Monthly Archives: August 2016
In a competitive market one of the questions we most encounter from homeowners is should we buy or sell first?
Harcourts New Zealand CEO, Chris Kennedy shares his thoughts on the matter.
It comes up because in a tightly competitive market homeowners are often worried they’ll miss out on a rare dream home if they wait until they’ve sold their existing property.
On the other hand, some homeowners are scared to list their home for sale without having already bought a new property in case the settlement period comes and goes and they are left essentially homeless and forced to find (and pay for) temporary accommodation.
Unfortunately, there’s no perfect answer to this, but the key variable in what will work best for you is how much finance you have at your disposal.
In a market where supply and demand are reasonably balanced, selling your existing home before you buy tends to make the most sense. It means you know exactly how much you have to spend when it comes to shopping around for your new home.
If you have your home completely sale-ready when you list, you can spend the time scheduled for your open homes, visiting other properties for sale. It’s also a good idea to do some looking around before your own property is listed, so you have a clear idea of what you want – or don’t want, where you want to be, and how much you’re prepared to pay.
Have your finances in order as much as possible based on the asking price of your own property so when you’ve sold or close to selling you can move quickly on your preferred new home. Remember too that if you make an offer on a new property that is accepted while your existing home is still on the market, you can still make your purchase conditional on the sale of your other property.
It all gets a little more complicated when the market is heated, such as it currently is in several regions around New Zealand. Many homeowners feel that buying before they’ve sold is the only way they’re able to compete for hotly contested properties, and it gives them the reassurance they won’t be shut out of the market and left without a roof over their head.
The obvious trap here is the risk of over-stretching yourself financially if you are forced to accept less than you hoped for your existing property and you have no nest-egg to tide you over. It’s worth remembering too that if you’ve already bought, you may be persuaded to take a lower price just to sell quickly.
Bridging finance – a temporary mortgage to pay for the new property until the original property was sold – is available when you can confirm a settlement date for your existing property.
On the upside, you can look at other options such as putting short-term tenants into your unsold property, to help offset the costs while it’s on the market. Though you’ll need to be clear about making sure the property is always tidy for inspections and that your sales consultant has access as required.
You can also talk to the selling agent for the home you want to buy to see what time frames you can work out around settlement dates that give you the maximum reasonable amount of time to sell your existing property. Even at auctions, which typically have a 30-day settlement period, you can sometimes ask if the vendor is happy to extend.
In short, there’s no perfect answer to the question of whether you should buy or sell first. The answer depends very much on your individual circumstances.
The best answer is do as much research and preparation as possible before listing so you’re ready to move quickly if need be. And keep your sales consultant – and that of your dream home’s vendors – appraised of your time frames. That way they can help you make it all fit together.
Harcourts Canada is underway with the first office opening in North Vancouver on Vancouver’s famous North Shore. Hayden Duncan the Managing Director and CEO of Harcourts Canada give us a little insight into their journey so far.
Surrounded by stunning mountains and world-class mountain biking, and yet only a 10-minute ferry ride from Vancouver city’s CBD, it really is a great place to live!
Moving fast and recruiting faster
In reflection when looking back, we were optimistic in our original timing and budgets to set up both the franchise systems and a functioning real estate office in a new country, however the response from realtors and consumers here has been really encouraging, and it’s all coming together quickly now.
For example, the first careers and information evening attracted over 20 people, a mixture of current realtors as well as those looking to enter the real estate industry. Two of the twenty have since joined the team and we have a second evening planned for the July 5th.
The thing you come to appreciate is what an enormous amount of resource there is in Harcourts when you have to adapt it all. It is truly mind-blowing and something many of us take for granted, as it’s there and it works!
We are excited to have brought together a fantastic team with us, and already we are offering sales and property management services from day one. With a team totalling nine and more due to make a move to us in the coming months, the future is looking great.
The local market – receptive of our technology and culture
The market is strong in the local area with the average home experienced over 30% capital gain in the last 12 months alone. The days on market, on average, can be counted on one hand.
Many realtors currently working in the industry have not moved with or adopted new technology, so the technology platform of HarcourtsOne and our mobile applications set us apart here.
Our values, and our demonstration of those values, is the other major factor that has attracted people to Harcourts in Canada to date.
In the setting up of the brand in a new market, there are many decisions to make in relation to how we are going to do things, and the values have been without a doubt the compass by which we travel.
Auctions on the way
Auctions seem logical when you consider the heated market, and when looked at with a Harcourts set of eyes.
However, auctions are not a recognised process in Canada, so it is something that we are looking to introduce in the next three months with the assistance of Ben Brady and the Harcourts Auctions team. They have some great systems to streamline the auction process and to help introduce and educate sellers.
