A pre-fabulous housing idea

Promising to build 100,000 KiwiBuild homes over 10 years, using a $2 billion fund, is the Government’s answer to creating that demand.

Now, the KiwiBuild secretariat is waiting on expressions of interest in “off-site manufacturing to aid housing supply growth” from “potential suppliers and consortia who can assist KiwiBuild”. They are due by November 12.

Revealed: What SkyCity CEO made in his first year

Stephens runs the business here and in Australia which employs 5690 people and owns properties in Darwin, Adelaide, Auckland, Hamilton and Queenstown. The business pulls in $868m in gaming revenue, a further $113m from its restaurants and bars, $58m from hotels, $27m from conferences, $18m from Auckland’s SkyTower and $7m from car parking.

How To Add Curb Appeal To Your Home On A Budget

Whether you are looking to sell your home or just simply want to give your house a lift, there are many small things that you can do to your home that won’t break the bank but will give it that much needed curb appeal.

Cleaning

If you want to make your house look beautiful, an inexpensive way to begin would be to use a pressure washer and do some cleaning! Start with window cleaning, the driveway, gutter cleaning and finally consider house washing to remove any mildew, mould, dirt and anything else that may have built up on your property.

The Front Door

Before you go ahead and paint your door you need to consider which colour to paint it. Here are a few suggestions of the colours that you could consider and what they say about you:

  • Yellow: you will be seen as a welcoming and happy host.
  • Black: a colour that’s selected by those who are regarded as mysterious.
  • Pink: if you’re mischievous or outgoing then this is the colour for you.
  • Grey: this colour oozes sincerity.
  • Lilac: this is a colour chosen by those are creative.
  • Cream: a colour which is linked to a home that is peaceful.
  • Navy Blue: a colour that’s supposed to be picked by intelligent people.

If you are thinking of something bright then consider painting your front door red, after all a brightly painted front door will draw attention to your home and help it to look inviting and modern. Additionally, you would be seen as a passionate person.

Plants

A simple but very effective way of enhancing the entrance to your home would be to add some plants. Ideally you need plants that are not needy but add curb appeal. Consider:

  • Evergreens as these will stay green all year round.
  • Climbers but refrain from climbers that can affects your windows and guttering such as ivy or climbing hydrangeas. Instead opt for roses, clematis and wisteria. Add a trellis to a wall and grow these plants up it. This way the plants and the trellis can still be removed for cleaning purposes.
  • Pots are great for front gardens and are a great way of adding colour to your garden all year round. For instance:

Summer – Alliums

Spring – Tulips

Autumn – Agapanthus

Winter – Violas

Place any pots at either side of your front door to provide a symmetrical look to the front of your home.

Lighting

If you want to make your home feel welcoming then consider adding a wall lantern. To add lighting on a budget you could purchase some stake lights that are solar powdered and these can be added to flower beds or to plant pots and they will provide a nice soft light in the evening time.

Lighting can not only look effective at night, it also adds decoration to your property in general. Additionally, it can also offer an extra layer of security to your property as it’s not just security alarms that do this. Effective lighting can also deter unwanted visitors from your property.

Hardware

To further enhance the front door of your property you could consider replacing the hardware if you are on a budget and cannot afford to splash out on a new door. Begin by updating the letterbox, numbers and the door knocker. You will need to decide on what material you prefer as you can chose between, wrought iron which is the traditional option, chrome which is more contemporary or finally choose classic brass hardware. Head to an antique shop if you would like to find something unusual, or if you can afford to stretch your budget look to find hardware that could be custom made to suit our own taste.

The Windows

Replacing the windows is not an option when you’re on a budget but what you can do is consider investing is some shutters. A cheaper alternative could be to get some window film which is a good alternative to using frosted glass. This way you will gain some privacy without affecting any sunlight into your property.

Another idea would be to add some window planters to your windows. This option is a simple yet very effective way of accentuating a rather boring exterior area. It would be a good idea to select colourful plants or even herbs for your window planters to make them even more interesting.

