Perfect House, Wrong Location – How To Make The Most Of Your New Home

It’s the perfect house. It has everything inside you could possibly want, and you are absolutely in love. You know without a shadow of a doubt that this is the one, but there’s just one tiny problem that you can’t shake. You can’t change it, you can’t renovate it, and if you buy this house, you’ll be stuck with it forever. It’s plain and simply, just the wrong location.

For some people, the location of their new house is at the very top of their search lists. They won’t even look outside a certain radius for multiple reasons. Some of us have kids of school age that we don’t want to pull out and move them to a new school. Others refuse to move far from work or family. But there are those who may look to sacrifice the location of their dreams, for the house of their dreams.

For those of you who have found the perfect house, but in the wrong location, there’s plenty of ways to make the most of your new home. Let’s go through some of our favourites.

Up your resale value

If your location’s aesthetic, safety level and/or undesirable features stay relatively the same for decades to come, you might have a bit of a hard time selling it when it comes to that. To make sure that you have got a home that will sell eventually, make sure you complete a meth residue drug test before you even move in. If anyone asks when you go to sell, you can ensure that the home was cleared from meth residue before you moved in, which is a good selling point especially in a bad neighbourhood.

If there aren’t a lot of new houses in your neighbourhood, this is your perfect chance to make your home shine. That way when it comes time to sell, your house will stand out from all the rest by a mile. The exterior will be just as important, if not more important in this circumstance, than the interior. Making a good impression in a bad neighbourhood may help sway a buyer towards considering your home. Think about potential buyers driving through the neighbourhood, perhaps discouraged by the sight of it, and then driving up to your house for sale that’s gleaming with fresh paint and sparkles inside with new appliances. This is vital for selling your home quickly.

For the external, make sure the house is freshly painted before you think about selling, and the landscaping is clean, bright and tidy. Hire a landscape designer to help you out if you’re needing a quick revamp to your landscaping. For the interior, brand new appliances are always a huge selling point. Make sure any obvious fixes are fixed, like a broken hinge, a cupboard door that’s hanging off, or cracks in the wall. These seemingly small things that you have lived with for years can be an instant bad impression on a buyer. Use some of these ideas for increasing resale value as well.

Keep your security up to date

If the neighbourhood is really bad, you might consider keeping certain valuables, documents, jewelry, etc. out of the house. Think about a container rental or other type of safe place away from your home to keep the most important things. Make sure to install a home security system upon moving in. You might consider CCTV installation at the same time to amp up the safety.

Here are some additional tips to burglar-proof your home.

Look to the future

The truth is, nothing stays the same, and everything changes whether we want it to or not. Even if you had found your perfect house in your perfect neighbourhood, there’s no guarantee that in 10 years it’s exactly the location you wished for. Some areas of town that started out rough can turn into gems with a bit of city planning and community involvement. You might even consider getting involved in your local city council to see what kind of difference you can make for the future of your neighborhood!

Stay optimistic

It can feel a bit painful to sacrifice your ideal location for the perfect house, but it’s important that you stay optimistic. Perhaps you had to take your child out of their school and away from their friends. To be honest though, children are extremely adaptable and will surely make new friends and barely be fazed by the move within a year or two. That extra 30 or 40 minutes for your commute to work might be frustrating and annoying, but try to not think of it as that. Use that extra time for listening to your favourite music or podcast (try one of these amazing podcasts to get you started). You might even be able to negotiate different work hours or flexible working with your boss, considering your changed circumstances.

Be positive about the little things, like how friendly the movers were when you moved in, and how you’ll be able to explore a brand new part of town now. There are hidden gems of restaurants, coffee shops and retail shops all over a city, and you might have stumbled upon a heap of amazing places that you just haven’t discovered yet. Get curious and don’t be afraid to explore.

Remember that a bad location isn’t always a bad location for every single person out there. Circumstances change all the time, and while the location can be terrible right now, for you specifically, that doesn’t mean that it’ll always be that way, or that no one will ever buy your home when you sell it. Use these tips to keep your home fresh and updated, be positive about the future, and you’ll start to remember why you purchased this home in the first place – because you fell in love with the house!

The Reality Of Moving – The Good, The Bad And The Just Plain Stressful

Moving into a new home produces a myriad of emotions. Some of us are extremely sad about leaving our previous location, and perhaps it’s a big change that causes a lot of stress. While others of us are beyond excited to purchase that land for sale and begin building the home of our dreams. Maybe we’ve even been packing for months awaiting this day!

