Monthly Archives: June 2015

Best Places To Live In New Zealand Survey

As the average sale price for residential property in Auckland hits new highs and shows no sign of abating, property investors and first home buyers are increasingly looking to buy outside the country’s largest city.

Harcourts Thames commissioned a pathfinding Horizon Research survey of 3,455 people aged 18+ to find out more about where Kiwis would like to live and why. Here we present some key findings from their research.

Would you consider moving to a new place in New Zealand?

The survey identified that three quarters of adult New Zealanders would consider moving to a new place in New Zealand. Respondents aged 65 and over were less likely to consider moving. A ‘better lifestyle’, ‘availability of suitable work’ and a ‘lower house price for the same or better housing’ were the top three reasons people would be attracted to move.

What type of place would you most like to live?

While about half of New Zealand’s population currently lives in the major cities of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, only 28.2% of respondents chose a ‘large city’ as their preferred location to live. The most popular choice for the type of place to live is a ‘provincial town by the sea that is less than two hour’s drive from a large city’. Three out of every ten respondents chose as their preferred option. If extrapolated to New Zealand’s adult population this is the equivalent of around 1.06 million New Zealanders.

Around one quarter of people also chose ‘a provincial town one to two hour’s drive from a large city’. Being within two hour’s drive of a large city was attractive to 73.5% of respondents.

Tauranga/Bay of Plenty, North of Auckland, Nelson/Marlborough and Wellington were the most popular destinations people would consider moving to. Smaller towns in the Coromandel, Thames/Hauraki, Marlborough Sounds and Southern Lakes were also all attractive to many respondents.

People living within the Auckland isthmus are more likely to be attracted by lower cost housing now to live in later in life. They also identified the lower rents, cost of buying rentals, lifestyle and the pace of life of other places as attractive.

Harcourts Thames business owner, Alaine Hedges says that she was not surprised by the results of the research.

“Lifestyle is important to Kiwis and many of us travel to beach towns for the holidays and think about how wonderful it would be to live there year round.

“The Best Places to Live survey has highlighted that many people living in large cities are doing so because they were either born there, have family there, or in the case of Auckland, it’s often for job opportunities,” says Ms Hedges.

The survey highlights that there is an opportunity for regional New Zealand to attract people from larger cities but in order to do that factors including cost of living, affordable housing, access to health care, transport, and internet access need to be favourable.

How much would you like to spend on a property?

The Best Places to Live Survey identified that 50% of all home owners lived in a home valued up to $400,000, 80% live in a home worth under $700,000 and 5% live in a dwelling that they owned worth over $1 million.

On average, respondents would like to pay $395,500 for a residential property if they were to move town. Those who would consider moving to Thames/Hauraki were looking to pay an average of $338,200.

Just 41% of the respondents currently own residential property, but findings from the survey indicate the majority of movers (69%) would want to buy property if they moved to a new place. Those who currently own their own home are looking to pay on average 14% less for their ideal home than the value of the current home they owned.

For more information about the Best Places to Live Survey email

Choosing a real estate agent

Your Guide To Choosing A Real Estate Agent

When it comes to selling one of your most valuable assets, your home, it makes sense to take time in choosing a real estate agent that is qualified and knowledgeable and has the right tools and strategies at their disposal.

When speaking with sales consultants, don’t be afraid to ask the right questions to make sure you trust your consultant and to make sure you’re confident they have the experience to sell your home quickly and for the best price.

Here are some things to consider:

Is your salesperson qualified?

To sell real estate in Australia or New Zealand, you need to be a qualified sales consultant, and that means you need to hold the proper valid licence.

In New Zealand, the Real Estate Agents Authority issues real estate licences to sales consultants and ensures they undergo continuous professional development as well as monitoring registered agents to maintain a high standard of professionalism.

In Australia, sales consultants in each state must register as a real estate salesperson after the successful completion of a Certificate of Registration Program.

It is a valid question to ask your sales consultant if they hold the proper licence.

Is your salesperson experienced?

Experienced sales consultants don’t just know all there is to know about selling real estate, they also know about your local market, average house and unit prices, what kinds of homes and even features are popular with buyers, key negotiation strategies, and how to effectively market your home.

That’s why it’s key to sit down with a prospective sales person and ask detailed questions about your market, how much homes have sold for in the area, and what they’ll be doing to market your property.