Garage Doors

A large and boring aspect to your house is your garage door and it’s one element that can really affect the way that your property looks. There are a few ways that you can give your garage door a makeover and this does not mean you need to spend lots of money. For example, paint your garage with a nice new bright lick of paint or hang plants or vines across the top of your garage door and see how easily you can lift this uninteresting area and ultimately add curb appeal to your home.

The Lawn

If your green lawn is looking a bit brown, something needs to be done! There’s nothing more appealing that a luscious green lawn, however a new lawn can be costly. Therefore, the best option would be to look at using some lawn paint, as this will help to turn that rather ugly brown lawn into a fresh green lawn in a very short space of time.

Fencing

If you have any wooden fences you will be aware that they take money and time to look after. Instead of replacing a fence you need to fix and repair any damaged or broken parts. Finally remember that adding a lick of paint to a fence, particularly coloured paint, can bring an old fence back to life.

By following this advice and perhaps even looking around your local area for houses for sale you will soon see that there are many ways that you can add curb appeal to your property, even when you are on a budget.

Renter’s Guide To A Mini Home Makeover According To The Rules

First off, whom are you dealing with for apartment or house? Is it the landlord, landlady directly? Or is a residential property and has care-takers or rental managers? It is always good to know your audience. With landlords you can develop a personal rapport, and can get a better leverage than that with the care-takers as they are only mediators, they report to a final authority.

Whom you are dealing with will decide how much alterations you can get away with. Most landlords/landladies may allow minor alterations. They may even let you paint or drill some holes to hang your art or photographs if you have a long-term contract. But in a residential complex or student residences, this will be a strict no-no. You got to play with what you have and make the space yours without disturbing the basic setup. Fret not, where there is a will, there is a way. There are ways to work around these rules and make the most of any situation. Here are some simple solutions to get you started on your mini makeover journey.

Target the Walls

Well, you see in paint chips and the color wheel, unfortunately, you are stuck with white or beige walls in your apartment. Fret not, there are still ways to incorporate a burst of color in your rental property. You can do so by painting the bookshelves, other wall cabinets or a hutch, the rule is – the taller, the better. There are three ways you can go about it – directly colour the furniture, make use of cardboard panels or insert the panels in the back of the slots. The advantage of using cardboard panels is that it can be changed whenever you want. This way you can remover and add new ones as per the colour scheme you may be going for at that time.

Target the wall to wall carpeting in the Bedroom

This one can be a difficult one to deal with, the only option to undo the carpeting is to seek permission from your landlord/landlady or property manager to redo the whole thing. Now there is a simple solution, suggested by Kyle Schuneman, LA Times column writer, and author. He suggests layering the existing carpet with an area rug on top. Yes, there is some tripping risk involved, you can counter this by getting a rug that doesn’t have a too thick a pile, cause a chunky rug on a carpet will just look super odd. The alternative is to get a reversible cotton rug or an indoor, outdoor one since both the ends will have low piles. Now it is worth your while to figure carpet stain removal or you can simply hide it under cow skin, as it’s thin and it goes really well with most styles of decor.

Target the Bathroom Tiles

Well, now if pastel greens and pinks are not to your taste, you can go in for temporary, moisture repellent decals that can stand the water and hide the unattractive tile underneath. An upside? They come in over sixty different shades and styles, so you can create your own masterpiece. Go in for something vintage or stick to an all minimalistic appeal, and get the bathroom you have always dreamt of. Here are some bathroom decor ideas to go with it.

Target the Echoes

While your apartment may have gorgeous hardwood floors and high rise ceilings, but living with the echoes is more like living amid the Grand Canyon. If the rug hasn’t made a dent, try adding some functional artworks, such as fabric layered padded panels, once hung they will absorb most of the sound and the reverb and help with the echoes. It’s easy to make them. Pick a fabric, cut it to fit the 30 by 46 inches foam board, leave some extra 2 inches around the edges. Now cut some batting to fit the board leaving around one inch around the edges. Now place the batting over the board (board side up) and wrap your fabric over it, tackle one side at a time, duct tape all the excess material to the back, and simply hang these on the wall. Echo problem solved.

