Preparing to Sell

Before you open your home up to potential buyers, you need to consider both the presentation of your home and how you would like to present your property through marketing material. Buyers don’t always get past the initial look, and might not take the time to see the true potential of your property. 

 

Preparing Your Home For Sale

Here’s a list of some of the areas buyers may be looking at when they walk around your home, all of which can be easily fixed:

  • Paint work – is it marked, old, or chipping in some areas? Sometimes a lick of fresh paint can make a room look brand new
  • Carpet – although more expensive to change outright, if it’s looking dirty or tired consider getting it professionally cleaned.
  • Garden and lawns – a poorly maintained garden and overgrown lawns can give an impression of the property being neglected.
  • Doors and windows – this might seem trivial, but a lot of people will open most doors throughout the house to see what’s behind them, and even open some windows. Make sure they aren’t sticking or damaged in any way.
  • General cleanliness, especially through the kitchen and bathrooms, and including animal hair – some buyers will get turned off if they see that a place hasn’t been looked after well as they want to try and picture themselves living there. Before an open home make sure you scrub the bathroom/s and kitchen, take a duster round the living areas and vacuum the floors. You may also want to consider cleaning any windows.
  • General clutter – if you have a lot of stuff and it’s cluttering up your house, try to tidy it up or put it away before anyone comes around. By doing this you may help to give a room spacious more spacious feel, and you might be able to highlight storage solutions in your home, which is always beneficial.
  • Smells – it seems simple but bad smells can put a buyer off and it might not even relate to your property. Make sure any rubbish is put out and anything that may potentially create a bad smell cleaned up. Even things like avoiding cooking particularly smelly food right before someone views the property can help.

 

Marketing your property

Whether you sell privately or through an agent, deciding on what kind of advertising and marketing you want to do will can affect the audience you reach and of course the cost.

  • Print advertising. Print advertising can come in various forms but some of the more commons ones include Property Press magazine and local papers. However, you have to remember that:
    • It can be expensive depending on your needs, ie how often the ad features and the size of the ad
    • It only captures your immediate, local audience, which is beneficial if you want to target your area but limiting if you want to attract a wider range of buyers
  • Online advertising. Online advertising has become more important in today’s real estate space, with sites such as Trade Me Property and Open2view becoming very popular. Online advertising can offer:
    • Cheaper advertising space, although your ad can end up being one of many in a long list
    • A wider audience reach - although this can also mean you end up with a lot of views of your ad but with no real leads, as people are just browsing
  • Property signage - Regardless of whether you choose print or online advertising, or both, another common form of marketing is a ‘For Sale’ sign. This is usually positioned out the front of your property. It’s an easy way to let passersby know your house is on the market and it also highlights your house to people trying to find it after seeing it in advertisements elsewhere.

Each option needs to assessed as to the number of potential buyers you can attract through it, and whether they’re the right buyers for your property. The cost also needs to be looked at, but this can be weighed up against whether that method attracted your buyer. More often a combination of different advertising and marketing will be suitable, and if you are using a real estate agent they will advise and help you with this process.


Latest News & Articles

Making sense of it all

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Nick Goodall, Senior Research Analyst, CoreLogic NZ Ltd
 
Things haven’t changed too much from last month. The softening in the property market has continued according to the QV House Price Index, which was released last week.
 
 
Nationwide annual value growth has dropped to 6%, the lowest for over two years. The slowdown is most strongly felt in our main centres, led by Auckland with only 5% annual growth and effectively no increase in value since October 2016. The provinces look to be holding on to some degree, with 14% annual growth, however this has consistently fallen away since the start of the year and based on current market activity, my pick is that it’ll continue to drop.
 
So the property market is in a change phase, where the peak growth cycle has now passed. That’s not to say all growth has disappeared but the glory days of 30%+ annual growth in some parts of the country look to have come and gone. For now. 
 
It’s at this time when conflicting market information can bombard us. Adding to that, we’re in an Election year, so it all goes into overdrive with each political party picking the best stats to suit their particular policy angle.
 
There’s no way to cover off every single measure in one article, and I do want to focus on the suburb level measure today, but I would be remiss not to quickly mention the two most publicised market measures, both at a national and city level.
 
