How To Beat The Competition For A Rental Property

So, you live in a super hot rental market that sells houses in a day and rental properties barely stay on the market long enough to get advertised. You’re looking for a gorgeous two bedroom with outdoor space in a prime location, and you’d really like to pay under market value if possible. Oh, and you have a pooch so it has to be animal compatible.

Ah mate, you’re dreaming!

But honestly, with these factors and variables, finding a rental property that you actually like in a tough market is going to be difficult, and we won’t sugar coat it. You’re going to need to put in some serious time and effort and get extremely organised before you even start to look, and then the same applies for when you start to look. Persistence and perseverance will be your top attributes, and a positive attitude will be mandatory. Besides this, there’s also a few important things that you can do to beat the competition and get that rental property you’ve always wanted. Because we want to see you happy in your new home, we’re willing to share these top tips! Read on for more.

Get prepared

We’re sharing our most important tip right at the very beginning. The very best way to beat your competition is to be on top of things right from the get go. Being prepared with everything that you’ll need for the application, references, documents and other odds and ends will mean that you have an edge on the competition. Most renters will wait to fill out any paperwork or to gather what they need after they’ve seen a property, because they don’t know what exactly will be required or because they don’t know if they’ll even like the place.

But we’re letting you in a little secret: Most rental property managers will want basically the same documents and paperwork. This means that you can have a vague idea of what they’ll be looking for, gather it, and get your documents in before anyone else and without having to spend half a day scrambling for payslips and reference details. We’ve listed some of the main things you’ll want before you even start looking for properties.

  • Payslips: You’ll want the most recent one here showing what your take-home pay is.
  • Bank statements: Most recent should be fine.
  • Letter of employment or contract: A document showing that you are currently employed and what your status is (full time, part time, permanent, etc.)
  • Passport, visa or citizenship documents: Proof of ID and proof of right to be in the country.
  • References and contact details: You’ll want a reference from your previous landlord as well as potentially a character reference from a colleague or professional contact.
  • Proof of current address: This can be a utility bill or piece of official mail recently delivered with a postmark.
  • Guarantor Information: If you are relying on a guarantor you’ll want their information and most of the above handy, such as payslips and job information.  

Fill out application beforehand

If you have access to the rental application, have it printed and filled out before you view the property. While it might seem silly to fill it out before you’ve even seen it, this little bit of prep will mean that you can be the first application in and therefore first to be seen by the property manager. Many property managers will go with the first suitable application that meets all the requirements, so the closer you can be to the top of the stack of applications, the better.

Look in the right season

If you want to live near a university, play this to your advantage by looking at times when students are moving out, versus near the start of the school year when flats will be at capacity. In other areas, winter tends to slow down renters, where spring and summer heats up with competition.

Look the part

If you’re going to be meeting with the rental property management company or the landlord, it’s important that you clean up and look presentable. First impressions do count, and while this isn’t a job interview or a first date, it is important that the landlord sees you as a professional person who is reliable and pays rent on time, which can be conveyed with a professional look.

Have a great cover letter

Simply having a cover letter will boost you ahead of most competition, because many renters don’t think to send one in with their application. Here is a good example of one you can include. Keep it short, concise and well organised, and make sure to include any extras like owning a carpet steam cleaning machine to keep the carpets pristine, or having a long history of good tenancies.

Offer up rent in advance

If you can afford it, this can go a long way with getting you to the top of the application list. Losing money and not receiving rent on time is a huge issue for property managers, so seeing that you have the ability to pay rent in advance shows that you’re committed to the property, and gives the property manager ease of mind. Offering up to 3 months in advance can work wonders with your application.

Think about a longer lease

While this is certainly not for everyone, it is something to think about. Depending on where you live, you may be required to sign a year lease, or month to month. If you really love the place and know that you want to be in this area for longer, consider offering up the option of signing a longer lease. Property managers hate renter turnover and much prefer to have long-lasting and reliable tenants.

