Tips To Make Moving House Easy

Moving houses can quickly become a nightmare. To make a move successful, everything is a matter of organisation and common sense. But there are steps to simplify that. It’s all about organisation to leave easy on D-Day. Here we give you some tips.

Get some serious supplies of cardboard boxes

Packing is the pain point of moving. Supermarkets regularly throw boxes, so don’t hesitate to ask them if you can take a few. Wherever you are, you’ll always find some associations that sell recycled boxes. If not, Amazon.

Avoid busy periods

From May to September, it’s the season when people tend to move houses. And moving companies are well aware of the fact. Their prices are between 30 and 40% more expensive during this period. So, if you can, choose a less busy period if you are calling for a professional mover. In addition, the prices of furniture movers are also higher on weekends. The ideal would be to move on weekdays, even if you have to take 2 or 3 days off.

After thinking, forget the movers

You can move during the week and off-peak, the rates of the best national moving companies will still be off your budget. No problem, friends are also there to give you a hand and would be much fun to hang out with than a freight forwarder. The whole thing depends on how well of a job you do to convince them. Buying food and drinks will still be the cheapest way.

Get organised

Filling boxes can quickly become a never-ending task. What to put in what and where? We suggest that you prepare your boxes in advance and categorise them to make unpacking less tedious and avoid breaking glasses thinking that it was linen. You must also avoid filling them to the brim so you can lift them later. Do not hesitate to stop yourself when the cardboard is too big —and place the emptiest on top of the pile. The key is to do it in advance and anticipate moving in.

Work like you were on an assembly line

The old methods are often the best. Being able to take turns with your friends allows you to move faster. Forming assembly lines limits the risk of fatigue. Taking breaks and preserving your joints is also very important. And check the size of your furniture and entrances beforehand or it will end up going through the windows.

Plan the storage

It is pretty rare to be able to store everything at home for the first time. A transition period is often needed and storing furniture and cartons can be tricky. Solutions exist, such as storing in some dedicated warehouses or a cargo container. If you don’t want to spend on that, storing at a friend’s or parents’ home can also be interesting.

Take maximum advantage of truck rental

It would obviously be cheaper to ask your friends and relatives to lend you their truck rather than rent one. If you choose to rent, check the itinerary to save time, gas and money. The usual worries are often related to the rental. It can happen that the truck is not available on the weekend, which can cause delays. Rental companies are usually shut on the weekends, so you have the truck for 3 days. Plan the rental one month in advance preferably, and enjoy the maximum of the vehicle to go to a furniture store or to the dump.

Make space

Moving house is also the opportunity to throw a lot of things and store your paperwork. Most cities let you fill an online form to contact services to pick up your bulky items. Cleaning services can come to your home for free to recover your unnecessary belongings. Other contacts can be found via Google. In addition, charities will also be delighted to help you leave superfluous items behind. You can also resell some of them on classified sites or organise a garage sale.

Do not forget the inventory upon departure

Doing the inventory upon departure is necessary if you wish to recover your deposit. We cannot stress enough the importance of noting down any hole, stain or signs of meth contamination before your landlord comes in for the takeover

The paperwork headache

Check with the previous occupants of your new home to check the meters and contact the service providers to inform them that you are moving houses. A transfer can be cheaper than reopening a file. Most electricity providers advise requesting the termination of the energy supply contract of your old home 6 weeks before D-Day. If you decide to subscribe to a new contract, do it 5 days before the move. On D-Day, read the meters from the old and new homes and send them to the supplier. The cancellation and commissioning bill usually arrive within days of moving in.

Finally, the paperwork can be daunting. The most painful thing about moving house is not doing the boxes or transporting the furniture, it’s all the paperwork afterwards. You can even be fined for not changing certain registrations. If you can, take a few days off leave after you move to go to the administrations and do the necessary. And finally, do not forget to introduce yourself when you arrive in your new building! A neighbour is a person best able to help you on a daily basis if there is a problem.

