Renovating for Profit: Getting the Best Return on Your Investment

When you are renovating for profit, it can be difficult establishing what needs doing to maximise the return on your investment.

renovating for profit

Getting it right can reap considerable rewards, getting it wrong results in a waste of your time and money.

Investing a little in many areas of your home can make a real impact when it comes time to sell.How do you know which areas are worth investing time and money into and which ones aren’t?

Here are a few tips to get started. (more…)

Posted In: Auckland, Interior Designers, Project Managers, Ruapehu, Selwyn, South Taranaki

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Having a good real estate agent on board is a necessity to secure the best price possible for your home.

A good real estate agent will have in-depth knowledge of the current state of the real estate market and will act swiftly to adjust their business and marketing strategy to deal with it.

Ian Keightley of Salescoach training, advises sellers to be meticulous in their approach when employing a real estate agent. “Be very careful. They’ve got to understand the principles of marketing – they have to know the product [your home], identify the targets and understand the best way to reach them. You have to package and price the product correctly and market it well. This is not a market for short cuts.”

real estate agentWhere do you start? Scan through the local property media and see which real estate agents are busy in your area. Take a note of names on local ‘for sale’ signs.

Be careful, however, about selecting somebody on the strength of their visibility.

Just because a real estate agent has bought advertising space for their vendors or put up signs outside homes, doesn’t actually mean they were able to sell those homes, says Megan Jaffe of Megan Jaffe, Ray White Real Estate, in Auckland’s top-end suburb of Remuera.

Megan believes that word of mouth is best. “Look for a proven track record of people who have recently been through the experience of selling and ask for testimonials. They must be able to demonstrate results.”

Barfoot & Thompson’s training manager Teresa Reynolds says a good way to choose a real estate agent if you don’t already have a preferred agent is to do a shortlist of three then go to the open homes they are running. “This gives you the advantage of seeing them at work and comparing them to other agents in the area. It also allows you to see how the buyers that come through your property will be treated when the agent is selling your home.”

She cautions against selecting a real estate agent based on their price opinion of your home. “Ultimately it’s the buyer who decides what they are prepared to pay for your home, not the agent. Don’t get carried away with real estate agents who promise discounts and commission cuts. Your most valuable tool in the sale of your home is an expert negotiator and marketer. “Even though you employ one agent to sell your home, be aware that you are often reliant on the other salespeople in their company to promote your property. Choose an agent who has the backing of an established company.”

Real estate agents should be able to provide you with material that educates you on the market, providing statistics about comparable properties in your area, the sales process and how the real estate company operates.

A good agent will tell you how to present your home so it’s not just looking its best, but it smells and feels good. Megan Jaffe says it’s a competitive market, so you have to put your best foot forward. “Presentation makes a big difference. Create a homeliness people can relate to.”

Harcourts chief executive Bryan Thomson says the appraisal process is a chance for you to see how well the salespeople communicate and to gauge their attitude and skill in response to your queries. You must trust your salesperson to achieve a great result, he says. “If you don’t have that confidence, move on.” He believes today’s agents should be very comfortable with technology and recognise that relatively new marketing avenues, such as the internet, are critical because of the wide reach they give.

Once you have selected an agent to represent your home, they should devise a written marketing plan allocating promotional budgets you feel comfortable with. The plan should be reviewed weekly, says Bryan, and if it’s not working, analyse what went wrong then change it. Throughout the sales process, expect honest feedback. “If the price is too high, you should be able to discuss that too. You should have a relationship where you can expect feedback, good or bad.”

Rosie Harvey of Harveys, Taupo, says with their high-profile campaigns, auctions and tenders remove any barrier around the price and attract more potential buyers to the property. Once buyers come out of the woodwork, then the agent can garner feedback from them on what they believe the property is worth. The set sales date of auctions and tenders also gives buyers a timeframe in which to make decisions.

reauctionMegan Jaffe says it’s important you choose an agent who continues to build their database. “In this market, the agents who are selling are extremely well-organised. They’re perfecting their processes, systems, documentation and improving their vendor communications. “Should things go wrong between you and your salesperson, go to the agency licensee, who will then follow-up with the salesperson.

Most problems relate to a lack of communication, or the salesperson hasn’t done their job properly. At the end of each meeting with a vendor, I always ask, is there anything I could have done to serve you better?”

Be prepared with a list of questions to ask real estate agents who are competing to sell your home.

  • What do you personally offer that will help me get the best price for my home?
  • What is your point of difference?
  • What is your company’s market share in this area?
  • Who do you think will buy my property?
  • How do you propose to achieve a premium price for my property?
  • What tools do you have to ensure every potential viewer looks at my property?
  • Can your company give my property the exposure it deserves on the internet?
  • How many websites can a potential buyer view my property on?
  • Which systems will you use to market and sell my property?

Article (modified) courtesy of Resene Habitat magazine.

Posted In: Choosing Tradespeople, Rental Property

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An independent  Registered Valuer’s report will help ensure you don’t pay more for a property than it’s worth.

How much is that house really worth? The real estate agent is telling you one thing; the rateable value carried out two years previously suggests differently. But who can give you a truly independent expert opinion?

Helen and her family moved to Auckland from Wellington last year and were quite daunted by the prospect of finding a good buy.

“When you’re new to a city you have little or no feel for what represents a fair price to pay for a house,” she explains. “We looked around and did our homework as much as we were able but when it came to making a purchase, we didn’t hesitate in using a valuer to ensure the property was a sound investment and we weren’t paying over the market odds.”

registered valuerWhen making potentially one of the biggest purchases of your life it makes excellent sense to employ a local expert to check out all the facts. So what can you expect from a registered valuer? Of prime importance is the quality of the advice you’re getting.

