 5% on the same time last year.
But, it’s not all about the shiny and new. To get a fuller picture, we also measure the ‘total’ number of properties listed for sale in NZ. As well as new listings, this figure incorporates those properties that were listed prior to the last week. More choice of properties often means less price pressure, and vice versa. Nationwide, total listings are actually 8% higher than they were a year ago - driven by Waikato and Auckland, while Wellington remains near all-time lows, flat year-on-year and down 23% on the same time two years ago.
OK - so we’ve got many areas with more properties on the market than last year: but what can listings tell us about other market dynamics?  And what’s the picture looking like for actual sales? 
Well, for starters: total listings can make it easier to understand localised price pressures. 
The upwards price pressures happening in Wellington are easy to put into context against a 10% drop in new listings and zero movement in total listings against last year. Even dropping demand hasn’t dented the upward price pressure, showing how powerful a lack of listings can be. Wellington’s first home buyers (32% of sales) and ‘multiple property owners’ (35%) will know all about that. For first home buyers, this is a record-breaking level and for multiple property owners, non-mortgaged buyers are holding up their overall share as those requiring mortgages continue to struggle for finance.. “It’s an interesting dynamic: both groups are impacted by tighter credit tests, but are also faced with price pressure requiring competitive offers for properties. Unlike ‘movers’ who have dropped right off to just 20%, their lowest share of property in the history of our time series! 
Over 9,500 properties sold last month. This level of sales volume is down 2% year-on-year across New Zealand, but as Goodall notes: “the pace of decline is certainly slowing and actually, there are tentative signs that some parts of the country are past the worst of poor performance. If you look at the ‘last three months combined’ figures for Hamilton, Christchurch and Dunedin, they’re actually higher than they were one year ago.  It’s unfortunately a different story for Tauranga and Wellington, where 3 month sales volumes compared year on year are -3% (Wellington) and -9% (Tauranga). 
So yes: listings have a major role to play: but it’s not all about the shiny and new. How about value performance then? …well that’s a whole different story. To get a better picture about what’s happening with NZ property, download your free copy of the report here.
One of life's most simple pleasures is climbing into fresh, crisp sheets after your daily hustle. It is a small luxury that resonates across people and place. It is a part of the allure of a beautiful hotel, and the most luxurious of experiences pale in comparison because this is completely and utterly accessible, every day of the week.
There is no reason you can’t bring that hotel feel into your home and the small touches of luxury will make your bedroom your sanctuary. Whether you are after a silkiness that is reminiscent of royalty or your taste is tittering towards the clarity of raw linen, far beyond colour variations, there are countless options to try and test. However if 1000 thread count means nothing to you (can someone please explain what this actually means?!) then I have invented a scale you can truly get behind.
Rating: 6/10 Softness
Timeless and classic, cotton bedding is the old faithful, never fail bed linen. With comfort and stability on its side, it’s hard to look elsewhere. This blend has stood the test of time. Take this ranking as an average across thread counts, although comfortable, and consistent, there is no oooh and ahhh at the touch and feel.
Rating: 7.5/10 softness
Linen blend has a rawness to it, that adds texture and structure. I’m talking beautifully crisp, if that is what appeals to you. Linen wears spectacularly over time and the more it is used, washed and slept on, the softer it becomes. Like your favourite pair of sneakers, this just gets better the more you use it. You can pick up this combination in an array of awe-inspiring colours (the tobacco is something special) at In Bed Store.
Rating: 9/10 softness
Brought to my attention by the wonderful team at The Beach People, eucalyptus blend (approximately 65% eucalyptus) marries natural fibres to create a linen that emulates silk in both look and feel (very, VERY soft!). Hypoallergenic for all your sensitivities, but the major selling point of this style of bedding is it’s breathability, the beauty of the blend is that it is almost completely undisturbed by temperature fluctuations, which is missing from other fabrics that rank similarly on the very professional and completely legitimate ‘softness scale’.