Last tips

After having completed all the steps concerning the housing, make sure that you’ve changed your addresses on all documents updated your situations with various social organisms. Your employer, the bank and the electricity companies are also concerned. And do not forget to register on the electoral lists of your new municipality a few months before the vote!

Pros And Cons Of Moving Rural

Moving to the country or moving somewhere rural could be something that you’ve always thought about and finally decided it’s time to take the plunge. You may want to get out of your busy city or town lifestyle, but before you decide to pack your bags and head rural, you need to consider what it would be really like, especially if you’ve never lived in the country before. Although it can appear to be relaxed and peaceful, rural living does not suit everyone

Before we cover the pro and cons of rural living it worth mentioning security. Home security camera systems, security cameras and home inspections will be required anywhere that you live. They may be used in different ways but they still have their use in city or rural areas.

Furniture moving and furniture movers again will be required regardless of where you move.  If you are going further afield, insulated shipping container companies or international movers will make moving easier. Moving is the same as security as this will be required no matter where you decide, so factor this in as a standard part of the process.

Therefore before you make your move, consider the below pros and cons of moving rural below:

Pros 

  • When living rurally you are likely to have more privacy. Your neighbours are probably not going to be on top of you. If you are very fortunate you may have enough space to not see any neighbours where you are. 
  • If you like to go walking then you you will have lots of scenic walking area and spots of natural beauty when living rurally.
  • If you have always wanted to have a big garden and do your own gardening then you’re likely to have a bigger garden when living rurally. A bigger garden is also a big plus if you have children or pets too. 
  • Usually, properties that are located rurally tend to be cheaper than an equivalent property located in an urban area. This is because the demand for properties in cities causes prices to increase. So if you purchase a property in a rural location you are likely to pay less for it or you could get a larger property without affecting your budget.
  • It’s not just buying the property that’s cheaper when you live rurally, you will also find that your salary goes further as nights out, groceries and amenities will cost less. Your utility bills may also reduce too.
  • Your stress levels could reduce as you will be able to avoid rush hour traffic and commuting in traffic. Additionally, if you live surrounded by less people, you may also feel more relaxed. 
  • As less people live rurally you will gain the opportunity to live as part of a small community and therefore feel a sense of local community. 
  • If you have always wanted to have pets and especially different pets then this may be more possible when living rurally. For example, you may be able to have horses, llamas or cows and you could even consider keeping hens, which will supply your with fresh, free range eggs. 
  • If you want to become fully or partially self sufficient this is more likely if you live rurally. Considering the above, you could grow your own food and keep your own animals that produce (honey, eggs, milk etc) that you could use yourself and even consider selling it locally for a side income. 

Cons

  • If you don’t already have a job near to your area then you may find it harder to find a local job which could mean that your commute will be longer as you will probably need to go to your nearest town or city to get to work.
  • Any entertainment of places to eat may be further afield so it may cost more to get to and from them, especially if you plan to use taxis.
  • In the winter, your local roads may not be as well serviced as urban roads are.
  • Do you have children who are school aged? Consider how they will get to school as they may struggle getting a bus and they may also find that their journey to school is longer.
  • It may be inconvenient when it comes to shopping and the things that you need everyday, such as milk and bread, as these may not be available just a few minutes down the road. You may have to travel further to purchase them. 
  • Your internet connection and television reception may also be patchy or weaker when you’re living rurally.
  • If you’re looking for a tradesman such as a plumber, it may be harder when you live rurally. If you have issues with your car, it may take a while to find an available mechanic so you will need to consider back up transport options. 

Other questions to consider before you move rurally

  • How do you feel about being some distance from your local hospital?
  • Are you happy to live around more spiders and insects?
  • Does everyone in your household agree with the decision to move more rural?
  • Are you okay with isolation?
  • Do you mind getting dirtier?
  • Are you happy to learn how to get prepared i.e. electricity goes off?

