Harcourts scoop Most Trusted award for sixth year in a row

Harcourts-Most-Trusted-Real-Estate-Brand

Reader’s Digest has announced its Most Trusted brands for 2018, and Harcourts, New Zealand’s largest real estate brand has come out on top. Meaning that for the sixth consecutive year, New Zealanders have voted Harcourts their Most Trusted real estate brand and making Harcourts the only real estate brand to have held this honour for this continuation.

 

Harcourts CEO Chris Kennedy says the support and faith New Zealanders continue to put into the company is humbling.

 

“To be named the Most Trusted real estate brand for six years in a row is an incredible achievement. We are not only proud of our teams across the entire country, but we want to thank those New Zealanders who have worked with us and voted us number one.”

 

“We take the trust New Zealanders place in us very seriously. After all, making the decision to buy or sell a property is often one of the biggest, most important financial decisions all of us will make. You want to know that the sales consultants you are working with have knowledge, experience, honesty and integrity.”

 

The challenge for the company is to keep finding new ways to deliver exceptional customer service. “That is absolutely always at the core of everything we do. We are constantly looking at ways to improve our clients’ experience with us,” he says.

 

“To ensure Harcourts is living up to this goal of offering clients a premium service, the company will, in 2018, launch a client experience project. This will allow every customer the opportunity to rate their experience with our company and our people, in a transparent way that can be measured. It’s an exciting innovation which will allow Harcourts to continue to grow our people and constantly evolve our service to clients.”

“You hear it said a lot, that no relationship can work without trust. Trust is something you can’t put a price on. That is why this title of Most Trusted is so important to us.”

 

Harcourts will receive this prestigious award on 30 May alongside other elite Kiwi brands such as Whittakers.

 

Thank you, New Zealand.

 

How to bid at an auction

how-to-bid-at-an-auction

Auctions are popular with both vendors and buyers. For buyers, it provides more transparency to the value of the home and the competition you’re facing. For some, they can be daunting but auctions provide many benefits and will have agents present to offer advice when needed.

Here are a few tips on how to succeed at an auction:

Research

Going, going, gone! The sale is final once the hammer goes down, so do your homework! We recommend obtaining a LIM, builders report etc. Know what you’re bidding for.

 

Get your finance approved

Get all your ducks in a row before going to an auction. Buyers who bid at an auction approach their mortgage broker or bank before the auction and ask for unconditional pre-approval for the particular property they are interested in.

 

Talk to your solicitor

Before you raise your hand or nod at the auctioneer you should get legal advice. Your solicitor can review documentation provided by the owner and alert you to any issues or information you may have missed. Complete all necessary documentation before attending an auction to bid on a property and have your deposit ready.

 

Register your interest

Let the consultant overseeing the auction know that you are interested in bidding. Email or phone in advance, this means that you will be fed any information or critical news before the auction starts. This could include the auction being brought forward.

 

Familiarise yourself with the process

Visit a few before attending the auction of the property you wish to bid on. This will show you how it all works, how buyers and the auctioneers behave and allow you to prepare yourself for the big day!

 

Things to know

  • If the auction does not meet the vendor’s reserve price, it will be ‘passed in’. The highest bidder will be given the opportunity to negotiate with the vendor.
  • You can ask a real estate agent to act on your behalf, if you think the process will be too nerve-racking for you.
  • Know your limits and bid with confidence.

 

Did you know that you can watch our Queenstown auctions LIVE?

Keep a warm home this winter

Keep-Home-Warm-Winter

The winter months are almost upon us, it’s time to start thinking about keeping your home and family warm throughout the season. Most will have heating options throughout their homes but is the heat escaping from the gap under the door or is your sofa staying toasty while you’re left shivering? Here are our top tips for keeping your family comfortable this winter:

 

  •  Open your curtains during the day and close them at night

Curtains offer an extra layer of insulation to a room. Allow your house to absorb heat from the sun during the day by opening your curtains or blinds, close them before it gets dark to retain the warmth.

 

  • Let the heat circulate

Is your sofa in front of the wall heater or are your drying clothes obstructing the fire? Your sofa and clothes could be absorbing that much needed heat. Try moving the barriers and letting the heat circulate around your home.

 

  • Insulate, insulate, insulate.

Insulation is the most practical and cost-effective way to make your home warmer in winter. A fully insulated house needs about half the heating of an uninsulated house.

 

  • Stop the draught

Stopping draughts can make your home warmer, by preventing cold air entering your home. Protect your home from draughts by sealing gaps under your doors and around the windows.

 

  • The best heating option for your property

There are heaters aplenty on the market but consider heat loss calculations and heating needs before choosing. Base your decision on the size of your home, if it’s north or south facing, the materials used for construction and number of windows. Choose the right heating for my home.

 

Buying in a millennial market

Millennial-Home-Buyers

As the millennial generation step on to the property ladder, we see different trends emerging and more caution being taken when buying first homes. Deemed by some as the ‘pickiest home buyers’, Generation Y are turning the tides of real estate.

