Top 7 Things You Need To Know About Buying A Rental

The idea of having a property that makes money on itself without you lifting a finger is one that many people dream of. “We’ll just buy a property, rent it out, and it’ll pay off the mortgage and we’ll make heaps of cash”, is what many people say about a cash cow like a rental property. There are some truths to this, if done right, but there’s also a lot of reality that we’re missing. To bring you back down to earth, and to realise what you might actually be getting yourself into, we’ve put together some of the top things that you should know about buying a rental property.

We don’t write this to scare you out of buying; rather, the opposite! Rental properties can be extremely lucrative and can help boost your retirement savings and capital. But it is important that you know what type of work you can expect.

You’ll want a thorough budget

Let’s start with one of the most important things, first. Budgeting correctly for your own home is difficult but incredibly important, but budgeting for a second investment property like a rental is even more important. You aren’t just looking at whether or not you can afford the mortgage or having money set aside for a big repair, you also need to include what will happen if you don’t have tenants right away, or if you’re slapped with high taxes on the rent money you receive. Do your research, and talk with a financial advisor or even another rental manager if possible to get their insight.

Your budget will also need to include little things like when you have to hire out a carpet repair specialist in between tenants, or the cost of rental furniture to furnish a flat initially. Consider also the taxes on the building, like council taxes, as well as any utilities that you aren’t charging the tenant.  

You’ll need to be able to pay two mortgages

The truth about rental properties is that there will always be a time when you’re paying two mortgages. Hopefully this is an occurrence that’s few and far between, but please make sure your budget is prepared for this. Even if it’s just one month in between one tenant moving out and another moving in, you should have plenty of room in your budget to cover this. We recommend having at least 6 months of the second mortgage covered, in case of long term repairs or a slow rental market. If you decide to work with a property manager instead of doing it yourself, they will likely have something written into the contract about what happens in these situations, and may cover you for a while.

You need to do a lot of research

The location and type of rental property you’re getting will decide what types of tenants you’ll get, so it’s something you need to think about. If you’re looking to attract students near a university, you’ll need a rental property that will suit them well, like small studio apartments that you can rent out at lower cost. Getting a rental appraisal will help you decide what rent you can get out of the property.

You might need renovations

If you aren’t buying a ready to move in property, be prepared to foot the bill for some reno costs. For easier renovations, you could consider doing them yourself too. Here’s a list of some renovations you might be able to tackle regardless of your experience. Basic renovations when buying a property might just be updating flooring or painting the walls, or it might be more extensive like replacing some plumbing in units.

You’ll need to write a lease

If you’ve never written a contract before, this one might seem a bit daunting, but it’s important to get right. You’ll want a strong lease that explains the ins and outs of the tenancy, as well as stating exactly what the terms and conditions are. It’s also important to include sections on what happens if a tenant needs to break the lease early, or other situations like that. That way, you both will be covered under the agreement.

You’ll be screening tenants

The tenants you have in your property should be responsible, pay rent, and alert you to any issues in the flat. It can be overwhelming to figure out who is going to be a good tenant, and still follow the tenancy laws at the same time. Here are some good tips for avoiding a bad situation with tenants.

Again, alternatively you could use a rental letting agent to take care of this for you. Many property management companies are well experienced in this process, and have access to background check software and may be able to perform a more extensive screening than you are able to.

You will be responsible for maintenance

Those midnight emergency calls about the toilet overflowing and the tenant can’t stop it are your calls to take now, good luck! In all honesty, these types of emergency calls won’t happen that often, but you will get calls about plumbing issues, something breaking, or other random maintenance often, and you’ll need to be prepared for it. If you’ve got a small property, it may be easy to keep up with the repairs yourself. For larger or multiple properties, you might need to look into hiring a maintenance company or person to manage the maintenance. If you’re lucky, you might also have a handy tenant in your property that could manage maintenance in exchange for reduced rent.

Okay, so maybe this is a lot to think about and it a bit scary, but if you can nail down these seven things than you’ll be in a lot better position to buy a rental property. Awareness is the most important thing, so simply being fully aware of the things that can go wrong and having a contingency plan for them will ensure that your rental property is a success, and that you’ll actually turn a profit from it.

How To Write A Lease For Your Rental Property

If you’ve decided to rent out your property there are a number of channels that you can go down to make sure that both you and your tenant are protected. Your tenant will have most likely have looked through a number of houses for rent and they will have looked into some key areas for their peace of mind. They will want to be sure that all the relevant testing for the property and the lease agreement is of a good standard and adheres to all relevant rules and regulations. If you are the type of person that wants to take on all aspects of letting out your property yourself, then it is important that you make sure that all these aspects are covered in your lease agreement.

If an estate agent or letting agent has taken on board the letting of your property this will usually have taken care of this aspect. If however, you have decided to let out your property yourself without the help if any professionals then you will need to ensure that you have this included in the lease. Typically meth testing comes at the beginning or end of a lease, if suspected, so having a caveat about your right to test is important.