The REINZ and QV House Price Indexes both use the same statistical method (sales price to appraisal ratio), but differ in two major ways: 
  • The QV index measures the change in value of the entire stock of property in an area, while REINZ measures the change in value of properties that sold in a given period.
  • The REINZ index is based on sales by agents in an individual month, whilst the QV index is a rolling three month calculation using all sales (including private). The REINZ sales loading process is faster than QV’s,  however it’s worth noting that QV don’t solely rely on the old method of sales loading through the official Council records anymore, so their data isn’t as far behind as it used to be.
 
What does this all mean? Well, the REINZ index generally picks up recent trends faster than the QV index, but the QV index is probably a more robust, stable and complete index when analysing the historical performance of any given property market.
 
But if we want to look more granularly and understand what’s happening at the suburb level, things get a little messier.  There’s no regular monthly release of data, but rather an assortment of ad hoc top 10 lists of suburb ‘hot spots’. 
 
So, how to know what’s best? The key thing is understanding what is being reported and the terminology used. Often the list will detail the median sale price difference between two periods, as happened recently, lauding Beachlands as the top suburb with a 64% growth in median sales price between the first half of 2016 ($815k) and the first half of 2017 ($1.34m). But, what this doesn’t take into account is whether the types of properties that sold over these periods differed. And in some cases, the stats are from an individual agency which may perform to varying levels of success in different parts of the market between any two given periods. In other words, their sales may not be representative of the total market.
 
In an extreme hypothetical example: let’s say there were 100 properties in an area, and during the first period the cheapest 10 properties sold (median price $500k) and in the second period the most expensive 10 properties sold (median price $800k). At first glance it would appear prices have increased by 60%, but actually it’s simply that the type/size/value of properties that happened to sell over those periods changed.
 
Moving to the real life example now: According to CoreLogic sales records, Beachlands had a total of 85 sales in the first half of 2016 and 72 sales in the first half of 2017. The median sales price went from $1.079m in 2016, to $1.193m, a difference of $114k, or 10.5%. This is wildly different from the stats reported in the recent top 20 list and illustrates that the subset used was not representative of the total market.
 
Furthermore, neither will reflect the overall change in value for all properties over this time, as they are only looking at the portion of properties that have sold. There are a number of sites that produce an estimated value of every residential property in the country on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. This is created using an Automated Valuation Model (AVM) which uses recent sales of comparable properties to estimate the likely sales price of any given property. In Beachlands’ case there are over 1,700 residential properties so analysing the difference in median value for all properties between two periods is a much better method for understanding overall market performance. 
 
As at 1 July 2017 the median value of residential property in Beachlands, according to the CoreLogic AVM, was $1.217m, and on 1 July 2016 it was $1.112m, an increase of 9.4%. So the stats aren’t too different in this real life example, but they can be. 
 
Second on the recent top 20 list was Favona, with an apparent 37% jump. Looking at all sales, not just those by the particular agency, we calculate a 5.9% drop in median sales price and a 7.0% increase in the median value (of all properties). This illustrates that the agency sold an over-represented amount of high valued properties in the latest period of analysis. It’s also worth noting that the 5.9% drop in median sales price over the two periods doesn’t tell us that values dropped over that period (they actually increased by 7.0%), but that it was mostly lower value properties that sold in the first half of 2017.
 
Out of interest, the top 10 suburbs, according to the change in median value between 1 July 2016 and 1 July 2017 are as follows (keep in mind the annual growth across the City was only 5.3%):
 
 
Some interesting names pop up, and across the complete value range too. Most notably though they’re almost all on the outskirts of the Supercity, often more holiday type locations. So it seems as the slowdown in value growth hits the City, prices have held up a bit better the further out you go. Whether that continues to be the case is unlikely as the amount of potential buyers continues to reduce due to unavailability of credit. 
 