Ultimately, rural living does not suit everyone and not everyone is able to love rural living. That’s not an issue as you can be happy no matter where you live. There are definitely advantages to rural living, but it’s also clear to see that there are also some disadvantages that also need to be considered. So before you make your decision, be sure to weigh all the pros and cons to make sure that rural living is for you.

Easy Ways To Ward Off Burglars

If you’ve been stolen from before, whether it’s your home that’s been burgled, or if you’ve been pickpocketed on the street, you know how horrible it feels. Not only do you feel stressed and worried about your credit cards or precious personal items, but you also probably feel violated at a stranger being in your private space. Some people are even burgled while they’re at home, asleep in their beds, which is even more terrifying. 

Whether any of these have happened to you before, or if you’ve managed to stay burglar free, it’s important that you focus on prevention. Nothing can be done about what’s already happened, but you can potentially prevent it from happening again. Plus, it’s important to learn from any mistakes, like not having motion sensors at night, or not having a good security system. Today we’re focussing on some of the easiest things you can do right now to ward off burglars. While it’s not a comprehensive list, you’ll feel more at ease by implementing even one of these tips. 

Security systems 

Without a doubt, one of the best ways, and really one of the easiest ways, to ward off burglars is to install a security system. There’s plenty out there that once you install, it’s like a set it and forget it system, and you really don’t need to worry about it going forward. Home alarm systems are some of the most common security systems, and the simplest. Essentially, a home alarm will send a signal to the monitoring station it’s attached to, and if not answered or turned off by yourself within a set time, will send emergency services to your home.  

One deterrent for installing a security system is cost. While your safety is always a priority, many people can’t justify the monthly costs for monitoring. One way to help justify is to find a system that does several things in one. For example, several systems also include smoke and carbon monoxide detection, and can send emergency services to your home if they go off without you responding. Something like this could possibly save your home from burning down in case of a fire, or save a life from carbon monoxide poisoning. There are some DIY security systems available too, but remember they won’t be as comprehensive with the support and probably won’t provide instant emergency services. 

CCTV

This is another option that you could add to your security system. We recommend posting a few obvious signs near doors and windows that CCTV is being used, which in itself can be a deterrent. Even fake CCTV cameras can help as well, as many burglars state that CCTV cameras are one of the main deterrents that put them off from choosing a particular house.  

Smart technology

Another good deterrent is having your home connected with smart technology. We’re talking about things like video doorbells and smart lighting. Video doorbells when pressed will connect to your smartphone, giving you a live view of who is at your door. Burglars will sometimes press a doorbell to find out if anyone answers or is home. This will allow you to speak through the doorbell to ward them off. 

Smart lighting will allow you to turn off and on lights from your smartphone app, which is great to control while you’re on holiday in Spain, or even if you just forgot to turn a lamp off during the day while at work. There are also lighting systems that get to know your patterns, and will mimic them while you’re away, such as turning on the lounge light in the evening, then a lamp in your bedroom before bed. This is a great way to signal to potential burglars that you are possibly at home, versus a traditional light timer. 

Other things to consider: 

Posting holiday photos 

This one is a big no-no in today’s day and age. It’s extremely easy for burglars to track down your social media pages, especially with location tracking on many apps and the ease of hacking into personal information. This means that when you’re on your holiday in Paris and posting those photos about your trip in real time, everyone who has access to your account knows that you aren’t currently home, which makes you a prime target. Do your best to wait and post holiday pictures until you’re home to avoid this. 

Dogs 

While it might seem a bit old school, dogs continue to be a great security system against burglars. Many burglars have reported that they will avoid a house to break into because they hear a dog barking. The positive of this is that you could potentially have even a small, completely non-threatening pup, but as long as it barks when a door is rattled or knocked on, you’re in business! If you want more of a security dog that looks a bit more imposing than a little shih-tzu, for example, try one of these breeds

When Moving 

Unfortunately, this super stressful time of moving your entire house can mean that you are also a prime target for getting burgled. It’s absolutely vital that you pay attention to your current home and new home’s security while you’re moving, especially if it will take you a few days to complete. 