An experienced sales consultant should be able to take you through all of this in great detail and answer any questions you might have.

Are you choosing a real estate agent that is focused on you?

It’s about people. Successfully buying and selling real estate is so often about understanding human needs and aspirations. That’s why the real estate office you choose to sell your home through should ensure their people not only receive in-depth professional training but are also committed to creating meaningful and genuine personal relationships.

Alongside trust, honesty and integrity, it’s important for a sales consultant to have an intimate knowledge of their local markets and current property trends. This should be combined with a solid work ethic and well-developed negotiation skills.

Is your salesperson able to achieve the right result?

Achieving the quick sale of your property for the right price can depend on more than your sales consultant alone. A consultant needs the right tools at their disposal and the support to use them effectively.

Your sales consultant should have a full range of marketing, research and technological tools available to them at all times, that will enable them to achieve the right result for your property.

Choosing a sales consultant to sell your property is an important task. Treat it like you would a job interview. This person needs to be professional, trustworthy, reliable, and approachable, and you need to be confident they have the ability, knowledge and tools to achieve the result you’re looking for.

Get a guarantee in writing

The next step is to make sure you are given a guarantee in writing. At Harcourts, you will receive Our Promise in writing as soon as you agree to list your property with us. Our Promise is our commitment to you that we will deliver:

  • A written marketing plan and calendar
  • Post inspection feedback
  • Regular written marketing reports
  • Marketing review meetings
  • All offers presented in writing

Consider it a total commitment to working together to make the whole experience easier, less stressful and far more rewarding.

Looking for a Harcourts sales consultant in your local area? Visit and go to Locations to find one nearest you.

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Can Scents Help Sell Your Home?

Lighting candles, spritzing air fresheners, and baking cookies. They’re all common recommendations when thinking of scents to sell your home, with the long-held belief that potential buyers engage all five senses when inspecting a property.


Top 5 Interior Decorating Tips For Winter

As we head into the cooler winter months, most of us will be spending more time inside our homes, which makes winter a great time to re-decorate. We’ve compiled some winter interior decorating tips to help make your home more comfortable and appealing this winter.


There’s nothing like a nice bright colour to lift your mood in winter. Set off your neutral shades with woollen throw rugs, and colourful cushions and wall hangings. The calming effect of green, symbolising nature, makes it a popular decorating colour while purple can give your room an air of sophistication. Blue, particularly the deep ocean variety, is undergoing a resurgence in popularity among interior designers and bright blues are the perfect complement to a white or wooden colour scheme. Yellows, oranges and reds are considered warm colours and can help to lift a bleak winter’s day. Patterns and a mixture of colours can help to add a bit of fun to your room.


Natural light is essential to our sense of wellbeing. Try to maximise the most of the winter daylight by keeping obstructions away from your windows and keep your window sills free from ornaments. Daytime coverings should be sheer to allow natural light through. Wooden shutters are great for winter nights because they help to retain heat and insulate against the cold. Curtains help to keep your home warm in winter but they can also set the tone for a room. Depending on which room you’re decorating, and your personal taste, why not experiment with a quirky pattern in the kitchen or bathroom or your favourite block colour in your living room.


We tend to sleep in a bit longer in winter so why not make your bedroom your sanctuary? Add a few luxury items and creature comforts like a soft throw rug, aromatherapy diffusers and highquality bed linen.  Create ambiance by adding lamps to your room that offer soft lighting and refrain from using your downlights. Move your bed to the middle of the space to make your room feel cosier. Stay warm with flannel sheets, an electric blanket and a high-quality goose-down duvet. These are investments you won’t regret. Switch your duvet set or bedspread for winter. Floral patterns are in fashion right now but if that’s not for you, patterns that reflect your childhood can add a sense of nostalgia to your room. Alternatively, choose a neutral shade and dress it up with a colourful throw and pillows.


Dining and living rooms can be a great meeting place on a cold winter’s day. Make your dining room chairs more inviting by adding slip covers. In the living room, a sheepskin rug and soft blankets can enhance the visual appeal of your room and will help to keep you and your guests warm. Since you can’t be outside as often, bring nature inside. Fresh winter flowers including roses, tulips and lilies can lift a room. Incorporate natural elements such as pine cones, smooth pebbles and stones or wooden logs, which integrate beautifully in most living rooms. Warm metallics such as bronze and copper, faux fur or cow hide rugs, and leather are all on trend for winter decorating. A delightful winter smell such as cinnamon, pine or orange can help to lift your spirits when you walk into your living rooms. Small lamps in the corners of your living room can help to add ambiance by providing a soft, warm glow.