  • Writing the Lease

If you are renting out your property the lease document between yourself and your tenant needs to cover the basic aspects that the tenant is responsible for and vice versa. It should outline the duties of each party so that you both understand what is required of each other. Having a well written lease is vital to prevent future problems which may otherwise occur.

  • Formatting

Across the world there are a number of sites that will offer you a free template which will provide you a guide of how to correctly write a lease document. A lot of local governments have standardised documents which you can copy.

  • Document Title

It is important to get the right title for your document. Having a title such as ‘lease’ would be okay but titles such as ‘lease agreement’ or ‘rental agreement’ are a better choice. This title chosen makes it much clearer as to what the document is about.

  • Headings

It is important to have a number of headings on your documents in order for it to be clear. Headings such as ‘term’, ‘rent’ and ‘property’ are all examples of titles that you could use. You can also even include a subsection which outlines the tenant’s responsibilities and the landlord’s responsibilities. Be sure to bold the titles so that they stand out and are clear.

  • Provisions

On your document it is worth having a key which defines the document. A good example of this is to describe the word ‘rent’ so that it is explicit what is meant by rent.

  • Signatures

Once the document has been completed don’t forget to leave a section for any signatures. The main signatures that will be needed are the tenant’s signature and the landlord signature.

  • Checking the Law

This may sound like an obvious point but making sure that you adhere to all the local laws is crucial. If you innocently violate the law, you may invalidate your lease. The lease also needs to state the amount of rent that you will be charging and the frequency in which you will be charged. It is also important to advise the tenant of any other charges that may occur. Finally, don’t forget to state the length of the lease.

  • Other aspects to include

On the lease you need to state where the rental property is located and if there are any other areas of responsibility. For example, any gardens or out buildings.

  • The occupants

As the landlord, you’ll need to be aware of who is renting your property. You can list the names of any tenants on your lease. This will protect you if for example the tenant does not pay the rent.

  • Agreeing on the rental length

As briefly mentioned above, the lease should contain a set time of how long the property will be leased for. Typically, a lease agreement is between six months and a year. That said, a short lease agreement can be possible too. You might want to add in a section on what would happen to the tenant if you put up the property for sale as well.

  • Rent due date

The date that the rent is due to be paid can be added onto a lease agreement. Somewhere in the lease you also need to state any deposits that have been paid, and who they’ve been lodged with.

  • Bills

As part of a lease agreement it is a good idea to incorporate a section on the domesticated bills. State what the tenant is responsible for and make sure that you take accurate readings of any meters at the house before the tenant moves in to the property.

  • Deposits

The deposit that the tenant pays should be documented, as mentioned above. A deposit is necessary in order to protect you from any damage that may occur to your property or your belongings within property whilst being rented. The deposit needs to be kept safe for when your tenants leaves so that you can return what is owed to them.

  • Late Payments

On a lease agreement you need to outline the procedures for any late payments. This will help you should you ever need to terminate a lease agreement.

  • The completed lease

Once your lease has been written and signed, your tenants are free to move in. Get your tenants to contact their moving company or shipping container house so that you can organise the start date of the agreement. It is worth discussing this with your tenants as some tenants like to have the house available a few days before they are ready to move their belongings in to it.

Writing a lease does not need to be daunting as long as it’s kept simple and all of the above steps are incorporated. The agreement is not there to catch anyone out, it acts as a legal guide to ensure that all parties are aware of what is expected of them, and protect both you and your tenants for the future.

How To Find the Best Tenants For Your Property

Finding the best tenants for your property can be a daunting task. Although somebody may seem okay initially, it’s impossible to judge what type of tenant they will make. From the tenant’s point of view, they will be looking for a number of attributes in a property that will suit their needs. They will judge your property on a number of aspects which we will cover shortly. For you, as the landlord, here are a number of ways to seek out the ideal tenants.

Referencing

Referencing your tenants can be done in a number of ways. The first way would be to run a criminal background check. Although we hope that any criminal convictions will be spent, the type of convictions or the fact that they have been convicted in the past, may give you an insight in to the type of person you may be dealing with. Secondly you can choose to conduct a personal reference. Personal references can often be sought from a friend of the tenant or an employer. Although referencing may not directly point you to the type of person the tenant is, it will give you snippets of the type of lifestyle the tenant lives and you can then decide if this suits your property or what you are looking for in a tenant.

Credit Checking

As with any investment, you want to ensure that you have a regular yield. Therefore, it is worth checking a potential tenant’s credit score as you will then be able to see if they will pay the rent on time. This gives you the peace of mind that they are financially secure. It is by no means a guarantee that they will pay, but it does help you to build a background picture of the tenant.

Adhering To The Law

It is important that both tenants and landlords follow the rules and regulations that have been set by the local governments. When looking for the ideal tenants, the tenant will also expect to be treated fairly as well, as after all, it is a two-way process. If a tenant feels valued then there is more chance that they will respect your property in the way that you wish for.

Rental History

The rental history of a prospective tenant will show you what type of tenant they have been in the past. Try to look for the reason as to why they are moving house to make sure that they are not just moving from one property to another.