The truth is, there will always be good, bad and ugly in the moving process, regardless of your level of excitement for the whole thing. We’re naming the best and the worst bits, but also giving you some tips for both so you aren’t left hanging.

THE GOOD

  • Getting to start over: We humans love a fresh start. Sometimes our lives can get a bit stale and boring, but moving can freshen everything up, just like that. We get a new chance at life, really, with a new neighbourhood and new walls to decorate. It’s a great time to change other things in our lives as well, as we might be more motivated and inspired.
  • Getting rid of stuff: Nothing sobers us up faster than the site of a million boxes filled to overflowing with our things. Packing boxes up to the moving day often inspires us to get rid of things that we’ve forgotten about since the last time we moved, or worse, kept for years on years in a box we’ve never touched! Try some Marie Kondo tips to really get you going on purging things that don’t spark joy.  
  • Exploring new places: Who knows what adorable cafe is around the corner, or a new running path you get to check out? Exploring a new area is one of the best parts about moving, and even if it isn’t a new area, you’re still getting to re-explore and change up your routine.

Tips for enjoying the good:

  • Take photos: Snap a few photos of your old home for the scrapbook, and photos of the moving process as well. This is the start of a new chapter, and it’s always lovely to look back on in the future.

THE BAD

  • Damaged things: Everyone knows how sad it is to get to your new house and realise that prized picture frame broke, or you’ve cracked a whole bunch of dishes.
  • Bad weather for the move: Unless you’ve moved house in the rain before, you really don’t know how terrible the moving day can be! We definitely take for granted a good day for moving until the worst happens to us.  
  • Packing up your life when you still need to use it: If you’ve moved a few times, you know what it’s like to try and figure out what you can pack and won’t need before moving day. It’s nearly inevitable that you’ll pack a few kitchen items only to desperately need them a few days later, and not be able to find them!  

Tips for making it not as bad

  • Use good packing materials: Many of us think we can get by with carelessly packing up our belongings, but it’s just not worth the possible loss if something breaks in transit. It’s much better to be careful the first time around than lose something precious. Buy solid packing boxes and bubble wrap to keep everything safe. Plastic tubs can also be a good investment, especially if you’ll be moving in bad weather.
  • Pack slowly and thoughtfully: Always pack things like knicknacks, books, off season clothing and picture frames/paintings first, and then slowly pack the rest of your house. Pack these things well in advance so you’ll be less stressed closer to moving day.

THE STRESSFUL

  • Kids not adapting well: Kids are surprisingly resilient, but sometimes it takes a while for them to get used to their new school or neighbourhood. They may also be mourning the loss of their old neighbourhood friends, or their favourite hangout.
  • Bad movers: We admit, this isn’t very likely to happen, but it is possible. Every once in a while you hear a story about movers who run off with your things and demand a ransom to be returned, but getting in touch with the police is your first step and allowing them to handle the situation is best. Some movers may not be as careful with your things as you like, or carelessly handle your prized possessions. Avoid this by looking for highly rated and professional furniture movers whenever possible.
  • Things aren’t quite as they seemed: It happens to the best of us. Sometimes when we view a flat or house, we see it in a certain rose coloured glasses rather than reality. Maybe we misread the building report on that piece of commercial property for sale, or didn’t take it seriously. If you didn’t have a list with you while viewing places, you might have not even noticed that the new house didn’t have any storage, or you saw the place at night and didn’t realise it gets no natural light.

Tips for making it less stressful

  • Stay positive: Moving takes a lot out of us, and it can sometimes take a month or two to get used to the new surroundings. Kids adapt quickly, and even if they aren’t happy about the move, if you stay positive and employ some of these tricks, they’ll be making new friends just like that.
  • Adapt to the undesirable: While you can’t change the amount of natural light you get, you can change the lighting. Things like limited storage and closet space can be mitigated by buying fashionable wardrobes and shelves, so don’t give up on the new place just yet!

Overall, remember that you aren’t alone in your moving woes. We can probably all find something good, bad, and just plain stressful from our last moving experience, so try and learn from this article and your previous moves, and remember that it will get better eventually!

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.

7 renovate-to-sell tips

Our budget ran over by about 10 percent, which is common when renovating. Other than a new joist needed in the bathroom floor, everything else was in mint condition. However, the renovation wasn’t without its lows. There was one awful moment a few days before the Readylawn was to be laid, when we found out that a large, deep trench had to be dug through the newly laid driveway and across the entire front yard. Incredibly, it was fixed within 24 hours and the drainage boys then levelled out the ground, meaning one less job for us before the lawn was laid.

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.