Whatever your preference I strongly recommend trialling as many styles as you can. You have explicit permission to spend obscene amounts of time and energy resting your head on as many different types of linen as you can, after all, a good nights sleep is priceless!
Author: Rosalie Molloy 
The latest monthly QV House Price Index shows nationwide residential property values for April increased 7.6% over the past year, while values rose 1.1% over the past three months. The nationwide average value is now $678,856. When adjusted for inflation the nationwide annual increase drops slightly to 6.4%.  
Meanwhile, residential property value growth across the Auckland Region increased slightly by 0.8% year on year although values dropped by 0.3% over the past quarter. The average value for the Auckland Region is now $1,051,687. When adjusted for inflation values dropped 0.3% over the past year.
QV General Manager, David Nagel said, “Nationwide values continue to rise at a moderate pace with many regional centres continuing to see steady increases, while the rate of growth continues to slow, plateau or even drop slightly in the main centres.”
“This is partly due to the continued trend of people seeking a lifestyle change away from the cities and purchasing better valued properties in the regions, particularly those that are within commutable distances of major centres.”
“Values across the Auckland Region and Wellington City have dropped over the past quarter and while annual growth remains positive across both, the Auckland region rose just 0.8% in the year to April.”
“Annual value growth also remains flat in Christchurch, while the Hamilton, Tauranga and Dunedin markets continue to rise moderately.”
“The slowdown in value growth can be partly attributed to the usual seasonal slowdown in activity as we approach the winter months and also the fact that many people, particularly investors, are not expecting significant capital growth in the coming months so are less active in the market.”
“Despite the fact that home values remain high, first home buyer activity is increasing particularly in Wellington and Dunedin – as people take advantage of their KiwiSaver funds as deposits.”
“The higher proportion of first home buyer actively is largely due to rising rents which mean it can often be as affordable to purchase an entry level home and pay a mortgage, as it is to rent a home.”
“However, for many, raising a deposit is still a bridge too far to cross to be able to gain entry into the housing market.”
Values across the Auckland market vary although not significantly. North Shore values rose 3.2% in the year to April 2018 and 0.4% over the past three months. The average value there is now $1,233, 394. The former Auckland City Council central suburbs rose 0.6% year on year and were 0.8% up over the past three months and the average value there is now $1, 086,879. Waitakere values dropped 0.2% year on year but they increased slightly by 0.2% over the past three months. Manukau dropped by 0.3% year on year and 0.4% over the past three months; Papakura values rose 1.1% year on year and 0.1% over the past three months and the average value there is now $701,123; Franklin values also rose 0.2% year on year and Rodney values were also up 0.1% year on year.
QV Auckland Senior Consultant, James Steele said, “Although below peak levels there is still a good amount of activity taking place across Auckland however values remain flat. We are seeing strong interest from first home buyers, who are making the most of a drop in investor activity, and a slight easing of lending criteria and relatively low interest rates.”
“A number of first home buyers are targeting the sub-$600k price bracket in order to obtain the KiwiSaver HomeStart grant but those unwilling to compromise on size or locations are finding these criteria difficult to meet.”
“Listings are staying on the market for a longer period of time and fewer properties are going at auction, providing more opportunity to negotiate and place conditional offers which is benefitting buyers.”
“As buyers can be more selective under these ‘regular’ market conditions we are seeing the importance of presentation and an effective marketing campaign comes back into play for vendors.”
“A mixture of strong and weak sales is common with the low side often represented by some urgency on the part of the vendor to sell.”
Hamilton City home values rose 1.7% over the past three months and values increased 2.9% in the year to April. The average value in Hamilton is now $554,452.
QV Hamilton Property Consultant Andrew Jaques said, “Overall, it’s a steady market. Sales numbers are particularly high in the northern suburbs in areas such as Flagstaff and Rototuna.”