When you’re moving furniture and other belongings to a truck outside, anyone scouting the neighbourhood will know that your current home may be unsupervised while you move it to the next location. Consider using a furniture moving company to speed up the process and ensure everything is moved quickly and safely. If you can’t move everything in one day, or moving long distance, consider using a shipping container transport system to keep your belongings safe. 

Consider implementing all or at least a few of these easy ways to ward off burglars to keep you, your family and your home safe from break-ins. 

The Complete Cleaning Checklist For When Your Tenancy Ends

Finding a new house or flat to live in is pretty exciting, especially if you’re moving into a home you just purchased, or if your new place is closer to work and friends. Well, it’s exciting until that moment when you realise that you still need to pack up your entire house and then, the most dreaded thing of all, clean the empty flat. (Insert horror movie music here). 

We can’t really think of anything worse when it comes to moving house – the final, frantic clean in desperate hopes of getting your bond back, the panic after handing in your keys that you forgot to clean the fan blades and will probably lose $100 on your bond, and the final resignation of receiving less than half your bond back from “insufficient cleaning”. We’ve all been there, and we can totally feel your pain. But there are ways to get most, if not all of your bond back, and the best way to try is to follow a complete checklist like this one! We’ll take you through your flat or house, top to bottom, and give you a complete checklist for cleaning your home so you don’t miss a thing. 

THE INSIDE 

Kitchen 

We recommend starting with the grimiest areas first, like the kitchen and bathroom. We say this because there’s things in your kitchen and bathroom that might not have seen a cleaning brush in quite some time, and may take several go’s to get sparkling. Tackling that stove and oven first is a good idea. Use a good cleaner, and be careful if you’re using one that has lots of toxic chemicals. Take children and pets out of the house for the day while you let a cleaning solution sit. Here’s the rest of the kitchen checklist to pay attention to: 

  • Floor boards: wipe along floorboards as well as mopping up the floor as the boards can get quite dirty after some time. 
  • Backsplash tiles 
  • Underneath the refrigerator: use a vacuum with an attachment that can reach under and on the sides of the fridge.  
  • Inside cupboards: spray with a cleaning solution and wipe down – you’ll be surprised at how dirty cupboards can get! 
  • Inside refrigerator: Here’s a good guide to help you with this one. 
  • Dishwasher: Yes, this appliance can get quite dirty, especially considering that we put dirty dishes in it every single day! We recommend running it through without dishes to get this nice and clean. 
  • Sink 

Bathroom 

Your shower and bathroom tiles probably haven’t seen much love from you for the time you’ve lived here. Now it’s time to put your back into it and use some good old fashioned elbow grease to get the grime out. 

  • Toilet: Do the worst thing first! Make sure to remember to clean behind the toilet as plenty of dust and dirt will accumulate back here. 
  • Shower or bathtub: Here’s some good tips for tackling this area. 
  • Shower rod and rings: Give these a good wipe, or clean your shower door if you have one. 
  • Sink 
  • Mirror 
  • Floorboards
  • Medicine cabinet: Take a cloth and wipe down the cabinet top to bottom 
  • Mop floors 
  • Vents: Use a vacuum against any air vents to grab dirt and dust trapped in them. 

Lounge 

  • Rugs and carpet: Depending on how bad these areas are, you might need to bring in some extra help here. Hiring a professional carpet cleaner is a good idea, and using carpet stain protection in the future will help. 
  • Fireplace: If you’ve got one of these, make sure all ash and dust is cleaned from the area, and wash down the mantle as well. 
  • Floorboards and ceiling: Pay special attention to things like ceiling fans and decorative ceilings. Different styles of ceilings will require extra dusting or wiping down. 
  • Windows: Wash these inside and outside to get them sparkling. Pay special attention to the window frames on the inside and out, as it’s easy for debris and dirt to get caught here.  
  • Furniture: Again, an upholstery cleaner may be required here, especially if the furniture is looking rough. You can either hire a cleaning machine yourself, or for extra tough cases, hire a professional.  