Creating Rules

When you embark on renting out a property, having some rules in place will make sure that your tenant is fully aware of what is expected of them. There is no point in assuming your tenant will know what you expect from them, you need to make things clear and black and white. Consider aspects such as:

  • Will you allow pets in the property?
  • Does the décor in the property need to remain as it is or can it be changed?
  • Do the ages of any children in the property matter? If so what are your requirements.

Stability

You need to check to see if your tenant is in work and if so how long have they been working there for. Ask a prospective tenant questions such as:

  • Have you moved in the last 6 months?
  • What they earn as you need to make sure that they can comfortably afford to pay the rental amount.

Go With Your Gut

When you have met a prospective tenant, it is human nature to make an instant judgment. If you get a bad feeling about a tenant then it is prudent to shy away from this tenant. Your basic instincts can often guide you. Again, it may not be a fair way of deciding between tenants and it is still very easy to make a mistake, but your instincts are not often wrong.

As you can see there are a number of ways of seeking out a good tenant. Another aspect to consider is what a prospective tenant will get from you and their expectations. Here are some examples:

Cleanliness

If you take a look at the outside of a property and it is full of moss and in poor state of repair, it is worth hiring a moss removal treatment company to make sure that the appearance of the property is at its best. The same can be said for the guttering on a property. Gutter cleaning will show a prospective tenant that the property has be properly maintained. You also need to take a look at the doors and the windows of the property. Most of us will get the outside of the windows professionally cleaned but it’s also important to remember that if you have an interior window which has any damage or fogging or is dirty, this needs some attention. As remember a tenant spends most of the time inside the property not outside.

Security

Tenants now look for a high level of security within a property. Having window and door locks and alarm system has fast become the norm. If, however you do not have an alarm in your property, getting one fitted is highly advisable. Alarm installation doesn’t have to be costly, but the more advanced that your system is, the more marketable your property will become. Consider add-ons such as panic buttons and alarm monitoring as these will show your tenants that you take security safely.

By taking the above advice in to account you can see that there are steps to follow when it comes to selecting the best tenant for your property.

Top Tips For Budgeting Before You Purchase A Rental

If you are considering purchasing a rental property as an investment, then first off, congratulations on this exciting decision! To start, you’ll definitely need to look at property to let and scour local real estate companies. By doing this you’ll start to gain an idea of the type of rental yields that you could generate from your rental purchase. But there are many more aspects to consider before you contact a house lawyer, as you don’t necessarily have to buy a pre-existing property; you could also look for bare land for sale which you could either rent out or develop and put a new dwelling on it. Let’s now take a look at some top tips to consider before you go ahead and purchase a property for rental purposes.

Finance

To finance your rental property, it is vital that you get your personal budget in good order before you contact a refinance lawyer. Doing this will give your lawyer the head start in being able to find the best deals for loans that you may require to purchase your rental. It is not just about being able to afford the purchase of your property, you also have to factor in a contingency budget for any fees or repairs that may be required. It also advisable to know where to cut back when it comes to your personal finances as this is a great way of generating extra income when needed to do small things in your rental. There are specific aspects of finance that you need to also consider before purchasing a rental:

Tax: Make sure you factor in any miscellaneous tax expenses that you may come into. It is worth remembering that rental income will affect your income tax.

Own Household Expenses: Getting a handle on your utilities and household bills is a good way of formulating a strong budget. The less that you incur per month on your own domesticated bills will help you to cover the months where your rental is vacant. Remember you will still have to pay for the utilities at your rental property even when you don’t have tenants.

Debt Clearance: You are still able to purchase a property even if you have debt against your name, but it is much easier if you clear your debts as best as you can. It allows lenders to see that you have a good control of your finances and it will also give you the opportunity to borrow more money at a lower rate.

Be Realistic: Don’t suffer with delusions of grandeur. Be realistic about the amount of money that you can afford to spend on a property. It is far easier to keep within your means and build your portfolio if you keep a cap on your spending. If you spend too much initially, you may struggle to keep up with the payments on those inevitable vacant months.

Getting Approved: Getting approved can be given an increased chance of success if you have a strong case to present. It is very easy to slip into simple traps which could ruin your approval rate. Get advice from industry experts about the best way of achieving your goal.

Picking Your Rental

It is worth doing thorough research on where you will purchase your rental property. Don’t get carried away with houses that you like for yourself. Try to buy sensibly and look for properties that will give you maximum yield with minimum investment. Check locally with the rental market and if you have a high percentage of families looking for rentals then properties suitable for families are what you should aim for. The same can be said for professionals, look for apartments, flats and smaller self-contained homes that would suit a professional couple.

Look for local amenities, schools, shops, pubs and restaurants which will all appeal to the average family renter. Having poor schools could put off potential tenants if they have school aged children. This is a very important factor to consider.

Type Of Property

If you are the type of person that is very handy around a home, then an older property could be suited to you as you will be able to keep up with the maintenance yourself. However, if DIY is not your thing, then a new build property with minimum maintenance may be more suitable for you.