Don’t delay with any payments

Once you have secured a successful application, do not delay by any means with any payments due! If you fail to pay the deposit quickly, property managers may simply move on to the next application without giving you extra time. Make sure to get your payments in as quickly as possible to secure the property.

Following these tips will help you reach the top of the competition without having to spend too much time running around the city looking at properties. Remember to be organised and have everything ready to go for each property you view, and you’ll be in your dream rental property in no time!

Latest Updates On The Property Market In NZ

In 2018, New Zealand passed a law prohibiting foreigners, with a few exceptions, from buying residential properties in order to stop the hike in real estate prices. A government report had previously highlighted that residential real estate had risen by 30 percent in five years, twice as much as wage growth, and even four times more in Auckland. As a result, the homeownership rate had been at its lowest for 60 years.

The new legislation will now prohibit investors living abroad, especially in China, from buying homes in New Zealand, leaving many opportunities for locals, but way less for foreigners. So, what does it mean for the property market in New Zealand? What will be the impact of the law for non-resident and residents?

Is the property market completely closed to foreigners?

The passing of the law resulted from an electoral promise by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who had committed before the election to make real estate more affordable to her fellow citizens. Mrs. Ardern attributed the situation to the growing property appetite of foreign investors with a higher purchasing power superior to the New Zealanders. She even identified Chinese investors as the main culprits for the price hike in Auckland.

The law provides that non-resident investors – people who are neither New Zealand citizens nor permanent residents in New Zealand – will not be able to purchase existing homes or residential land.

However, after the reform, it will still be possible to invest in new buildings of more than 20 apartments by buying off plan, and for rental purposes only. A buyer will no longer be able to occupy the property as a pied-à-terre. In addition, non-residents will still be able to invest in commercial real estate.

Are property prices still on a hike?

For the past 10 years, the property market has seen a huge hike in prices in New Zealand, particularly in Auckland, which is the largest urban area in the country. Property prices peaked in 2017 in Auckland and have remained stable till date. This is mainly due to a heavy shortage of houses in the region compared to its strong demographic growth. The average price of a house was around 916 900 dollars last year, up 2.2% from the previous year.

Since 2010, the number of homes for sale has dropped by 58%, which has pushed up the average price by 88%! This is a perfect illustration of Auckland’s housing shortage. To cope with the issue, especially in Auckland, and to allow New Zealanders to have access to their first home, the labour party is planning on building 100,000 new homes across the KiwiBuild Program. The problem is that the construction industry does not have enough skilled workers to meet the demand. This hampers any rapid progress and considerably increases the cost of construction.

The new law, therefore, aims to make homes more affordable for New Zealand buyers and to slow speculation in the real estate market by banning the purchase of property by non-residents. But in reality, foreign investors make only 3% of the investors… So, it’s not sure whether this reform will have any impact on property prices in the long run.

What could be a good real estate investment right now?

This reform is however likely to impact those who wish to buy a house or apartment as a secondary investment. But each investment project is different in New Zealand, depending on the reason for the purchase of a property. For people who want to get regular rental incomes and mid-term or long-term capital gains, it’s advised to invest in student flats in city centres, where most educational institutions are located, and where the prices are rising the fastest. A flat in the centre of Auckland could be a great and easy investment as the management can be given to rental agencies.

For those who want to buy a secondary residence to enjoy school holidays in the country, the coastal areas and the low-populated hinterlands are beautiful regions with amazing nature, quality transport and the infrastructure, where the property is available at reasonable prices due to limited demand. Think about a house around Lake Taupo or a flat in Queenstown to enjoy the skiing season. You can always put your property for sale later on, as the price should not go down any time soon in these regions.

What you should look at when buying a property in New Zealand

Purchasing real estate will commit you for many years. In addition to investing all your savings in the project, you will commit to repaying a loan over 15 years, 20 years or even 30 years. So it’s better to think carefully about the different characteristics of the property, be it an apartment or a house, and being careful about the conditions of your loan.