When Kyly and I decided to set up Harcourts in Canada we were looking for a challenge, I am delighted to report that we have got what we were hoping for!
Having recently cracked the milestone of $4 million in raised funds, the Harcourts Foundation continues to help local communities globally.
Here are just a few of the local organisations who have benefited from the foundation.
Halberg Disability Sports Foundation Junior Disability Games 2016
Nearly 120 athletes, aged eight to 21 competed over three days of sports competition and comradery at Halberg Disability Sport Foundation Junior Disability Games held at the Avantidrome at St Peter’s in Cambridge in April.
The Halberg Junior Disability Games, supported by the Harcourts Foundation, is unique to New Zealand and gives athletes the opportunity to compete at a national level, try new sports, meet other people from around the country and provides a pathway to pursue further sporting goals.
New playground for Snells Beach
Snells Beach Ratepayers and Residents Association are midway through the development of an exciting, challenging and fun playground for local children, as well as visitors to the area.
A donation from Harcourts Tandem Realty, through the Harcourts Foundation, will allow for stage two of construction to go ahead. Equipment will include a seesaw, climbing net, supernova, basketball court and protective surfaces.
Hearing dogs for the deaf
Hearing Dogs NZ is an organisation which trains dogs to provide valuable services to deaf and hearing-impaired people, much as guide dogs provide for blind people.
A donation by Harcourts Taranaki Property Services through the Harcourts Foundation will allow the charity to purchase new dog grooming equipment and plastic igloo kennels to keep the trainee dogs warm in winter.
Learning to swim in Lucknow
Thanks to a donation from Regent Realty through the Harcourts Foundation, Lucknow School in Havelock North can repair their existing pool fence to the required standard, and allow the construction of a shaded area for children.
Helping at-risk youth
The Combined Youth Service Trust aims to identify young people in the community who are at risk of offending and reach out to them before they do.
A donation by Harcourts Blue Fern Realty Limited through the Harcourts Foundation has enabled the continuation of the Koru programme, which teaches life skills and confidence to troubled under-13s. The grant has enabled an AA Defensive Driving Course to assist youth who have come to the attention of police.
Support for women in Rodney
The Women’s Centre in Rodney helps take care of women and their families with no support, on low incomes, or who are experiencing stress and trauma.
Thanks to a donation from Tandem Realty Limited through the Harcourts Foundation, the Women’s Centre will be able to complete a playground and garden area.
Supporting Alzheimers carers in Taranaki
A donation by Harcourts Taranaki Property Specialists through the Harcourts Foundation will allow Alzheimers Taranaki to purchase a further 10 Wandatrak beacons, which provide a means of finding dementia patients who get lost.
Replacement chairs for kindergarten
A donation by Harcourts Taranaki Property Specialists through the Harcourts Foundation will allow the Frankleigh Park Kindergarten to replace old, splintered wooden chairs with new, matching varieties so children can sit and eat together at a shared dining table.
Help for relocating families with sick children
Families from South Australia, Northern Territory and Tasmania whose children are diagnosed with heart conditions that require life-saving surgery have no choice but to relocate to Melbourne.
Relocation can be anywhere from a two-week period up to many months, placing incredible emotional and financial stress on these families.
HeartKids is a registered health charity dedicated to providing support to such families of children with heart disease, be it congenital (born with) or acquired, so that they can concentrate on the well-being of their children, knowing they are not alone.
Harcourts Foundation supported HeartKids in both South Australia and Victoria, paying for accommodation and meals for several relocated families, as well as sponsoring a program to better support families with sick children in Tasmania.
“No matter what the cause, The Harcourts Foundation provides support to hundreds of organisations, enriching the lives of thousands of people in our communities.”
Planting for the future of at risk youth
Starting in 2012, Boikanyo The Dion Herson Foundation (BDHF) upholds a vision to support and nurture as many indigent, and at risk youth and their caregivers as possible.
Working in impoverished communities in Mapetla, Protea and Chiawelo Soweto, BDHF has developed what was previously a rubbish dump on the premises of Sediba Thuto Primary School Mapetla – one of Gauteng’s four worst performing schools at that time – and transformed it into a vegetable garden.
The garden is run by the community, serving as both a source of nutritious food and a training venue teaching locals the finer points of market gardening.
Harcourts Delta in Mondeor, donated R26 990 to BDHF, which went toward buying wood chips, a tool shed and compost, which will greatly improve productivity.
Moving house with kids can be stressful and upsetting for everyone, but particularly young children, especially if they’ve previously only known one home. But with a little foresight, planning and some good old distraction techniques moving to a new home need not be traumatic.