Investment Length

Decide on what type of investment your rental property will be as there are many different options that people use:

Buying For Yourself: It is not uncommon for people to buy a property and then get tenants in for a set amount of time so that they can cover their mortgage costs and make a small amount of profit.

Buying Purely To Rent Out: You may have the intention of renting out the property for the duration of your mortgage term. In turn, this will give you an asset which has been paid for by your tenants. You then have the option to sell your property for a profit or just add the property to your portfolio of rentals.

Completing The Purchase

Once you have taken in all of the above aspects into account, you are now ready to complete your purchase. Try to focus on sticking to your budget and making sure that your rental purchase goes through without any hitches. As soon as you have tenants for your property you’ll have to make sure that you keep that property in a good state of repair so that your tenants will enjoy living there and rent for the full rental term. As part of an ongoing budget it is important that you make sure can cover the mortgage payments. In the event of your home being vacant for a length of time, this will give you the peace of mind that you need when renting out property.

So before you go ahead and purchase and rental property make sure that you take our top tips into consideration to stay within your budget.

6 Mortgage Mistakes People Make

Buying a house is one of the biggest purchases you will ever make, so you have to make sure that you finance it properly. There are many different ways of buying a property but the vast majority of us go down the mortgage route. Before we take a look at the mistakes that can be made when choosing your mortgage, we have to remember that there is also a number of options available for those that are trying to buy their first home. The first home kiwisaver is a scheme whereby you contribute for a minimum of three years which then gives you access to getting a grant to help purchase your home. Property management companies and real estate companies will be able to give you more information about these schemes, as well as the other schemes that are available. Let’s now take a look at some of the pitfalls you need to avoid when getting a mortgage to buy a home. You should also go through the below with a refinance lawyer in order to get a greater understanding.

  1. Not Looking At Enough Lenders

Getting a mortgage can be a minefield as most of us don’t know enough about what a mortgage actually does in terms of interest and repayment. The temptation is to stay with the bank that you currently bank with for your mortgage. In some cases, this can be a great idea as you may be offered favourable rates compared to a new lender. However, you may be able to get an even better deal if you shop around.

Shopping around for the best interest rates along with any cashback offers that are available is the best place to begin. Many lenders do offer great incentives for new customers which can help you to pay off your loan earlier or pay a lower amount each month. They can even offer lucrative cashback deals that get put into your account on completion of your purchase. The best advice is to shop around as much as possible, comparing the pros and cons of all. What’s important is that you don’t wait until the date of your onsite pre purchase inspection to decide that you don’t want your mortgage deal.

  1. Not Dealing With Credit Issues

From time to time our credit scores can fluctuate and this can be through no fault of our own. Not having credit can sometimes negatively impact your credit score as can having too much unaffordable credit, as this can also do the same. The best advice is to not shy away from credit problems when you are embarking on a mortgage. Don’t leave it to chance as there could be some simple fixes along the way which could save a huge headache down the line.

Your credit score could also affect the mortgage rate that you are offered. The problem, with this is if you accept a fixed rate mortgage deal at a higher rate because you have not corrected your credit score, you could end up paying a five-year fixed rate deal at a higher rate, when you did not need to. Fixing credit problems can be tricky and time consuming but being ahead of the game will benefit you in the long run.

  1. Moving Jobs

Mortgage companies will check to see if you as the applicant have the ability to pay back their loan. They will check a number of factors such as affordability and employment history. Mortgage lenders prefer applicants that have been in employment for a length of time so that they know that their employment is stable. If you change jobs before you mortgage application has been complete, some providers will feel nervous of this and perhaps refuse your application on the basis of job security. The same can be said for self-employed borrowers. They need to provide a minimum of two to three years of tax returns to prove that their business is stable and providing a reasonable income. Changing your business model at a late state, is the same as moving jobs.

  1. Providing Incomplete Information

A mortgage application can be a stressful period as the result of the application is the difference between getting your home and not. The temptation is there to omit mortgage information that you feel may negatively impact your application. You have to remember that checks will be made on the information that you have provided and also if you have supplied the correct information, the lender is then able to make an informed judgement of what they can offer you.

  1. Underestimating Ownership Costs

Buying a house at the top of your budget doesn’t give you any room for other ownership costs that you may incur. You have to consider your domestic bills, any taxes and rates that you may be liable for and if the property is older, you may have to pay some quite expensive maintenance repair bills. Good research should give you an idea of whether the house is affordable to you.

  1. Not Fixing Your Mortgage Rate

Getting a fixed rate mortgage helps a first-time buyer understand their financial commitment. Not fixing this rate could be a risky game because if the rate increases, your mortgage could increase dramatically. An example of this is if you have a mortgage fixed at 4%, you know your payments for the fixed term period. If you have a variable rate and the rates go up, you could end up doubling your monthly payments, in extreme situations.

It is clear to see that when applying for a mortgage it is advisable to take the above in consideration as this will reduce the chance of making mistakes which are avoidable and could jeopardise your mortgage application. Now that you’re more aware of the mistakes that can happen, we hope you’re able to to successfully secure your mortgage without too much hassle!