Disclaimer* CoreLogic run the QV index on behalf of Quotable Value
 
 
 
New Zealand Regional Maps:

 

 
The latest monthly QV House Price Index shows nationwide residential property values for July increased 6.4% over the past year which is the slowest annual rate since February 2015. Values rose by 1.6% over the past three months and the nationwide average value is now $641,280 which is 54.8% above the previous market peak of late 2007. When adjusted for inflation the nationwide annual increase drops slightly to 4.6% and values are now 29.2% above the 2007 peak. 
 
Residential property values across the Auckland Region increased 5.3% year on year which is the slowest annual rate of growth seen since May 2012. Quarterly value growth has plateaued for the second month in a row at 0.0% over the past three months. The average value for the Auckland Region is now $1,044,303 and values are now on average 91.1% higher than the previous peak of 2007.  When adjusted for inflation values rose 3.4% over the past year and are 59.5% above the 2007 peak. 
 
 
QV National Spokesperson Andrea Rush said, “The latest QV House Price Index figures show nationwide values are still rising, but this growth is now being driven by regional and provincial centres rather than the largest cities.”
 
“Values continue to plateau in Auckland, Hamilton and Christchurch in a trend seen since October last year when the latest round of LVR restrictions were introduced.”
 
 “Wellington and Dunedin are now also experiencing a similar trend with quarterly value growth in both cities slowing to below 1.0%.”
 
“Much of the slowdown in the markets is being caused by high prices and banks stricter lending criteria meaning it’s difficult for many buyers to raise finance to purchase and this is now constraining the market.”
 
“Record high net migration continues yet building consents are now trending downwards so the underlying demand and lack of supply for homes remains in the market, particularly in Auckland.” 
 
“It’s likely that these trends will continue for the rest of the winter and many buyers and sellers are now taking a wait and see approach until after winter and the election.”
 
Auckland
Values are rising in some parts of Auckland and dropping in others.  Waiheke Island saw the strongest rise with values up 4.1% over the past three months and values also rose slightly in Auckland City suburbs up 0.9%; and on the North Shore up 0.6%; while values decreased the most in Papakura where they dropped 2.6%; they were also down 1.6% in Franklin; 0.7% in Rodney, 0.9% in Waitakere and 0.5% in Manukau over the past quarter. 
 
QV Auckland Registered Valuers, James Steele said, “The Auckland residential property market is still cooling, with sales volumes down more than 30% below the same period last year while there as twice as many properties listed on the market as there were this time last year.” 
 
“This is meaning properties are generally taking longer to sell and auction clearance rates also remain low, but auction rooms are still well attended so it appears people remain very interested in what the market is doing.”
 
“We are also still seeing well-presented properties in sought after locations sell well to owner occupiers but in other areas that were favoured by investors we are now seeing a reduction in prices where speculation was previously a strong part of the market.”
 
“Some sellers however are choosing to withdraw their properties from sale if they are not receiving price offers that meet their expectations.”
 
“For many there doesn’t seem to be a mass urgency to sell so while it’s become much more of a buyers’ market with more choice, less competition, and a better chance of getting a good deal compared to 2016, sellers still retain some power while interest rates are low and the economy remains buoyant”
 
Hamilton  
Hamilton City home values rose 0.4% over the past three months and 5.4% year on year. Values are now 49.6% higher than the previous peak of 2007. The average value in the Hamilton is now $540,840.
 
QV Hamilton Valuer, Stephen Hare said, “The Hamilton city market has remained stagnant over the past month and the average time properties are taking to sell has lengthened which is giving buyers more opportunities to negotiate.” 
 
“With the heat now having come out of the market, listing numbers have increased and clearance rates have fallen at auctions, however well-presented and well-located properties continue to sell over asking prices and with buyer competition.”
 
“The drop-off in the number of investment buyers has created opportunities for first home buyers, who were previously getting beaten when vying for properties. 
 
“Values in the wider Waikato District have plateaued over the past three months with places like Huntly, Ngaruawahia and Pokeno not experiencing the same buyer demand or corresponding sales volumes that they were 12 months ago.”
 
‘In Pokeno, building companies are not achieving the same sales prices they were for new homes which were selling for between $770k and 780k and are now selling for around $50,000 less.”
 
“This drop in the sales price is partly due to some buyers not being able to gain finance to purchase since the banks have tightened up their lending criteria.”
 