Target No-Nails/Drills Policy

There is a simple fix solution to this one. If you are determined to create a photo gallery in your living area, but your rental is strictly drill-free, go for some Japanese masking tape. A quick and easy solution. It can be moved around without its glue weakening. It leaves absolutely no marks whatsoever and does not cause peeling of the paint like some other alternatives.

Fix the Lighting

There are many ways to create more space and liven up the area, fixing lighting fixtures is one of them. Now obviously you are afraid of messing the electrical wiring, a simple fix is to steer clear of all the inwall lights and instead get fixtures such as lamps, lightboards, some fairy lights, or even light stands and attachable lamps that can be fixed on to high rise stands or furniture. Another way to play with the natural light is to add a curtain of different thinness to add an instant depth to the apartment.

Now, these are few of the tips to do up your apartment without pissing off your landlord/landlady or the caretaker. Also, another element is to get furniture that can be taken apart as easily as it can be assembled. It comes in handy in the move. The trick is also to buy lightweight furniture and art pieces which you can fit into small boxes for easy transfer. Pay special attention to the decor. This is where you will set your place apart. Use easy DIY decor ideas to add a touch of your personality to the apartment. Easy wall-hanging, photo gallery with fairy lights, mason jar lamps, fur rucks over the chairs, wire- containers using boxes are a few of the quick fixes that can really lift the space.

This aside, if you are a landlord and want to be more friendly to the renters, it can be worth a while to invest in rental property management companies. What these agencies do is make the whole process of dealing with the tenants a tad bit easy. Property management is a breeze with these agencies taking over the monthly/ weekly dealings with the renters. It can also take care of the decor queries without you having to get involved every time. As far as the renters go, it becomes easy for them as well, as they have a mediator for smaller queries and they can disturb the landlord only for the big ones.

5 Tip For Downsizing

In the real estate industry, the bigger the better. That does not always stand true. Sometimes moving to a smaller space can be just as rewarding. However, you need to be prepared and prepped up to ensure this transition is smooth with minor hiccups. Irrespective of the circumstances, when you decide to downsize to a smaller space, it is inevitable that you would have to say goodbye to some of your things – favourite pieces, memorabilia, even furniture, and clothing. Well, it’s natural to be stressed and worried about the process. But there is a lot you can do to minimise the stress. We’ve listed down 5 tips that could guide you in the process of downsizing and making your life clutter-free.

DECLUTTER

You’ve put your current property for sale and are now moving to a downsized space, it’s but obvious that space won’t be able to contain all your belongings. It’s good to get a realistic estimate of the space and the things it can contain seamlessly without looking cluttered. The key is to take only the essentials. Don’t toss any of your stuff, instead, you can hire a junk removal company, they will help recycle the junk. You can also donate it, or sell some of it or simply reuse some of your stuff by making some DIY alterations to it. If there are some items you absolutely adore and would hate to throw away, pass it on to your family or give it to charity. This will ensure that someone needy or within the kin will give it the care needed and cherish it.

GET HELP

Sorting out through your personal belongings is never easy. Make three piles – Keep, toss and maybe. Get a friend or someone objective to help you with the process. Don’t ever do this alone, you can also get your kids or family members to help. You can help each other, you can be objective about their belonging and they about yours. This will ensure the process is a lot smoother. Another tip is if there are some treasures that you absolutely must take along, but lack space to display them. You can rotate them monthly, this way you get a chance to display all the items at the same time giving a fresh look to the room. You can also invest in storage units if you have some essentials that you would like to keep around for future use. Here are 41 ways to sort your belongings.

PLAN AHEAD

Now that you have sorted all your stuff, don’t wait until the moving day to figure where each item goes. Take the dimensions of the space you have and your furniture and start preparing the layout in advance. Take only quality furniture you can multipurpose, as this can save a lot of space. The extra chair or study table will be of no use in your smaller space, it’s best to carry functional elements only. This will ensure only the best things make it to your new home, it can be a life-changing process both lifestyle-wise and psychologically.

