House Been Broken Into? What To Do Next

If you’ve recently been the unfortunate victim of a house break-in, you may be unsure of what you could do next in terms of making your more property safe and secure. Once the police and forensic scientists have been and looked over your home for fingerprints or other forensic procedures such as meth testing, you will be eager to get your home back to the way it was before this incident. We will therefore provide you with a guide of what you should do next to get your home safe and secure once again.

Improve Standard of Locks

Higher quality locks will be harder to snap by thieves which means this will slow down the entry to your property. These are called anti snap locks and are readily available from most DIY stores or locksmiths. If they have been installed, they are usually obvious to a thief and they therefore act as a good deterrent.

Install Security Lighting

Security lighting is a great way of protecting your property as it keeps would be burglars guessing. There are two main forms of security lighting to consider. Then first is external lighting and the second is internal lighting.

Exterior lighting, whether its PIR or dusk till dawn, will keep your dark areas luminated at nightfall. Although most burglaries take place during the day, this extra protection at night will act as a great deterrent, as no burglar likes to operate in well-lit conditions. To explain in more detail, PIR lighting is triggered by movement or the heat of a person or an animal. Dusk till dawn lighting comes on at dusk and remains on until dawn.

Internal lighting works by a timer. You can connect any free standing internal light to a timer. The times can be set to come on at a random time of the day or night, as if you have entered that room. The illumination of these lights can be seen from the outside, giving the illusion that the house is occupied, even when it is not. These timers are inexpensive to purchase but very effective in what they do.

Consider Security Alarms

Adding an alarm to your property is important as a visual deterrent and as an actual deterrent. If for example, a burglar sees that you have an alarm fitted, they may think twice about trying to enter your property. If, however, they are still intent on gaining access to your home, the alarm will be triggered. The noise that an alarm creates will shorten the time that the burglars are in your property unnoticed and the alarm will alert neighbours and passer byers that something is not quite right. You can contact local security services providers to find out more information about the latest technology when it comes to security alarms and which alarm may be the best for you and your property.

CCTV

Closed circuit television is a great way of catching criminals in the act. As with alarms, CCTV also acts as a great deterrent to deter any burglars from your property. Most CCTV units can hold at least one week’s worth of recording, but there is the potential to increase this, it all depends on which CCTV option you go for. Modern CCTV can be purchased so that the footage is in HD Quality and you can even download an app on to your smartphone which enables you to watch live footage of your property.

Upgrade Windows/Doors

Another option to consider is to upgrade your windows and doors to combat criminal activity within your property. Your windows can have an option known as laminated glass. This would mean your windows have a Perspex insert which is very hard to penetrate. This again slows down any potential burglar. Windows can also be fitted with additional locks that will stop the windows from being able to be physically opened.

Upgrade your doors so that they are harder to get in to. For example, you could look into getting composite, steel or wooden doors. These are stronger and therefore harder to be forced. If you have any French doors then it is worth purchasing a lock which prevents the handles from opening. If you have any patio doors, once again you could consider having the glass laminated and adding additional locks to the top and bottom of the doors.

When Your Home is Empty

When your home is empty i.e. you are away on holiday it’s worth asking a friend, family member or neighbour to keep an eye out on your property for you. Ask them to take any post that has been delivered through your door away from the door so that it is not obvious to a burglar that no one is home as the post has not been picked up. Additionally, keep to your normal routines, so for example if you have a gardener or exterior window cleaners which come to your property every two weeks, make sure that they still continue to carry out the work they would have done if you were home, as you don’t want to change any routines or habits, as again these can be picked up by potential burglars.

Additional Points

Other aspects that you could consider are:

–          Leaving a dog bowl at your front door, regardless of whether you have a dog as this could be a potential deterrent.

–          Leave your car parked on the driveway so that there is the illusion that someone is home.

If you take as much of this advice into account as possible, you will start to see and feel the benefit. Your home will feel safer and it will be more secure, which hopefully will work as the best deterrent to scare off any future burglars.

 

Should You Have An Estate Plan?