Home Improvements For Renters That Are 100% Reversible

Anyone who has ever rented their own property before knows that it’s not really yours. Unfortunately, you’re simply borrowing the space until you decide to leave, and then someone else lives in it instead. That means that all those improvements you wish you could do to the space, you can’t. And that, can be very frustrating for a long-term renter.

While of course, tearing down a wall here or pulling up carpet there might not be something you can do to your rental, there are home improvements that you can do as a renter that are totally reversible. And there are even some big improvements that you might be able to do, especially as a long-term tenant. When it does come time to move, you can still revert back to original by choosing a home improvement project that is easily switched back. This way, you can still feel like you have some ownership of your home, even without owning it! We’ll list a few of our favourite home improvements that you can do as a tenant and not get in trouble with the property manager, and not violate any terms on your tenancy agreement.

Painting

By far one of the best ways to brighten up your space, while also being totally reversible, is a lick of paint. To choose a paint colour, review what you already have in the space. It’s tempting to choose a colour based on what you like, but it’s more important that the colour will look good with the furniture and decorations you already have. Be sure to double check with the landlord that you have the go-ahead to paint, as many landlords will let you as long as the walls are painted back to the original colour upon move out.

Another option for your walls is temporary wallpaper. Lots of wallpaper these days is easily removable because of the type of adhesive. While a bit expensive, you can keep this improvement cheap by choosing to wallpaper a single wall as an accent wall, and leaving your other walls their original white. This way you can get an excellent pop of colour and pattern without having to do much when you move out.

You can also use wallpaper or even use stick on decals to add a backsplash in your kitchen. This way you aren’t wallpapering a whole wall, just the small backsplash space, which will be much more cost effective and easier.

Temporary flooring

Have an utterly hideous vinyl floor in the kitchen? Or perhaps you have a nasty colour of tile in your bathroom? Just because you’re renting doesn’t mean you have to deal with bad floors. Temporary flooring is available in multiple options, including stick on decals, carpet squares and even wood flooring. Many wood laminate boards are a lay and click installation, which makes it super easy to pull back up when you move.

For less work and easier floor coverings, try layering rugs across a floor to make a patchwork quilt style of flooring. You can also simply cover a bathroom or kitchen floor with a good, non slip rug that’s easy to clean, such as one of these.

Small changes

Despite being tiny, doing things like changing out your cupboard knobs or your door handles will really upgrade your space. New knobs or handles are usually cheap and easy to install, so it won’t break the bank or your back to complete. Consider replacing your switch plates as well to something that pops in colour or patterns. Even adding in some adhesive and removable hooks for extra storage will make a difference as well.

Professional cleaning

While not necessarily a big project, and not necessarily reversible once completed, professional cleaning will make a huge improvement to your rental, and also look good on you as tenant. Simply bringing in a carpet cleaner will make a vast difference to your floors, as well as keeping you healthier in the home.

Bigger projects

There are also a few more improvements that, while not necessarily reversible, might be approved by the rental management company as they significantly improve the space. Of course, you’ll want to run the idea by the landlord and/or property manager before you even think about starting a big project.

Here’s a few of the best ones:

  • Permanent flooring changes: One of the best ways to get a dramatic change in your rental is to change the flooring. Many, if not most, landlords or property owners will not have a problem if you are upgrading the flooring, such as pulling up carpet to reveal beautiful wood floors. If you want to change a laminate or tile floor, again as long as the finished product improves the value of the home, you should be fine with approval.
  • Shelving units: Most rental units can benefit form additional storage. If your current abode is seriously lacking in space for storage, try and obtain approval for adding in some stylish shelving, as storage is usually a selling point for future renters. Use one of these ideas for inspiration.
  • New fixtures: From a new shower head to a new light fixture, these small improvements can make a huge difference in your home, and again are likely to be approved by a landlord. How many times have you moved into a new place, only to find out the shower is terrible? Upgrading a showerhead is fairly simple and will upgrade your mornings as well.

Ranging from semipermanent to totally temporary, we hope these little home improvements improve your rental dramatically, and without too much work! Please remember as mentioned above that running any big changes by your landlord is vital, especially if you want that whole rental bond back. Once you have any necessary approval, we hope you go wild and enjoy every minute of your upgraded space!

Is The Ban On Letting Fees In NZ Benefiting The Renter?

When renting any property, the amount of rent you need to pay is the first question that most of us ask ourselves. Questions like, can we afford the monthly payment and can we afford the fees? These questions are still asked today, however, due to legislation changes in New Zealand, letting fees for a tenant are now a thing of the past as of December 2018.

Essentially, prior to December, tenants may have been charged for a tenancy in the form of a letting fee in NZ. Now, letting agents are banned from charging tenants, but might still impose the fee on a landlord. Letting agents had concerns that if letting fees were abolished, landlords would increase the rent of their properties to gain back lost revenue.

There are already many fees that are imposed when a tenant is trying to rent a property. Moving is one of the most expensive aspects of changing houses, so a great many of us look for cheap moving companies to assist us with this aspect. In some instances, we may be looking to rent a property because our new property that we have purchased may not have been completed. In these situations, tenants might looking at self-storage or even storage containers which can be even more expensive. Now that letting fees are abolished for tenants, however, the cost of renting might be easier for many people.