Bedrooms 

  • Closets: These can get dusty, even with clothes inside them, so make sure to fully wipe them down. 
  • Windows 
  • Under furniture: This area can get especially dusty and cobwebby, so make sure to move furniture around to get a good clean underneath. 

THE OUTSIDE 

If you live in a house or in a flat where you have access and are responsible for an outdoor area, this next part is for you. 

  • Gutters: These pesky things can hoard all kinds of nasty debris and even small animals if you haven’t cleaned them in ages! Gutters can take some time and a bit of effort to clean, so hire a gutter cleaning service if you don’t have the time or energy.  
  • House washing: Your landlord may expect you to clean the outside of the house as well, including windows and siding or cladding. It might be worth it to use an exterior house washing service to complete this all in one go.  
  • Yardwork: Make sure your lawn is mowed before handing over the keys, and any personal items are packed up. It’s a good idea to do a bit of light weeding and pruning as well, to ensure the area looks well kept. You may also need to apply some moss removal treatment to pavement areas or anywhere else it needs it if your landlord requires it.  

Following this checklist will ensure that you’ve done your best to get that full bond back. If you have any questions about this process, check out New Zealand’s official tenancy.gov site, here. And if all else fails, consider hiring a professional home cleaner to tackle an especially disastrous situation! 

How Are The Global Property Markets Doing?

After a very dynamic year in 2018, based on the activity of the residential real estate, several signs indicate towards a reversal of trend: recovery can be expected of the current rates in 2019. High prices in the big cities, a decrease in the sales of new properties, the impact of taxation will deter the market conditions. However we are far from total collapse, only a slowdown in transactions seems inevitable. Here’s what the year 2019 has in store for us.

CREDIT: TOWARDS A GRADUAL RISE IN INTEREST RATES

This is one of the key points of the market. Historically low-interest rates (around 1.50 % on average at fixed rates over 20 years) have helped sustain activity throughout 2018. Borrowing conditions facilitated by the extension of the duration of loans or through home mortgage company have played a major role in the fluidity of transactions (around 950,000 in the former after the record of 968,000 in 2017). Can this phenomenon persist? The monetary policy of the ECB is less accommodating, the rise in government bonds, the conditions for granting more restrictive credits, are the main signs of a slow and inevitable rise in interest rates in 2019. These should still remain attractive, below the 2% mark on average 20 years. Getting a pre-purchase house inspection before investing can help access the returns further.

PRICE: THE GAPS ARE WIDENING FOR THE OLD STRUCTURES

We are witnessing the emergence of multi-speed markets. According to the authentic acts of sale, the prices of the apartments increased strongly over one year. Let’s take the example of France, in Paris + 7 % (9 600 € / m2 on average), in Lyon + 8, 5 % ( 3800 € / m2) and in Bordeaux + 18 % ( € 4,200 / m2). For the other big cities, the increases are much more stable. Between + 2 and + 5 % in Strasbourg, Nantes, Rennes, Nîmes, Lille, Reims, and Tours. We’ve seen a stabilisation of prices in Marseille, Toulouse, Montpellier, Nice. On the other hand, there is always a series of cities where one can become an owner for less than 2,000€ / m2. This is the case for Nancy, Amiens, Caen, Limoges, Clermont Ferrand, Dijon or Bourges, and Saint Etienne.

Finally, as one moves away from attractive economic metropolises, the market is much more tense with residential properties for sale, commercial property for lease and commercial property investments are not finding takers, especially in rural areas.