PAPERWORK

It’s easy to accumulate a lot of paperwork when staying in a place for a long time. And it is essential to have them all in order so that you don’t misplace something important. Designate a small file cabinet or portable storage units to keep them safe and sound. Remember to declutter here as well, most of the times we have documents we don’t really need. Keep only the essential – important house documents, insurance papers, warranty documents, bank files and records, medical files and records. All these should be easy to access. Labeling the box clearly as ‘crucial’ or ‘very important’ can avoid it from getting lost in the clutter.

STORAGE & ORGANISATION

The best option is to get clear boxes, as you can quickly see what’s inside them. Boxes that stack over each other help save space and use it efficiently. Make sure you don’t stack a lot of them together as it might get difficult to get to the bottom ones. Also get easy-to-open lids for kids and senior citizens. A lot of time, items go missing in a move or are lost in the sea of boxes as they are not labeled well. A good practice when you start packing is to colour code the boxes so that the movers know where to put them, always it’s easier for you to unpack them later. Also marking things as important and fragile will make sure the movers are extra careful. Another useful tip is to get tall freestanding shelves to store all the boxes in and keep them organised. You can also use open bins for items that are frequently used and does not need dust –protection. This will make access to them easier.

SAFETY

Make sure when you move; all the hallways and pathways are free from boxes so that you don’t trip over it. Ensure that the items you would be accessing every day are stored at the bottom of the shelves and the ones not used that often can be stacked on top. A step stool is better than a ladder, make sure it has wider steps and comfortable handrails. Also, make sure all chords are tied up individually and kept safe. It’s not fun to sort out a tangled mess of wires at the end of the day.

We hope these suggestions come in handy when downsizing. Downsizing can be a great move to unclutter your life. Added bonus? You are also helping the environment by doing so!

5 Things That Don’t Actually Matter When Buying Your First Home, And 5 That Do!

Many say, “It’s a great investment”, “Property always goes up”, “It’s a step into adulthood”, “It’s great for the children, and they need a home”. “You have enough savings, now it’s time to invest”. “It’s better than any investment you’ll make”. If you are somewhere in your 30s with a family, it’s likely you have heard at least one of these. There are many reasons to buy a house, some matter, some don’t. Both sides need equal consideration; both are equally important. Buying a house is a huge investment, it is vital to get it right, you need to know factors that are negotiable and those that aren’t. Let’s set the record straight and get to them

5 THINGS THAT DON’T REALLY MATTER WHEN BUYING A HOUSE

Your furniture doesn’t fit

Replacing a sofa is much easier than replacing a house. If you have found a perfect house, don’t let minor things get in a way. Now sure, say your wardrobe or dining table is a family heirloom and has stayed in the family for generations, fine keep it. But if it’s something you picked up at a local store or IKEA and spend a weekend putting it together, the house trumps the furniture. You can always sell it, donate it or better still alter it. A house that is otherwise perfect comes around rarely, and it’s not something you should let go over furniture issues. That should be the least of your worries really!

Small details

If the colour of the house doesn’t go with your taste. It should be the least of your worries, now the good news is, three coats of paint, and voila you’ll have the colour of your choice!

The tiles are not right, the windows are too big, the garden is unkempt, the kitchen cabinets are an eyesore. Well, we agree, all these things may be disgruntling, but there is nothing that a little alteration won’t fix. You can always use basic alternations like window panels, tile change, a professional landscaper, different laminate types to fix all of the above-mentioned problems.

Most first time homeowners see the house for what it is and not for what it should be. As long as the house has its fundamentals in place, these smaller details can be overlooked.    

The theme is all wrong

Well, the decor may not be to your taste, the owner may be stuck in the 80s, whereas you like your home to be modern and minimalistic. Now the key is to remember when the current owner moves out, so will his stuff. This is a minor blip in the larger scheme. The costs that you should be worried about are the remodelling costs. If they are well within the budget, go for it!

You love some things, some things you don’t.

Now the bathroom may be exactly as you imagined or even better. The garden is something right out of your dreams. Well, all of that is good, but hold your horses. Buying a house is not like buying shoes. It should never be impulsive. Remember, this is just one aspect of the house, what about the others? How much cost are the renovations going to come up to? It should not be more than 50% of what you paid for the house. That is a really bad investment, the ideal would be somewhere around 30% or less.