Where generations before had limited resources when buying property and considered their first purchase a lifelong family home, millennial’s have an overwhelming amount of information at their fingertips and consider their first home a stepping stone or starter property on the way to their big picture goal.

One thing that remains the same, buying a house is the biggest financial decision you will probably make. Ever. Can we help you? Absolutely, keep reading for our top tips for millennial buyers.

 

Define your goals

Figure out what it is you’re looking for and if you’re going it alone or with a partner/friend. Ryan Hardy, luxury real estate agent says, “Given that buying a home is such a big step, it’s important for you to educate and prepare yourself as much as possible in advance. This means clearly determining why you’re buying and what kind of home you’re looking for”. Define your house goals, whether it’s an investment property or your new family home. Facing the property market with a clear idea of what you want will make the process easier and much less daunting.

 

Examine your finances

Look at what you can afford and keep in mind that you may need to spend money on the property to personalise it further down the line. Speak to your bank and discuss the best plan of action and what your budget will stretch to. Remember, interest rates can change as economic conditions fluctuate, will you be able to afford your mortgage payments if they increase? Perhaps buy a property slightly under your budget so you have a safety net.

 

Talk to the professionals

Determining your budget or knowing a properties worth isn’t easy. Talk to the professionals and work together to find your dream home within your budget. There are many mortgage and payment options, a specialist can help you choose the right one for you. A real estate agent can review your property checklist and provide an option you may have overlooked.

 

Look beyond the great views

Know the property inside and out before buying, not preparing for necessary renovations or essential work takes its toll on the budget and you. Find an agent who provides you with detailed inspections and keeps you updated regularly.

 

Talk to one of our agents for more information.

Insulation Regulations For Rentals

NZ-Insulation-Regulations-Harcourts

Landlords are now obligated to provide warmer, drier and safer homes for their tenants. Any new, replacement or top-up insulation installed after 1 July 2016 in a rental home must meet the regulations that will apply to all rental homes from 1 July 2019. A landlord who fails to comply with the regulations is committing an unlawful act and may be liable for a penalty of up to $4,000.

Insulation is one of the most effective ways to save energy in a home since it keeps it warm in the winter and cool in the summer. And a warmer home is a drier, and healthier home. It is estimated that in one year a typical home can save up to $400 on energy bills by installing ceiling insulation. Adding underfloor insulation could save even more!

Recent studies in New Zealand have shown a link between insulation and health. The Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences study showed:

  • A significant drop in energy use when the houses were insulated.
  • Once the houses were insulated, they were drier and warmer.
  • People in insulated houses reported their houses were “significantly warmer”.
  • There was a significant improvement in the self-reported health of those living in the insulated houses compared to those whose houses were not insulated.
  • Adults and children in insulated houses reported visiting their GP less.
  • Adults and children in insulated houses reported that they were admitted to hospital less often for respiratory conditions.
  • Adults and children in insulated homes were significantly less likely to report sick days.
  • People living in insulated houses reported less visible mould inside their homes.

Who is exempt?

As New Zealand has many types of houses, the law allows for some exceptions to the insulation requirements, including where it is not ‘reasonably practicable’ to install insulation in certain types of property. These exceptions are not loopholes – they must be legally justifiable.

Due to the design or construction constraints of some property types, it is sometimes either not physically possible to insulate or would require major renovations to do so. Examples of types of properties that would meet exception criteria would be apartments where there is a habitable space above and below the apartment, houses constructed on concrete slabs where it is not feasible to install underfloor insulation, and homes with skillion roofs where there is no ceiling in place to install insulation above.

Other situations in which landlords may be exempted from the insulation requirements are:

  • Where within 12 months of the start of a tenancy, the landlord intends to demolish or substantially rebuild all or part of the property. In this case the landlord must, if requested, provide evidence of having applied for the necessary resource consent and/or building consent for the redevelopment or building work.
  • Where a property is purchased from and immediately rented back to the former owner-occupier – in which case a 12 month exception will apply from the date of purchase.
  • If a property does not meet the new insulation requirements, but a landlord can provide evidence that when insulation was originally installed it did comply with particular insulation requirements (such as the specifications outlined in the building consent or an Acceptable Solution or Verification Method) the property is excluded from new requirements, provided the insulation is in reasonable condition.

To read the full Insulation requirements, click here.

Client login makes selling easier

Harcourts-Client-Login

Paving the way, Harcourts use of technology allows for an easier and more informative selling experience for clients. One of our many technological improvements, client login, is a portal which gives clients 24 hour access to everything they need to know about what is happening with the sale of their property. This tool allows exclusive clients to remain up-to-date with the latest information on their listing.

“We appreciated that our clients wanted to hear about their property’s progress on the go and that it’s not always convenient for clients to meet face-to-face, and that’s what this portal is able to provide”, says Jason Wills, Harcourts Chief Information Officer.