“In the Hauraki District, there’s still demand for entry level properties under $500K, particularly in small towns such as Ngatea within commuting distance of Hamilton and Auckland. This demand has seen values jump 12.5% in the Hauraki District over the past quarter and 28.8% year on year.” 
 
Tauranga
Tauranga home values continue to rise up by 12.3% year on year and 1.9% over the past three months. Values there are now 43.6% higher than the previous peak of 2007. The average value in the city is $691,350. Western Bay of Plenty increased by 14.4% year on year and 4.6% over the past three months. The average value in the district is now $617,754.
 
QV Tauranga, Registered Valuer, David Hume said, “The market in Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty is steady at present, with most agents reporting more normalised levels in demand.”
 
“Demand is still strong at the higher end of the market with continued enquiry from Auckland buyers particularly for residential property in Mount Maunganui.” 
 
“Clearance rates at auctions are down on this time last year although a lot of conditional deals are being done post auction often due to buyers who need to sell a property before they purchase struggling to obtain bridging finance from banks.” 
 
“Rents in Tauranga have stabilised for the first time in two years at an average of $475 per week.”
 
“The Western Bay of Plenty continues to see good growth, partly caused by reduced section sizes in new developments, continuing to make lifestyle blocks more appealing to families.”  
 
Wellington   
The QV House Price Index shows values in the Wellington region continued to slow rising just 0.8% over the past three months. Values increased 15.8% year on year down from annual growth of 18.0% last month and they are now 33.2% higher than in the previous peak of 2007. The average value across the wider region has now ticked over $600,000 and is $607,011. Values dropped in Wellington-North by 0.5% and Wellington-West by 0.6% over the past quarter.
 
QV Wellington Registered Valuer, David Cornford said, “The Wellington market continues to slow and residential property values have largely flattened over the last two months.”
 
“Sale numbers are down compared to 12 months ago and this confirms there is less activity from both vendors and buyers.”
 
“Both buyers and sellers seem to be taking a wait and see approach and this will likely continue until after the election and the spring months are upon us.”
 
New builds and off plan purchasers are selling well, as these are not impacted by the LVR restrictions introduced last year. 
 
“Stock levels in Wellington are very low, with approximately only six weeks of supply left on the market and it’s possible this is due to winter not being a favoured time to list properties for sale. A tightening of supply along with a decrease in demand has resulted in a relatively stable market in Wellington.”
 
“Well-presented properties in popular localities are continuing to sell well and are achieving strong prices.”
 
Christchurch 
Christchurch City values continue to plateau rising just 0.6% year on year and they decreased slightly by 0.2% over the past three months. Values in the city are now 30.5% higher than the previous peak of 2007.
 
QV Christchurch Registered Valuer Daryl Taggart said, “The Christchurch market is stalling, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of activity and properties are increasingly harder to sell.”
 
“Finance is now the biggest hurdle for most buyers, especially for those that already own property, and where a condition of the new purchase will be the sale of another property.”
 
“We are seeing a number of cases where asking prices have been reduced to achieve a sale, especially those who require a quick sale.” 
 
“Now that the market is slow it’s likely that increasingly vendors may find they need to reduce their price expectations to achieve a sale.”
 
“Rents are also decreasing which suggests there is an oversupply of rental property on the market.”
 
“It’s possible that this slow-down in the market is just the traditional winter slowdown so it will be interesting to see what happens once the election is over and spring is here to see if things pick up.” 
 
Dunedin
Dunedin residential property values continue to rise but at a slower rate than earlier in the year with quarterly growth slowing to 0.6% over the past three months. Values rose by 12.6% in the year since July 2016 and are now 30.6% above the previous peak of 2007. The average value in the city is now $373,857. Values rose the most over the past quarter in Dunedin Taieri where they increased by 2.1% while values in Dunedin-Peninsula Coastal areas dropped by 2.7% over the same period. 
 
QV Dunedin Registered Valuer, Aidan Young said, “Demand for residential property in Dunedin remains strong and there are very low listing levels but the rate of value growth has slowed over the winter months.” 
 