Let’s now look at some of the areas that may benefit the renter as this abolishment comes into effect.

Charging Fees

Letting agents act as an intermediary between the landlord and tenant. They are the third party that affects a prospective tenant. The charge of this checking service, until December 2018, was payable by the tenants. Since the legislation change, this charge could now be passed on to landlords as it has been prohibited to be charged the tenant. Letting agents charge landlords for advertising the property, reviewing applications, property inspections, tenancy agreement preparation and holding open days for prospective tenants to view the property. Looking at the above list it does show that the fees that were charged to tenants previously, should really have been charged to the landlords in the first instance as they were benefiting from what the letting agent was producing. The bond that is charged to a tenant should just cover any damage that is caused by the tenant. Even in their monthly payments that is paid each month, a percentage of this should be for running repairs and damage that can be caused through wear and tear.

The Rent

The rent that a landlord requests for a property is usually worked out by what the average property of that size and type, in a particular area, is usually generating. The amount of rent a landlord requires usually has to cover any loans or mortgages that the landlord may have on the property. There also has to be an element of profit for repairs and for when the property is vacant. In most cases landlords want to make some form of profit on the rent that they are charging. It may not be as much as you initially think, but landlords do not want to make a loss on their investments.

The fees that were once charged in New Zealand would often make the rent of a property seem expensive. Now that these have been eliminated, landlords will now have to look at a way of not losing that revenue. The concern for tenants is that rent prices will increase to counteract the loss of the fees. Additionally, there is also concern that letting agents may decide to do less checking when the charges were abolished.  Meth testing companies were often part of the fees that agents charged to ensure that the full check of the property was undertaken. There had been reassurances that these companies will still continue to do the job they always did.

Renewal Fees

It is not just new agreements that are subject to fees, rental fees for renewing contracts have been in place for many years as well. The renewal of the contract was often deemed as unfair by many renters, as it was often the case of just amending a date and signing the document to extend the contract. Now this process has been eliminated, and it will allow renters to be able to budget accordingly each month, without having the worry of a large renewal fee to deal with at the end of the first contract. It’s this type of change that will really help the housing market in New Zealand. The renewal fee was often regarded as an unfair fee as no work was actually done.

Benefiting the Renter

We have mentioned above some of the aspects that are involved in renting a property. The legislation of December 2018 should prove beneficial to new and old tenants alike. As the fees have been abolished for renters, renters should now be in a position to be able to budget for new properties more effectively and it may even open up the types of properties that are available to the individual. If the rules and regulations are adhered to properly, renters are now in a much stronger position than they have been before. Even if in the worst-case scenario that some of these fees are pushed back to the tenant via increased rent, the rent is still empowered by this change as they are able to look at alternative properties that are not showing increased rental amounts. Only time will tell how this change will affect the rental market but it is definitely a step in the right direction.

As you can see from the above, the change in legislation will hopefully benefit the renter as it was originally intended to do. Only time will really tell how this change has impacted the New Zealand housing market. As with any new legislation, as time passes, the industry will get used to the new way in which fees have been abolished and be able to understand the impact long term.

How To Amp Up The Resale Value Of Your Home

Are you thinking about moving soon? Do you know for sure that you don’t want to be in your current house forever? Are you sick of the big city and know someday you want to leave it behind for a peaceful lifestyle block? Whatever your reasons are, if you know you want to eventually move from your home, you should be thinking about your home’s resale value.

Even if your potential move isn’t for another decade, now is still the time to look into it, or at least think to think about it. Considering how difficult moving homes is, from the big search, to the competitive market, to getting the loan and selling your own home, you’ll want to get started on amping up your resale value as soon as possible.  We all know how long some renovations can take, so if there’s anything you need to fix up or replace, getting a head start is really important. Here are some basic ways to amp up your resale value before it’s time to move.

What is it?

Resale value is exactly as it sounds – how much your home will sell for if you were to sell it today. Resale value can also refer to what the future value will be, depending on various factors. To determine the resale value, one could use a real estate agent to help, or investigate on your own. Trade Me is an excellent place to look up property insights and see what other properties in your area are going for.

Renovations

Renovations are a sure fire way to amp up your resale value, but only if they actually add value. For example, adding on an extra room to the back of the house may suit your growing family well, but the extra space makes it undesirable for someone wanting a large yard. Try to stay away from renovations that would only suit your needs, rather than generic renovations. Click here for some classic mistakes in renovations. Take note of what buyers are looking for in renovations, and how much upgrades are adding to the bottom line. Projects like tackling your kitchen and upgrading appliances, replacing windows, and bathroom renovations are typically good options. Here are a bunch of projects to take on that will likely increase your home’s value.