Once registered, the agent then enables access to areas of the portal that will interest the client; allowing access to a range of data, documents and statistics on their listed properties.
The tool houses the marketing plan and calendar, marketing reports and feedback about a property. In addition to this, all of the documents relating to the property are held here, and the client can see how their property is performing on the various real estate portals where their property is marketed. They can receive reminders and alerts for events such as auctions or meetings and when a new document has been uploaded.

Selling property has never been easier, Harcourts tools allow for a stress-free approach to real estate. Thinking of selling? Contact us here for a complimentary market appraisal of your property.

MKR winning house for sale

My-Kitchen-Rules-Winner-Chris-Wright

A memorable piece of New Zealand TV history has hit the market, this enchanting Stone Street residence provided a faultless setting for winners Chris and Bex’s ‘Instant Restaurant’, Aspiring Fare. While most would think the extraordinary mountain and lake views would captivate the cooks, their dishes were testament to the charm the interior also holds. The generous kitchen, with granite work tops, provided an inspiring space for the duo’s ambitious menu, prompting judge Manu to call for more of the ‘perfect’ liver parfait.

The character rich home was carefully chosen for its hosting possibilities and uninterrupted views. With intimate dining spots peppered amongst the regal design, the separate dining area provides a grander space for feasts, entertaining and holding a full TVNZ film crew.

With the close proximity to the beautiful town of Wanaka and both cast and crew proclaiming their love for the ‘Fortress on the Hill’, it is no wonder why My Kitchen Rules winner and Harcourts agent, Chris Wright is proudly bringing this home to the market.

For more information on this exclusive listing click here.

My-Kitchen-Rules-Winner-Wanaka

Understanding the upcoming bright line test changes

bright-line-test-nz

Revenue Minister Stuart Nash confirmed that the election “promise” to extend the bright line test from 2 years ownership to 5 years will be enacted, effective for properties acquired after the date of Royal Assent. The intended purpose of extending the bright line test is to ‘dampen property speculation’ and make homes more affordable. The extension means that profits from residential investment properties which are bought and sold within five years will generally be taxable.

Current exemptions from the bright line test will remain. They include the sale of an owner-occupier’s main home, inherited property, or the transfer of property in a relationship settlement.

The extension to the bright line test will apply to residential investment properties purchased from the date on which the bill receives the Royal Assent, which is expected in March. Nash adds that the passage of the bill will also enable the Tax Working Group to factor the change into any consideration of a comprehensive capital gains tax.

Auckland Property Investors Association president Andrew Bruce has previously said that the changes will impact on property speculators rather than long-term investors. “The majority of property investors are in it for the longer than five years and are unlikely to feel massive levels of pain with the extension of the bright line test.

See more information on the bill, click here.

Apple recognises Harcourts custom apps across global web network

New Zealand Real Estate group Harcourts, has been selected from a world-wide category to be the first real estate company to be featured across Apple’s global web network with a case study showing how they have used Apple’s iOS technology to transform their business.

In recognition of their innovation and use of the iPad and iPhone to enhance client experience and drive greater efficiency for their business, Apple has produced a video and business case study about Harcourts’ work – an accolade reserved only for companies developing the most cutting edge business solutions using Apple technology.

Harcourts is the first company from the Australasian region, and the first real estate group world-wide, to be selected by Apple for this recognition.

Harcourts New Zealand CEO Hayden Duncan, says the custom suite of apps developed by Harcourts, is transforming the way they do business.

“By nature real estate is a mobile business. Agents are on the road, meeting clients, inspecting properties and showing homes.

“The power of Apple iOS inspired us to develop a suite of apps for our global network of sales consultants that would provide them with a full range of marketing, research and technological tools while they’re on the move. The apps save our consultants hundreds of hours per year by streamlining tasks and they help us deliver a great client experience.

“Take e-Campaign for iPad, for example. From the comfort of your living room, a sales consultant can help you build your ideal marketing campaign; displaying real-time market data from your local neighbourhood, visually showcasing the complete range of marketing options available, and booking everything into an online calendar so you know exactly what to expect every step of the way.

“Information is all stored digitally so there’s no need for paper forms or folders or for data re-entry back at the office, which means we can deliver a timely, professional, and consistent level of service,” says Mr Duncan.

Harcourts was selected above several other global real estate companies because they showed how Apple technology has enabled them to become game-changers in their industry.

“The integration of our apps both with third-party real estate data sources and the company intranet is key to our success. This means sales consultants have access to an unprecedented level of information from wherever they are providing a distinct competitive advantage,” explains Mr Duncan.

Mr Duncan says Harcourts’ focus is firmly on the future and innovation is at the forefront of everything they do.

“Client expectations are changing and it’s essential that we change with them. Technology is helping us to be more agile and responsive to our clients’ needs, delivering faster and more effective communication, and providing a seamless client experience overall.”

“Being able to launch our apps across multiple devices in multiple countries and integrate to our intranet is one of the key reasons we chose iOS as our platform.”

 

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MOST TRUSTED

Harcourts is NZ's Most Trusted Real Estate Brand (Reader's Digest, 2012-16).