“Multi-offer scenarios are still common, as purchasers are keen to secure properties and we are continuing to see good sale prices being achieved with many properties selling for more than the asking price.”
 
“Buyers do prefer well presented, modernised, low maintenance properties and these properties are selling quickly and achieving good prices.” 
 
“First home buyers are now more active in nearby regional centres following recent value growth in Dunedin city in particular in places like Milton and Balclutha where entry level property is more affordable.”
 
Nelson
Nelson residential property values rose 14.4% year on year but quarterly growth slowed to 0.8% over the past three months and values are now 38.8% higher than the previous peak of 2007. The average value in the city is now $531,659.  Meanwhile values in the Tasman District have risen 16.7% year on year and 2.3% over the past three months and are 32.9% higher than in the previous peak of 2007. The average value in the district is now $533,816. 
 
QV Nelson, Registered Valuer Craig Russell said, “The Nelson market remains robust however value growth has plateaued over the past month.”
 
“Open homes are attracting fewer numbers which are leading to less multiple offers and due diligence clauses are returning to sale and purchase agreements as market demand slows.”
 
“However, we are still seeing strong interest from out of town buyers, and in particular Auckland buyers who are either cashed up, have good job prospects in the area or can work remotely, and also those people who just see Nelson as a desirable place to live.”
 
Hawkes Bay
Values continue to rise strongly across the Hawkes Bay region. Napier values rose 18.4% year on year and 5.7% over the past three months. The average value in the city is now $449,717 and values are now 32.2% above the previous peak of 2007. The Hastings market also continues to see strong value growth rising 20.0% year on year and 3.7% over the past three months and the market is now 36.0% higher than 2007. The average value there is now $423,750. Values Central Hawkes Bay have jumped 8.7% over the past three months and 22.7% in the year since July 2016.
 
QV homevalue Hawkes Bay, Registered Valuer Michelle Drinkrow said, “The Hawkes Bay residential property market is still showing steady levels of activity and demand. 
 
Well-presented properties are continuing to sell well but in some instances buyers aren’t rushing to complete the sale like they were a few months ago.
 
The latest round of LVR changes appears to have had a minor impact on some buyers but cash investors or those with high levels of equity remain active. We are also continuing to see out of town buyers moving to the area to live in search of more affordable housing.  
 
Residential vacant land in both Napier and Hastings remains in high demand with good sales levels being seen.
 
We are noticing a limited number in listings available which could be in part due to the annual winter slow-down which traditionally occurs in the Hawkes Bay property market and also through buyers taking a wait and see approach until after the election. 
 
 
Provincial centres
Most provincial areas of the North Island continue to see relatively strong value growth as buyers look outside of the main centres for more affordable property. Some of the strongest value growth has been seen in the Kaipara and Whangarei Districts North of Auckland; the Hauraki, South Waikato and Waitomo Districts near Hamilton and in Masterton; South Wairarapa and Carterton near Wellington. Values dropped in the Tararua, Ruapehu and South Taranaki Districts.  
 
In the South Island, the Queenstown market has begun rising again after a period of relatively flat growth up 4.9% over the past three months  which may be driven by strong value growth at the top end of the market there. The average value there has now topped that of the Auckland Region at $1,092,748. Nearby Central Otago has also seen values rise 4.8% over the same period and values continue to rise in nearby MacKenzie and Clutha districts. Values in Westland are also rising up 4.5% over the past three months and 10.0% year on year while values continue to decrease in other parts of the Westcoast in the Buller and Grey Districts.  Values also dropped in Kaikoura, Ashburton and Waimate.
 

This monthly report created by the CoreLogic NZ Research team covers the main economic factors that influence the housing market, and then looks at sales volumes, values, and active buy types in both the national and main centre housing markets.