Is the rate too high? Is the price the market price? Are there some restorations to be planned and can you finance them? Are condominium fees reasonable? Can you pay the loan, the charges, and the property tax without zeroing down on your account at the end of the month?

Before you start calling a furniture moving company or a shipping container hire enterprise, you have to ask yourself these questions, at the time of your real estate hunt. Also, before you buy in New Zealand, keep in mind these four key points to consider, as per official recommendations.

  1. Am I free to choose the person or company that manages my property?
  2. Can I terminate the contract with the person or company that manages my property if it does not suit me?
  3. Can I choose my own lawyer for the transaction? What about the mortgage advisor?
  4. Is the person who sells real estate in New Zealand registered as a real estate agent? Be careful, it is mandatory for the real estate agent to have a license with the New Zealand government and not only a real estate agent with the agency.

And with that, we’ve wrapped up our update on the property market in New Zealand.

Homeowners selling at a loss

Most New Zealanders are still making significant capital gains when they sell their houses – but a growing number in some parts of the country are struggling to get what they paid for them.

Why major developer will spend ‘hundreds of millions’ on a Drury town hub

Asked how much Kiwi might invest at Drury, Mackenzie said it could be hundreds of millions of dollars.

“The area has been identified by local and central government as a major expansion area in the next 10 to 20 years. We’re building a new town centre – there will be thousands of people living there – with hundreds of shops surrounded by land zoned for residential and commercial,” he said.

Fence gone, but not the legal bills

David Walmsley spoke for his mother and himself, perhaps one last time, at the High Court in Wellington on Friday.

He told a judge he still had a sense of injustice over the structure he erected with Wellington City Council approval about four years ago on the upper boundary of a family property in the upmarket suburb of Roseneath.

Real estate agent stole, gambled away $264,000

A real estate agent is now bankrupt after gambling away more than $250,000 which he stole from a business partner to fund his addiction.

While the businessman he stole from has found success after the setback which nearly tipped him under, he says he has not only forgiven the offender but believes gambling should be prohibited.

Tips for property investment

There’s never the “perfect” time to buy a property, as anyone who has ever bought one will tell you. Life circumstances can change, the economy can surge or falter – it would be a rare person who thought they had chosen the best possible moment to make such a monumental decision.

What You Need To Know About Property Investment

Property investment is ranked fourth in the list of most common investments, preceded by cash, bonds and shares. There are plenty of reasons to invest in a property – maximise tax returns, to get loans against and to add an extra source of income to the household.

For budding businesses, property investment can supplement them with the income to grow the business further. While most business owners will put their profits back into the business, it is wise to keep some funds aside for property investments.

Property investment can be done in many forms – buy-to-rent, investment trusts, REITs etc., and each has its plus or minuses. The return on investment also depends on what type of property you are putting your money into, like residential, commercial, retail, or industrial. Education is the key; hence in today’s article we will look at different types of property investments, the pros and cons for each, best practices to follow and a few market trends to get you started.

Let’s start with global market trends. We won’t get into the nitty gritty details as that would be a whole other article by itself. Here are some key highlights from across the globe – Trump’s administration has not only affected the growth of America, but has also caused economic activity to suffer across the globe. Increase in the interest rates has slowed down property buying in the US; the rental market however will see bright days ahead. When it comes to Europe, Brexit may cause the Eastern and Central European property market to surge. Lisbon is the hotspot to invest in, in 2019. In Hong Kong co-living is on the rise. Foreign investments become easier in Cape Town, where as local investment becomes difficult. Property market in Australia takes a hit, where as in New Zealand, the market is in good shape and is predicted to grow further.

Now moving on to popular property investment types and how they fare against each other.

Property investments are divided into two categories – direct and indirect.