In life we all face many challenges and there is nothing more trying than having to sort out your affairs upon your death. We all have an ideal, that any money that you have amassed over the years with be left to those that you care the most about. However, all too often we have not planned our futures in time and many aspects of your estate may not have been dealt with, which therefore makes it difficult for those who are left behind. Below we will outline why you should have an estate plan in place and what it is involved in estate planning.

Your Estate Size

The size of your estate can affect the way in which your estate is legally handled. For example, larger estates are liable for more taxes and charges and are often more complicated in nature compared to smaller estates. If you have property, it is worth contacting some estate agents to value your property and a property manager from a property management agency to then take over with the sale side of things. Once you are happy with the valuations that you have received for your property, you can now look at getting a home property management company to manage your affairs for you. It is also worth bearing in mind that it is good practice to get a builder’s report for any property or properties that you have as this will give the people that are inheriting your property the peace of mind that they will not have any headache or costs resting on them.

Taxes

Depending on the size of your estate, there is usually a tax liability to pay. Around the world, there are different rules and regulations that are in place related to inheriting money. Contacting an estate lawyer is the best way to obtain advice and information on how to best deal with your affairs. Even if you have a relatively straightforward case of one property and material effects, there still needs to be a solid, robust plan in place so that any beneficiaries have a stress-free situation when you pass away. It is hard enough dealing with a loss and grief without having to deal with messy affairs related to an estate.

Children / Future Children

Your children are often the first in line when it comes to inheritance. Therefore, if you already have children it is worth having a conversation about their inheritance with them, so that everyone is aware of your decisions and wishes. If you have no children at present but you may do so at some point, you need to make sure that they are included in your estate plan and in your will.

If your children are under the age of eighteen, having an estate plan would be highly recommended. The reason for this is because any money is often held in trust until a child turns eighteen and some cases, the plan can initiate regular payments when your child hits specific milestones in age. For example, eighteen years of age, twenty-one years of age etc and the money is then fed to them in stages.

To Keep Affairs in Order

Having a complicated estate or leaving things unfinished will only give your beneficiaries trouble when it comes to inheriting. It is important that any outstanding debts are dealt with and a clear plan is put in place for any properties, assets and personal effects that you may have. It is not worth leaving leave things to chance because if you have a particular wish or request, this may not be fulfilled legally as it’s not been noted officiated. Try not to over complicate matters related to your inheritance.

To Protect Beneficiaries

Having an estate plan in place will help to protect your beneficiaries. There are two reasons why people use estate plans to protect beneficiaries:

–          Adult Protection: this will help the beneficiary with their inheritance. It will help them avoid making bad decisions, creditor problems, outside interference and divorcing spouses.

–          Protecting Minors: young people don’t have the maturity to deal with inheritance and therefore they are protected in this aspect.

To Avoid Probate

It is becoming more and more popular that people are now giving over their inheritance to their children and family before they actually pass away. This is to avoid any charges and taxes which arise through probate. This also eliminates solicitors being involved and having to work out who inherits what. Even in a case where an estate has not been contested, it can take over twelve months for an estate to be settled and there is no guarantee that it will settle in the way that you would have wished.

Privacy Concerns

An estate plan is imperative if you wish to minimise any concerns related to privacy that you may have. When somebody’s estate is in probate, information can be accessed by the public. Therefore, this can affect your privacy. It is also worth noting that other relatives and creditors can access these records and are able to make challenges to your estate, via the courts. If however, your estate plan is robust, then these challenges and claims will be thrown out of court.

Charity

If you wanted to make a charitable donation with your estate, having an estate plan would be the best way to go about this as giving an estate to charity is not something that would happen under normal circumstances. This is unless it has been specified in your estate plan.

It is clear that there are many reasons for having an estate plan. Although we may think that this issue may never affect us, it affects everyone at some point their their lives. An estate plan is a relatively simple thing to organise and the benefits of it are far reaching.

 

First home ‘time bomb’ fear

Buying a house anywhere is stressful. But in Christchurch it’s diabolical.

I know because my partner and I have been in the market for about eight months now. In that time we’ve been through a parade of wobbly homes with crooked floors covered in Earthquake Commission (EQC) grey carpet and fresh coats of paint.

Agents ‘working harder’

Real estate salespeople aren’t giving up – just working a bit harder.

New Real Estate Institute data shows the property market is still soft, although the pace of decline in activity looks to be stabilising.