 

Some highlights of the June - July 2017 report:

  • Migration - For the second time in 18 months it looked like we were seeing a slowdown before things have picked up again. It seems the high net migration picture is set to stay for a while yet.
  • Building Consents – The actual increase in housing stock in Auckland in 2016 was less than 6,000. This is some way off the 10,000 that were consented.
  • Consumer Confidence – Remains high with perception of future economic outlook remaining strong.
  • Values - Nationwide values rose again last month according to the QV house price index. This was mostly due to increases in the provincial and rural centres, especially in the North Island. The market slowdown has now firmly hit Wellington. Quarterly growth of 2.4% is the lowest we’ve seen for almost two years.
  • Outlook – We’re likely to see a continuation of the quiet Winter as credit is still difficult to come by. Longer term though, many of the major market drivers remain and, assuming there are no major policy changes introduced as a result of the September Election, should start to push prices up further. 
 
To download the full report, click here.
 
“Neieeeeeighbours. Everybody needs good neeeiggghbours”…so says the catchy TV theme song. Very true. Also very true? The legal term ‘caveat emptor’ (or ‘buyer beware’ in non-legal speak). 
 
All good in theory, but how do you actually know whether there are any issues with the neighbouring properties, or indeed the land and property you’re interested in? 
 
 
1. Ask the Agent
When it comes to the property you’re considering, your first and most obvious port of call (but certainly not your last) should be the agent managing the sale. Ask them outright if there’s anything you should be aware of. For example: 
  • “What’s the plumbing like?” 
  • “What’s the wiring like?” 
  • “Any previous weather-tightness concerns?” 
  • And something dominating headlines currently: “Have there been any possible P contamination concerns?” 
 
Always be proactive and specific in your requests but don’t expect the agent to automatically have all the relevant information. 
 
The Real Estate Agents Authority (REAA) polices the real estate industry in New Zealand. According to its rules, real estate agents cannot withhold any information they know when asked about a property. They are not allowed to make statements about a property that cannot be backed up with evidence.
 
“Remember that the real estate salesperson represents the seller,” says REAA chief executive Kevin Lampen-Smith. “He or she will tell you a lot about the property and will answer any questions, but a prospective buyer should do their own research as well.”
 
So, on to that research then… 
 
2. Do a title search 
A  title search provides all the records about the property as held by Land Information New Zealand (LINZ). These records will include who the legal owner is, the legal description and any rights or restrictions against the property title, including easements that affect access. 
 
The agent selling the property may have a copy of the title. If they have noticed any restrictions, they must pass this information on to potential buyers.  The REAA recommends seeking advice from a lawyer when looking at a certificate of title as it can be daunting to understand the language involved.
 
How to do a title search? You can get one right here! Our Certificate of Title Report is available when you search an address.
 
3. Get a building report
Building reports do come at a cost, but can be a great source of information with regards to the condition of a property. They’re often made available by agents and vendors prior to a sale. But it pays to understand how and why such reports are written when evaluating their conclusions.
 
“You have a range of choices when it comes to getting a building report, from enlisting a builder mate to using a qualified and insured inspector,” advises REAA chief executive Kevin Lampen-Smith. 
 
“You can also make an inspection a condition of your offer on a property. If you choose this option, the report must be prepared by a suitably qualified building inspector in accordance with accepted principles and methods. If you then use the report’s findings to get out of the contract, you must provide the seller with a copy of it. Either way, the more you invest in this exercise the safer you will be if things don’t turn out as you had expected.” 
 
The property pre-purchase inspection industry is not regulated in New Zealand, however the REAA recommends using a qualified building inspector who has professional indemnity insurance, understands the strict legal requirements of their role and carries out their work in accordance with the New Zealand Property Inspection Standard. This is important because they will help protect you if something goes wrong later on. If you discover problems with the property that should have been evident in a building inspection, you can make a complaint to the professional body that the inspector belongs to and seek compensation through the courts.
 
Reports are done to protect the person who’s done the report, so knowing how to read one is really important. They’re always written from the worst-case scenario using interpretive words like ‘adequate’ and ‘inadequate’. But what do they really mean? If something’s ‘adequate’, for example, it’s probably actually pretty good. It’s important to understand that no building is perfect and that ultimately, you’ll still have to rely on your own knowledge and determinations to make a decision.
 
The REAA advises that it’s a “good idea to select a property inspector and/or engineer at an early stage of your home buying process so you are ready to arrange an inspection when you find a property you want to buy. We recommend you choose a property inspector who has professional indemnity insurance and carries out their work in accordance with the New Zealand Property Inspection Standards”.
 
