Monthly Archives: September 2014

City Vs. Suburban Living

It’s an often debated topic when purchasing a property; is it better to live in the city or the suburbs? Those who live in the city will tell you how scintillating the lifestyle is and those who live in the suburbs will remind you of how relaxing their lifestyle can be.

The bustling city area offers:

Culture

Living in the city means it ultimately becomes your backyard. An array of fine dining restaurants, hip wine bars and the latest theatre shows are all easily accessible. The city is well known for its vibrant night life but it also offers plenty of interesting things to do throughout the day such as attending exhibitions, watching live sporting events and
shopping at a bevy of department stores. You will also find numerous trendy cafes with stunning views that are perfect for breakfast with friends on a Sunday morning.

Reliable transport

There are plenty of buses, trains and taxis available at all hours, so a car and all the costs associated with it may become unnecessary. If you work in the city you can spend that extra half an hour in bed knowing your workplace is just around the corner.

Style and security

If you like interesting architecture, you’ll find an abundance of trendy and quirky apartments, from converted wool stores to renovated lofts. For those who are less inclined to have a green thumb, living in an apartment will eliminate the need to mow the
lawn, trim hedges or remember to water the rose bush in the front garden. Apartment living also offers a lot more security for the safety conscious with security cameras and secure parking featured with many inner city dwellings.

Whereas spacious suburbia offers:

More room for your money

You will find modern homes to suit most budgets with plenty of space. The possibility of an additional room gives you the chance to conveniently run a small business from the comfort of your own home. It’s also likely that properties in the suburbs will come with a double garage allowing you to store a second car undercover.

Backyard

The extra outdoor space gives you the opportunity to create a stunning landscaped garden so you can entertain in style when you have a few guests. If you have a growing family, you’ll find you have plenty of room to install a pool to keep the kids entertained throughout the summer. Having a big backyard also means the family pet can get plenty of
exercise and entertainment.

Strong sense of community

While you wait for the kids to finish school, you can enjoy a coffee at the local gourmet cafe while you chat with other school parents. No doubt, you will have easily found a car park and can relax knowing the parking is free and there is no need to rush off to feed the parking metre. In the suburbs you’ll also spend less time in congested traffic, giving you
more time to spend at home having a quiet night in or socialising with friends and family.

In the end, the decision between living in the city and living in the suburbs will be based on your priorities and the lifestyle you desire. It’s a debate that has no right or wrong answer. If you enjoy an action packed and convenient lifestyle; the city is ideal. However, if you enjoy a peaceful escape with plenty of space for a growing family; living in the suburbs may suit your needs better.


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Creating A Secure Environment For Your Tenants

Feeling secure at home is a priority for most people. Talk to your property manager about the ways in which you can make your rental property as secure as possible for your tenants, but here are some simple ideas to get you started.

Install a security system

Alarms are only a back-up for good working locks, so in the first instance install quality locks on all doors and windows.  Ensure your tenants will be able to escape easily in a fire or other emergency.

If you are considering an alarm, ask your property manager to recommend a reliable company.  When a security person arrives to inspect your property, ask to see their current Security Technician or Security Consultant Licence or Certificate of Approval.  If they don’t have a licence, send them away.

Get detailed quotes and plans from several reputable alarm companies.  Make sure your written contract contains a full service agreement.  It must also contain normal warranties for equipment and service.

Don’t be pressured into buying something in a rush, or let a company ‘hard sell’ you an alarm system.

Get to know your neighbours

Introduce yourself to the neighbours surrounding your rental property.  Give them or your property manager’s contact information in case of emergency or concern.

Keep it clean and maintained

It’s important to keep the front yard of your rental property well maintained, keeping trees and shrubs trimmed so they don’t provide hiding places for burglars.  Ask your property manager to organise this for you, as well as regular mowing of your lawn.  Also be sure to give your property manager permission to fix any broken windows, doors or other points of entry as soon as they are reported by tenants. Your property manager will have access to a reputable 24-hour locksmith for this purpose.

Upgrade the lighting

If you don’t have them already, motion sensor lights can be very effective in discouraging burglars and can be found at reasonable prices.

Establish an emergency protocol

Ask your property manager to ensure your tenants know what to do in case of emergency – which should be to call emergency services first, and then your property manager


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Rain – A Blessing In Disguise?

It may be tempting to give house hunting a miss when the rain starts falling but this is the actually the perfect time to view your next possible home.

Extreme weather can destroy a property if water is not directed around the site properly. On a dry day it’s difficult to see, without a spirit level, if the fall moves correctly away from the property’s entrance points.

It’s surprising how many drains are not connected to the storm water system, and simply collect water and overflow once full. You may be embarrassed to pull the homeowners hose pipe out to see if the drain works with a torrent of water rushing through it – but a rainy period will highlight this quickly for you.

Guttering and roofing are the first line of protection when it comes to managing water on
a property so check they are in good order and not rusted through. All down pipes should be hooked up to the storm water system and clear from debris. A wet day will quickly tell you if there is a hole or a blockage.

Water pooling around the site may show incorrect gradients being used that direct water to places that hold it rather than disperse it. These problems can be extremely expensive as earthmoving, with heavy machinery, is one of the only options to fix an incorrect gradient. If the correct gradients are used to manage water around a site then it is
completely possible to live in a high rainfall area without any water issues at all.

So rather than skip an open house due to inclement weather, go along and see how a property holds up in extreme conditions – it will be worth it in the long run.


Harcourts Innovative Technology Team Expands

Harcourts Logo

Harcourts International Managing Director, Mike Green, recently shared the Harcourts International vision to expand into 100 countries within 20 years.  To execute this plan, the Harcourts Group has started to expand their technology team in New Zealand and will be making three new appointments to drive this growth.

The positions include newly created roles for a Project Manager, Business Analyst and two software developers.  The addition of these roles will bring the technology team number to 23.

Head of Technology for Harcourts International, Jason Wills, said it was an exciting time for the team who are looking forward to expanding into more countries. “These new positions are essential in helping our team to prepare for global expansion, whilst maintaining our business as usual in the eight countries we currently operate in.

The Group aims to fill these positions with the right candidates as soon as possible, with the positions located in the Harcourts Head Office in Christchurch.

“Christchurch is like the ‘Silicon Valley’ of New Zealand and I am extremely proud of what our team has developed and excited about our companies growth plans,” Mr Wills continued.

 


Harcourts Innovative Technology Team Expands

Harcourts Logo

Harcourts International Managing Director, Mike Green, recently shared the Harcourts International vision to expand into 100 countries within 20 years.  To execute this plan, the Harcourts Group has started to expand their technology team in New Zealand and will be making three new appointments to drive this growth.

The positions include newly created roles for a Project Manager, Business Analyst and two software developers.  The addition of these roles will bring the technology team number to 23.

Head of Technology for Harcourts International, Jason Wills, said it was an exciting time for the team who are looking forward to expanding into more countries. “These new positions are essential in helping our team to prepare for global expansion, whilst maintaining our business as usual in the eight countries we currently operate in.

The Group aims to fill these positions with the right candidates as soon as possible, with the positions located in the Harcourts Head Office in Christchurch.

“Christchurch is like the ‘Silicon Valley’ of New Zealand and I am extremely proud of what our team has developed and excited about our companies growth plans,” Mr Wills continued.