Category Archives: Blog

Dogs in suitcase ready for move

Moving With Pets And Keeping Them Happy

When moving with pets, keeping the four-legged family members happy is an important part of a successful shift. And with attention to a few small details your pets can be safely and happily transported to your new home.

Moving with pets starts with open homes

Good pet care around moving house doesn’t just start once you’ve signed on the dotted line. It’s a good idea to consider your cats and dogs as soon as you list your home for selling. Keeping your property open-home ready obviously involves your pets as you need to ensure is free of animal related mess. If you have a dog try and make time to give them extra walks and park visits so they’re less inclined to be destructive around the house, upsetting your best laid open home plans.

Always make sure your dog is away from the property during open homes as even small, friendly dogs can make some visitors anxious. And having loads of strangers traipse through their territory can be very stressful for dogs and cats.

When it comes to cats, they’ll most likely have a secret spot they will sidle off to during the rush of open homes, but if you have a particularly scared cat you could consider placing them in a cattery for a day. More realistic is to just ensure they have a safe place to hide out and they have plenty of food and water in a discreet place outside. And make sure you call them and try for lots of reassuring cuddles when the open home is after.

Moving with pets - cat in a box

Moving day

Try and keep pets away from the hustle and bustle of packing as they do pick up on any unsettled vibes and may decide to hide out where you can’t find them till the fuss is over. If possible consider moving cats and dogs into a boarding facility for a day or two while you get the last packing and loading done, then collect them on the way to the new property.

Talk to your vet about how best to calmly transport your pets between your old home and new. Depending on the distance you’re travelling and the age or disposition of your pet they may recommend some sedation to ease the stress.

Once you arrive at your new home it might be tempting to set your pet free from its cage to explore, but in fact new spaces can be overwhelming for animals. Set aside a room for your pet that they can stay in as they acclimatise to their new environment. Just keep in mind that if your pets don’t get along now is not necessarily the time to lock them in a room together!

Make sure they have somewhere secure to sleep, like a familiar blanket or cushion in a box or on a familiar chair as well as plenty of food and water – and, for cats, a litter box. Make sure you visit them often for reassuring cuddles and to make sure they’re eating, drinking and using the litter box, but if they’re reluctant to come out from under that bed don’t force them. They’ll gradually come around once they get used to their new surroundings.

Take dogs outside for toilet breaks accompanied by you, on a leash if necessary as they get used to the new property.

Although it might seem a logical thing to do, when moving with pets it is not the time to do a big wash of your pets’ blankets or bedding. The familiar smell of a favourite blanket will be a big sign to them that your new house is their home now.

Use your pet’s behaviour as a guide to when they’re ready to explore more further afield. If they still run and hide whenever someone comes into their room, they’re not ready. But if they’re friendly and relaxed then you can start to expand their access to the rest of the house. With cats you can gradually move their litter box further afield until it’s outside.

If it’s possible locate your pet’s feeding and sleeping spots in areas similar to your previous home.

As they venture outside for the first time let them explore at their own place with you nearby. In the end you will be the most familiar thing that lets your pet know this is now home so spend some time with them!

Post originally featured on the Harcourts New Zealand Blog: Keep your pets happy on the move.


rental price

What rental price should you set for your investment property?

Buyers looking to purchase an investment property to rent out often have difficulty determining the accurate rental price. There are many factors to consider and if you don’t assess your property value correctly you could end up over- or undercharging and neither are a situation you want to be in.

Initial rental price calculations

The accepted calculation standard for a long time has been to charge up to 1.1% of the property’s value in relative terms. Take note that as the property’s value increases the percentage of rental yield decreases because of the low demand for rental in high value properties. In some cases rental price go as low as the .7% mark.

Location variables

A lot of other variables need to be taken into account, with one of the most important external factors influencing rental price being the location of the property. Suburb, sea views, amenities, schools, business districts, transport routes all play a major part in the demand for a rental property and often we will see homes of equal value and characteristics several kilometres apart charging completely different rental prices due to their location factors. Another key variable is supply and demand and depending on the current trend this will have a definite effect on your rental price.

Once you’ve assessed the advantageous features of your property you need to research property comparisons in your area to get an idea of what the local standards are. Browse listings of estate agents or property portals and locate properties of similar value and features. In addition give the local estate agent a call, if they’re worth their salt they’ll be able to assist you and give you a great idea of what rental income you can expect. Consider every little detail.