While your wooden, stone or tile floors help to keep you cool in summer, in winter there’s nothing worse than jumping out of a warm bed onto a cold floor. Invest in a fluffy rug for beside your bed and runners for your passageways. You can make existing rugs cosier and more visually appealing by layering a thinner, smaller rug on top. Rugs with irregular patterns are currently in vogue. If your guests generally remove their shoes before coming into your home, why not leave guest slippers at your doorstep for them to use? They’re sure to be delighted. As with curtains, having good floor coverings helps to keep your rooms warm and your energy bills down


Winter is a wonderful time of year to spend time indoors catching up with friends or family over a nice cuppa. We hope that these tips will help to inspire you to add some extra comforts and highlights to your home. If you’re selling property in winter, some of these tips can also help to make your home more welcoming for prospective buyers. When selling your property, it should be warm and inviting but try to keep your interior decorating style minimalist and neutral.

It’s important for people to be able to visualise what they might do with a room if they were to purchase your home. Your Harcourts sales consultant can give you advice on how to best achieve this balance.

Preparing Your Home For Extreme Weather

No one wants to find themselves in a situation where they’re faced with mounting repair bills because of unforseen weather events. It’s true that the weather is unpredictable, but that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare your home to cope with the damaging weather that is sometimes thrown our way. Here is what you can do to ensure you are effectively preparing your home for extreme weather.


Ensure you have adequate insurance

A recent study conducted by Quantam Market Research found that in Australia, 1 in 10 Australian homes are underinsured, and even more surprisingly 74% of renters don’t insure their contents.

Some are also caught out by what is and isn’t covered in a standard insurance policy. For example, water damage is often separate to damage caused by flooding, and flooding isn’t always mandatorily covered in a standard policy, so make sure you ask!

Top tip: Make sure your home and contents insurance is up-to-date, covers all extreme weather events relevant to your climate, and is based on a recent valuation of your property. If renting, make sure you insure your contents, as this is not protected by your landlord’s insurance policy.

When building your home, consider weather-proofing

Depending on where you live, you will have a different degree of risk to certain weather events and different zoning conditions. For example, homes zoned as being in an area at risk of tsunami will need to have roofs built that can withstand the impact of a wall of water.

Homes built in flood zones will have restrictions on what can be built beneath the home and how high the home will have to be. Homes in areas prone to earthquake or strong winds will need to have reinforced foundations and steel frames.

Top tip: Make sure you’re fully aware of zoning and building conditions in your area before you start to build to ensure your home is compliant and safe.

Weather-safe improvements for existing homes

There are several ways that you can weatherproof an existing home to help stave off the worst of the damage during an extreme weather event.

  • Install storm windows
    Storm windows are windows that can be mounted inside or outside of a home. They can be made from durable glass, or plastic panels or sheets. Apart from acting as insulation against the cold and heat, they can also withstand a lot more pressure from wind and rain, and shatter far less easily than traditional glass windows.
  • Clear gutters and vegetation
    To prevent the risk of bushfire, make sure all guttering around your home is free of debris and leaves. Also make sure to prune back branches hanging close to your home, and weed and mow a good clearance area around the perimeter of your home to slow down the potential spread of flames.
  • Securely store heavy and sharp objects
    If you live in an area prone to earthquake move through your home and take a look at objects that would become dangerous if they were to fall, this includes heavy objects or sharp implements. Make sure these items are stored securely and lower to the ground if possible.


Have a safety plan when preparing your home for extreme weather

In the event of an emergency, it may not be the safest option to stay in your home, no matter how well-prepared you are. Listen to television and radio broadcasts and follow directions to either remain indoors, or evacuate.

Make sure you have a list of emergency numbers in an easily accessible location, and have an emergency kit with first aid supplies, a torch with batteries, a battery-powered radio, dry, non-perishable food, water and anything else you may need if you have to move quickly.

How To Avoid Home Buyers Remorse

Buying a home is an incredibly exciting time, but there’s a lot to consider once you’ve bought a home and it’s not unusual to experience buyers remorse after the settlement date.