Energy saving additions

The focus of new home builds continues to be on sustainability and green building. Adding or replacing things that make your home more green will definitely increase your resale value. For example, if you are due for a roof replacement, look into creating a green roof instead of regular roofing options. A green roof will decrease your water runoff as well as be an asset to the environment. It’s important to note that your roof needs to be structurally strong enough to support the load of the green roof, but you can fairly easily make improvements if it needs any reinforcing. You can look at some additional pros and cons, here.  

If you aren’t looking for significant changes to your house right now, consider at least adding in some energy saving appliances and fixtures. It’s easy enough to switch out some light bulbs for energy saving bulbs or change your shower head to an energy efficient one. You’ll not only save on your own energy bill, but will also be able to use the low bill as a selling point.

Cosmetic changes

Other easy ways to increase the resale value is to do some basic cosmetic changes. This is especially important as you get ready to sell the property. For the exterior, consider house washing to brighten up your house’s look immediately. You’d be surprised how dirty your house can get, and how appealing it looks afterwards. We also recommend cleaning out your gutters at the same time to kill two birds with one stone. You’ll also want to take a look at your landscaping, especially in comparison to your neighbours. For example, if other sections for sale in your neighbourhood are beautifully decorated, yours may not sell as well simply due to cosmetic reasons.

For the interior and exterior, regular window cleaning is a must. If you keep up with it, this seemingly big job won’t take long at all. Dirty windows are one of the first thing prospective buyers notice, so it’s important to give them a good wash before putting the home on the market. If you’ve got any carpet or upholstery stains, now is a great time to get them taken care of as well. Finally, a simple coat of fresh paint can liven up a room instantly and create instant appeal to a buyer. Try one of these colours to help sell your house quickly.

Technology updates

Today’s homes are moving towards being more technologically advanced every day. With all kinds of smart devices at our fingertips, a surefire way to increase your resale value is to advertise smart technology within the home.

For your home’s security, consider installing a state of the art security alarm and system. Monitoring is made easy with these systems, and alarms and notifications can be sent directly to your smartphone. Many security systems today have camera systems as well that allow for 24 hour access from a mobile device. At the very least, make sure you fix the locks around the house so that you can at least advertise a secure home. Other technology that’s easy to install is temperature control devices. Things like a Nest can help save in energy bills and is appealing to a new buyer.

If money and/or time is tight, and you can only manage a few options from this list, try not to fret too much! A good paint colour and a few flowers planted outside will help refresh your house quickly, and without spending too much time or money. When in doubt, always do your research so you know exactly what you should be getting for your home when it comes time to sell.

5 Must Do’s When You Move Into Your New Home

After all the hullabaloo of securing a new home, moving seems like the easy step. We mean, come on, you’ve made it through the big search, the countless open homes, the offer and property inspections, and all that’s left is to load up your things and move in. Easy, right?

While the stress of getting the home is over, there’s just a few more things you really must do as soon as you move into your new home. We’ve listed five of the main must do’s to not forget about so that you can check them off your list and finally get to the relaxing in your new house that you’ve earned.

  1. Clean like crazy

There will never be a better time than right now to clean your house top to bottom. An empty home means that you can get to all the corners and crevices that have held dirt, mould or other toxic and nasty substances for years. You’ll never get another chance to clean like this!

Make sure you get a professional carpet cleaner in to do your carpets. At the very least, you’ll want to hire a professional machine to do it yourself. Deep cleaning your carpets usually means having to move everything out of the room and leaving it to dry for a couple of days, so now is the perfect time to get this out of the way. Here are some tips for cleaning your carpet yourself if you aren’t keen on spending the money on professionals right away.

The unfortunate truth of moving into a new home means you can’t be sure what happened in the house before you. One vital thing to complete before you move in is to check for any meth contamination, and hire someone to bring in meth cleaning products to make sure your home is substance free. There are many horror stories of families moving in unwittingly to an old meth lab home, so make sure your family is protected by getting the home tested and cleaned.  

Other important things to clean are your appliances, cupboards and closets, and to wash the walls down. Again, these are items you don’t clean often, and mostly because there are things in your cupboards or up on your walls. Take this perfect opportunity to make sure your home is spotless before moving into it.

  1. Update your security

We can’t stress this enough. Making sure you have a new security system for your home is absolutely vital, especially considering you don’t ever really know who lived in the home before you. Simply changing your locks and cutting new keys for the family will put your mind at ease instantly in your new home. You’ll know that no one has a copy of the key except your family.

For the ultimate peace of mind, we also highly recommend looking into a new residential security system for your home. You’ll be the new kid on the block, and potentially targeted by burglars, especially if you aren’t moving everything in one go. It can be scary being in a new home the first few weeks, and a security system will let you sleep without worrying if a window was left open or door unlocked.

  1. Choose your paint colours

Have you ever painted a room with all the furniture in it? Sure, it’s certainly possible, but it’s annoying and takes longer than it should. Avoid all the furniture moving and taking pictures off the wall by painting before you move in if possible. Here are some tips for painting from start to finish.

We know it can be a bit overwhelming to try and choose your colour scheme before you move in, but remember that you can always paint over colours you eventually don’t like. Try and take note of what colours you have in your current home and what you like and don’t like, so you have an idea of what to go for on the new home. For more help choosing the perfect colour, check out this article.