Internal factors need to be assessed in conjunction with elements out of your hands, such as the condition of your property. In this instance you need to be very honest with yourself and identify any issues a tenant might have; cracks in the wall, paint peeling, cupboard space, kitchen size etc. You have to view your property through the eyes of somebody wanting to walk in and call your place home.

Do you cover water and electricity?

Calculate your bond repayments, levies and other expenses and compare them to a realistic rental income, this way you can determine what you can afford as well as decide whether you should let the tenant pay for water and electricity or if you’re able to absorb some of the costs to make the property more appealing.

Once you’ve evaluated all these guidelines and determined a price, gauge the ad response and demand for the property to assess whether your rental expectations are too high or too low. Demand is a great indicator of your property’s value as many tenants are knowledgeable of what realistic rent prices are. If the ad response is very bad, and you’ve ticked all the necessary marketing boxes, then maybe you’ve overestimated the rental price. Reassess and adjust your rental expectation slightly lower and then see what the response is. If on the other hand you get a huge response and are inundated with enquiries you can afford to push the price a little higher.

Your local Harcourts agent can help clarify rental pricing

In conclusion, all of these guidelines are only a drop in the ocean in comparison to the knowledge worthy estate agents have and it is undoubtedly still the best option, to find a local estate agent to assist you in managing your property. They will not only accurately measure your rental income but ensure all the legalities are followed and tenants are managed professionally and lawfully.

 

This article originally appeared on the Harcourts South Africa website: How to determine the rental price of your investment property.


sell in spring hyacinths

Freshen Up Your Home To Sell In Spring

It’s no secret that spring tends to be a busy time for buyers as more homes tend to be listed than during the cooler seasons of the year. If you’re looking to sell in spring here are five ways to freshen up your home and help it stand out from the crowd.

Spring clean

As the name suggests, spring is the perfect time to clean, tidy and generally declutter your home. Decluttering in particular is an important step to take when listing your home for sale, as clutter can detract from the potential of your home, with buyers unable to properly envisage themselves living there. If it doesn’t put them off making an offer, it can hurt the offer they put in, with some research suggesting buyers commonly under-value cluttered homes.

decluttered home

Get gardening

Spring is also a great time of year to get in there and tidy the garden. Why not take advantage of the ideal climate and plant some new ornamental, but fast-growing and hardy plants as well to add to your homes curb-appeal. It’s also important to weed the property, keep the lawn looking its best through regular mowing, and make sure that any clutter which does not belong outside is brought in, or thrown away.

mowing

Finish odd-jobs

If you’ve been meaning to finish painting the spare bedroom or fixing the back fence, spring is the perfect time to get it done. Not only is the weather more favourable, but buyers will certainly notice half-finished paint jobs or any repairs that are needed and they may be inclined to subtract the total amount of odd-jobs from any offer they make or turn their interest towards a home that’s ready to move in as is.

Freshen-up furniture

Have you been meaning to donate a few pieces of old furniture to charity or upgrade a tired looking couch. Whilst you may be holding off the purchase of new furniture until after you move home, don’t let it be at the expense of selling your current property. If furniture is only slightly dated, why not spruce it up? Add new, bright cushions to couches and chairs or throw a crisp, white table cloth over a tired dining table.

If furniture is particularly worn or dated, why not consider moving it out of the home and having your property professionally staged for sale? That way an expert can select the pieces that will best complement your home and make it as attractive as possible to buyers.

Don’t forget about the finishing touches

Once the garden is looking great, the house is clean and tidy and maintenance is sorted, don’t forget to make sure the house looks like a home. This can be as simple as placing fresh-cut flowers in a vase on the dining table, or fresh fruit in an attractive bowl on the kitchen bench. Remember to charm all of the senses when preparing your home for sale and light candles, or bake during an open home to make the house as inviting as possible.

baking-cupcakes


paint mess from troublesome tenants

Landlords: How to Deal with Troublesome Tenants

Without tenants our investment properties start to lose their income potential and become another outgoing cost, but sometimes troublesome tenants can be more costly than a potential vacancy. So what can you do to ensure any early issues that arise with your tenants don’t turn into a major headache down the road?

Here are some steps you can take before troublesome tenants become unmanageable.

Speak with your property manager early

If your investment property is being managed by a property manager, then chances are they are the ones that have identified the issue. Once identified it’s best to try and resolve the problem early before the matter escalates. Depending on the type of problem, your property manager will be able to guide you on your options but will need you to make final decisions.

For example, if during a routine inspection, minor property damage is found at the fault of your tenant, your property manager will notify you and will also notify your tenants, asking them to rectify the issue at their cost in a specific timeframe.