NEW: INDICATORS IN THE RED

According to figures from the REIT’s new Housing Observatory (Federation of Real Estate Developers), sales of new homes are down by almost 10 %. The share of first-time buyers (those who buy a new property to live there) is down to 2 %. The share of investors in residential properties, (those who buy a new home to rent and tax) is down to 17 %. As for the supply indicators, that is to say, the sales of new housing, the decline reached – 2% in Ile-de-France. The dynamics seen in the last two years may result in a slow erosion as predicted by the President of the REIT.

The lack of new homes, lifestyle blocks for sale at “affordable” prices for individuals, the cost of land that has increased four-fold in 10 years, and the decline in housing schemes has increased the uncertainties. The possible postponement or cancellations of some housing programs are already observed on the ground.  

RENT: THE RETURN OF THE RENT MANAGEMENT

Once again, let’s take France for instance, under the recent ELAN housing law, new rules will regulate relations between landlords and tenants. For the classic rental, the communities will be able to request the framing of the rents on a part of their territory for a duration of five years.

The City of Paris wishes to put back in place this device which had been cancelled at the end of 2017 by the justice. In the French capital, while supervision has helped to limit abuses, a recent study by OLAP also points out that the introduction of this measure was accompanied by a drop in the number of unfurnished rented accommodation available in Paris in the private sector. In addition, the rules are tightening for seasonal tourist rental platforms as well as individuals who do not comply with the law. Whereas on home ground, in Auckland the sales of real estate sales through direct transactions, via trusted lawyers or house solicitors have dropped by 22% compared to last year.

TRANSACTIONS: TOWARDS A DECLINE AFTER RECORD YEARS

After 2017 and 2018, which were particularly dynamic in terms of sales, 2019 has seen activity slow down gradually. The reduction of housing subsidies and the grants getting more restrictive have put first-time buyers in a tough spot, along with the taxations policies across major cities such as New York, Toronto, London, Paris, and Sydney.  

If we add the decline in real estate purchasing power with the gradual rise in interest rates and the unaffordable prices in large cities, the lack of fiscal visibility, the risk of wait-and-see with the psychological effect of collection at source, they indicate towards series of signs that seems to be moving towards a decline in transactions.

INVESTMENT: WHICH COUNTRIES ARE LUCRATIVE INVESTMENTS

While real estate investment in some of the major cities in France, England, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand have taken a hit, others have seen a rise. Some of the cities in Dubai, Florida, Dominican Republic, Morocco, Portugal, Mauritius, Spain, Brazil, and Thailand, for instance, are good investments in 2019 thanks to diversification, attractive prices, and high returns. In Spain, Barcelona & Madrid seem like a good bet thanks to the 30% decline between 2008 and 2013. Lisbon is the ‘it’ investment destination for Europeans and other foreign nationals.

To sum it up, 2019 may see a decline in the market certainly, but no collapse is on the horizon.

Tips for property investment

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

What You Need To Know About Property Investment

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

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

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

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

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

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

Direct investment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Indirect Investment

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

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

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

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

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

Top Tips For Buying Your First Rental Property

Let’s start with the basics. To pick the right rental property, be it brand new homes or old fixer-uppers, you need to know what you are investing into, how you intend to recover the costs and the benefits that come with it.

An investment property is essentially any real estate that is not bought with an intention to use or inhabit. These are generally bought with the intention of getting the returns by flipping, renting or holding it until the market goes up to make a profit on the selling price. A rental falls under the category of an investment property.

A rental is a property that the investor buys with the intention of renting it, in order to gain returns in terms of monthly paychecks. Rentals can be of different types – residential, commercial, retail, etc.. Single-family homes, apartments, duplexes, and similar properties fall under residential rental properties. The tenants generally lease the property for a longer duration as compared to the commercial tenants. Such properties are generally owned by individuals or families. Commercial rentals can consist of properties used for commercial purposes, where the tenants occupy the property short term; this includes properties such as hotels, motels, office complexes, and retail warehouses. These are generally owned by large corporates.

Direct property investments such as owning a rental come with tax benefits, which indirect investments lack. On the other hand, a rental owner has to do their bit as a landlord in terms of facilities management, maintenance and legal upkeep of the property.