“The eastern and western parts of the Hamilton market also remain busy with plenty of activity and demand.”
“However, it continues to be a seller’s market, with buyer competition intense. The preferred method of sale is still through a negotiated price although properties with strong character and in sought after locations are being called to auction.”  
“Investor activity appears to be dropping, due to a lack of desire to expand portfolios and some are selling up which is creating opportunities for first home buyers.”
Tauranga home values rose 3.8% year on year and 0.8% over the past three months. The average value in the city is $704,183. The Western Bay of Plenty market rose 6.8% year on year and 2.2% over the past three months. The average value in the district is now $630,703.
QV Tauranga Property Consultant, Steven Dunn said, “Tauranga continues to see good interest especially for those looking to purchase in the higher price bracket as well as from first home buyers.”
“However across the board values appear to have stabilised and we continue to see buyers are taking longer to complete due diligence before purchasing.”
“There is still a shortage of listings in Mount Maunganui especially at the top end of the market and for properties in the mid to low price bracket there are a good number of listings with plenty of buyers.”
“In the Western Bay of Plenty regions such as Katikati and Te Puke, values have stabilised with sales numbers still steady and vendors with realistic expectations selling well but some finding they need to adjust their price expectations.”
Values across the whole Wellington Region rose 6.6% in the year to April although dropped 0.3% over the past quarter and the average value is now $642,156.
Wellington City values increased 5.1% year on year but dropped 0.4% over the past three months and the average value there is now $761,400. Meanwhile, values in Upper Hutt rose 9.3% year on year and 3.5% over the past three months; Lower Hutt rose 6.8% year on year and 2.7% over the past quarter; Porirua rose 7.3% year on year and dropped 0.2% over the past quarter. Finally, the Kapiti Coast rose 13.4% year on year and 2.2% over the past three months.
QV Wellington Senior Consultant, David Cornford said, “Market conditions in Wellington are pretty stable with modest value growth.”
“The number of days to sell has increased slightly but is still significantly lower than the long term average and overall the market is robust.”
“Given the tight supply in Wellington it continues to be a sellers’ market and buyer competition for listings continues to drive values up particularly at the lower to mid end of the market.”
“A yet to be constructed development which will be known as “Paetutu” comprising two and three bedroom townhouses in Petone all but sold out in a week (51 of the 56 offered). These off the plan properties sold before the official marketing launch and before formal marketing commenced with most of the buyers learning of the development through The Professionals mailing list.”
“The townhouses are priced in the mid $500,000’s and it highlights the strong demand for affordable housing in Wellington, we understand the majority were sold to owner occupiers.”
“First home buyers are motivated to purchase with both rising rental costs and access to their KiwiSaver funds for deposits. We continue to see strong demand in this segment of the market”
“Although the “student surge” into Wellington has now settled the rental market remains very tight and there has been a significant uplift in rent levels over the last 12 months, particularly in Lower Hutt.”
Christchurch city values continue recent trends, either remaining flat or seeing slight increases or decreases in value. Values dropped slightly by 0.5% year on year and by 0.2% over the past three months. The average value in the city is now $493,346.
QV Christchurch Property Consultant Hamish Collins said, “The market remains steady in terms of value growth.”
“Well-maintained property continues to sell well although this is often dependant on the seller being willing to negotiate on price.”
“We are observing that discounts are being offered on a good portion of properties that are sold although these discounts are not overly substantial.”
“This reflects on the fact that the data is showing only slight decreases across the Christchurch market of less than 1.0%.”
Values in Dunedin continue their upward trend having increased 8.8% in the year to April and 3.1% over the past three months. The average value in the city is 404,539. Dunedin – South saw the strongest growth with values up 9.8% year on year and 3.6% over the last quarter. The average value there is now $386,807.
QV Dunedin Property Consultant, Aidan Young said, “The market has slowed but values remain stable overall and there appears to be a bit of a mixed sentiment.”