In cases where the damage is not rectified, your property manager will follow-up with the tenants on your behalf and if need be will guide you through the process of making a claim to have the cost reimbursed from the tenant’s bond, which is why it’s important to have the matter discussed as soon as possible as there are timeframes around this.

Note, the latter process has strict rules around it and it’s best to have a chat with your property manager or receive expert guidance on how to proceed.

Make sure everyone understands their obligations when it comes to rent  

As a landlord, you have entered into a legal contract with your tenant to exchange accommodation in return for payment.

Make sure you’re clear that rent must be paid in full and when it’s to be paid i.e. make sure your tenant knows you won’t accept partial payments. If your property is being property managed, your property manager will make this clear to the tenant from the outset, in writing.

When it comes to rent that has fallen into arrears, there are things to consider before starting formal proceedings, again your property manager will guide you through this process and handle communication on your behalf.

Make sure you are getting regular property condition reports

Property managers know the ins and outs of property condition reporting and can perform these or organise to have them performed on your behalf.

Property condition reports protect you from potential conflict with your tenants down the track by ensuring photos, and detailed descriptions are taken for the property at the start of a lease agreement. This means if any damage is found when the tenant moves on, you’re both protected by a condition report which can easily prove if the damage was existing or not.

Be prepared if a dispute does escalate

If an issue can’t be resolved, a property manager can appear on your behalf to provide evidence and handle complaints which are referred to an administrative tribunal.

Property managers are required to keep detailed records of an agreement, inspections and even conversations, all of which are helpful when disputes escalate. If you are managing your investment property yourself, it’s also a good idea to ensure you keep track of notes made during inspections and conversations.


buy or build an house

Build Or Buy Your Next Home? A Closer Look At The Options

As your single largest investment, you’ll probably spend a great deal of time searching for or designing your perfect home. When house hunting, you’ll consider things like location, price, market trends, costs and the condition of the property. And you’ll probably have a list of things you absolutely have to have and those you’re prepared to forgo. Deciding whether to buy an existing home or build a new home is an important part of your decision. To help you make an informed choice, we’re taking a closer look at each option.

Buying An Existing Home

The primary advantages to buying an existing home are convenience and cost. Once you have pre-approval, you’re able to shop around, pick out the home you like and then make an offer. Working closely with your mortgage adviser and your real estate agent, you’ll already know how much you have to spend, and have a list of properties that fit your requirements.

Despite a number of steps involved – arranging finance, attending open homes and auctions, getting inspections done – once your offer is accepted, you’ll be able to move in within a month or two, all going well. Buying an existing home is ideal for those buyers on a tight schedule – relocating for a new job or whose children are starting school in the area

The Cost Factor

In many cases buying an existing home may be more cost effective, particularly if you’re looking to move into an established neighbourhood near your work, school, friends or family. You may find it hard to find available land in these areas, so buying an existing home will be your only option. It also means that your garden will already be established so you won’t need to worry about starting a lawn, planting shrubs or waiting for trees to grow.

On the other hand, buying an existing home means you may not get exactly what you want, and you may need to spend money remodelling, repairing or redecorating any outdated features of the home. These additional costs could make the difference in deciding whether to build or buy.

Building A Home

While building a new home is not as convenient as buying an existing home, it does mean you get the home you want. One of the biggest advantages to building a new home is the fact that everything is new. You’re also able to build in features that make your home more energy efficient, like heating, cooling, insulation or air filtration systems that are environmentally friendly, saving you money in the long term.

In fact, your home may quite literally be better for you as it’s less likely to have health concerns or toxic materials you may find in an older home – things like asbestos, lead paint or mould. And it can be built using materials that are better for the environment like Energy Star rated appliances and more efficient plumbing systems.

The Cost Factor

While the cost of building involves a number of upfront costs, it’s easier to recoup your investment long term. A newer home will require less repairs and lower ongoing maintenance, and is likely to fetch a higher resale price when you decide to sell.

The biggest drawback to building your own home is that it’s not immediately available for you to move in, and the costs may be higher. But money and time aside, building your own home can be emotionally satisfying in that you feel you’re achieving a dream and living in the home you created; a home that perfectly matches your style and personality.

Build Or Buy

Whatever you decide, it’s vital you seek professional advice before you commit to any decisions.  Determine how much you can spend and obtain a pre-approval from your bank or lender. This will help frame any conversations with builders or sales agents should you buy.