Direct investment

Direct investment is when you buy the property directly, either to give it on rent or to sell it in the future for a profit. Indirect investments in when you invest in property fund. In this case you don’t own the property,you hand over your funds to fund manager or a investment company who in turn invests them into a property or in property funds.

Investment of any kind comes with a risk, the only difference is the scale of that risk. Fixed investments, saving accounts, cash investments are generally considered low risks, whereas property investments and share are considered high risk due. Property investments, whether direct or indirect, will yield you returns in the long term as the market fluctuates intermittently. It is always advised to diversify your investments, or more simply put, do not put all your eggs in one basket.

Buying property directly, whether to rent or sell, comes with its set of risks, and some of them are as follows:

– Buying any property requires a substantial sum, even if it’s something small like a shipping container home. And unlike other assets, it takes a long time to sell a property and make a profit.

– You are investing a high amount in a single asset, so it is a big commitment, and bigger the commitment, the bigger the risk.

– You need to go through agents, fees, stamp duty, taxes, conveyance fees etc. in order to transact when buying or selling the property, these are a few things most don’t take into account and are later blindsided by.

– Maintenance of a property is a time consuming and a costly affair.

– Loans and mortgages are commonly used to buy a property, and these come with even more risks. There is no guarantee one will possess enough money to recover the loan, or if the cost of mortgage goes up and if one fails to pay the instalments, the banks or the mortgage provider can take the property away.

Indirect Investment

There are several options when it comes to buying a property indirectly – property trusts, investment trusts, REITs, Insurance property funds, offshore companies or shares in listed real estate companies are some of them.

Indirect property investments requires low capital investment and hence is assessable to individuals who want to invest in a property but do not have sufficient income to buy one or do not want the commitment that comes with buying a property. This gives them an opportunity to dabble with the market, with a significantly smaller sum. The fund is managed by professionals with years of experience behind them and who can read the markets better than a layman. Professionals often diversify their investment so as to lower the risk of any major loses.

While professionals know what they are doing, it does come with the downside of not having as much control on your investment as it would if you were investing it personally. Hence, trust and reputations are important when investing with a professional. Their experience and market know-how and ability to predict market fluctuations is what will eventually determine the returns you get on your investment, so choose wisely. Here are some of the largest property management companies in New Zealand to help your search.

Last but not the least, investing in a property means investing long-term, and for this asset to hold its shape long term, regular maintenance is required. This means getting the house pest-controlled ever so often, getting renovations done, making additions to increase its resale value, and in case of buy-to-let, getting rental appraisals done in order to get the maximum benefit out of the investments. You’ll also need to keep a list of emergency local authorities (local city corporations, police, fire-department, local housing co-corporations, flood cleanup companies, natural disaster corporation etc) and hiring a caretaker for your properties overseas or those that falls in other states or region than the one in which you reside.

Investing in a property is not easy, and certainly not cheap, so in order to make an informed decision, look for professional advice wherever possible. Take the time to do your research, and do not make hasty investments, and most importantly be patient through the process!

Quick Tricks On How To Comply With The New Rental Regulations In NZ

In wake of the new regulations passed by the Housing and Urban Development Ministry, we see many investors wondering if buying bare land for sale, and building a property as per the new regulations ground up or putting that land up for sale when the market goes up are better options than buying a pre-existing rental.  

Many bills have been passed in the past few years to ensure that the tenants in New Zealand are privy to a warm, clean, weather-proofed home. The latest bill was introduced in Sept 2018 by Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford. The bill was a reaction to the findings of research that suggested NZ’s rental houses are of lower quality as compared to owned homes.

As per the reforms the new standards are designed to improve the living conditions of the tenants and to set minimum standards for facilities that the landlord is required to provide. The ministry has made considerable efforts to make the 600,000 rented households happy and safe. This was a bid to promote healthy and fair renting conditions.

These changes have made the tenants jump with joy, but have made the landlords a little wary. The latest set of changes have increased the weather-proofing standards and have eliminated letting fees, which has left a lot of homeowners bewildered as to where they stand on their investment. This article will shed light on the latest healthy homes standards laid out by the Housing and Urban Development Ministry.