To find a building inspector who conforms to this standard, visit the Building Officials Institute of New Zealand website and the New Zealand Institute of Building Surveyors website. Inspectors not listed on those websites may still conform to the New Zealand Standard.
 
4. Get a professional in
After you’ve got the building report, if you’ve got a friend who’s a builder, carpenter or plumber, now’s the time to offer them a case of craft beer in return for a walk-through. Alternatively, paying for the relevant building professionals to give a place a detailed once-over is a smart investment.
 
Getting them to walk through the property with you and actually give you a real assessment of what’s involved in making any necessary improvements or repairs is a great idea. Building reports often over-estimate the cost of repairs, so getting a professional opinion on what costs are actually likely to be is sensible. Even if you have to pay for that advice, it’s something that enables you to take a real view of the situation.
 
5. Ask your Council
Councils can be an invaluable tool for finding any issues that may seriously impact the future value or liveability of the property you’re considering.
 
For example: Is there a subdivision approval on the house next door or the one at the back? You could also check with the Council about any re-zoning plans that may be under consideration and could potentially impact the neighbourhood. Don’t just rely on the agent to deliver all the information you need. It always pays to do your own research.
 
6. Invest in a LIM Report. 
Before you place an offer on a property, you should get a “Land Information Memorandum” (LIM). This is a comprehensive report provided by the local Council with all important current and historical information that the Council knows about the property, including: 
  • Potential erosion, subsidence or slippage, flooding of any type, and possible presence of hazardous substances.
  • Information on private and public storm water and sewerage drains.
  • Rates information.
  • Any consents, notices, orders or requisitions affecting the land or buildings.
  • District Plan classifications relating to the land or buildings.
  • Any other classifications that relate to the land or buildings.
  • Any other classifications on the land or buildings notified to the Council by network utility operators in relation to the Building Act 2004.
 
You can get the most up to date LIM direct from your local Council or through your lawyer. They do cost and before investing in one, you could purchase a Property Changes Report, designed to identify any extensive renovations and subdivisions, by tracking changes to floor and land area as well as changes to value since 1991. 
 
If you have any questions over recent renovations or additions on a property, we also offer a Building Consents Report which provides information on what has been approved since 2010.
 
That’s your homework for today then! 
 
Don’t forget to check out our handy checklist for when buying a home, plus the REAA has a free downloadable guide to buying a home at buyingahome.reaa.govt.nz
 
 
Agents love to tell you that Winter is a great time to sell - because there are less properties on the market therefore less competition. CoreLogic assessed seasonal trends with property settlements over the last 30 years, and and whilst Summer is the least popular (owing perhaps to the holiday season), Winter is definitely behind Spring and Autumn.
 
If you are considering selling your property this Winter, there are some easy and simple tricks to maximise your selling price. Best of all, they don’t all require major investment.
 
Turn up the Winter appeal
Whether you’re working with what you’ve got or hiring the furniture and home décor items in, take the season into account when staging your property for sale. In Winter this means comfort, warmth and a sense of welcoming from the outdoors. 
 
Top tips!
  • Light and bright: choose light, neutral colours where possible. 
  • Think warm and cosy - add texture with throws, pillows and rugs. Velvet and wool are so on-trend right now and readily available. 
  • Make the master bedroom luxurious. Who doesn’t love climbing into bed on a freezing night? Channel a luxury B&B - invest in some great sheets, some plump Euro cushions and a luxury throw for the end of the bed. Little details like this get noticed by buyers. 
  • And the bathroom too! Add a glossy inside plant in a beautiful planter, light candles by the bath and have new fluffy white towels. 
  • Make your dining space welcoming - a medium sized vase with simple flowers, a great metallic tray with candles of varying heights, even some simple ceramic vessels of differing heights. It all paints a sense of occasion, important even in Winter. 
  • Don’t forget the laundry! We all know how out of control the laundry can get when clothes can’t be hung out to dry. Make sure yours is well organised and inviting. A great tip is to invest in dryer balls - a few drops of essential oil added before you turn the dryer on for a few minutes will have your laundry smelling beautifully fresh and inviting for Open Homes. 
  • Say welcome with style - the front door is where it’s all at. Refresh any potted plants. Get a new doormat. Consider updating your outside light, and definitely look at painting the front door if it’s looking a bit shabby. Think about what happens when they step inside. Is there a wonderful rug to keep their toes cosy? Somewhere to hang their coats? 
  • Bring the outdoors in. At least one bunch of simple flowers is a must, but be inspired by your own garden or neighbourhood too. A few great bud vases on a windowsill or even by the kitchen tap go a long way – even better: they don’t demand expensive foliage - simple greenery and single flowers will do.
  • Look outside. Just because it’s freezing outside, don’t forget your outdoor entertaining areas: waterblast and sweep, assess the mildew/moss situation. Make sure all outdoor lights are working and that the gardens when viewed from inside are neat and tidy. 
 
