House prices set new national record

New Zealand house prices have set a new national price record of $562,000, up 5 per cent or $27,000 annually, driven by strong growth in areas like Tasman, where prices shot up 16.2 per cent to hit $600,000 for the first time.

Landlord Maintenance: What Do You Actually Need To Take Care Of?

As a tenant there are aspects of a property that you need to take responsibility for and there are other aspects which fall as your landlord’s responsibilities. To begin with we will outline the things that need to be legally looked after by your landlord, so that you are aware of what you need to take care of yourself. We will also highlight other aspects that a landlord can look after but doesn’t necessarily have to do so.

Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarms are a requirement that a landlord has to have installed in a rental property. Smoke alarms have to be in full working order and be attached to the mains or have a long battery life. Although it is a legal requirement for them to be installed, it is advisable that tenants conduct regular tests to make sure that they work properly.

Gas and Electrics

If a house has central heating, it needs to be checked regularly for leaks and for any sign of carbon monoxide related issues. If your property is not fitted with a central heating system, your landlord needs to ensure that the property if property ventilated and has access to heating. If a property has the ability to be able to control its climate, the tenants are likely to stay longer.

Insulation

From 1st July 2019, it will be compulsory for properties to be insulated for all new tenancy rental agreements. Rental managers will be able to offer you more advise on this changing law.

Security

This is an area that needs to be taken seriously by both the landlord and the tenant. Your landlord may already have some form of residential security systems in place or they may have basic door and window security. If you are a tenant and you only have the basic level of security installed, it is worth asking your landlord if they will be happy to put more security features into the property.  However, if he believes that the property has enough security in place, it may be down to you to increase the security. This is something you will need to discuss with your landlord and see if he is happy about it.

General Maintenance

Once you move into a rental property your landlord will advise you of what is expected of you. Landlords will take care of any structural work required on the property as well as general maintenance such as fixing of toilets or windows etc, plumbing related issues etc. You as the tenant will also be liable for the general upkeep of the property for example, looking after the garden, DIY house wash, cleaning the windows as well as general cleaning of the house.

Pests and Infestations

The landlord has a responsibility to make sure that your rental property is free from any pests or infestations. There are a number of steps that a landlord can take to ensure that the property is free of the above before a property is rented out. It is the tenant’s responsibility to continue to keep a house clean and tidy and keep it in a condition that will deter pests or an infestation.

Environment

The landlord has the responsibility of maintaining good relations with neighbouring properties. By the term quiet we mean that there must be space for you to have a reasonable amount of space, comfort and privacy. The tenant’s responsibility is to make sure that they conduct themselves in an appropriate manner and also respect neighbouring properties, in simple terms, treat the property as if it was their own.

Bylaws / Laws

The landlord has to make sure that he/she provides the tenant with a safe home. They must ensure that all local laws and bylaws are adhered to and supply any information that the tenant may need. The tenant responsibility is to make sure that whilst they are resident, that they also keep within the laws stated.

Checking and Inspections

A landlord needs to give notice for an inspection. Before you move in it is worth taking pictures of the property in its original state and share these with the landlord. The landlord has the right to take pictures of their property as long as they don’t take pictures of your belongings. A landlord needs to give a minimum of 48 hours’ notice and they have to visit the property between the hours of 8am and 7pm. Landlords are only allowed to visit once in a four-week period. If the landlord or tenant notices that something is broken, damaged or needs fixing, they will have to agree a date to fix the issue. If inspection is required after the issue, 48 hours’ notice still needs to be given.

Property Access

As mentioned above, a landlord has the right to inspect the property as he owns it, but at the same time the landlord must respect a tenant’s privacy as they are residing in the property. As long as the landlord gives the correct amount of notice time and gains permission from the tenant, he is able to enter the property. The landlord can also enter the property in the case of an emergency such as a fire or a flood. If a landlord is fixing something that has been previously agreed on, a tenant must have been given 24 hours’ notice for essential maintenance repairs. Cosmetic changes should be done at a mutually agreed time.

The landlord and tenant relationship can work hand oi hand as long as both parties stick to the guidelines that have been set out. There should be no need for any problems to arise as long as both parties are fully aware and respect what is expected of each other.