HEATING

The rented properties should now be facilitated with fixed heating devices that are capable of achieving a minimum temperature of 18 degrees. It was observed that a chunk of rental homes had inadequate heating facilities. In New Zealand, as high as 22% of rented homes have unhealthy or unaffordable heating. To ensure the standard is met, an online tool will be released to measure the heating requirements for the living room. The minimum size that the online tool will approve of is 1.5 kilowatts.

INSULATION

It is found that many homes do not have adequate insulation, which plays an important part in retaining the heat inside the walls and keeps the space warm and dry. Homes with below standard insulation are cold and damp which in turn can cause mould and moss to grow on walls, ceilings and other damp places around the house.

As per the new standards, for newer constructions, the insulation must meet the standards set by the 2008 building code and for the existing ones, it must be above 120mm in thickness. For the owners who have met the standards set by the 2016 building code will require no further action on their part. This regulation is aimed towards rentals that were not required to upgrade as per the 2016 act. It is also in favour of the landlord to invest in insulation as mould or moss treatment is much more of a hassle. It also helps prevent legal hassles in case the tenants suffer health hazards due to the mould or the moss.

VENTILATION

As per the latest standards, the houses must have windows that open in all the major rooms of the house – the living room, dining room, the kitchen and the bedrooms. The bathrooms and the kitchens must be fitted with adequately sized extractor fan/fans in order to expel moisture. This step is taken once again to ensure the house is free from moisture and dampness so that mould does not affect the health of the tenant. It can also be detrimental to the health of the structure; it can damage walls, ceilings, floors and the possessions of the tenants.

The fans are recommended over opening windows in the shower or bath as it is sometimes not possible due to security reasons or bad weather to do so, hence mechanical ventilation such as extractor fans and range hoods are preferred.

DRAINAGE

Most houses in NZ suffer from lack of proper drainage and moisture ingress facilities. Moisture can enter the house due to leaks, water pooling, and rising damp. As per the new standards, all of this  changes. A landlord has to place high standard drainage and guttering, downpipes and drains.

And for a house with an encased subfloor, the landlord must have ground moisture barrier installed if the structure allows. Maintenance of the drains should not be neglected, and though not mandatory, employing a gutter cleaning service periodically can improve the health of the drainage system.

DRAUGHT

One of the reasons why heating a house is expensive is that sometimes the structures have draughts. Fixing a draught will cost a small sum to the landlord, which will, in turn, save the tenants from hefty heating bills. The homeowners will have to fix any unnecessary gaps and holes in the walls, ceilings, floors, doors and windows, which can cause apparent draughts. They must also seal unused chimneys and fireplaces for the same reason.

THE TIME FRAMES

The ministry has laid down certain deadlines that the landlords have to get the upgrades done within:

July 1st, 2021 – The private landlords have to ensure they meet all the requirements listed in the healthy home standards within 90 days from any new occupancy.

July 1st, 2021 – Is the date by which all the boarding houses have to meet the standard set by the HHS.

July 1st, 2023 – Registered Community Housing and houses under All Housing New Zealand must comply with HHS standards.

July 1st, 2024 – Each and every rental home must comply with the HHS standards.

The new standards have come in to place to address the long pending issue of the low-quality rentals that plagues most of New Zealand. It exempts tenants from any maintenance issues and holds the landlords accountable for their assets.

Our advice to the landlords would be to meet these basic standards of living, which are quite cost-effective and once met will only yield them higher rents. Getting the house weatherproofed, getting roof cleaning done, getting foundational problems fixed, and getting a paint job done routinely, are some common maintenance measures that can contribute towards the health of a home and keep both the tenant and the landlord happy. Tenants should get a building inspection done before buying the house to ensure that not only these standards laid by HHS are met, but also to gauge other flaws in the structure before signing a contract.