- Keep the kids as involved as possible in the process of moving house. Before you start looking for a new place talk to them about what they’d like a new place to have, or even draw pictures of what they want their new bedroom to look like.
- Have them research your new neighbourhood and make a list of places they’d like to visit and explore once you’ve moved.
- Once you’ve bought a new house, either take the children for a walk-through so they can see their new bedrooms and play areas like the back garden. Or have them search for the house online and, if possible do a virtual tour.
- If possible make a few visits to the new neighbourhood before moving so the children can see where their new school is, or where the local playgrounds are and take some time to walk around so everyone can get their bearings.
- Give them printouts of the floor plan of their new bedroom so they can start to plan where they want to put their things.
- Have your kids research the new neighbourhood or town themselves and make a list of places they want to visit.
- Let each child pack a box of their favourite toys themselves, then have them write their name on it, and decorate it. And make sure they help load it into the car or moving van so they know it’s going with them to the new house.
- Give each child a special responsibility on moving day and print them out a label with a job title like “head toy packer” making sure everybody’s favourite toys are accounted for, or “chief librarian” to make sure all the favourite books are packed, or “head gardener” responsible for collecting all the pot plants.
- Keep calm! Kids will pick up on your stress and anxiety about moving, so try and focus on making it a fun adventure however and whenever you can. It may even ease your own state of mind!
- Keep a picnic basket readily available and well stocked so you have plenty of snacks and drinks to keep children occupied as well as refuelled.
- Once you arrive in your new house on moving day, unpack and set up the children’s rooms as a priority so they feel at more at home more quickly. Make sure the rooms are welcoming and recognisable as theirs with familiar duvet covers, furniture, toys and books.
- Keep a few large moving boxes for making forts.
- Plan a special celebration “first night” dinner, that easy to prepare and fun – try a pizza and ice cream picnic on the lounge floor.
- Set up a treasure hunt around your new section so the kids become familiar with it.
- After moving day try and return to a normal routine, of normal bed times and meal times, school and play as quickly as possible to help everybody settle.
Buying a new home often means moving to a new suburb, city or even country. It may be a new location you chose simply because you loved it, or it maybe it’s where you need to be for work or family. Whatever the reason for your change in location, it can be a little daunting finding ways to get to know the neighbourhood and have it start feeling like home.
Here are a few ideas for breaking the ice suggested by the Harcourts’ Facebook community, along with a few others we’ve come up with as well.
- Ask the experts: A good place to start finding out what’s good in your new ‘hood is to ask the real estate agent you purchased from. In the course of buying you would have talked to them about the big things like nearby schools, or transport routes. But they’re experts in their local area so they’re also a great resource to ask about everything from finding the best coffee and great parks and playgrounds, to the best local shops and restaurants.
- Walk the walk: Spend a weekend or two getting lost. Take to the streets on foot and just wander around. You’ll see much more than you would from the car so you’re much more likely to uncover the neighbourhoods hidden gems – and you’ll quickly get your bearings for where everything is. If you’re in a large city you don’t know then do the same on a larger scale in your car and you’ll quickly learn the best driving routes and how all the suburbs fit together.
- Talk the talk: While you’re walking stop and have a chat or even just a passing “hello” to any of your neighbours you come across out and about or working in their garden. It’s a relaxed way to break the ice. Once you’ve found that café serving great coffee, make it your regular and get chatting to the staff, or strike up a conversation with the local shop owners.Once you start finding a few local favourites you’ll start to meet some of the same faces each visit.
- Knock on the front door: The best way to meet people is the most direct. It can be a little intimidating but it is a great way to meet your neighbours, especially those closest who you’ll see most often. If you want an icebreaker take them a small gift like a cake, or invite them over for a drink. Or use the old classics like ask to borrow some milk for your first cuppa – and be sure to return it with interest.
- Be seen: The opposite of heading next door to meet the neighbours is to just be visible and approachable in and around your property. If you’re mowing the lawns or gardening in the front garden just be aware of who’s outside as well and give them a wave and a hello.
- Be cool after school: If you have school-aged children, get involved in school activities, sports and events. It’s a great way to help your kids settle in and you’ll quickly become part of the school community. The same is true for sports clubs.
- Hook yourself up: Spend some time finding and reading local newsletters, newspapers, community Facebook groups, supermarket community noticeboards, and websites such as Neighbourly. They’re a great place to find out about local events, organisations in need of volunteers, or even on-going projects such as community gardens and working bees; all great places to meet people and start getting involved. Good luck getting to know your neighbourhood!