Appeal to the home buyer
You might be selling an investment property but you want your property to be attractive to homebuyers too. Why? Homebuyers are generally more emotional when buying their home compared to investors and therefore can attract higher prices. 
 
Top tips!
  • Get the carpets professionally cleaned and either refinish or polish the floor boards.
  • Walk through your property and give an honest appraisal on the state of the paint job. Look up! Do an honest appraisal of the ceilings, door and window frames. Skirting boards are one of the first places to show signs of wear and tear. Paint is one of the best value mini-makeovers around. 
  • Clear the decks! Clutter is the last thing home buyers want to see. Let them see the spaces for what they are by getting rid of anything unnecessary or highly personal. 
  • Clean the property thoroughly.
  • Tidy up the garden, especially the front yard and entrance area. Front yards, in particular, are important because they are often the first aspect of the property that potential buyers will see.
  • Drippy windows? Make sure you wipe them daily or invest in an air filtration system that takes the problem away completely: it’s a great chattel to be able to list too. 
  • Waterblast/clean the outside of your home too, including the guttering and driveway. The difference this makes can be amazing - and instantly looks well maintained. 
 
Use light to your advantage
Just like moths, humans love natural light: so the more natural light you can let in, the better. This is tougher in Winter, but still doable. 
 
Top tips!
  • Refresh darker curtains with lighter ones if budget allows. At a minimum, ensure they can be drawn right back to let every inch of Winter sun on offer in! Remember that dark, heavy curtains can also make rooms look smaller.
  • Make sure that windows are sparkling clean to let in all light possible. 
  • Use good quality lights and lamps.
  • Turn on all the lights and lamps before Open Homes, using the dimmer switch if available to add atmosphere. 
  • Mirrors are your friend.  They bounce available light around and instantly make rooms seem bigger. 
  • Open all the curtains and blinds.
 
Keep your property warm
This one is a no-brainer. There is nothing worse than walking into a freezing cold home on an equally freezing cold day. It won’t help make a good first impression for potential purchasers: in fact - it will probably stop them seeing your property’s great features because if they’re cold they’ll just rush through and see dollar signs in front of their eyes for investing in insulation and heating.  
 
Top tip!
  • Ensure that before the open homes, the heating has been on for a while and is able to be felt in every room – that includes bathrooms. 
  • Turn heated towel rails on and close the door, opening just beforehand.  
  • If you have a fireplace, light a fire and ensure it’s well stoked - with a neatly piled wood basket close by. Nothing says ‘cosy comfort’ in Winter better than a fire. 
  • Crank up the heatpump then before the Open Home starts change the setting to a subtle low. 
 
Exceed expectations
If you really want to impress, offer a warm drink to your prospective purchasers. Have some plunger coffee ready to offer people looking through your property, or why not crack open the whisky or red wine too for evening viewings! 
 
It adds a nice touch, gives potential buyers a way to remember the house and also helps create a casual atmosphere. This may need to be discussed with an agent if they have been engaged in selling the property.
 
Be flexible to inspections
We all like to hibernate. So whilst evening viewings may not be as popular, make sure you plan for them. Just because there are fewer properties competing with yours, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be flexible for viewings. 
 
Every time of year has good and bad points when it comes to selling property but make the Winter season work for you, and it won’t matter when you sell.