“The amount of people attending open homes has dropped although there is still plenty of activity from first home buyers who are snapping up well-maintained, entry level properties up to the $400,000 HomeStart grant cap.”
“Dunedin continues to provide a lower entry point when compared to many other parts of New Zealand.”
 “Internal migration between southern districts including Clutha, Central Otago and Southland has been noted as people seek the best value properties.”
“Vacant land remains in short supply given that some of the larger subdivisions are nearing their final stages, particularly in Mosgiel. There is more supply in the pipeline, however there may be some time until titles are available and purchasers are able to build.”
“Anecdotal evidence suggests some of the higher value residential vacant sections particularly around $300,000 are being met with some resistance by the market. 
“I would anticipate growth will remain relatively stable over the coming months as we enter the winter slowdown period, typical of Dunedin.”
Nelson residential property values rose 6.7% in the year to April and 0.8% over the last quarter. The average value in the city is now $562,832.  Meanwhile values in the Tasman District have also continued to rise, up 8.5% year on year and 0.9% over the past three months. The average value in the Tasman district is now $565,906.
QV Nelson Property Consultant Craig Russell said, “Overall value growth has plateaued over the past few months. The majority of upward pressure in the market is still however coming from the entry level properties with first home buyers active in the marketplace.”
“Vendor expectations in some cases have risen faster than the market which has a resulted in some properties sitting on the market for an extended period followed by a price drop.”
“The lack of availability of land for sale continues to underpin strong section prices which have also coincided with an increase in in-fill developments.”
“There has been a number of executive quality residential homes sell in Nelson in 2018 predominantly located on the Port Hills and in Atawhai being hill suburbs with excellent coastal views.”
Hawkes Bay
The Hawkes Bay region continues to see significant value growth. Napier values rose 17.6% year on year and 3.4% over the past three months. The average value in the city is now $500,347. Hastings values are also continuing to rise up 12.5% year on year and 1.3% over the past three months. The average value there is now $459,406. The Central Hawkes Bay has also seen values rise 19.8% year on year and 2.7% over the past three months and the average value there is now $315,767.
QV Hawkes Bay Property Consultant Nicola Waldon said, “Activity has picked up over the past month which can be partly attributed to vendors aiming to take advantage of the fact they can achieve high sales prices in the current market and before any possible slowdown in strong value growth seen over the past couple of years.
“There’s a general sense of people asking the question of how long can the high rate of growth in residential property values continue.”
“We’ve seen a slight increase in the number of listings coming to the market although there’s still not enough stock to keep up with demand particularly in popular parts of Napier and Havelock North.”
“The Hastings market is also busy, with a high number of sales going to first home buyers under $400,000. These buyers are able to take advantage of the Welcome Home Loan Scheme and, in many cases, their KiwiSaver contributions which can be used to make up part of their deposit.”
“We are continuing to see a high proportion of out-of-town buyers, who are in the process of moving to the Hawkes Bay. Rents remain relatively high due to a shortage of supply and with low interest rates buying appears to be the preferred option for those who can gain finance to do so.”
“The strong demand means more competition and buyers are having to negotiate and do their due diligence quickly to ensure they don’t miss out on properties. This demand is also continuing to drive values up across all areas of the market.”
Provincial centres
In the North Island, the growth continues across many regional centres. South Wairarapa experienced the greatest value growth over the past year, up 23% while Wairoa experienced the highest rate of growth over the past quarter, up 8.6%. Growth remains strong in the Hawkes Bay region, with Napier and Hastings continuing to appeal for many out-of-town buyers.
In the South Island, Waitaki saw the greatest annual value increase, up 13.8%, while Gore experienced the highest quarterly increase in the regions, up 4.2%. Most notably, Mackenzie dropped in value over the past quarter, down 4.5% although still up by 12.1% over the past year.  The deep South continues to see consistent value increases across most regions, particularly Invercargill and across Central Otago.