9 Things You Wish You Knew Before You Bought Your First Home

Buying a home comes with highs and lows and there are many things that you will have wished you’d have known before you’d taken the plunge and bought your first home. If you’ve not yet purchased your first home but you are about to, we will outline 9 things that you need to be aware of before you take the leap.

  1. Price

When you buy a property, you need to remember that it’s one of the biggest purchases that you will ever make. Therefore, getting your finances in order is one of the best ways of reducing the stress linked to buying. Kiwisaver for first home buyers is a great way to start putting some money away. It can also be referred to as first home Kiwisaver, depending on the lender that you approach.

It is often a worry for first time buyers when they think about the amount of money that they need to borrow in order to purchase their first home. What you have to appreciate is that home loans are over a longer period of time than standard hire purchase. Houses to buy in certain areas may carry greater financial risk to a lender which means they could offer higher interest rates.  Pre-purchase inspections are vital as this will give you and your lender lots of detail about what you are about to purchase. The final point to take into account when it comes to price is that mortgage brokers are on hand to be able to get you the best deal, with the lowest fees and the most favourable interest rates.

  1. Area

We can be very picky when it comes to picking an area to live. It’s not unusual to turn out noses up to areas that we don’t want to love but this may not be a great decision. It may be that these areas that you have decided that you don’t want to live in areas that will suit you when it comes to prices and especially if you are looking to purchase a property when the housing market is booking and the prices are at their highest.

  1. Research

It’s important to do your homework and research what you are thinking of purchasing your first home. Look into freeholds and leaseholds and look if there are any new plans in place in the area which may affect your home.

  1. Aesthetics

When you have decided to purchase your first property, it is easy to get carried away with certain aspects. However, it is also easy to be put off by the interior design and style that’s been put in by the previous occupier. For example, if you have a bright pink bathroom, this is an aspect that can easily be changed and shouldn’t influence your decision to purchase the property.  

  1. Fees

When you have the excitement of buying your first home, you will have usually looked through the local press, estate agents and online. You will be presented with the buying prices of a property but you have to be aware that there are a number of fees that you will need to factor in to the buying process of your property. If for example you have a property worth $200,000 and that is at the top of your budget, you may need to consider looking at a cheaper property so that you can afford to pay the fees that come with the purchase of a property.  Government and solicitor fees are the main fees that you will encounter.

  1. Be Prepared

Buying a home doesn’t happen overnight and you need to be prepared for this. It can take months for the whole process to complete.

  1. Agents

Never undervalue what you will get out of an experienced agent. The agent is there to help you find a home that you want and the process of getting it for you. An agent can also provide you with important advice, answer any questions that you have, negotiate where necessary, clear up any problems and point out any issues with the property. It’s worth looking for a recommendation when it comes to finding an agent and then meet the agent in person so you can get a feel for them yourself.

  1. Buildings Insurance

It may seem obvious to some but getting your building’s insurance in place is often a prerequisite to a mortgage offer. You may not be aware of this but you become liable for the building as soon as you change contracts and not the day that you move in. Building insurance doesn’t only cover your building, it also helps to cover any damage to other property which is caused by your property. Some policies also provide you legal cover in the event that anybody suffers from an injury whilst in your property.

  1. Rental Market

If you’ve decided that you want to buy your first home for rental reasons, it is advisable to undertake a rental appraisal before you make any purchase. You can carry out a rental appraisal online if that suits you better. There are other important areas to consider when renting out a property. For example, getting in touch with a local estate agent to get advice on potential rental incomes. If you have gone beyond that stage and are looking at prospective tenants, it is important that they are vetted properly i.e. credit checks and referencing. Before you rent out your home, it is important that you make sure that all local legislation has been adhered to, even if this means going as far as conducting a meth residue drug test as you may not know the history of the property you have bought. Here’s some other signs to look for in a meth lab house.

These 9 areas are worth having at the forefront of your mind when it comes to purchasing your first property so that you don’t make the same mistakes as other first-time buyers and  end up regretting your decision because you didn’t take any advice into account from the beginning.