6 Things To Think About Before You Buy A Rental

If you’re thinking of buying a property to rent out then keep reading as we will provide you with some essential advice to take into account before you proceed.

  1. The Market

If you are new to this market you need to ask yourself what you actually know about the market. You need to make sure that you know the risks that are involved and not just the benefits. A buy to let investment needs to be the right investment for you as you don’t want a situation where your money would have performed better somewhere else.

When you invest in houses for rent, you will be committing thousands of dollars into a property and will probably be taking out a mortgage. Bear in mind that when house prices are on the rise you may make some big gains which supersede your mortgage debt, however, when house prices fall, your deposit will take a hit and your mortgage will remain the same.

Yes, investment in property can pay off but it’s crucial that you go into it with both eyes wide open and you are aware of the disadvantages and not only the advantages. It’s worth asking someone who’s invested buy to let’s previously to see if they can share their knowledge and experiences, as the more research that you do and the more knowledge you have, the more chance you have of your investment working out.

  1. The Area

You need to make sure that you choose the right area when looking for a property for sale. This does not mean somewhere cheap or even somewhere expensive. The area you choose needs to be a place where people like to live and there are many reasons for why an area becomes desirable.  

Which part of your area has appeal? If you’re on a commuter belt then ask yourself if there are good transport links. For young families, are there good schools locally? Is the area suitable for students? The aim is to match the property that you will buy with what kind of people would want to live in the home that you opt for. Although this all may sound simplistic, these questions are very important when it comes to successfully investing in a buy to let property.

Quite often people buy property near to where they live as they tend to know the market well and they are in a good position to spot property that could be a good investment.

  1. Do your Homework

Before you do anything, sit down and write down the cost of the houses that interest you and what amount of rent you think they will produce. Also remember to take into account maintenance costs and also consider what will happen if the property remains empty for a month or more. Contact a conveyancer solicitor and a lawyer for property legal advice. Finally think about what the mortgage repayments will be and bear in mind how rising rates will affect this.

You should also consider contacting a meth testing companies, to make sure you’re not buying a house that’s hazardous.

  1. Tenants

Don’t think about whether you would like to live in the property that you are buying to rent, you need to consider the tenants that you are targeting. Who are your target tenants and what will they be looking for? If your potential tenants are going to be young professionals then you need a property that is stylish and modern but not overbearing. If your tenants are likely to be family then they probably need a blank canvas as they’re likely to have belongings or perhaps they require a lifestyle block as they want to be self-sufficient. If your tenants are likely to be students then they will need a place that is easy to clean and that is comfortable and luxury is not a necessity.

If you want your tenants to stay for longer then you need to let your tenants put their stamp on the property e.g. adding pictures, decorating, removing any furniture that they don’t want etc.

  1. Renovations

As we said above, many investors look for a property in their own area, but it maybe that this is not the best investment choice for you. The advantage of having a property close to where you live is that you can keep an eye on it, however this is not important if you plan to have a residential property manager looking after the place for you.

It’s worth casting your eye further afield and look for areas which are popular with families, have a university and have good transport links. Consider properties that need improving as this could be a good way to boost your investment. Properties that need renovating are good for negotiating with and once they’ve been done up, they are likely to increase in value.

  1. Negotiating

When it comes to getting a discount, you have as much advantage as a first-time buyer. You are not in a position where you are in a chain and relying on selling a property to buy another one. Therefore, you are less of a risk when it comes to a sale falling through.

Once again it is worth knowing the market when it’s time to negotiate. For instance, if homes are taking a while to sell you know that you are in a better position when it comes to negotiating. Additionally, find out why someone is selling and how long they have owned the actual property.

If it’s an existing landlord that owns the property and they’ve owned it for a while, then they may be wanting to cash in and accept a lower offer in order to make a quick sale.

If you take these six points into account before investing in a rental, you are more likely to succeed with you investment.

Unprecedented vacancy rates for industrial Hamilton

In part one of our series covering the heat on industrial property in Hamilton, GILL DAVIS spoke to a couple whose confidence in the local market saw them build a light-industrial building without the safety net of a confirmed tenant. This week she delves further into the potential within Frankton’s industrial scene.