Now that you know what a rental is, it’s time to know how to pick the right one! We’ve listed down some tips to make this monumental task a little bit easier.

INVEST IN A SINGLE FAMILY HOME

Test the waters before you dive in. A single family home is easier to maintain, costs less and is easier to rent out as compared to a multi-family property. The house has less wear and tear as you only have a single tenant. It will allow you to dabble with book-keeping, repair, and other duties that a landlord bears, to see if you are cut out for it before taking on a larger project. Bigger properties also mean more taxes and more maintenance costs, and the supplementary rental income you make may not cover these costs. So, start small!

TIMING IS EVERYTHING

Buying any property cost big bucks, so a thorough evaluation of your finances is needed before you take the leap. Don’t invest because the top investment gurus say so in their webinar. Always assess the situation at hand, and make an honest evaluation of your financial standing. Here are a few points to consider.

– Will investing in a home/property affect your daily finances? In other words, can you continue to live a comfortable life after this substantial investment?

– What is your credit score?

– Is your down payment of 20% taken care of? This is likely the minimum you would need to get financing.

– Have you taken into account the closing costs?

– Would you be able to take on any repair or unforeseen expenses before you rent out the property and be able to make the monthly bank or mortgage payments

– Can your primary residence (if you have one) be used for financing?

If you are hesitant over any one of these points, hold off until your sort the issues and only then invest in a property.

LOCATION IS KEY

Property investment is a long term investment, thus it requires extensive research and planning. You can never research enough while buying your first rental. Job, population and infrastructural growth are the three markers that you should look at while researching for the ideal location. Let’s take a quick look at each of these in more detail.

Increase in the number of jobs: What makes a strong real estate market? Economic stability. What contributes towards it? Increase in the number of jobs in the market. The logic is simple, more jobs = inflow of potential workforce = need for housing + better financial standing = favourable market conditions.

Population Growth: Take any major city as an example, and one of the prominent reasons for the real estate boom in that city is most likely to be a population explosion. When demand exceeds supply, the market is tipped towards the seller and provides the seller with opportunities to capitalise on these favourable conditions.

Infrastructural Growth: The growth of the city and the above-mentioned points go hand in hand. As the infrastructure in the cities gets better, the standard of living and means to earn a livelihood improves, which attracts more and more people to that market, making it ‘THE’ location to invest in.

To find a location that would meet the above criteria requires extensive research and know-how of the real estate market. Getting professional help is recommended.

UNDERSTAND MORTGAGE

The majority of homeowners use a mortgage to buy a property, hence it is important to understand how it works in order to bring down your costs. Using leverage to borrow against will free up some of your finances which you can then use towards repairs and other expenses. It’s best to hire a refinance lawyer to read between the text in order to avoid any legal pitfalls.

DO A THOROUGH BACKGROUND CHECK

You bought a rental to rent it out to tenants, which makes them the significant other in this equation. If you want your rental to work, doing a thorough background check on your tenants is important to avoid future hassles. You can do this by checking their credit score and the landlord-tenant records in your area. Set down certain expectations right from the start, always in writing to be doubly insured. The next step is to contractualise the deal, and hiring conveyancing solicitors to draw up your legal papers is always a good idea, even if it means shelling out a little extra.

MAINTAIN A GOOD RAPPORT WITH THE TENANTS

No one wants a landlord from hell. While it is important to draw boundaries and set rules, don’t be unreasonable. Abide by the local rental regulations. Develop a rapport with the tenants. Help them out by suggesting friendly movers. Don’t ghost out once the deal is closed; be attentive to maintenance and repair requests and always value good tenants. It takes two to tango so make sure you are in tune.

These top tips will help you not only purchase your rental property, but make it a successful purchase that will reap long term rewards!