Short-term vision

The proximity to the school, parks, don’t matter to you, as you don’t have/want kids. Same goes for proximity to community centres, public transport. You may have two cars, but the future buyer may not. Think about it from the resale value perspective. These things may not matter to you, but it will for some families, they will be the potential future buyers, so think long term.  

Now, 5 THINGS THAT DO MATTER

MORTGAGE QUALIFICATION

You have started searching for houses; there are a few steps that you should ensure to yield you a higher purchasing power. One of them is seeing how much mortgage/home loan you are eligible for, with a certified banker of the lender. This step is essential; it will give you an estimate of your financial situation for the years to come. While you are at it, also look for reputed house insurance companies and make a list of things you would need for passing the insurance check. Also availing conveyancing services would be worth your while, a good conveyance lawyer can make the process of passing on the property to your spouse or next in kin less worrisome in case something unfortunate should take place.

INSPECTION

You’ve liked the house,  it’s perfect. It fits your budget, everything is well. The next step would be to pre-purchase house inspection before you seal the deal. A home inspection will ensure all the fundamentals are in check and it will give you a clearance certificate which will only help with the resale value. Get mold testing, meth testing, and asbestos testing done while getting the house inspected. A qualified inspector will give you an estimated cost of potential repairs and replacements the house will need. Ask the right questions, if you aren’t sure what they are, use these list of questions put together by the National Association of Realtors, this will definitely help you out.

REALTOR

With a good realtor by your side, the home-buying process can get a lot easier. He will be with you every step of the way. Getting a knowledgeable realtor with vast experience behind him is essential. It is important he knows the area you are moving to and is honest and trust-worthy. Here are some tips on how to find the right realtor.

COMPARE

Don’t buy the first thing you see, always compare the price and amenities of different houses and get the price for a few, to survey the options available. Make sure the house you settle for is in a safe neighborhood, is hooked up with a good security system, has window security in place, if you have children – see if it is child-friendly and can be easily child-proofed. What are the amenities close by, the location matters! Will it yield you a good resale value? These are some of the things you should consider before finalizing one. The key thing to remember is scoping out the best house in the neighborhood, a one similar to what you have in mind, and one that is smaller than your expectation and getting the price for all three, this will give you a proper estimate of what your house is worth, what will be the resale value if you buy a smaller house and scale it up; you will have two frameworks for your reference.  

LIST THE NON-NEGOTIABLES

While there are some things, where it’s better to find a middle ground. Some things are simply a requirement and can’t be negotiated on. Make a list of things that you absolutely need in the house. Like an extra bedroom, a garage, proximity to public transport, proximity to a hospital, proximity to a school. Evaluate your lifestyle and make a list of things that you can’t absolutely compromise on and go back to it when you make your choice. The whole point of buying a house is that it makes your life better. If compromising on these aspects is going to make your life difficult, it’s not worth the investment.

We hope this list will come in handy in helping you with your house searching journey. If you follow these tips, we are sure you will sail through it without much trouble.

Green buildings offer clear benefits

“With Green Building Week coming up, we thought it could be timely to explore the occupancy performance of Green Star rated buildings in Auckland and Wellington. Our research produced some interesting results.

“Buildings account for 40 per cent of global energy consumption and a third of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, so the decisions we make when it comes to the buildings we live and work in are extremely important.”

Riverside RSE complex delayed

“We were always a little bit wary of getting involved in the Blenheim, Seddon, Kaikōura area because of the earthquakes … There’s things we’re required to do now that we weren’t required to do three years ago,” Pearce said.

NZ house prices drop

“Affordability constraints continue to change buyer behaviour. We’re seeing an increase in demand for more affordable two-bedroom semi-detached units as well as apartments, particularly in our main centres. With population growth projected to continue to rise, I’d anticipate these types of properties will attract even more demand in future years, particularly in Auckland and Wellington City,” said QV general manager David Nagel.