Low Risk Ideas To Boost Your Home Before Going To Market

If you want to make your home more desirable to a potential buyer, then some small updates and low risk ideas can make a huge difference. But before you even contact a real estate lawyer or your house buying solicitor, spend some time on the following…

First Impressions

It’s not unusual when you’re selling a home to concentrate on the inside of your property, as many of us believe that is it is what the inside looks like that counts. But it is in fact the first impression of your property that counts. A quick, simple but very effective tip is to give your front door a fresh lick of paint. If you’re not very good at painting all you just need to do is head online where you will find many tips and videos to get your started. Our advice is to make sure that you paint your door on a day when it is not likely to rain. Once you’ve painted your front door, update your house number if it’s looking a bit worn. If your doormat has seen better days, replace this with the new doormat. Sweep and tidy the front garden area and any paths, and if you don’t have any planters at either side of your door, it is worth placing something there and have them filled with brightly coloured plants.

Rather than painting the exterior of your property, it may be worth borrowing or hiring a power washer to do an exterior house wash and remove any dirt or mould that may be visible on your property. Contact an affordable window cleaning company to clean your windows if it’s not something that you can do yourself. If your wheelie bin lives at the front of the house, before a viewing hide it as after all, they are unsightly.

Natural Light

When you live in the property it’s very easy to become accustomed to the lighting. Take a step back and look at your home and the lighting within it. If it feels dark and unwelcoming, consider buying a few inexpensive floor and table lamps. Before anybody comes to view your property, switch on your lamps, as the brighter your home feels, the more desirable it will be. If you have curtains which are heavy or dark, swap these for lighter curtains or voiles.

The Garden

There is nothing worse than a garden that is out of control. Remember to mow your lawn regularly and remove any weeds that you can see. Trim any hedges or bushes that you have and purchase some cheap planters to add some interest to your front garden. If you have a shed at the front of your property, don’t forget to give this a lick of paint and the same can be said for any fencing.

Your Kitchen

The kitchen is a very important part of your home and therefore it is crucial to ensure that it looks its best when you’re trying to sell your property. Begin by removing all clutter from your surfaces, as well as from the top and insides of your kitchen cupboards. Freshen up your kitchen with a lick of paint; making sure that the colour that you choose is neutral. If the cupboards in your kitchen are looking dated you could also consider giving them a splash of paint. The lighting in your kitchen is also very important and if you have any old-fashioned bulbs, consider replacing these with LED bulbs, which will automatically give your kitchen a modern feel. If you have any old-fashioned curtains or blinds in your kitchen you could change them for white wooden venetian blinds, which are a great alternative as they give the illusion of shutters.

Your Bathroom

You don’t need to think about dropping a great deal of money on your bathroom in order to update it. You could simply tidy up any of the paintwork and update any accessories such as the toilet roll and towel holders. Next, give your bathroom a good clean and remove any dirt or grime which you can do using home-made cleaners, such as a cleaner for hard water spot removal or an all-purpose cleaner using vinegar, baking soda or lemons. Pay particular attention to the grouting and remember to remove any lime scale from your toilets, bath, shower cubicle and basin. It may also be worth updating your toilet seat as these are low risk and inexpensive, yet can really smarten up your bathroom. The same can be said for your showerhead, taps and your shower curtain. To finish your bathroom, spend some money on some nice fluffy towels, a few pieces of artwork and a luxury diffuser to give your bathroom a relaxing, welcoming feel.

Your Living Room

A low risk and cost-effective idea would be to paint your living room to freshen it up. Choose colours that are neutral so that they appeal to all. Use scatter cushions, throws and interesting art artwork to add a splash of colour to your living room. If you feel that you lack space in your living room an inexpensive low-risk tip would be to place a mirror on the wall that is opposite to your window. This will reflect the light and make your living room feel bigger. If your carpets are looking tatty then consider placing a new rug over them. This will be far cheaper than updating the carpets. Finally don’t forget to remove any clutter that you may have in your living room as it may be hard for a buyer to visualise how they would use your living room if it feels cluttered.

It’s easy to see that there are many simple low risk and inexpensive ideas that you can undertake before you put your home on the market, and without having to completely renovate!

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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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!

Can KiwiBuild be saved?

Twyford told Parliament parts of the KiwiBuild plan had not worked as well as expected in the early stages and houses had not been built as fast as planned.

Council package could cost $29m

Hutt City Council is being forced to redirect more than $19m to top up the budget for The Development Stimulus Package, which was introduced in 2012 to encourage rbuilding projects by not imposing resource consent and building consent fees, development contributions and reserves contributions.

Tenants stop garage plan

The landlords, Rewi and Enid Forster, had planned to build a garage on the rental property, but had not agreed this with the tenants before the start of the tenancy. Neither had they informed them of the timeline or exact location of the build, leaving the tenants feeling unable to make an informed decision.

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.