How To Choose The Right Suburb To Live In

Looking to move? This time can be both extremely exciting and stressful, and often we feel both about the same things! You might be looking for a new suburb to live in because your current location leaves something to be desired in one way or another, but finding a new one to live in can be almost just as stressful as it is exciting. Lucky for you, we have put together a comprehensive list of just about everything you should think about before choosing a new suburb to live in. There’s plenty to consider, so buckle up and dive in to this list of how to choose the right suburb to live in.

First things first, it’s important to list your priorities. It’s way too easy to get wrapped up in a gorgeous house or flat and totally forget about the neighbourhood that it’s in. Sometimes after visiting a new place with a rental property manager, it can be tempting to go on a gut reaction and immediately say you’re interested. For this reason, it’s vital that before you even start looking and getting carried away with your search that you sit down and figure out what’s most important to you.

For example, what comes first in a neighbourhood? Is it safety, or perhaps proximity to work? Are you looking for great schools, or easy access to public transportation? Take some serious time to think about what you want from a suburb, and then rank them from top to bottom of priority.

Let’s go through some of the top priorities you might have.  

What are the crime rates?

This one rings especially true for those who are already in bad neighbourhoods. Perhaps you’ve had to recently install CCTV after a recent break-in or scare, or you don’t feel safe walking home at night, or letting your children play outside after dark. Many studies have shown that “bad neighbourhoods”, or rather those filled with crime or substance abuse and drug use have an impact on children’s behaviour.

For this reason, many families find that a safe and welcoming neighbourhood is the top of their priority list when moving to a new suburb. There are usually free tools online to look at crime rates in a neighbourhood, so get studying to ensure your new home is a safe home. If you will be renting in the new suburb, have a chat with the property manager as well to see what kind of safety the building itself has as well. Are there 24/7 locksmiths available onsite, and how are first floor flats secured, are questions you should be asking.

What’s the distance to family and friends?

Moving away from family and friends can be really hard, especially if you’re moving far. Even if it’s just to the opposite side of town, however, it can be just as saddening if you are currently close to everyone. The ease of dropping by for a cuppa or having a reliable neighbour to keep a spare key to your house is of priceless value, so for some, this is an important priority for moving to a new suburb. Consider what you may lose or gain by moving closer or further away to people you love, and factor that in to your decision.

What schools are in the district?

For most families, choosing a suburb in a good school district is extremely important. Many people move purely for this reason. Start with a website like this one to figure out what schools would be in your new area, and then do your research on the available schools to find the one that works best for your children.   

How hard will it be to move?

Moving to a further away place will be stressful, so determining how hard it will be to move might have a determining factor in your suburb choice. For example, will you need to hire a long distance moving and storage company to help you out? This can definitely make the move easier, but will cost more than you might have budgeted for in moving.

What is the area like?

Remember to spend time in the area before you commit to a suburb. Get lunch at a local cafe, go for a walk in the nearby park and have a picnic. Visit the supermarket if you can, and see how long of a walk it is to the nearest coffee shop. If these are things you love and are used to now, it’s important that you see if this new suburb will offer the same, or if you can get by without things like restaurants within walking distance.

Are there new builds?

For many, the future resale value of the home is very important. Many with this as the top of their priority list might look in a newly developing area, or new subdivisions. Pay special attention to construction sites to see what’s being built, and perhaps talk to the local council to inquire about any new large development plans.

What kind of access is there?

If you plan on relying on public transportation, this one should be high on your list. Look at your basic routes of going to work or the supermarket, and see how long it will take you from the possible suburb. If you do a lot of travel for work or pleasure, look into how long it will take you to get to the airport as well. While it might not seem as important as things like schools or crime rates, we promise that after a few weeks of spending hours on several buses, you’ll have wished you looked this up before.  

Once you’ve completed your list of top priorities, it will likely be a whole lot easier to narrow down the best suburbs for you. Not only that, but with a bit of work in completing your list, you’ll feel much more confident in finding the right area, and secure in whatever choice you make. Good luck with the move!

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!