  1. Meet the neighbours

Making a good impression is important in almost any situation, including moving into a new neighbourhood. While many of your neighbours will likely come to you, and if you’re lucky will even bring you a lovely welcoming gift basket, it’s important that you show an effort in return.

If you have any upcoming neighbourhood gatherings, make sure you attend them if possible, as this is the best way to get to know everyone at once. If you have a housewarming party, send your neighbours an invite as well to show goodwill. There’s plenty of other ways to meet and make friends with your neighbours, so get out there and start socialising right from the beginning.  

  1. Get to know the area

Along the same lines as above, you’ll want to get to know the new area you’ve just lived in. Take a walk with your family or pets if you have them, and see what’s in walking distance. Have lunch at the nearby local cafe, and check out your new closest grocery store. Simple things, like running in to grab a carton of eggs can be stressful in a new grocery store, so it’s a good idea to take things slowly and check it out first. Take a test drive to work, or a quick walk to the nearby station if you take public transportation. All of these quick and easy trips will make it easier the first time you actually need to go on them for real.

While there may be a million other little things you forget to do at first, get these out of the way for the least painful move in. If you can nail them down, you’ll be much more comfortable, at ease, and safe in your brand new home.

Everything You Need To Know About Tenancy Law In New Zealand

The rental market across the world has started to increase on a huge scale. Some countries in Europe are more oriented at renting their properties rather than buying them. Obviously, on the opposite hand, there are countries around the world where the majority want to own their own property. Here in New Zealand, we have a strong and good reputation in our rental market. Our rental properties are some of the finest in the world. However, before you embark on renting a property, it is well worth doing a little bit of research to find out what you are getting in to.

Rental Property Managers

For maximum safety, finding a property manager or property management experts is highly recommended as they will be able to go through each step of the process and make you aware of the latest legislation which has to be adhered to. A point to note, there are some upcoming changes which will take effect from July 2019, for confirmation of these and to keep up to date, visit this link: https://www.lawsociety.org.nz/news-and-communications/latest-news/news/proposed-changes-to-residential-tenancy-laws-announced Later in the article, we will take a look at some of the possible changes that may take place.

The Rental

Once you have decided renting is the path for you, there are a great number of personal factors that you have to consider before you take the plunge and visit potential properties.

  • The Location

Although this may seem self-explanatory, the location of your property should be one of the most important aspects that you look at. Consider areas such as:

– distance to and from work

– local amenities

– parking facilities availability if required

– local area and whether it suits your needs i.e. if you are a young professional you may not want to move into an area that is established and the majority of the residents are in their senior years.

– how the location may affect your insurance premiums.  

  • Schools

If you are a family you may need to consider the local schools. If your children are already in a school, factor in traveling to and from school and if you will need any transport links.

  • Expense

Consider the amount that it will cost you to rent the property and what other costs you may incur as part of this move. There are many fees and deposits that you may require so when doing your budget, be sure to factor these elements in so that you are well prepared of what’s ahead.

  • Viewings

When you go to look at a property, try and take a good look at exactly what you are seeing. It is very easy to get carried away with what you see, but make sure it still fits your needs and you can live with how the property will be, as you will not be able to make changes to a rental property. Another point to note is to try and view the property at varying points of the day. This will give you an idea of what the area is like to live in day to day, as well as at night.

The property that you will be moving into will have been appraised by the landlord or the property manager. This will outline areas of the property that are to be kept the same once you leave. See it as a damage report. It also may contain an inventory of the products in the property which you will need to look after.

Investment

Above we have mentioned some of the aspects that you may need to consider when renting a property. At this point it is worth mentioning details to consider for those that may want to own a property to rent out. You can obtain lots of information from an investment property management company. They can talk you through your options and help you to get the maximum out of your investment. They will know first-hand how much a property could yield each month and if it is even worth investing in in the first place as not all properties will be popular in the rental market. They will advise you on looking at the demographic of the property that you are looking at. An example of this is if you are wanting to rent to professionals that are hungry for a city life, there is no point in marketing a property that’s in the country to this type of renter as it will not meet their needs. Again, as with tenants, it is vital that you get your knowledge up to date with regards to the legislations and laws of becoming a landlord. Be sure to keep up to date with any future legislation changes too.

Legislation

As mentioned at the start, there are some posed pending changes to tenancy law. We will now summarise these in a basic manner:

  1. There is a need to increase the quality of boarding houses. This means the landlords of these properties will now held more responsible than before.
  2. An improvement in the law to balance responsibility between the landlord and the tenant and to ensure that the home the renter is in feels like theirs.
  3. Tenants will now have better stability and improved security in their homes whilst at the same time, the landlord’s interests will be also protected.
  4. The new legislation will also take into account any rental trends that may affect the market. This way both landlords and tenants can benefit from any trending differences.

The above has outlined some basic aspects that you should consider, both from a tenant point of view and from a landlord point of view too. Don’t limit the amount of research that you do as having the best and most up to date information will make your rental property stress free.