Some of the more common concerns is the price paid for the home, ongoing costs associated with home ownership, including mortgage repayments, caring for and maintaining a home, and perhaps even taking on the task of renovations or home improvements.

Home ownership is a big step, and whether it’s the first property you’ve bought or the fifth there’s always a bit to consider. Buyers remorse often stems from the anxiety of taking on more than you feel you can handle. So, the easiest way to tackle potential buyers remorse is to have a plan for how you will cover each of the scenarios that concern you.

Below we have some tips you can use to tackle some of the concerns mentioned above.

You’re worried you paid too much for your home

If you’re worried you may have paid too much for your home, there are a couple of things you can do.

  • Firstly, take a look at comparable sales data for your area and make sure you’re comparing similar homes that are around the same age, size and have the same number of bedrooms/bathrooms that your property has. This data will give you the best indication that the sales price of your home was on par with the average for your area and style of home.
  • Think about how long you plan to live in the home for. Remember that the longer you hold your home for, the greater chance it will increase in price over time, particularly if you plan to renovate the home down the track.

You’re worried about the ongoing costs of home ownership

The best thing to do is identify and be clear on exactly what you need to pay on an ongoing basis and budget accordingly.

In most countries, the biggest ongoing expenses you’ll need to factor in include:

  • Mortgage repayments
  • Home and contents insurance
  • Council rates/Government taxes
  • Body corporate/super fees (only applicable in some units/townhouses)
  • Utility bills
  • Repairs

If you have already purchased your home, you will probably have already factored in your ongoing mortgage repayments. One thing you can do to help your budget is lock in a fixed rate on your home loan so that a set amount can be budgeted for each month.

The price of home and contents insurance can vary depending on your home, the location and the amount you wish to insure your contents for. It’s best to budget enough to properly insure your property, as any damage your property incurs can cost a lot more to repair in the long run. However look around, different insurance providers offer different premiums, so it pays to look.

Council rates, body corporate fees and utility costs usually don’t change any more than yearly, so it’s easier to factor these costs into your budget. For costs like repairs, depending on the age and condition of your home, you may wish to set aside a certain amount each month for maintenance, so if an urgent repair job is needed, you have the funds available.

You’re worried about caring for and maintaining your home

If you’ve recently purchased your first home, you may be used to general maintenance being covered by your landlord or property manager, but with regular, small maintenance jobs, maintaining your new home needn’t be a huge or expensive proposition.

Start outdoors

  • You can maintain exterior paint jobs by ensuring that cracks and any water damage is patched and addressed quickly to prevent the need for a total re-paint down the track.
  • Remember to clean-out gutters regularly. This will ensure that drains won’t clog and overflow, potentially causing water damage, and in dry-seasons means there’s no additional kindling lining the roof of your home, which is a fire hazard.
  • Not a fan of gardening? Replace small grassy areas with pavers, or stones which can look modern and chic and require no mowing or weeding. You can also plant hardy, dessert plants which can cope with full sun and little to no watering.


  • Make sure sinks and kitchen disposals are cleaned about monthly to avoid build-up and problems long term. This can be done simply with environmentally-friendly vinegar and baking soda.
  • Test smoke alarms bi-monthly. This is obviously important for safety reasons, and is one task that is usually taken care of by property managers when renting, so don’t forget when you become an owner.
  • Have air-conditioners serviced about once a year. Factoring in this annual expense could save you a lot more in a large repair fee or to replace a unit if one breaks due to lack of maintenance.

You’re worried about the cost of renovations or home improvements

Unless repairs are needed urgently, make a plan and budget to work towards a renovation or home improvements in the future. If you plan on being in your home for a while and the renovations are purely aesthetic or nice-to-haves at this stage, why not wait until you’re in the best position to start them?

If you’re not ready for a full-scale renovation straight away, why not make small, affordable changes instead? Here are some great DIY ideas on sprucing up a new home: 5 ways to celebrate new home owners day

When it does come time to renovate, it’s best to avoid overcapitalising. This means avoiding spending more on the renovation than you’re adding in resale value. The rule of thumb is to spend 5% or less of the purchase price on the renovation, with most well-planned renovations adding an average 10% of value to the average home.

At the end of the day a home is certainly one of life’s biggest purchases, and it’s normal to have concerns, but remember that a home is a long-term investment, and there really isn’t any such thing as a perfect home in the perfect location, or a perfect time to buy. It’s really about what suits your needs best, right now.