A registered valuer is someone who thoroughly knows the local house market and the locality in question and has accurate information that enables them to give you a genuine impartial, independent opinion.

In preparing a registered valuation for you they will first do a visual inspection of the property, noting any issues that affect the value of the property, such as dampness, leaks and poor design. Where appropriate they will recommend you use a building inspector or engineer to further investigate. They might also advise on ways to add value.

As part of the report they will check the certificate of title, which is important for crossleased/unit titled properties, to highlight any potential problems such as right-of-ways, shared driveways and so on that may need a solicitor’s help to resolve.

Using their local knowledge  a registered valuer will be able to inform you of any proposed developments in the area, such as new shopping malls or transport links or any changes to the local business zoning – could a new business park spring up next door, for example? They can provide a list of recent house sales and a view of how the market is performing.

From this research the registered valuer will then make their value recommendation. Unlike council rating values, which are usually only done in bulk every three years to set council rates, you can be assured a registered valuer has assessed your property individually to determine the current market value.

How do you pick a reliable registered valuer? If you don’t have any recommendations to go on, then one point of contact should be the Property Institute of New Zealand, which has around 3000 members, offering a variety of property-related services to the public.

To become a member, a registered valuer will need to have a property qualification and have passed the high standards set by the valuers’ registration board. They are also bound by the institute’s code of ethics and reporting standards.

The largest valuation company in New Zealand is QV, which has 22 offices throughout the country and a very useful website, with plenty of information on the valuation process. As well as being able to request a full current market valuation, you can purchase a selection of short reports online, such as certificates of title deeds, local sales, property histories and the very handy E-valuer report, for when you’re at the ‘just looking’ stage and simply want a quick price validation.

The cost of a full, current valuation varies depending on the value of the property and its location, but you can expect to pay a minimum of $500 and at least double that if the property is around $1 million. If you’re borrowing more than 80% of the value of the property or if it’s a private sale your lender will usually insist on a valuation.

Pieter Geill, who’s been a valuer for more than 21 years and specialises in the Hutt Valley area of Wellington, says one of the main benefits he can offer his clients is peace of mind. “Purchasing a house can be a hugely stressful process involving a substantial financial commitment. So you really do want to know as much as you can before you sign on the dotted line, including that the price you’re about to pay is indeed a fair one.”

Don’t rely on your council valuation (CV) as a reflection of market valuation unless it is very current. You can, however, compare the percentage difference between houses that have recently sold and their CVs as a reflection of market trends.

Article (modified) courtesy of Resene Habitat magazine.

Posted In: Choosing Tradespeople, Rental Property

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eqc helpWith the earthquakes in Christchurch in 2010 and 2011, people may need help in dealing with EQC and EQR (Fletchers construction).

If you are in need of advice or help, then you can now get help with project managers and builders with experience in dealing with both EQC and EQR.

Usually these people have worked as EQC inspectors in the past providing incredible useful insight in to the process.

Easy Ways to Quake Safe Your Home has tips  gives you tips on how to prevent damage and injury from earthquakes.

EQC Help specialists may assist with claims for Canterbury residents

Hire an EQC help specialist

Fletcher EQR is the Project Management Office established by the Earthquake Commission (EQC) to project manage the repair of homes damaged in the earthquakes, where the damage is estimated at up to $100,000 plus GST per claim.

Repairs estimated at less than $15,000 plus GST are normally cash-settled by EQC, except where structural damage is involved. Fletcher EQR is a business unit of The Fletcher Construction Company.

What to do during an earthquake

  • Quickly drop, cover and hold.
  • Drop to the ground (to avoid falling).
  • Take cover under something strong, like a sturdy desk or table.
  • Hold onto it until the shaking stops.

eqc help

  • Don’t try to run in an earthquake.
  • You’re generally safer inside than outside

Posted In: Christchurch, EQC Help, Inspectors

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property inspectorA property inspector is usually employed during the home buying process. The inspector’s job is to provide information about the building being purchased.

This information aids the buyer in decididing if the home or building is worth purchasing or if there are major faults that could affect their purchase decision.

When hiring a property inspector to look over a property, they will check everything that is visible. They are generally not responsible for any internal issues like faulty wiring or plumbing hidden by walls. Each property inspector will have a disclosure listing their responsibilities and what errors or omissions they can or cannot be held accountable for at a later date.

A property inspector may inspect:

  • Heating
  • Plumbing
  • Foundation
  • Roof
  • Electric
  • Appliances
  • Air conditioning
  • Doors and windows
  • Decks and patios
  • Outdoor structures
  • Swimming pools

There are other potentially dangerous conditions that a property inspector will look for as well. If desired, they can check for lead paint and most will keep their eyes peeled for asbestos while in an older home.

property inspectorIt is key to know of past damage in the building and if the condition that caused the damage can happen again. A property inspector will look for fire damage, past water leaks and evidence of termites and determine if the conditions are active or dead.

For example, a home may have had termites at one point in history, evident by small holes usually in the basement structures. The inspector will advise if it is an active infestation or one that is long gone based on the age of the holes.

The property inspector will prepare a report at the conclusion of the inspection. Usually it will follow in the days after the inspection and will contain the information they pointed out to the accompanying home-buyer during the inspection itself. This report will give a list of repairs needed and code violations as well as cost estimates for repairs.

Some inspectors will also include pictures and local information that they believe may come in handy for the potential home buyer.

Posted In: Auckland, Inspectors, Inspectors & Valuers, Porirua, Queenstown, Rangitikei, Rental Property

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